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Rating and Reviews: Gibson J-15 Guitar

Hand-made in Montana, the J15 is a short-scale, round-shouldered acoustic. Its walnut back and spruce top create a woody tone that stands out in any setting.

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"Just what I was looking for " submitted November 23, 2014

By Gerald Baer in CHOWCHILLA, CA
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Musical Background: Over 40 years, retired from the scene. Nowadays just love to play and enjoy what I'm playing.
Music Style: Classic rock, blues, Christian and just about anything.
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Overall: The Gibson J15 plays and sounds great rite out of the box. I will be making some small adjustments to soot my playing style, but nothing major, the guitar is beautiful and a great price for a Gibson. I've been playing for over 40 years and the customer service at zZounds is up there with the best of them. Thanks for a great deal. I will be back.
8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Excellent guitar" submitted May 21, 2014

By allan j in denton, NC
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Musical Background: Professional, playing over 50 years
Music Style: Country, blues, pop, whatever
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Overall: This guitar sounds and plays great, warm, robust when plugged into a good acoustic amp...excellent for finger style or strumming, flat picking wants a little...Open chords ring out loud, barre chords, not so much...altogether, very satisfied, especially at this price point....
11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Gibson J-15: The Search Is Over!" submitted July 17, 2014

By DJ L in Asheville, NC
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Musical Background: Hobbyist; worship music
Music Style: Folk, country, blues, & hymns.
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: I agree with others who have commented that the J-15 tone fits in between mahogany's brightness and rosewood's darkness. There is a richness in the tone that I can't get enough of. I've tried a few different string choices, and I most enjoy the Pearse PB lights on this guitar. Feature: The maple neck is a bit unusual, but I was confident I would like it because Seagulls also use maple. The feel is smooth, and the notes vibrate all the way up the neck! I appreciate the simplicity of the design and find it elegant, rather than plain. The walnut on my guitar is just gorgeous, and I appreciate the quality nitro finish. Ease of Use: More so than other guitars I tried, the J-15 has quite a tonal range depending on where it's strummed. Mute it and strum near the bridge, and there's a bluesy thump. Strum it over the soundhole, and you've got volume with a bit of growl. Fingerpick it near the end of the fretboard, and the notes are sweet and complex. Quality: It's built to last and guaranteed by Gibson. I hope to list it in my will! Value: If "you get what you pay for" then this instrument hits the perfect balance. The quality is excellent, yet the cost is very affordable for a member of the Gibson family. Let me repeat, I tried a J-35 and prefer this model, which is less expensive. Manufacturer Support: I have not had to contact Gibson. The Wow Factor: I had been obsessively scouring the market for a slope shoulder dreadnought in all solid woods with a 24.75" scale. The top Asian builder charges nearly this much, but I went with Gibson because it's got history, attitude, and I just love that my guitar came from Montana! Overall: Over the past 3 years I've been performing in a small worship music group, and I've been searching for just the right combination of tone, volume, ergonomics, build quality, playing comfort, and value. (Who isn't?) The Gibson J-15 hits that overall "sweet spot" for me in all of these areas. I need a full-size rhythm acoustic that is a "player." I feel compelled to pick up this guitar and play it every time I am in the room with it, which is several times a day. I've only had it a month, but the tone keeps growing sweeter to my senses.
15 of 16 people (93.75%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Gibson J15 " submitted December 14, 2015

By Bruce S in Syracuse, NY
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Musical Background: Been playing on and off since 1990. Seriously since 2011. Gibson J15, Epiphone Masterbilt 500rcce , 69' Harmony 1260.
Music Style: Blues, Rock ,Folk.
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Overall: My Gibson J15 was delivered very quickly. This guitar is really nice! The factory set up was just a tad high for my liking but easy to remedy. The grain on the walnut was spectacular - a real eye catcher. I like the sound of the walnut. I'm used to rosewood and I think the walnut has a bit of a cleaner , brighter sound. It is like a cross between rosewood and walnut as I heard. I think the sound is excellent. And great resonance with almost a bell like ringing. The quality is of course spot on. It's basically a J45 but with a clearer, cleaner sound. And I like the all American hardwoods used. It gives it a bit of a different sound. PB flatop strings sound great on it. This is a keeper and for the price you'd be crazy not to pick one up. I mean really, for this quality and sound you can't beat it. I have an Epiphone masterbilt all solid rosewood and cedar which sounds and plays great but this is DEFINITELY a step up. With the payment plan you just can't beat it.
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"Gibson J-15 Acoustic Electric Guitar " submitted October 26, 2015

