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Build quality of J 15 and J29


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I have been looking at buying either of these two guitars. I like the sound of both and would be happy with either. However, I have been reading on the forums about certain build quality issues related to the J15 specifically- the fact the wood used on the back is flat-sawn and not quarter-sawn. (and having seen them in person the 29s appear to be put together with a bit more care). I was wondering if these issues are present with the J 29. I have never purchased a guitar for this price (always bought second-hand) so just want to know what I am getting for the price.

 

Many thanks

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The back issue is one that was discussed here a ways back, but I can't recall exactly when. There were strong opinions at the time, though. Not necessarily mine, but a couple folks were pretty negative about flat sawn backs. If I were in the market, I'd be drawn to the J-29 on the basis of sound. They show up for sale in used condition from time to time on Reverb, just sayin'😐

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I would not worry about 'quarter vs flat sawn' backsides if you're at the threshold of getting into 'better' guitars. As you might guess, some forums have folks who prefer other brands and like to take shots at other brands.

Even on this forum you will find folks who offer up 'constructive criticism' of the slipperiness of the neck, the shape of the pick guard, the use of plastic pins or the shading of the rosewood in the fretboard. You can't please some of the people all of the time. For example, I do not like cutaways in acoustics.

 

The J29 is $2,400 while the J15 is $1500. So, 60% more bucks will buy 60% 'better' guitar when you're dealing with the same brand, made in the same plant by the same people.

Martin and Taylor are very different guitars - and you can find excellent build quality at half the cost of a J15.

They 'manufacture' theirs - make many, many more. Some come from offshore. As opposed to the more 'hands on" process in Bozeman.

Most importantly, to me anyway, they do not have the Gibson 'sound'.

I'm assuming you've already done 'due diligence' and played these 2 models and have actually eliminated other brands, and really like these two models.

If you like both and apparently can afford the J29, you're always better off getting something a little better so you can grow into it. G'Luck.

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I would not worry about 'quarter vs flat sawn' backsides if you're at the threshold of getting into 'better' guitars. As you might guess, some forums have folks who prefer other brands and like to take shots at other brands.

Even on this forum you will find folks who offer up 'constructive criticism' of the slipperiness of the neck, the shape of the pick guard, the use of plastic pins or the shading of the rosewood in the fretboard. You can't please some of the people all of the time. For example, I do not like cutaways in acoustics.

 

The J29 is $2,400 while the J15 is $1500. So, 60% more bucks will buy 60% 'better' guitar when you're dealing with the same brand, made in the same plant by the same people.

Martin and Taylor are very different guitars - and you can find excellent build quality at half the cost of a J15.

They 'manufacture' theirs - make many, many more. Some come from offshore. As opposed to the more 'hands on" process in Bozeman.

Most importantly, to me anyway, they do not have the Gibson 'sound'.

I'm assuming you've already done 'due diligence' and played these 2 models and have actually eliminated other brands, and really like these two models.

If you like both and apparently can afford the J29, you're always better off getting something a little better so you can grow into it. G'Luck.

I was in the don't worry about flat vs. quarter sawn camp last time the question came around. Still haven't been convinced that it makes much difference. And I totally agree that Gibson produces better guitars for the money than some of their competition. At least Gibson isn't slapping their logo on the budget Epi models - unlike Martin and Taylor.

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Thanks for the detailed replies.

 

The J 29 I can actually get for about 300 dollars more than a 15 at a local store, due to it having been taken back a number of times-but as far as I can see is in a near mint condition. I used a Hummingbird for a short period but the last guitar I had was an old J 45, which was a family instrument that I really liked but felt I should quit hogging and hand over to the next generation.

 

I don't know when or if I'll ever be able to afford a model 'above' the 29, but I wanted to get something a bit like the 45 and the Hummingbird, that would be made well enough to be kept in the family for a while. That's the priority I guess, and I'm still a little worried that the 15 might not be in it for the 'long-haul. But the 300 extra is a lot for me.

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I have played some great J 15's .

