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Gibson J15 - Review


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There is nothing wrong with the J-15. I could've afforded a more expensive Gibson had I wanted too, I just didn't see the need. I can see the point Hogeye is making and that's fair enough he's entitled to his opinion. I guess time will tell if any of those scenarios come to fruition but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I suspect if any issues do arise it would have more to do with owners neglecting to maintain their guitars properly rather than Gibsons materials and building techniques.

 

 

Actually, I think Hogeyes opinions are worth noting... if he did not tell you about these issues.. you would never know what to look for on your next future purchases.. he knows more about this stuff than anyone else here on the board..

take the info and save it as it is valueble info to you Gibson acoustic lovers...

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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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Actually, I think Hogeyes opinions are worth noting... if he did not tell you about these issues.. you would never know what to look for on your next future purchases.. he knows more about this stuff than anyone else here on the board..

take the info and save it as it is valueble info to you Gibson acoustic lovers...

 

Is it really an issue? That remains to be seen. Though I agree I have learned some interesting things about wood and guitar building in general from this discussion.

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Is it really an issue? That remains to be seen. Though I agree I have learned some interesting things about wood and guitar building in general from this discussion.

 

 

never a issue.. but always something new to learn about...

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You really get off the rails when you say that natural guitars cost more. Good grief. That is just not correct.

Here are the facts. Gibson has never charged more or less for sunburst guitars. Never. EVER.

Mr Truth, I'm afraid what you have just said is 100% untrue.

 

Consult Gibson catalogs available online, and you will see that Gibson historically has often charged more for a natural finish vs sunburst finish of the same model. This was a very common practice in Kalamazoo, and it continues today with some electric models. At time of purchase, my natural finish 2007 ES-335 carried a $400 upcharge over the sunburst model. Same basic thing with my natural finish 2012 ES-330 VOS. Gibson's rationale being that natural finish instruments of the same model will receive more desirable wood.

 

Just a few examples from a '50s catalog:

 

Super 400N Natural Finish: $675

Super 400 Sunburst Finish: $650

 

L-5CN Natural Finish: $580

L-5C Sunburst Finish: $565

 

J-50 Natural Finish: $145

J-45 Sunburst Finish: $135

 

LG-3 Natural Finish: $115

LG-2 Sunburst Finish: $105

 

And so on. Many more examples are available from multiple decades.

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My point about the finish (natural) being cheaper to produce on a J15 was that it would take less labour, therefore less time, therefore lower costs. I do accept that guitar manufacturers will choose better looking fronts for natural finish guitars, but I would not call the spruce on these J15s a being exceptional quality. I would also accept that there could be a conversation at the point of spraying the sunburst in which some one says "hold it, that's a beautiful top, we'll make that a natural finish and get a premium price for it" - It's a business - so any way to get a bit more is worth a try.

 

I bend to Hogeye's greater knowledge but as I stated I have never seen anyone ask advice about a guitar back collapsing or twisting, but I have seen many regarding fronts and necks.In all the guitars I have had I have seen two fronts collapse, many bows in necks and twisted headstocks (take a look at yours and see that this is common)

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Bobouz, here are even more examples from the 1957 Gibson catalogue showing flat-top naturals costing more than sunburst. There will be many more examples in the other catalogues show here too. These can be found by scrolling down the page in the link http://vintage.catalogs.free.fr/Index.htm

 

J-185......$225

J-185N.....$240

 

J-200.....$370

J-200N....$385

 

Yes, Mr Truth was totally incorrect. It proves that even people with a God complex can be wrong [laugh]

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There is so much here that I don't know where to start. Your first paragraph. All guitar makers buy their wood in pallets. Yes. What you obviously don't know is that they buy the pallets according to grade. AAA-AA-A- and fire wood. The wood grade is priced accordingly. Gibson knows exactly what they are building before they start. They build to order. If a person wants a sunburst guitar they order it and then that is what Gibson builds. Nothing in the first paragraph is correct.

 

If you want to come to Bozeman for the Homecoming you can see the sunburst process. You can go into the spray booth and watch the guy spray and you can even try your hand at it. Several on this forum have tried their hand at spraying the Gibson sunburst. One of the guys was actually pretty good at it.

 

When you state that the cost of a guitar is the labor not the material couldn't be farther from the truth. The cost of the materials is everything. Just go the the Gibson spec pages and look at the difference between guitars with AAA tops as opposed to the guitars with A tops.

 

You really get off the rails when you say that natural guitars cost more. Good grief. That is just not correct.

 

Here are the facts. Gibson has never charged more or less for sunburst guitars. Never. EVER. A sunburst Gibson J-15 costs the same as a natural J-15. Period. end of discussion.

 

The sunburst finish is amazingly labor intensive. It take two weeks longer to get thru a separate spray booth. The guitars have to be color sealed and then they have to mask off some areas of the guitar then they need to spray the color. Then they need to rest again and then skilled workers need to scrape the color off the binding and the inlays in the headstock. This is a very time consuming and labor intensive process then after all of that work they go into the lacquer booth and get finished just like a natural guitar. All of this work and Gibson/Montana doesn't have any upcharge for it. Never has. It begs the question. Have you ever looked at a price list?

 

You say these are just some of your observations but it's perfectly obvious that you have never observed the Gibson process.

 

There are any number of websites that show the Gibson process. You need to take a look at them before you try to tell us your observations. better yet you are always welcome to come to Bozeman and attend the Homecoming. Then your observations may be a little more accurate.

