The Gibson B-15 was the last of the small-bodied B series (except for the 500 or so B-20s) with which Gibson briefly replaced the LG series. It was introduced in 1967, perhaps as a kind of travel guitar for the last of the hippie/folk music market of the 1960s and early ‘70s.
The B-15 had a ladder-braced unbound solid spruce top and mahogany back, sides, and neck; a simple one-stripe rosette; and a large rectangular rosewood bridge with an adjustable saddle. The 14/20-fret rosewood fingerboard with dot inlay, distinctively narrow headstock with a decal logo and three-on-a-plate nickel open tuners, and black teardrop pickguard completed the picture of a bare bones, rough-and-ready basic travelling music machine, built to take a lickin’ and keep on pickin’ (sorry, I couldn’t resist it).
The tough little B-15’s smaller dimensions (14 1/2” lower bout, with a 24 ¾” scale) and laminated mahogany back and sides still provided both strength and resonance, allowing it to play with power despite its size. It was produced exclusively in a natural satin finish until it was discontinued in 1970.
The serial number (813743) is quite visible on the back of the headstock of this little gem, indicating a manufacture date of 1969. As far as I can tell, it is all original except for the bridge, the pins, and what looks like a bone saddle (and the electronics mod described below), although I am certainly no expert. As one would expect, the aged and seasoned woods are thoroughly opened up, and it sounds great, woodier but quite similar to my larger Guild D-25, for example. The action is currently set up at a hair under 4/32” at the 12th fret low E, and the working truss rod and very high (new) saddle would facilitate any adjustments you felt necessary.
Structurally, this guitar is now quite solid, but cosmetically it looks like Woody Guthrie carried it on the boxcars; it has been rode hard and put away wet, as my horsey friends would say. It has five professionally repaired cracks in the top lower bout, and of course the headstock also shows a bit of chipping. The finish has mucho crazing, and there are dings and bruises throughout. On the whole, though, it is in good shape for its age: flat top, straight neck, medium action, all checked out by a certified Gibson tech.
What really makes it a funky blues machine is the electronics, which I can only explain in the words of the previous owner: “When I was gigging this, I put in a vintage 1970’s Fender Strat pickup in the soundhole, it is actually mounted on a chopped pickguard, and a single 250k volume control is on the guitar’s pickguard….It definitely has a unique sound to it, as you would expect, plugged in, as it maintains the acoustic tone but a little Strat character thrown in with it.” He’s right: it’s woodsy, it’s bluesy, it’s unique—and actually very warm as well.
The included vintage chip board case may not be original, but it clearly is about right for the B-15’s dimensions. However, the latches all work, the exterior is in good shape, and the inside is relatively clean. Given that our interest is in preserving the sound of this great little guitar, a hard shell case would offer the solid protection it deserves, but this looks kind of funky and cool in its own right.
Buyer pays a flat rate of $55 for insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. Payment by Paypal is preferred; cashiers and personal checks are acceptable, but checks must clear before the guitar will be shipped.
I have tried to be perfectly clear and accurate in describing this instrument, so its return will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please check out the pictures and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy it.
Thank you for your interest in this cool veteran guitar.
Payments by Paypal, cashier’s checks, money orders, or personal checks are acceptable, but all payments must clear my bank before the guitar will be shipped. I will CONSIDER reasonable offers, even including installment payments and trade-ins, but generally since I already attempt to price my guitars very competitively, unusual deals must be unusually sweet.
From henceforth [that's how retired English teachers talk], insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states is FREE; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. I have sold guitars to Russia, Japan, Australia, and over 50 other countries, as well as almost every state in the USA. Since some of my guitars travel thousands of miles, I take care to use lots of packing materials, protect the neck inside the case, and of course de-tune the strings.
I make every effort to describe and illustrate each guitar and case with scrupulous accuracy. However, many of my instruments are well-played vintage items which are many years old, and I am not a luthier. One should assume that any guitar will require some set-up to satisfy your personal requirements, and that not every flaw or ding will be seen/recognized/described in the listing. Thus the return of an instrument will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please read the listing carefully, check out the pictures, and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy.