Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

FINALLY got to try a J-15


DRC

Recommended Posts

Having never played a J-15, I finally had the opportunity to try one with new strings today, and also played a new J-45 standard. I can truthfully say my J-35 literally blows both away. The J-15 actually sounded pretty darn good in DADGAD when played open, with a nice full tone, and I had high hopes. But as soon as I started using a capo, it really fell short. Capoing on the 5th fret, where I play a lot of the time in Irish sessions and with the band, the J-15 sounded very thin and, well, disappointing. When capoed on the 7th, it sounded even worse...very bright, tinny and unbalanced. In comparison, my J-35 sounds great capoed anywhere up to the 10th fret, with a nice, full balanced tone...not bright or tinny. No contest. As expected, the J-45 was noticeably better...especially when capoed, but still not up to the level of my J-35. As soon as I first played this particular J-35, I knew it was a special one and it's only gotten better.

 

Maybe the particular J-15 I played was just a 'bad' one. I hope that's the case, since I've read so many positive reviews. I'm hoping to get a chance to play another one and not pass judgement based on today's experience. But just thought I'd share my first experience with a J-15.

 

DC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having never played a J-15, I finally had the opportunity to try one with new strings today, and also played a new J-45 standard. I can truthfully say my J-35 literally blows both away. The J-15 actually sounded pretty darn good in DADGAD when played open, with a nice full tone, and I had high hopes. But as soon as I started using a capo, it really fell short. Capoing on the 5th fret, where I play a lot of the time in Irish sessions and with the band, the J-15 sounded very thin and, well, disappointing. When capoed on the 7th, it sounded even worse...very bright, tinny and unbalanced. In comparison, my J-35 sounds great capoed anywhere up to the 10th fret, with a nice, full balanced tone...not bright or tinny. No contest. As expected, the J-45 was noticeably better...especially when capoed, but still not up to the level of my J-35. As soon as I first played this particular J-35, I knew it was a special one and it's only gotten better.

 

Maybe the particular J-15 I played was just a 'bad' one. I hope that's the case, since I've read so many positive reviews. I'm hoping to get a chance to play another one and not pass judgement based on today's experience. But just thought I'd share my first experience with a J-15.

 

DC

 

DC, I think there is a lot of difference between one J-15 and another. I first played one in the Gibson showroom at Memphis, and it sounded better than all the other acoustics they had there, regardless of price, even my Wife passed comment on the way it sounded (to her, a guitars a guitars a guitar)but when I got home to England, I played a few and they were just ok.

Strangely I played one in a local shop and it left me cold, however I played the same guitar a few weeks later and it was like a different guitar, far better!

I did eventually find one that I liked, this week, but then it was a very close run thing between the J-15 and a J-45, they were both great but different. I like the bright zingy sound of the J-15 but the J-45 has a more rounded sound, I'd have been happy to take either home or both if I could have afforded too.

 

Ian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you ever come to the USA I live in California and my J-15 will knock your socks off [flapper] Edit sorry this does sound rude

 

and my J-15 is sexier then your plain boring looking J-35

 

Here is a photo of my J-15 Figured Walnut with grey wings down the back to help it fly

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Ian, thanks for the reply and that's exactly why I mentioned wanting to try another J-15 before passing judgement. This was just my first experience with one. When looking for a J-35, it took three to find the one I ended up with, but it's a very special one, and better than the Martin D-41 I recently sold. BTW, do you play capoed much? If so, how does your J-15 sound capoed on the 5th-10th frets? That's where the one I played really fell short compared to my J-35. And again, I play in DADGAD, and it does make a difference. I've played many guitars that sound very good in standard tuning, but not as good in DADGAD...and vice-versa.

 

And Blues, I do live in the USA. What in the world made you think I don't? Yes, I'm really impressed with the incredible walnut figuring on some of the J-15s, but I'm not at all into the 'mine looks better than yours' thing. Sound and playability is what it's all about to me, and I'm glad you like your J-15 so much. Sounds like you got a special one, just like my J-35 (as boring looking as it is in your opinion). I'll ask the same of you... do you play capoed, and if so, how does your J-15 sound capoed on the 5th-10th frets?

 

DC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Opinions and reviews of guitars when it comes to sound and feel are pretty useless. Not that folks do not know what they are talking about but their opinions are informed by how they approach a guitar - how they attack it and what they need to get out of it. Somebody with a light touch playing Joni Mitchell and James Taylor style music may not be able to wrap themselves around the same guitar as a guy who flails away looking for a Lightnin' Hopkins or Elmore James vibe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Ian, thanks for the reply and that's exactly why I mentioned wanting to try another J-15 before passing judgement. This was just my first experience with one. When looking for a J-35, it took three to find the one I ended up with, but it's a very special one, and better than the Martin D-41 I recently sold. BTW, do you play capoed much? If so, how does your J-15 sound capoed on the 5th-10th frets? That's where the one I played really fell short compared to my J-35. And again, I play in DADGAD, and it does make a difference. I've played many guitars that sound very good in standard tuning, but not as good in DADGAD...and vice-versa.

 

And Blues, I do live in the USA. What in the world made you think I don't? Yes, I'm really impressed with the incredible walnut figuring on some of the J-15s, but I'm not at all into the 'mine looks better than yours' thing. Sound and playability is what it's all about to me, and I'm glad you like your J-15 so much. Sounds like you got a special one, just like my J-35 (as boring looking as it is in your opinion). I'll ask the same of you... do you play capoed, and if so, how does your J-15 sound capoed on the 5th-10th frets?

