Originally released by Gibson back in 1954 as an affordable option for students and beginners, the Junior is a stripped version of the Les Paul but with bags of character, and over the years, it’s simplicity and minimalistic approach has been embraced by players such as Mick Jones of the Clash and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.
Part of the recently released 'Original' collection and available in either ebony or Tobacco sunburst, this is a kind of re-issued version of those 1950’s guitars, staying pretty faithful to the original specs.
Because of that no-frills approach to the design, the body of the Les Paul junior is made from a flat slab of solid mahogany, so you don’t have the carved maple top found on other Les Paul models, and there’s just the one pickup, a dog-ear style P-90 screwed directly into the body at the bridge position.
Just like on most Les Pauls, attached to the body is a glued in mahogany neck, fitted with on these particular guitars, a 22 fret rosewood fingerboard, but unlike other Les Pauls that usually feature a Tune-o-matic bridge with stop bar tailpiece, to keep things simple, the Junior is fitted with just a single wraparound style bridge. But the upside of all this simplicity is tone, as they feel really kind of lively and vibrant to play as string vibrations are transferred into the body really efficiently and there’s not much onboard to stop the body and neck from freely resonating together.
That single pickup is nowhere near as restrictive as you might first think either, with the controls on full it offer a really biting, punchy tone, but as the guitar’s fitted with high quality CTS 500k audio taper pots with an orange drop capacitor, you can really clean and warm up the tone by adjusting the volume and tone knobs, without losing any clarity or definition.
Feel-wise, as it’s a non-relieved slab body, the guitar’s got a decent amount of weight to it and the neck has quite a chunky, rounded fat 50’s neck profile, so it feels pretty substantial in your hand, just like you’d expect from a 1950’s Les Paul, but because of Gibson’s 24.75” scalelength, a 12” fingerboard radius and medium jumbo frets, its still feels really comfortable and easy to play.
In terms of cosmetics, there’s nothing fancy here, but that’s part of Les Paul Juniors charm. There’s no body or neck binding like you’d find on a Les Paul Standard, there is a simple pick guard, 3 ply tortoiseshell on the Ebony model and single ply black on the sunburst, the Gibson deluxe machine heads have simple white tuning buttons, and body neck and head stock are finished in a Nitro Cellulose Lacquer, and to keep it safe, it comes supplied with a high quality Gibson hard shell case.
Take a quick look and listen here with PMTVUK and try one out at your nearest Professional Music Technology store...