Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar Review: The Best for the Money of Californians

In our previous post, we mentioned an L.A. record store that promotes music from local artists. Most of those artists began their careers with an acoustic axe, so we’d like to feature one — the Jasmine S35. Here, we discuss why it’s the best acoustic guitar for the money of beginners. See this other Jasmine S35 acoustic guitar review if you want a second opinion.

What You Get For Your Money

If you have already been looking for a guitar for quite some time, you have probably come across the Takamine brand. After all, it’s among the top manufacturers of great acoustics that are priced below $1000. Jasmine is its sister brand, and they happen to be the makers of the best acoustic guitars under $100! So if your budget is tight, and you want something new (instead of a used axe from who knows where), the S35 is perfect for you.

The S35 has a solid spruce top and agathis back and sides. It has a nato neck with a rosewood bridge and fretboard, and has 20 frets. All of the woods are wrapped in a smooth and cool satin finish. The S35 sports a dreadnought body style and the standard full scale length of 25.5″. For its size, it is pretty comfortable to play (even on extended periods of time). Meanwhile, synthetic bone makes up the 1.69″ nut and the saddle.

The headstock isn’t something to get too excited about. But it does somehow feel compact due to the chrome tuning pegs that it has. The included strings might not get you eagerly strumming immediately, but they could be easily replaced for as low as $5. It should also be noted that the S35 doesn’t come with electronics (but you could always buy them later).

For the minimal cash that you’ll spend, you get a really nice sound with the S35. There are other models from Jasmine that cost higher, but those other models don’t sound any better. So we’d still recommend the S35, specially if you don’t have a lot to spend. It is a great guitar that is really suitable for beginners. On the other hand, it’s also great for advanced players who just want something to play with, on the couch or elsewhere.

Last Word

In previous years, the quality of cheap guitars have improved immensely, and the Jasmine S35 is a very good example. It’s the top acoustic guitar for the cash of Californians, and it only costs under $100. Instruments like it are what helps the fledgeling musicians get heard, and that results to a more vibrant Golden State music scene.

Cool Vinyl Record Stores in L.A.

Record stores are alive and well in L.A. And with the renewed interest in vinyl, and the internet broadening people’s musical tastes, one could say that record stores are even more culturally significant than they ever did in their heyday.

These stores aren’t just for making money, but are also a place of curiosity and discovery. And given California’s lively music scene (not to mention its gamut of hipster joints), there are a lot of cool record stores down in L.A. Here, we list out our favorites, and we urge you to visit them if ever you’re in town.

Blue Bag Records

Just bought a record player, like the ones featured at Local Singles Records? Then Blue Bag Records is where you should be next. The store’s stash is generally used but well curated. Just spend 20 minutes in their collection, and you get a run through of popular music’s entire backstory. The store is kind of small, but the selection is quite huge, with lots of classics from well-known musicians.

Blue Bag Records is located at 2149 Sunset Boulevard.

Blue Bag Records is located at 2149 Sunset Boulevard.

There’s also a good number of compilations — perfect for trying out artists you haven’t heard of before. Collectors run the store, but the selection and pricing is very much accessible to the masses. The store is quite on the cheap side, with lots of vinyls under $10. Splurge $100 at Blue Bag Records and you can go from zero to a hero sized vinyl collection.

Vacation Vinyl

Vacation Vinyl is located at 3815 W Sunset Boulevard, right next to Secret Headquarters, a comic book store. Needless to say, the area is a haven if you are both a music and comic book geek. Admittedly though, Vacation Vinyl doesn’t have a huge selection. That said, it could be an advantage because it’s less overwhelming to hunt for a new vinyl when the selection isn’t over the top. They are also popular for having a few choice records, plus the best palette of noise and metal available. They also have a nice collection of cassette tapes if you’re also into such things.

Origami Vinyl

We consider Origami Vinyl as the most important L.A. record store. This isn’t lip service — the store is really an indispensable part of the music scene in L.A. It’s because it’s not only a store but is also a free concert venue, a concert promoter, and even a record label. They have held lots of in-store performances from local artists and they have “LOCALS ONLY” bins of vinyl records.

Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 West Sunset Boulevard.

Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 West Sunset Boulevard.

The store is quite small — it only fits a maximum of 50 people. And yet, it’s been very big in the community. Origami Vinyl have helped curate the Echo Park Rising (a local festival), has co-released music with 826LA (a non-profit organization), and is also the designated on-site music seller by the yearly FYF Fest. Furthermore, the likes of Florence + The Machine and many more have performed in their 9 foot high stage (at the top of the stairs in the photo above).

Veteran California Musicians That Are Still Making It Big

In this post, we feature three California musicians that are still successful after all the years.

A New Beat from Dr. Dre?

It’s rare to hear a new song from Dr. Dre. Which is kind of ironic, because his headphones are glued to a great number of ears these days. So when a song of his leaked just recently, people were eager to listen. The song is called “2Nite,” and it also features Kendrick Lemar and Jeremih.

Dre and Lemar each has a verse, and interspersed throughout is Jeremih’s voice slithering through the mix like a snake. Lemar sounds younger here, which suggests that the song may have been recorded a few years ago. So maybe it isn’t really part of Dre’s anticipated third album after all, but who knows.

Regardless, the reaction that the song got shows how big Dr. Dre still is. And we haven’t even mentioned yet that he’s now worth 650 million US dollars.

Whistling Back to the Top

Hilary Duff’s “Chasing the Sun” last year may have been a bit lackluster. But her most recent song “Sparks” certainly gave her back the spotlight that she deserves.

That whistling is just so damn catchy. And most other people think so too. Vanessa Golembewski of Refinery29 said that the song is not just “a summer jam”, but is “the summer jam.” Meanwhile, Bradley Stern of Idolator said that “Sparks” might be the “infectious hit” that will propel her back onto pop radio.

And indeed it did. “Sparks” have peaked at number 1 and 2 in Billboard’s Twitter Real-time and Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles, respectively.

The ComeBeck From Nowhere

Who the heck is Beck? Well, he won Album of the Year at the 2015 Grammy Awards — besting the likes of Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Pharrell Williams and Beyonce. Ironically however, he has this song where he sings “I’m a loser baby.”

Beck is a producer, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Los Angeles. He became known in the early 1990s due to his lo-fi experimental music, and for creating collages of varying musical styles. His album that won was “Morning Phase,” but he also has other acclaimed releases like “Odelay” and “Sea Change.”

His win didn’t sit well with fans of his much more popular competitors. But of course, in contrast, us Californians are very much proud of Beck.