Yay! New Gibson Day.

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Larry Mal
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Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:41 pm

I might put up better pictures some day- here's the J-15:

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Nice walnut back:

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Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:17 pm

A few quick thoughts- I haven't even put new strings on it yet:

1) The guitar is very loud.

2) Very powerful sound to it- woody, raw sounding. It's got the classic Gibson sound. Good clarity and note separation. Not as warm as my J-45, not as elegant.

3) Very deep bass.

4) The usual bad Gibson setup.

5) Easily the ugliest pick guard I've ever seen. Cheap. Thick- why is it so thick?

6) If you wanted to get into Gibson acoustic cheap this is as good a way as any. I spent $800 on this guitar, it's my cheapest Gibson by far, and it sounds as good as any of them.

7) Kind of plain looking in the pictures, in person it's very nice looking. The maple neck looks great. All the walnut looks great.

8) I had been reading about the flat-sawn backs on these, which some people say is because Gibson is cheap, I feel that it probably is plus they want to show off the nice wood in the back. Some say this makes a much weaker guitar. Mine seems to be quarter-sawn regardless, not like I care, but I guess they made some quartersawn J-15s at various times because I've seen other people say they have them.

I need to do the usual stuff I do with Gibsons- pull the plastic saddle, replace the bridge pins with something other than plastic, in time I'll removed the undersaddle pickup system (which made a hell of a difference on my J-45). I'll put on my usual locking tuners.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by DesmondWafers » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:44 pm

Sounds like a great guitar, I wish I could find one (or more preferably a j35) for a similar price. Agreed on the pickguard though, it almost looks like it's aftermarket or something.

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Larry Mal
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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:04 pm

It is a great guitar... I would be hard pressed to decide between my J-35 and this one.

I know you played the J-15 in the store during your quest that led to the new Martin, did you get to spend some time with a J-35 also?

They are pretty different guitars.
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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by DesmondWafers » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:08 pm

I've played a couple of each, granted the j35's were quite a while ago. My impression was that j35's were a bit better for fingerpicking and the j15's for strumming. Not that one won't work for the other, but from what I recall the J35 was a bit more balanced and bright.

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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:15 pm

The J-35 certainly is bright, no doubt. I tend to use my pick with it, I kind of view it as a guitar that sits great in a mix rather than sounds stunning on its own.

Not sure how this J-15 will compare, I'm feeling like it's an all around winner.

I'm really liking the glassy high end of it. Very nice.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by Telliot » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:15 pm

Nice, congrats! My initial impression on the pick guard is they were going for the shrinking tort look you often see on vintage Gibson acoustics? I think it should be easy enough to have it replaced with a nice single-ply pickguard if it bothered you enough (FWIW, it would probably bother me too). Beautiful guitar, in any case!
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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:31 pm

Yeah, I've actually never cared enough on an acoustic to change a pickguard before... I might with this one. It's like 1/8" thick.

The J-35s have those tiger stripe guards, those are slim and I might do that on there.
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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by sookwinder » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:07 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:17 pm
5) Easily the ugliest pick guard I've ever seen. Cheap. Thick- why is it so thick?
Maybe to reproduce the (shitty) technical aspects of the crappy thick moulded pickguard first used on the J45 in the early 60s... just measure the thickness of the guard on my 64 J50 ... 2mm

Getting back to this J15. Given your experience if Gibby acoustics and your praise for the sound, not withstanding the fix ups required (a good set up, replace the plastic saddle and pins) , it sounds like it is a great value for money acoustic and being walnut will certainly give a different sound than what we are all used to in this shaped acoustic. What type of / style of playing do you think it is best suited for?
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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by sookwinder » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:16 pm

... oh ... and by the way ... congrats on the new acoustic ;D :D
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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by Larry Mal » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:40 am

sookwinder wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:07 pm

Maybe to reproduce the (shitty) technical aspects of the crappy thick moulded pickguard first used on the J45 in the early 60s... just measure the thickness of the guard on my 64 J50 ... 2mm

Getting back to this J15. Given your experience if Gibby acoustics and your praise for the sound, not withstanding the fix ups required (a good set up, replace the plastic saddle and pins) , it sounds like it is a great value for money acoustic and being walnut will certainly give a different sound than what we are all used to in this shaped acoustic. What type of / style of playing do you think it is best suited for?
Yeah, I like the Gibson acoustic sound quite a bit. There is definitely a theme with their guitars, I even have a J-60, which is basically Gibson's attempt to directly make an HD-28 and even that has a bit of the Gibson sound in there regardless.

