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Introducing myself, and J-50 opinion

Guest burgo

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Guest burgo

Hi all! Early last year year I impulsively clicked "Buy it now" on Ebay, for a 1968 Gibson B-15, a guitar which I really love. I've been lurking around this forum since then, and I learned a ton. And what a group of friendly and informed and simply "normal" people. So many forums which are dedicated to a particular subject (whatever the subject) always seem to attract people with weird fetishes or snobbisms or what you'd call "chauvinism" about their own favorite thing, and you have to kind of allow for that when you're trying to get informed about something.


Anyway, after getting the B-15, I was totally GAS-afflicted. Before half the year was out I got a 1970s Guild D-25M AND a 1970s Guild D-25CH! (one from ebay, one from craigslist). At the time I was starting to wonder if I was crazy, but I'm glad I didn't chicken out. I love all 3 guitars, and I got them when I had the chance. This year is a completely different story for me financially, and I don't see any more guitars coming my way in the near future.


Nevertheless I have some "saved searches" on ebay, so the site emails me every night when new items get listed with my search terms (like J-45, J-50, LG-0, Blues King, etc.)


I'm wondering what the aficionados out there think of this ebay listing for a supposedly 1959 J-50. I'm in no position to bid on it. (though a late 50s J-50 in good cosmetic shape is my own personal "lottery fantasy" guitar).




First off, what's with that serial number? (952 2)? Doesn't seem like enough numbers. Shouldn't the serial number be stamped on the back of the headstock as well? Does that final "2" mean "factory 2nd?"


By the way, what does "factory second" mean exactly, and why are they less desireable?


The fact that there isn't a nice good closeup of the guitar's top makes me a little suspicious too. I'm pretty sure this guitar has been listed before, I remember the particular verbiage and typos in the listing.


Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Hi, and firstly welcome to the forum !


Im also new, but its good to know Im now not the latest arrival ;-)


My big piece of advice to you would be neve to buy a Gibson without playing it. As much as I love Gibsons and as many would agree they vary in quality and you have to play them to find the one for you.


Check out my post about my shopping experience yesterday to put things into perspective.


With the serial numbers im sure a thoroughly experienced Gibson user will be able to answer this for you.



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Hi Burgo and welcome to the forum -- great to see another B15 lover here. I absolutely adore mine, but I don't play out with it anymore -- thing is, I find it's like holding a living breathing person in my arms when I play, but that doesn't seem to translate outward.. Kind of hard to explain..


You'll find lots to enjoy here!

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If I didn't already have a 1959 Country Western, essentially the same guitar as this J50 with different cosmetics and a fixed saddle, not adj like the J50 has, I'd probably buy this one you posted. That case alone is worth $400-$500, should you decide to sell it separately.

I would like to see more pictures of this J50 but it appears to be pretty clean.

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Congrats on yer "recent" acquisitions. [cool]


... never to buy a Gibson without playing it. ...


You should never buy any guitar without first having a hands-on, eyes-on inspection that includes playing it.


Of course, some situations come up that might force a trigger pull based on photos, but that's always risky.



As for the 1959 J-50 listing : That price is in the ballpark for a nice specimen, but those pics stink. For that kind of money, I'd like a some closer, clearer pics. If the pics were better and I really wanted it, I'd think about bidding, but not being able to get my hands on it before buying would be a big concern.

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Guest burgo

Thanks for the replies, everyone. Agreed, you should always see and play a guitar before buying it - if possible. Where I live though, I don't see that caliber of guitar around every day.


Sometimes when the stars are aligned - meaning you happen to have the money, and the guitar you've been gassing for shows up on line somewhere - you may just want to make a leap of faith. After doing due diligence, of course.


I've been lucky in my three purchases last year. I get an intuition from the way the ebay listing is presented. So far, that intuition has held up. It has something to do with the seller knowing what to emphasize, showing that he/or she is someone who is really part of the guitar-lover's fellowship, if you will.


But mostly it has to do with an intuition that the listing seems to be free from "spin". If I pick up a hint of spin or excessive exclamation points, or dubious sounding benefits, or obvious attempts to downplay the flaws - I move on.


This has paid off for me in my two email buys last year. I got wonderful instruments from loving owners. Which is not to say I'll never get burned. I still have an eye out for just the right Blues King at just the right time.


My Guild D25M - I got that from Craigslist. And not just any Craigslist. A Craigslist on the opposite side of the country. Talk about a leap of faith! There's this thing called the "mash" at jaxed.com. It shows you all the craigslist and ebay listings from all over, for your search terms. (choose "instruments" first, on the left).


The guitar looked really beautiful and I emailed the guy saying I'd love to get it but I can't see a way to do a cross-country craigslist deal. We emailed back and forth a few times, and he told me more about the guitar, and how he buys and sells guitars by mail all the time, and packs them professionally at his job. He was more of an electric guy, a Jimmy Page fan, and he was selling this guitar for his Dad.


I don't mind saying I did a full blown cyber investigation of the guy. The pictures of the guitar were hosted on photobucket. By gogling his photobucket user "handle", as well as his email address, I was able to find posts by him on guitar forums (not this one). The postings seemed to confirm everything he said and he seemed to be well liked on the forums.


Then I managed to stumble onto his Myspace page. Once there, (and unbeknownst to him) I was able to find out where he worked (a kind of cool place). I found references to the luthier shop where he had earlier mentioned he had had a setup done on the Guild. I was able to see how he interacted with his girlfriend and his friends, and others who bought guitars from him. I started to really like the guy. I gave him a call on the phone, just to connect that way.


By that time I was a satisfied as I could be that the guy was legit and so was the guitar. I plopped 700 bucks into his paypal and got a great guitar.


And yes, of course it's better to play the thing first, but that's not always possible. And you can miss out on a great guitar. Plus, so many things can influence the tone, like the strings for instance. For my Gibson B-15, it took me a few tries to find the right strings. At first I had some dumb idea that since it's an old guitar, I should protect it by using the lightest of light strings. (Actually, the guitar is solid as a rock). I started with some Extra-Lite Elixirs and it sounded crappy. Eventually I ended up using old-fashioned D'addario 80/20 Bronze, Light gauge .012-.053, and it's a match made in heaven. For the Guilds, I settled on the Martin Strings known as "Light/Medium".


So I was lucky three times last year, but each of those guitars was in the $600-$700 range. For anything more expensive than that, it would be a whole different story and I might not be so quick to pull that trigger.


So anyway, thanks for the welcomes and the feedback, I can't wait to be in a position to get more Gibsons. I want a Blues King. I want a late 50s J-50. I want a 60's "Donovan" J-45. I want an LG-1. Oh hell, i want 'em all.


Haha, see ya' later! [confused]

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Guest burgo
Remind me never to give burgo my email address [biggrin]


Hehee, that narrative probably came off creepier than the actual situation really was. The guitar was beautiful in the pic and I suspected it was on the level, and would probably be gone in a day or two. But I would have felt like a huge fool to just send hundreds of bucks to some guy on an out of state craigslist and then never get the guitar.


A few googles at the very least were in order, and that's all I did. Inside of about 20 minutes I was able to get a good enough mental picture of the seller to tip the scale in favor of taking the chance. His myspace page was public, and it just fleshed him out as a person for me and calmed me down a bit.

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