Even if those rumors were true ...If you keep light strings on the guitar you should not have a problem.

 

 

Some people are never satisfied ...In the 30's gibson introduced the very lightly built L 00's and they were meant to be played with thin strings some people would start putting heavier strings and the poor little guitars would get damaged do to this.

 

J 15's are very good entry guitars from gibson.

 

 

 

 

JC

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The J-15s I've played have all been great, but I bought a J-35 instead. A little closer to a -45 but very different at the same time. The rosewood -29 didn't have the mahogany -45 sound I was after. My J-35 has the "sound" and then some. The only thing missing is the sunburst which is also missing in most of the -15/29s.

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The J-15s I've played have all been great, but I bought a J-35 instead. A little closer to a -45 but very different at the same time. The rosewood -29 didn't have the mahogany -45 sound I was after. My J-35 has the "sound" and then some. The only thing missing is the sunburst which is also missing in most of the -15/29s.

 

I tried the 35. It was a nice guitar I just wanted something a little beefier on the low end. The one I tried wasn't set up great so that might have been the problem.

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.

The J-15 has been a popular get here - great guitar, great price.

 

As it's been mentioned, both the J-15 and the J-29 are made the same way in the same factory by the same people. The build quality should be very similar - from the few examples I've seen that seems to be the case.

 

But, the J-15 makes some compromises to hit that $1500 price point, particularly using all North American woods - walnut back, walnut sides, maple neck, walnut fingerboard and walnut bridge. The J-29 uses imported woods - rosewood back, rosewood sides, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard and rosewood bridge. Apparently this makes the MAP price difference of $750. I not sure the saw method has anything to do with the price. It comes down to whether you like the sound and feel (fingerboard) of walnut.

 

 

.

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The J-15 is a guitar fit for a pro level guitarist. I don't believe for a second that it for some reason is not as well made or receives less attention to detaill, compared to more expensive models. As far as construction, it is equally impressive as other Gibsons. In my opinion, it is the single best value in premium guitars available today from any maker. The lower price is due to Gibson using domestic woods that costs less for the company to source, not because the woods are in any way "cheap" or less musical. Different tone, yes, but not inferior.

 

Buy the one you think has the best combination of tone, playability and looks. At least that is what I would do.

 

Good luck!

 

Lars

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The J-15 has been very popular, obviously because of it's price point, but also because many of them have turned out to be tone monsters. Walnut can produce a strong & punchy sound from low end to high, which I would characterize to be somewhat like a mix of maple & rosewood. Great stuff, really.

 

But if you are comparing two guitars in a shop, buy the one you're drawn to, based on tone & playability. The J-15 & J-29 you're looking at may be either good or mediocre examples of the breed. No way to know unless you play a number of them.

 

Build quality & longevity will basically be equal, so buy the one you don't want to put down 'cause you enjoy playing it!

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.

The J-15 has been a popular get here - great guitar, great price.

 

As it's been mentioned, both the J-15 and the J-29 are made the same way in the same factory by the same people. The build quality should be very similar - from the few examples I've seen that seems to be the case.

 

But, the J-15 makes some compromises to hit that $1500 price point, particularly using all North American woods - walnut back, walnut sides, maple neck, walnut fingerboard and walnut bridge. The J-29 uses imported woods - rosewood back, rosewood sides, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard and rosewood bridge. Apparently this makes the MAP price difference of $750. I not sure the saw method has anything to do with the price. It comes down to whether you like the sound and feel (fingerboard) of walnut.

 

 

.

 

Personally I don't see the All North American woods as a compromise.

I see it as Gibson trying to go the extra mile for the guys that have wanted a gibson but could not yet afford one until now.

 

I think the woods they use to build that guitar are fantastic.

 

 

 

 

JC

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I have been looking at buying either of these two guitars. I like the sound of both and would be happy with either. However, I have been reading on the forums about certain build quality issues related to the J15 specifically- the fact the wood used on the back is flat-sawn and not quarter-sawn. (and having seen them in person the 29s appear to be put together with a bit more care). I was wondering if these issues are present with the J 29. I have never purchased a guitar for this price (always bought second-hand) so just want to know what I am getting for the price.