By Andrew S in West Texas, TX
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Musical Background: I started with bass in the 90s and began playing guitar intermittently for ten years, until I started playing almost everyday
Music Style: I like folk guitar, jazz, alternative 80s and 90s stuff and oldies.
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Overall: I ordered a J 15 from zzounds.com, this guitar looks to be very well made. You'll need to install a front strap button, and find a guitar tech to punch a larger hole in the strap to fit the L R Baggs strap button/input jack on the bottom of the guitar. This guitar has a lot of sustain and sounds pretty loud unplugged. The J-15 neck is generous, the J 35 feels larder in diameter, more like the necks on classical nylon string guitars. The J 15 neck is a good size, not too small in circumference like most acoustic guitars sold these days seem to be. The case fits this guitar really well. I sought a guitar tech, I will still need the action lowered more. I like that there aren't any knobs for the electronics. There is a microphone inside the guitar and the amp controls your bass and treble, clean design. I'm glad I chose this. People buy other guitars in this price range and I think to myself, Dude for that price you could have had a Gibson. Except for high string action on the factories part-The guitar manufacturers at Gibson write out the height of each string on the warranty like they are proud of their handywork, when in fact they disregard playable string action. Noting string set ups during the assembly process results in decent playability. In this price range, and for the sake of this company putting their name on these guitars, Gibson shouldn't flake on their string set ups, but should really include it in the manufacturing process. Being able to enjoy a new guitar straight from the box happens to be a crucial moment to Gibsons consumers. In that single regard, the manufacturing "Q.C." sticker process renders itself unworthy of its self acclaimed approval.
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"Sounds like a Gibson!" submitted December 22, 2014

By Andrew Coffey in Roanoke, VA
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Musical Background: 10 year musician, 6 years on guitar. I play out often, but Im not "professional" as of yet.
Music Style: Rock, contemporary worship (Christian), bluegrass, singer-songwriterish stuff, reggae (rarely)
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Overall: If you're like me, I wanted that Gibson look and sound at a very competitive price. Thats exactly what I got! But don't let that fool you, this guitar really is a strong competitor in Gibson's acoustic lineup. Has a great low range (not quite J45 sound, but close!), mids are strong and the highs are nice and tight. I love the sound of this guitar. It ships in a sweet Gibson hard-shell case that fits the guitar perfectly. No room for movement, perfect! It also comes with a set of Gibson strings (light), a sticker, a genuine leather pick holder key chain and more information on buying more Gibson accessories. But lets get back to the guitar. The guitar is a solid build and I have had it for more than a month now and I still haven't found any fit/finish problems or blemishes. It's great! I have heard rumors about the possibility of the walnut fretboard wearing out prematurely, but after a month of steady play I really don't see that happening (obviously this would take a very long time, but I don't see it being a problem). The guitar sounds and plays great straight out of the box. I use it to play for my church's worship band and it's perfect for that (fingerpicking or strumming) it sits well in the mix. I also do a little singing/songwriting on the side and this guitar does the drop D rock extraordinarily well! The installed pickup is nice too! No issues with that at all. Only thing I notice about it is that while the setup is fine out of the box, it is a bit high for my personal taste, so I will get that professionally setup a little later on. Also, if you use a strap beware that unless you want to install another strap button, you'll have to tie the strap to the headstock. Im not a huge fan of doing that, but it works just fine. All in all you get a great gibson at an unbelievable price! And if you're concerned about trees and whatnot, this guitar is made from 100% sustainable woods! I would buy it again and I would definitely recommend this to a friend. Homerun of a guitar.
11 of 12 people (91.67%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Absolutely Stunning Guitar!!!" submitted April 15, 2016