 

Here are a couple audio clips of my J-35 (DADGAD).

 

https://soundcloud.com/ballyshannon/35-hector-the-hero-1 (recorded with a Tascam DR05 at about 1 ft, raw, no effects or manipulation)

 

https://soundcloud.com/ballyshannon/da-slockit-light_j-35_octave-mando (I was playing along with a YouTube video of an octave mandolin playing the melody, playing background fingerstyle with the J-35 capoed on 7th fret. Recorded with a Tascam DR05, raw, no effects or manipulation. Video audio coming through my computer speaker system).

 

DC

Oops I'm sorry you do live over here I've played alot of great J-35s too it was a tough choice but I feel I made the right choice glad you like your J-35

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Opinions and reviews of guitars when it comes to sound and feel are pretty useless. Not that folks do not know what they are talking about but their opinions are informed by how they approach a guitar - how they attack it and what they need to get out of it.

Absolutely agree, and it's why I don't put much stock in threads like this.

 

The only assessment that matters is one that's done first hand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Maybe the particular J-15 I played was just a 'bad' one. I hope that's the case, since I've read so many positive reviews. I'm hoping to get a chance to play another one and not pass judgement based on today's experience. But just thought I'd share my first experience with a J-15.

 

DC

 

Bought my J-15 five months ago, love it. I know what you mean, I went to GC a few months later and played another J-15, didn't like the way it looked or sounded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bought my J-15 five months ago, love it. I know what you mean, I went to GC a few months later and played another J-15, didn't like the way it looked or sounded.

Yours was one of the many very positive comments that made me want to try a J-15. As has been my experience with the J-35s, I'm sure the J-15s can vary quite a bit from guitar to guitar and glad you got a good one. As mentioned, I played three J-35s before finding an exceptional one. Truthfully, since I already have a superb J-35, I doubt I'll be buying a J-15 but would still like to play a good one. Actually I'm considering an LG-2AE or J-200. And if an exceptional J-45 happens to cross my path.... :)

 

DC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Ian, thanks for the reply and that's exactly why I mentioned wanting to try another J-15 before passing judgement. This was just my first experience with one. When looking for a J-35, it took three to find the one I ended up with, but it's a very special one, and better than the Martin D-41 I recently sold. BTW, do you play capoed much? If so, how does your J-15 sound capoed on the 5th-10th frets? That's where the one I played really fell short compared to my J-35. And again, I play in DADGAD, and it does make a difference. I've played many guitars that sound very good in standard tuning, but not as good in DADGAD...and vice-versa.

 

And Blues, I do live in the USA. What in the world made you think I don't? Yes, I'm really impressed with the incredible walnut figuring on some of the J-15s, but I'm not at all into the 'mine looks better than yours' thing. Sound and playability is what it's all about to me, and I'm glad you like your J-15 so much. Sounds like you got a special one, just like my J-35 (as boring looking as it is in your opinion). I'll ask the same of you... do you play capoed, and if so, how does your J-15 sound capoed on the 5th-10th frets?

 

DC

 

DC, I've tried my J-15 using alternative tunings and it still sounds great, I also used a Capo all the way up to the tenth fret and everything sounded fine, but I'll be buggered if I could play it with a Capo on the tenth, there's no room for my hands between the Capo and the body. I've never used a Capo that far up the fingerboard, what do you play that requires that? You would have to be accompanying castrated choir boys!

 

Ian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DC, I've tried my J-15 using alternative tunings and it still sounds great, I also used a Capo all the way up to the tenth fret and everything sounded fine, but I'll be buggered if I could play it with a Capo on the tenth, there's no room for my hands between the Capo and the body. I've never used a Capo that far up the fingerboard, what do you play that requires that? You would have to be accompanying castrated choir boys!

 

Ian

Ian... Ha! Quite a visual you created there with the choir boys!

 

I play Irish/Celtic music in DADGAD, which makes things/fingering much easier overall, including capoing that high. My band does a song called "Raggle Taggle Gypsy" and the vocal fits my voice best in the key of Cm, and with capoing on the 10th, I play a Cm chord in the D position using only two fingers (DADGAD is great!), index finger on fret 12, 3rd string; middle finger on 13th fret, 4th string. And I basically work around that. Capoed that high produces a tone that fits the Celtic feel of the song very nicely, weaving in and out of the fiddles and flute. Actually pretty easy in DADGAD. When considering a new guitar, this is why it has to meet my needs of sounding good in DADGAD and capoed anywhere up to the 10th. I also play a lot capoed on the 5th, 7th, and 9th, as most Irish/Celtic music is in the keys of G, D, A, and Bm.

 

DC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yours was one of the many very positive comments that made me want to try a J-15. As has been my experience with the J-35s, I'm sure the J-15s can vary quite a bit from guitar to guitar and glad you got a good one. As mentioned, I played three J-35s before finding an exceptional one. Truthfully, since I already have a superb J-35, I doubt I'll be buying a J-15 but would still like to play a good one. Actually I'm considering an LG-2AE or J-200. And if an exceptional J-45 happens to cross my path.... :)

 

DC

 

Oh yeah, I would love to have a J-45! Maybe next year [unsure]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like all Gibsons, J15s vary a great deal. Generally between bad and horrible. Don't know how it happened, but I've been lucky as hell on all seven of my Gibsons. They're all super guitars. Of course, I've likely got taste-for-crap and don't know a good guitar when I play one. [scared]

That's hilarious, MP!! ....and I'm sure 'taste for crap' isn't the case at all.

 

DC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...