 

Many thanks

 

Build quality is no less for the two guitars you mention compared to any other Gibson acoustics. Not sure how the particular cut of a piece of wood dictates the the guitar will be built to lower standards than something else that has a piece of wood cut differently? It's the same guys/gals making them. Also, I'd personally compare the way the guitar sounds and use that as more of a deciding factor, but that's just me. I'd rather have the one that sounds best instead of the one that appears "to be put together with a bit more care" (whatever that means). You've been mentioning that you've been "reading on the forums about..." but you'd do better to get out there and play more of them in person so you can make your own decision, especially since you mention that you're a bit hesitant given the amount of money you may end up spending. As far as knowing what you're getting for the price, keep in mind price does not automatically equal customer satisfaction and spending more doesn't guarantee you're getting the guitar you want. More expensive isn't always better. Find the guitar that has the looks and sound your after in a price point you can afford. You could spend $10,000 on a guitar and just because it cost that much doesn't mean it's going to be what you're looking for.

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I tried the 35. It was a nice guitar I just wanted something a little beefier on the low end. The one I tried wasn't set up great so that might have been the problem.

 

I have thought that most of the J35's tend to not have a very big, warm low end across the board. I think it's the bracing. It's the same bracing pattern as the Advanced Jumbo, and even though that guitar has rosewood back and sides, it's still a fairly bright guitar with a very punchy and articulate low end, unlike other dreds that have rosewood back and sides that and to be a little muddier and blurry in the low end. So combining that bracing pattern with mahogany seems to make the J35's a little too crispy for my liking, but on an AJ it's a great combo.

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Price doesn't necessarily mean you'll accumulate the 'right' guitar for your style and sound. The more you realize about your needs, the more likely you are to make a good decision. Some folks (I refer to 'em as furniture buyers) buy for different reasons, but players can truly appreciate what an instrument actually is meant to do....

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.....but I wanted to get something a bit like the 45 and the Hummingbird, that would be made well enough to be kept in the family for a while.

 

The J15 fits the bill. I did the research and was just about to get one; then I got, uh, distracted.

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The trick to all of this is to just buy the one that sounds best to you. I can be difficult and confusing going through the process the one that is best is the one you like the best. Personally, I do not like walnut, even in the Jackson Browne!!! I would not play it in a car. I would not play it in a bar. I have never cared for any guitar with walnut.

I do love seeing so many great slope-shouldered, short-scaled Gibsons, at a lower price point.

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The trick to all of this is to just buy the one that sounds best to you. I can be difficult and confusing going through the process the one that is best is the one you like the best. Personally, I do not like walnut, even in the Jackson Browne!!! I would not play it in a car. I would not play it in a bar. I have never cared for any guitar with walnut.

I do love seeing so many great slope-shouldered, short-scaled Gibsons, at a lower price point.

 

Why not walnut?

 

rct

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I don't know. It is purely a physical/emotional/cognitive response. I hear walnut, I dislike it. It is dry sounding but not in a pleasant way. I remember the first time I got to play a Jackson Browne. My bank account was weak at the knees I was so sure it was THE perfect guitar for me and it would coming home asap. I disliked it at first strum. I kept trying and trying to find the magic in it and the bottom line was that it is not the right guitar for me. I like maple, mahogany, and even rosewood in some cases but I do not like koa and walnut.

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I don't know. It is purely a physical/emotional/cognitive response. I hear walnut, I dislike it.

The trick is to keep an open mind, and never fully judge a model based on one sample or generalizations.

 

The next walnut bodied guitar may knock your socks off.

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The trick is to keep an open mind, and never fully judge a model based on one sample or generalizations.

 

The next walnut bodied guitar may knock your socks off.

 

 

Oh sure, never judge a book by its cover but until I pick up a guitar made with walnut and find that it sounds good, I don't like walnut. Actually, now that I think about it, every guitar made with walnut had the same unpleasant characteristics in the way they sounded.

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