According to The Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, the Gibson B series of acoustic guitars was the successor to the LG series largely phased out in the mid-1960s. Generally speaking, the B-15 replaced the LG-0, the B-20 replaced the LG-1 and LG-2, the B-25 replaced the LG-3, and the B-45-12 became the larger Gibson 12-string. (The 12-string Gibson LG-12 was made in very limited quantities from 1967-1973 since there was no 12-string version of the B-15 or the B-20, but it didn’t even appear in the Gibson total shipping records until 1970.) Thus, this 1966 B-25-12N (Natural) is the equivalent of the acclaimed earlier LG-3, but with the added power of a true 12-string configuration.
A bit smaller than the J series, it’s 40 ¾” long, 11” at the lower bout, 9 1/2 “ at the waist, 14 1/8” at the lower bout, and 4” deep, making it extremely easy to handle for a 12-string. I would guess it was designed more for the coffee house of the 1960’s folk music scene than the blue grass stage, but it has enough carrying power for anybody. As with many of Gibson’s models, there are variations in the specs over the 15 years of production, but the bottom line remained the same: it was and is a guitar designed to hold its own and more against the banjo and fiddle players of the world. This wonderful veteran of the bluegrass and folk wars is ready to venture forth once again.
The general description in The Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars of the 1966 B-25-12N indicates a solid spruce top, tortoise pickguard, mahogany back/sides/neck, 14/20-fret rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlays, reverse belly or straight rosewood bridge with adjustable saddle, and (from 1965 to 1970) a trapeze tailpiece to reduce the stress of the 12 strings on the top. The blackface peghead with the Gibson logo, six-per-side nickel Kluson Deluxe tuners, white multi-striped body binding (top and back) and rosette, are all set off in this case by the natural finish. However, variations in these specs were frequent, and given the unreliability of Gibson’s serial numbers as dating indicators, the date I’ve assigned to this particular guitar is based as much on the changing specs as on the serial number (806653).
This guitar is a great-playing guitar, but given its age I cannot swear that all of its components are “original” after 54 years. The rosewood bridge with its adjustable saddle is certainly original, the cool nickel-silver Kluson Deluxe tuning machines with white plastic buttons are part of the original package and show no signs of replacement. The trapeze tailpiece looks to be the right configuration for the year, but it’s awfully clean and shiny; I see no sign of other replacements.
Cosmetically, the mahogany back, sides, and neck are in very good condition for a 51-year-old guitar. There is substantial finish crazing, some pick wear at the sound hole, and some dings and bruises, as well as a scratch above the bridge on the bass lower bout, and a long scratch on the back. There is an ancient repaired crack at the soundhole on the treble side of the fretboard extension—kinda homely if you look closely, but quite stable. The frets are in good shape with slight visible wear in the first three, the binding and other inlay is still near perfect and aged a beautiful gold color, and the bridge and neck are solid.
Of course what really matters is the wood, which has seasoned and opened up after over five decades of making music. This is obviously a smaller-bodied guitar than a dreadnought or 17-inch jumbo, but with terrific resonance and a big sound which will cut right through the rather muddy sound of most modern dreadnoughts and jumbos. The action is now comfortably medium and fast—especially for a 12-string--at a hair over 3/32” at the 12th fret low E, and of course the sound is terrific for a smaller package!
So: this is your chance to own a great-sounding 1960s Gibson 12-string guitar with tons of character and jam cred with all the “playing-in” already done and very few scars. It’s not quite a museum piece; it’s not prettied up with abalone and such; but it’s a great player’s guitar, embodying everything that the name Gibson has stood for over the last century or so.
The vintage chip board case is clearly not original to this guitar because of its dreadnought size, but it works for reinforcing the packaging and for storage. The hardware is functional and the guitar fits adequately, but its body is somewhat smaller than the case interior. (It is very hard to find a hard shell case which fits the smaller lower bout and is still long enough for the 12-string headstock. If you prefer, I will be happy to ship it in a well-padded gig bag instead.) I’m sure you will eventually want to replace the case, because I’m sure you will really like this guitar!
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; cashier’s 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 vintage 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 this cool guitar.
Thank you for your interest.
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 $55 due to constantly rising shipping costs unless a specific listing says otherwise; 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.