1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior
Posted on February 19 2020
Gibson's Les Paul Junior model debuted in 1954 as an affordable, stripped down alternative to the Les Paul Model or the Les Paul Custom. The beautiful gold finished Les Paul Model, Gibson's first solid body electric guitar, was introduced only two years before with two pickups, trapezoid shaped pearloid fretboard inlays, and a carved Maple cap over the Mahogany body. The humble Les Paul Junior model had only one pickup, Sunburst finish, and a solid Mahogany body with no cap and no carve.
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Gibson's engineers soon noticed a slight problem with the placement of the bridge pickup: it was placed too close to the bridge studs. This weakened the wood supporting the treble side stud and often cause the wood to crack and the studs to lean forward under the string tension. The problem was corrected in late 1956 by placing the pickup a bit closer to the neck and increasing the depth of the bridge stud. The model remained largely unchanged until a complete body style redesign in 1958 to the double cutaway style body.
My favorite Les Paul Junior guitars are the clean examples from 1956, 1957, and 1958. I like the skinnier style fret wire used before 1959. I like the single cutaway style body. I love the way that a Les Paul Junior guitar rings out with loud resonance even when it's not amplified. I LOVE the larger neck profile in 1957 and 1958. These are some of my favorite guitars to ever come out of the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan.