Hello and welcome to my Gibson J 15 review.
This is the first in my series of guitar reviews in the less than 1,500 price range.
This review will look at Gibson’s J15 in terms of:
- The Tone;
- The Playability;
- The Materials the J 15 is made from;
- Who the J 15 is best suited to;
- The J 15’s value-for-money
I’ll also provide video of the J15 in action so that you can get an appreciation of the tone for yourself and some user reviews so you can read about other people’s opinions.
Gibson’s J15 is a dreadnought guitar so you expect a driving full sound – and the J15 doesn’t disappoint there. You can really extract some volume out of this guitar – or you can quieten it down to a whisper when you need to.
It doesn’t have a cutaway – whilst this makes it more difficult to reach the upper frets it does add to the fullness of the sound.
Overall, it has a nice balanced tone that is dynamic – but didn’t wow me as such.
In terms of brightness the J-15 is on the brighter side. I would say a 7/10 if 1 being the warmest sound possible and 10 being the brightest possible.
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back & Sides: Solid Walnut
Bracing: Gibson’s standard x scalloped bracing
The J15 is an all solid wood guitar which is always nice. Not unexpected in this price range but this is probably the first price range where you would actually start to expect it.
I haven’t come across too many walnut bridges so far but it is quite a hard and strong wood (though not as hard and strong as rosewood) so is suitable as a bridge wood.
The J15 is fitted with L R Baggs Element electronics. By all accounts these electronics are high quality and work to emulate the acoustic sound of the guitar as much as possible.
Check out the video below to get an idea of the sound of the guitar for yourself.
I found the J15 was nice and smooth to play. It wasn’t the nicest I’ve played but it was pretty good. It was great for strumming and flat-picking and held its own playing fingerstyle.
My action preferences run a little bit lower than the J15 was set up. I think I would have liked playing this instrument even more had the action been a touch lower.
That said, even considering the action wasn’t where I’d want it, it still played really nice and there was never any feeling of hand fatigue the whole time I played it.
The J15 has a 1.725” (43.8mm) nut width. 43mm and 44mm are the most standard nut widths so this is pretty standard and felt normal to play on.
The fingerboard is made from Walnut. This isn’t a fingerboard that I’m used to playing on – but it did feel nice to play on so this is all good.
The J15 is a full size dreadnought and has a scale length of 24 ¾” (629mm) which is within the normal range for acoustics but a little bit shorter than the longer scale length guitars (they tend to go up to 25 ½” (648mm).
Check out the links below to see some user reviews to get some opinions of others who have experience with the J-15. Mine is but one opinion afterall!
Who this Guitar is Most Suited to
The J-15 would suit anyone who has a reasonable amount to spend on a guitar – but who doesn’t want to spend a fortune. It would be great for an advancing guitarist who is looking to get a step up in quality and sound.
It’s a full size dreadnought so it’s not the best choice for kids or smaller adults.
It’s at its best when strumming and flat picking – but it’s also fine for fingerstyle. If fingerstyle is your bread and butter then are better options but if you mostly strum and flat-pick and occasionally play fingerstyle then the J-15 would be a great fit.
You get an all solid wood guitar at a price when you expect it – but it’s the lowest price range that you would expect it at.
In terms of the materials you get it’s definitely value-for-money. It’s a well-made instrument with quality materials and it plays nice.
But even with all of that, it wouldn’t be my first choice if I was looking for a guitar in this price-range. But a lot of that is done to personal preference. This guitar is a quality all round guitar – but it didn’t wow me and I didn’t fall in love with it. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it didn’t do it for me the same way as the other guitars I played on the same day (the Martin D15M and the Taylor 322e).
But as I say this a lot down to personal preference and a lot of people do fall in love with this guitar.
More Info and Where to Buy
Thanks for reading and I hope that this review has been useful in your guitar search.
If you’re interested in this guitar check out the links above. If you want to check out more reviews of other guitars in this price range, then check out the link below.