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Gibson J15 - Review


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Just bought a brand new Gibson J15 jumbo and I'm loving it so far. Here's a few thoughts.

 

The maple neck and walnut fingerboard, back and sides are something of a departure for Gibson. But the sound is great: big, warm and resonant, virtually indistinguishable from the mahogany built J45 shaped guitars we've known and loved. And the price was very reasonable for a US built instrument.

 

The dark decorative stripe in the back of the neck seemed odd at first and may offend traditionalists, but it breaks up the white maple perfectly and I'm happy with it now.

 

I had to get the saddle shaved on the bass side as the action was set too high for my taste (it was fine on the treble side) otherwise it was nicely set up right out of the box. I also changed the strings from the factory supplied 12s to 11s because I like to play single string blues with a lot of bends and while the 12s were great for chords, I find them hard work for what I do.

 

The mini Grovers initially seemed tiny compared to regular sized tuners, but they aren't any smaller than the original button tuners found on vintage instruments or (dare I say it) almost all Fenders.

 

If I was to nit-pick, the only complaint I have is the somewhat austere bridge. It's very plain looking and I would have much preferred the traditional J45 style belly-up bridge. The teardrop pick guard also seems much thicker than it needs to be, but that's no big deal.

 

All in all a great looking round-shouldered guitar with a great sound.

 

Anyone else got a J15 and if so what's the verdict?

 

Here it is (centre) with my J45 and 1963 Texan

 

kSD1bsS.jpg

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Nope.....that fancy sawed-wood on the J45 froze solid and when one of the kids pissed on it, it shattered into thousands of little pieces.

Hey thanks for pointing out that J-15 owners have questionable judgement! I now see the error of my ways and am quickly donating my scrap wood guitar to my local High schools wood shop so they can tur

If a player loves a certain instrument such as a J-15 and feels it's their favourite, then to that person the guitar is equally as good as a J-45 if not better.   Some cheap guitars play and sound

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Just got my J15 last Friday. Really enjoying it. It's my first Gibson, so it sounds completely different than my other guitars. My only complaint is the back does not show the walnut detail like so many I have seen. But I can live with it, as the sunburst top and tone is killer.

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Just got my J15 last Friday. Really enjoying it. It's my first Gibson, so it sounds completely different than my other guitars. My only complaint is the back does not show the walnut detail like so many I have seen. But I can live with it, as the sunburst top and tone is killer.

 

I've not seen the sunburst J15. Any chance of a picture?

 

I was looking for a blonde round shouldered acoustic to compliment my J50, but all I could find locally (in Australia) was a new J29 and the J15. I found the J15 much more playable than the J29 and it was around a thousand dollars cheaper.

 

It took a while to get my head around the walnut/maple construction thing, but now it's fine and I'm used to seeing a white neck on my Gibson jumbo.

 

Here's a few more pictures

 

XplrMoL.jpg

vd5sV6m.jpg

qwMhyV7.jpg

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Had my J15 for a year now. Real nice guitar. It definitely gets its fair share of playing time. I've used it at quite a few gigs and the playability is "top shelf." There's something about the Gibson slope-shouldered guitars that appeals to me. Maybe it's the appearance, size, tone, feel, etc., or all of the above, but whatever it is, they are sweet. ..........I hope you enjoy yours for many years.

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I've not seen the sunburst J15. Any chance of a picture?

 

I was looking for a blonde round shouldered acoustic to compliment my J50, but all I could find locally (in Australia) was a new J29 and the J15. I found the J15 much more playable than the J29 and it was around a thousand dollars cheaper.

 

It took a while to get my head around the walnut/maple construction thing, but now it's fine and I'm used to seeing a white neck on my Gibson jumbo.

 

Here's a few more pictures

 

XplrMoL.jpg

vd5sV6m.jpg

qwMhyV7.jpg

 

I have pics in another thread. It's under Hello from Kansas. They have only let three out that I'm aware of with the sunburst top. I'm sure a few more will trickle out, but I don't see them doing too many.

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I have pics in another thread. It's under Hello from Kansas. They have only let three out that I'm aware of with the sunburst top. I'm sure a few more will trickle out, but I don't see them doing too many.

 

Thanks, just had a look.

 

We would never see unusual variations like that in Australia

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They are very nice guitars and the price is always right on these. I've almost bought one several times. And don't get me started on Gibson thick pick guards. The two Gibson acoustics I own have pick guards as thick as glaciers. I'm tempted to remove them, very tempted, but the Hummingbird would look too weird without it and the Songwriter would look naked. Anyone know of thinner replacements that follow the same outlines?

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Just bought a brand new Gibson J15 jumbo and I'm loving it so far.

