7/25/2013

c.1968 Gibson B-15 "Concert" Guitar


The B-15 was right there near the bottom rungs of Gibson's ladder of guitars in the 60s. It's essentially a student instrument with ladder bracing, a comfy 24 3/4" scale, and the same fast, modern neck found on most 60s Gibsons. It sports a solid spruce top, laminate mahogany back, and solid mahogany sides. The neck is 3-piece construction with a truss rod and quite strong. Both the bridge and fretboard are rosewood.

I worked on this for a customer but much of the evident repairs were done in the past. This guitar has tons of wear and tear and much seam regluing done to it. Amazingly, only some of those cracks have cleats, so part of my job here was to cleat up and stabilize any cracks that weren't. I also gave the frets a light leveling and dressing and had to shave down the bridge a little over 1/8" to be able to then cut down the saddle and get good action height.

As typical for ladder braced guitars (especially strung over their life with 12s), the geometry had just shifted. After work, though, the guitar plays beautifully and has a very '30s/'40s flattop tone to it. It's a great bluesy fingerpicker or chunky chord-strummer. It's also a fair bit louder than the usual B-15s I've run into.


The look of this guitar is just full of worn-in honesty.


This has that late-60s/early-70s Gibson headstock shape that's a little more exaggerated than earlier ones.


Faux-pearl dots in a radiused board. The frets are medium which makes them easy to work on.


There's tons of pickwear all over.


This must've started life with an adjustable saddle. Someone installed an undersaddle pickup, though, and so this sheath for a new standard-style saddle had to be created to make use of the pickup element. I shaved the top of this thing down over 1/8" to be able to set it up right and the saddle is still fairly low. I didn't want to compromise integrity of the bridge, though, since the top is so lightly braced. The string "ramps" had already been cut before but I refined them a bit as the old job looked like it had been done with random shop files rather than fitted ones.


The finish crackle all over looks great and friendly. Though this looks like a 2-piece mahogany back, it's actually laminate.



Standard plate Klusons lighten up the headstock vs. the normal covered Klusons found on these guys for the most part.



The river water is so clean today it just begs me to jump in -- and of course it's only clean on a cool day!

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