By Richard K in South Lake Tahoe, CA
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Musical Background: I have only been playing the guitar for about a year now.
Music Style: Mostly Country Music and some Rock.
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Overall: Where do I start? this guitar is beautiful and sounds amazing. Right out of the custom hard-shell case with a quick tune up and I was strumming away. The action, as others have stated, may be a touch high but I'm sure a tech can remedy this easily. The price on this stunning guitar is very affordable and with zZounds payment plan it is easy to get in your hands now. Another important piece of info about the J-15 is that it is made from sustainable woods from North American Walnut and Sitka Spruce and built in Bozeman, Montana. The solid walnut back and sides give it great mid-range and highs with ample bass but not as deep as a Martin. This isn't a complaint, just an observation. The sustain on this guitar is fantastic and it really rings out without the amp. Once you plug it in you open it up to a whole bunch of new sounds. And the volume knob is hidden but easily accessible just under the sound hole. It has a gorgeous abalone rosette and mother of pearl dot inlays on a 24.75" almond on maple neck. These are just minor enhancements but they really pop and the nitrocellulose coating makes every inch of the guitar glimmer. I play mostly country and some mellow rock and this guitar is easy to finger-pick and strum. I have only been playing for about a year so it is important for me to have a guitar that it is easy to play especially because I have plump fingers. I have had trouble playing my dad's guitars that have 1 11/16" nut width but this guitar's 1.725" nut width makes a huge difference for a beginner like me. I looked and played other guitars before I chose the J-15 and couldn't be happier. And one last thing about the walnut back and sides, it looks so incredibly beautiful when you look at it, so much better than looking at it in the pictures. I know it sounds cliche but I can't see myself ever getting rid of this guitar.
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"Gibson J-15" submitted February 25, 2014

By Charles C in Princeton, NJ
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Musical Background: Amatuer acoustic/electric player for 35 years
Music Style: Folk, Country, Rock
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Overall: The J-15 arrived in excellent packaging. Craftsmanship overall was excellent with the exception of some minor light leaks where the back braces join the binding but this is due to the transparent nature of the binding and not specific holes. Tone is excellent with very good note separation and sustain. The walnut fret board is excellent and the neck is very playable. I would characterize the tone as dry but not as woody as a solid mahogany. Neck is fast and I would have preferred the finish to be a satin but I like the maple neck. Walnut is beautiful with nice color and swirling pattern on the back. The action was set up perfect for my playing style. Excellent purchase and I am very pleased with the customer service and they agreed to give me my selection of choice as opposed to the one that was accidently placed in my cart.
14 of 16 people (87.5%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Gibson hit a home run!" submitted February 8, 2015

By Bruce D in Colubus, OH
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Musical Background: Retired professional
Music Style: I play classic rock, blues, Country, Christian, etc.
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Overall: First of all, I am a big fan of Gibson acoustics in general and own 8 of them now. This J-15 has become my go to acoustic after having owned it for 5 months now. It's every bit as good as the 2 J-45s I own. The Walnut is a little less airy than the Mahogany J-45s but it has a lower midrange growl that the Mahogany doesn't. Maybe a little punchier overall sound. High end sounds a bit richer and fuller that my Rosewood J-45. Seems to sit somewhere in the middle but at the same time single note clarity is close to my Maple Dove, but the J-15 sustains as well as my Martin D-35. Still can't believe Gibson is selling the J-15 for so little considering it's also every bit of a looker as my more ornate models. "Pictures online don't do the J-15 justice." I was afraid that the Walnut fretboard and bridge would look washed out and was prepared to dye it to darken it up some, but in person the Walnut fretboard looks so rich and the color of it contrasts perfectly with the flamed Maple neck. "Don't let the price fool you" and by all means don't let the Walnut scare you away. Walnut has become my favorite tonewood now after owning the J-15. And it records as well as it sounds live. This is a keeper! And if Gibson brings the J-15 out in a sunburst finish in the future I'll likely have it as well. Now that would be the icing on the cake! And the LR Baggs, although I don't use it now, is a big plus to me knowing that it's there should I ever need it.
6 of 7 people (85.71%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Can't Beat It" submitted January 3, 2016

By Crystal S in Beattyville , KY
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Musical Background: My husband is the guitar player in our gospel group, and this guitar matches our music perfectly.
Music Style: Gospel
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Overall: I bought this guitar for my husband, and he is in love with it. It has an unsurpassed tone due to the Walnut back and sides, and is the most beautiful guitar I've seen in a long time! It is even louder than my husband's 12 string!
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"A Dream come true." submitted January 16, 2016

By Pam S in Premier, WV
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Musical Background: Been play for a few years it's a hobby for me.
Music Style: I play Christian, blues, country.
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Overall: I just received my J15 Gibson. Right our of the box I was blown away by the craftsman ship of this guitar. I love the great finish. The first strum I was zZounds for making it possible.
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