The dark decorative stripe in the back of the neck seemed odd at first and may offend traditionalists, but it breaks up the white maple perfectly and I'm happy with it now.

 

Good review. I'm sure yours is as nice as the others. They are excellent guitars. I'm sure you know by now but that isn't a dark decorative stripe on the back of the neck. It is a 3 piece laminated neck. Two pieces of Maple with edited: Walnut in between. It's more popular in electric necks.

 

Edit: After further investigation I see this: It features a 5-piece Eastern Maple Neck with walnut center strip and a walnut fingerboard and bridge with tusq nut and tusq compensated saddle.

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Good review. I'm sure yours is as nice as the others. They are excellent guitars. I'm sure you know by now but that isn't a dark decorative stripe on the back of the neck. It is a 3 piece laminated neck. Two pieces of Maple with Rosewood in between. It's more popular in electric necks.

 

You know, Denversteve, I think it's a "walnut stringer" too, as the stripe. This guitar has a theme, I think

:-). And that's a beautiful guitar, Mojo.

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I've been away a long time. OP, I've had one for about a year and a half, I think. I like it. My other acoustic is a Dove. I'd say the Dove is more even and "sweet" sounding whereas the J-15 seems much more scooped and assertive sounding to my ears with emphasis on the low end. Not better or worse, just very different. And that's fine, I'd hate to spend that kind of money and everything's the same. I don't have a J-45 for comparison.

 

I ended up sanding the saddle down on mine. It was playable just fine but I thought I'd try to get it lower and it turned out, I could lower it substantially. It's right at that point now where if I get careless with humidification the high register chokes out, but man is it nice to play.

 

I was floored at how affordable it was given it was a domestic manufacture guitar made of solid woods with a gloss lacquer finish, not to mention how powerful it sounds and how well it sustains. Thumbs up in my humble book.

 

And yeah, IIRC, the theme with this guitar was all North American woods, so spruce top, maple neck, walnut everything else.

 

 

 

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Had mine a couple of months. I do like the walnut stripe on the neck, multi-piece necks look sooooo coooool and boutique acoustics often have multi layered necks. One thing I would have missed out is the extra thin ring on the rosette. The one inner ring would have been fine and maybe saved a few pennies!

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Thanks DenverSteve. I suspected as much and asked in the guitar store about the 3 piece neck before buying. The assistant wasn't sure, so he went on the Gibson website and looked at the J15 specs where it says NOTHING about this.

 

I'm a little disappointed to find it is a 3 piece neck.

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I'm sure the 3 piece neck is cheaper for Gibson to produce they are probably using up left over pieces of maple from models with solid maple necks. Though generally a laminated neck is actually stronger than a one piece neck. Also on the plus side wood which will probably get scrapped for being too small for a one piece neck is being used up. Taylor does a similar thing with their 3 piece neck design much less waste and a stronger neck.

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I'm sure the 3 piece neck is cheaper for Gibson to produce they are probably using up left over pieces of maple from models with solid maple necks.

I don't think they make any solid maple necks. I don't know if they have always been like that or not, historically speaking, but J 200's have a walnut stringer. J 200 customs have a stringer, but it might be rosewood to match the back and sides. I don't know about the Dove, they have maple necks but I don't think they are solid. Forgive me if I am wrong and I don't mean to spread wrong information, but the point is you don't have to be disappointed in a 3 piece neck.

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I don't think they make any solid maple necks. I don't know if they have always been like that or not, historically speaking, but J 200's have a walnut stringer. J 200 customs have a stringer, but it might be rosewood to match the back and sides. I don't know about the Dove, they have maple necks but I don't think they are solid. Forgive me if I am wrong and I don't mean to spread wrong information, but the point is you don't have to be disappointed in a 3 piece neck.

 

My Dove is a 5 piece neck. Flamed maple with two darker wood stringers. Not sure what kind of wood.

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Personally, I do like the walnut stringer on the J-15. As DenverSteve says, it gives it character. The maple on it's own is a bit light and the grain isn't super prominent so it would almost look cheaper to me if they hadn't fancied it up like that. Now, if they had say mismatched the grain in the neck so one side runs perpendicular to the other, yeah that'd look super cheap and thrown together, but it's not, at least on mine.

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Perhaps I'm barking up the wrong tree here, but I assumed a one piece neck was the sign of a higher quality instrument, while multi piece necks were more of a budget, cost-cutting thing? I'm happy to be proved wrong here.

 

Well, a £10,199 ($14,500) Gibson Super 400 has a five piece neck with 2 walnut stringers. Stringers are mainly for strength, especially in longer scale necks (25.5) like the Dove, J200, Super 400, L5CES and so on.

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