For the value, no question, this is a great instrument. I guess that Gibson wanted to make an entry level guitar and appeal to a price point that their guitars usually don't live at, and they succeeded very well... maybe even too well. Honestly, if I had this J-15 for some years then I might have thought twice about the J-45 and such, they cover a great deal of the same ground as anyone would guess.

I don't doubt that the differences will reveal themselves over time and that I'll come to prefer one for certain things, then again, it's possible that I find one redundant in time and then I'll use the J-15 or the J-35 as a pawn for something else. I kind of doubt that, because I like this J shape guitar quite a bit, and find it very comfortable to play and I like having them around, but you never know. I might get tired of the whole Gibson-mania thing some day.

But, I can already see that the J-15 will be a good recording guitar, it's very clear sounding and will probably shine in front of a microphone. It's got a lot of volatility to it from what I can tell, though, a good amount of dynamic range and it's easy to make it pop out with sound, so you'd need some control with your picking hand to not overwhelm the microphone.

There's a thing that I do where I imagine myself as a microphone listening to the sound decaying into the soundhole, and that's where a lot of acoustics can fail. It's relatively easy enough to make the attack of an acoustic sound pretty good, the fundamental notes can usually be strong and pleasant with any guitar. But the other parts of the sound envelope, the decay, sustain and release are where guitars can start to fail, once the initial notes fade away you can be left with these harsh overtones.

This guitar seems to stay very sweet and clear as the notes decay- it's got that "sweet" sound that Gibsons can often have. I would say I'm pretty sold on walnut as a tone wood already.

Now, this would tell me that it will be a good fingerstyle guitar but right now it's kind of not set up, it came out needing a truss rod adjustment which I haven't done yet. I guess I'll let it settle in for a bit and then get around to it, right now the action is a little high, the strings seem kind of old and there is some buzzing on the frets so it's hard to say if it'll be some thing that I really like finger picking on or not.

I do like this body shape for fingerpicking and love doing that on the J-45, so this at least has the potential to be as good as that. Then again, I like fingerstyle picking considerably less on my J-35, so maybe it'll only be as good as that- just OK.

I pulled the plastic saddle out and put in a spare bone saddle, it doesn't quite fit as good as I'd hoped so I'll have to order one soon. I also slid the undersaddle pickup out from under the saddle and once I know this is a keeper I'll probably pull the electronics out entirely. I think I'm going to pull the electronics out of all my acoustics and maybe put a K&K Mini in one of them- these LR Baggs things sound horrible to me.
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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by Larry Mal » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:06 am

Also, I'll mention that I got verification on the Acoustic Guitar Forum (another guitar forum I ruin in my spare time) that this is a quarter sawn piece of wood on the back. So I got lucky there.

Apparently, and I wouldn't make too much out of this, flat sawn backs can be more prone to shrinking and splitting than the more common quarter sawn, which is stronger.

I wouldn't have cared if it was flat sawn, frankly those backs look beautiful, the only thing I would take out of it is to monitor humidity fairly well (which I do anyway).

Of course the internet is livid and saying that Gibson is using flat sawn backs to be cheap on this model, and it is an entry level model, and of course it is more economical to flat saw since you get more lumber out of the logs that way. But there are other high end guitar manufacturers out there using flat sawn backs, and I think that you could say that Gibson really just wanted to showcase off the beautiful grain of the walnut on these.

I might put up a picture of a flat sawn back- it can be really stunning.
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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by Maggieo » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:08 am

Telliot wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:15 pm
Nice, congrats! My initial impression on the pick guard is they were going for the shrinking tort look you often see on vintage Gibson acoustics? I think it should be easy enough to have it replaced with a nice single-ply pickguard if it bothered you enough (FWIW, it would probably bother me too). Beautiful guitar, in any case!
I'm with Todd on this. Congrats, Larry!
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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by DesmondWafers » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:35 pm

Man, check out the backs on these J15’s:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... ue-natural

Flat sawn, quarter sawn, whatever, that’s a lot of variation. I can’t tell if I like this one or not

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Re: Yay! New Gibson Day.

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:56 pm

Eew.

I'm OK with deeply figured wood but that, to me at least, is an eye sore. It looks like someone spilled yogurt down the back of it & neglected to clean it up.
I'm equally put off by rosewood necks that have unusual strips of paler coloured grain running through them. Rare & unusual, OK, but not by cup of tea.

As to the new guitar, it looks great & sounds like a winner. I'll be returning to these kind of threads frequently as my desire for an acoustic that packs a punch (is smaller than a dreadnought & is good for strumming) hasn't gone away much of late. I'm feeling the need to get rid of some gear & would love to replace it with a quality instrument, rather than blowing it on roulette, cocaine & whores.
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