I have recently purchased two Jose Ferrer El Primo classical nylon-string guitars for my daughters.
My seven year old daughter recently started learning guitar at school. The school music teacher recommended that we purchase a Jose Ferrer guitar. A quick trip to Music Express at Mt Gravatt resulted in purchasing a three-quarter-sized Jose Ferrer El Primo guitar (retail price $129.95).
When the seven-year-old started to practice, my four-year-old decided she wanted to join in. Rather than buying a cheap ukulele to keep her from harassing us, we purchased her a half-size Jose Ferrer guitar (retail $109). For a few extra dollars, we got a proper instrument that she could grow in to.
So what are the Jose Ferrer guitars like? A quick Google revealed surprisingly little about the brand, not even a manufacturer’s web site. I am no guitar expert, but here are my thoughts on them.
Firstly, both instruments are classical nylon-string guitars aimed squarely at the beginner learner music student.
Both guitars seem to be set up adequately for easy playing. The strings are a consistent distance above the fret board and not too high – easy for small hands.
The three-quarter guitar seemed to lose tune quickly. It has taken nearly three weeks of stretching the strings and re-tuning for the strings to be relatively stable between uses. The half-sized guitar strings seemed much more stable, perhaps because the nylon strings were under less tension?
I decided to replace the half-sized guitar strings with some D’Adderio Classic Nylon strings (EJ27N) that I had lying around. The half-size guitar was not going to be inspected by the music teacher and I wanted to practice changing strings before tackling the three-quarter-size guitar! I think that changing the strings has helped stabilise the guitar’s tuning, and has resulted in a better tone. After a couple of stretches and re-tuning, the guitar stays relatively in tune between uses. I am planning to replace the strings on the three-quarter guitar soon.
Overall, both Jose Ferrer guitars are cheap beginner instruments. The guitars are small in size, and do not have the glorious sound of a quality full-sized guitar. They play adequately, but do not expect them to sound like an instrument 10 times the price. For their intended purpose, the Jose Ferrer guitars are quite okay – I am not going to send an expensive instrument to school with my daughter to bash around, but it must be easily playable. If you have problems with the instruments staying in tune, put on a quality set of strings as soon as possible – you will get a better tone and save yourself lots of grief trying to keep it in tune.
Jose Ferrer El Primo guitar review summary
Value for money 8/10
AFAICT you’ve covered all the bases with this awsenr!
I would agree with your review of the El Primo guitars.
As a guitar tutor, I always recommend these guitars for my younger students as they represent excellent value for money (in UK they are even cheaper, about £60).
If you had tried some of the other guitars on the market, you would realise what good quality the Jose Ferrer instruments are!
Another good maker is Admira, though I don’t know whether these are available in U.S.
I have one that I bought for myself one Christmas and its not bad at all. Still has the stock strings on and tuning seems stable.