 

If you knew half as much about reading and comprehension as you know about guitar making you might have less trouble in places like this.

 

rct

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Bobouz, here are even more examples from the 1957 Gibson catalogue showing flat-top naturals costing more than sunburst. There will be many more examples in the other catalogues show here too. These can be found by scrolling down the page in the link http://vintage.catalogs.free.fr/Index.htm

 

J-185......$225

J-185N.....$240

 

J-200.....$370

J-200N....$385

 

Yes, Mr Truth was totally incorrect. It proves that even people with a God complex can be wrong [laugh]

 

I understand that you don't know you are posting on a Gibson/Montana forum and a thread about Gibson acoustic guitars. Gibson /Montana has never had a price difference for sunburst guitars.

 

I thought I was a troll. Now I've become Mr. Truth? You can't handle the truth. pitiful.

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I've hesitated to add my thoughts to this discussion although I've enjoyed hearing the contributions from all perspectives.

Long and short of it is that I like my J-15 - a lot. First time I did a comparison, I liked the J-15 a lot more than either the J-29 or J-35 and thought it was up there with the J-45 I tried. Just my personal finding. Second time, I tried a different J-15 and found the same thing, so bought it. I had my heart set on a J-35 all along, so was pretty disappointed to find I preferred the J-15! I could have afforded any of those guitars but felt I had to go with the one that just felt right. I didn't try out the AJ Maple Custom the shop had in case I liked that one too much and ended up blowing my savings.

The J-15 isn't perfect - it looks and sounds beautiful but there is an issue with the saddle (which I'm replacing soon). The tuners are functional and are the same as on my Taylor 12 string. They have never given me any problems.

It suits me and the music I like to play and for the time being, I'm happy with it. If it falls to bits in the future, I'll have learned a lesson. In the meantime, I'll carry on enjoying my J-15.

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I understand that you don't know you are posting on a Gibson/Montana forum and a thread about Gibson acoustic guitars. Gibson /Montana has never had a price difference for sunburst guitars.

The forum says "Gibson Acoustic."

It does not say "Gibson Acoustic/Montana."

That includes the discussion of Kalamazoo era instruments.

 

You threw out a generalized comment that is wholly incorrect.

 

Your qualified response is no surprise.

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I understand that you don't know you are posting on a Gibson/Montana forum and a thread about Gibson acoustic guitars. Gibson /Montana has never had a price difference for sunburst guitars.

 

I thought I was a troll. Now I've become Mr. Truth? You can't handle the truth. pitiful.

 

Thank you for your entertaining and amusing rebuttal and proving once again that you know everything there is to know about Gibson acoustics even though you were wrong in your earlier statements. It appears you believe everyone else on the forum is a moron (well at least the ones who question your knowledge or prove you wrong). You put me, bobouz and rct in our place for sure. We are mere mortals and bow to your superior knowledge God of Gibson acoustics. I imagine when you visit Gibson Montana you put the employees in their place too and tell them that they know nothing about being a guitar maker compared to yourself.

 

Btw, since my last post the back of my J-15 collapsed when a particle of dust landed on it. Turns out it was inferior wood after all [laugh]

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Thank you for your entertaining and amusing rebuttal and proving once again that you know everything there is to know about Gibson acoustics even though you were wrong in your earlier statements. It appears you believe everyone else on the forum is a moron (well at least the ones who question your knowledge or prove you wrong). You put me, bobouz and rct in our place for sure. We are mere mortals and bow to your superior knowledge God of Gibson acoustics. I imagine when you visit Gibson Montana you put the employees in their place too and tell them that they know nothing about being a guitar maker compared to yourself.

 

Btw, since my last post the back of my J-15 collapsed when a particle of dust landed on it. Turns out it was inferior wood after all [laugh]

 

Good one Cody. You sure told me.... This thread has served it's purpose and it's time for us to move along.

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Thanks Hollowdan.

 

I actually tried out a J35 and a J29 in the store at the same time, but went for the J15 for two reasons. It played better than the others (their necks were too chunky for me) and it was at least a grand cheaper. No contest.

 

The only quality control flaw I've noticed is that end of the fingerboard over the soundhole has not been varnished, otherwise I'm very happy with the J15

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Thanks Hollowdan.

 

I actually tried out a J35 and a J29 in the store at the same time, but went for the J15 for two reasons. It played better than the others (their necks were too chunky for me) and it was at least a grand cheaper. No contest.

 

The only quality control flaw I've noticed is that end of the fingerboard over the soundhole has not been varnished, otherwise I'm very happy with the J15

Here in the U.K the J-35 is about £100 more expensive than the J-15 and the J-29 about 3-4 hundred more!

 

Ian

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  • 4 years later...
On 1/28/2016 at 6:45 PM, Hogeye said:

They call it a J-15 because it is 2/3 the quality of a J-45. If it was 1/2 as good it would be a J-22.5 wouldn't it.

The J-15 is a passable entry level instrument. The price point is achieved by cutting some important corners. That is just fine with me. My problem is that some folks here are calling the guitar a Cadillac of guitars and as good or better than a J-45. It clearly is not. I stated some of the reasons. I guess that would qualify me as a troll. Honest information is not treated kindly here. Did I mention the J-15 has a great neck?

 

Just realized that a multi award winning, platinum selling singer-songwriter, can't afford a J-45.  [sarcasm]

Here is Passenger with his J-15, the guitar he chose for that song, even if he owns J-45, Hummingbird and others.

passenger_J15_web.jpg

Edited by BeHappy
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