1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior, Sunburst

By Gibson

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Excellent 1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior that has had a bit of a life with a few changes and some honest repairs that helping keep the price keen. A great sounding Junior, we sold this guitar some years ago and it’s great to have it back.

Introduced in 1954 The Les Paul Junior was the simple, no frills, student model solid-body guitar of the Gibson range, an incredibly popular instrument it would remain in the catalog as the Les Paul Junior until 1963 when it was replaced by the SG Junior model. The design would evolve from the original single cutaway style of 1954 to the new symmetrical Double-Cutaway body design in 1958 through to to its final incarnation in 1961 the contoured, pointed double cutaway SG/Les Paul Design. despite these changes the Junior model would resoundingly feature a simply appointed solid mahogany body and neck with rosewood fingerboard and a single P-90 pickup. This is one of the instruments we get in that we wished we knew more of the previous owners and of the guitars history.

At some point the decision was made to fit a pair of humbuckers. To accommodate this it has been previously routed with additional holes for a switch and controls added. The guitar has had a sympathetic restoration back to original appearance with only the additional holes to the top as a clue. The humbucker routes have been filled expertly and are well concealed, the neck route partially shielded by the pickguard and the bridge by the dogear P90, both touched up and well matched to the original finish. The rear of the guitar has the filled control cavity, restoring the guitar back to its original appearance. The guitar's original finish fluoresces as expected under backlight and has plenty of lacquer checking, bumps and bruises, all the thing you want to see in a nicely played in Junior. There has been a repair to the headstock, well repaired and stable. There is evidence of different tuners having been fitted. As is often the case for a restored guitar there are a mixture of original and replacement parts. The tuners are a modern set of correct 3-on-a-strip Kluson Deluxe tuners with white buttons. The nut and frets have been replaced as has the tailpiece/wraparound. The pair of gold bonnet knobs and pickguard have both escaped replacement and look correct. The P-90 measures 7.86K and looks to date to between 66 and 69. It has black bobbins with black and white lead wires, the coil tape is correct and looks untouched. The pots are mixed with a newer CTS and old Centralab pot from 1961.

The guitar has a rounded C profile neck that measures 23.39mm at the 1st fret and 24.77mm at the 12th. The nut measures 43.33mm. The guitar benefits from a refret and plays very well, the wire used is larger than the thin ‘banjo wire’ used in ’57 but feels right for a late 50’s, early 60’s Gibson.

It’s no secret that we are big fans of Les Paul Juniors here at V’n’R and with each variant of the model having a sound and character of its own it’s easily justifiable to us to have one of each. Like most, this ’57 has a loud, sustaining acoustic ring. Amplified this is one great sounding Junior, and with a little gain the P90 roars. It’s a lively sounding guitar that manages to retain excellent string to string balance weather driven of clean. Despite the changes the guitar does what all good Juniors should thanks to the extremely interactive controls, it can go from big, bold and punchy to an almost acoustic like tone with the turn of a knob. The P-90 is pure and open with a fantastic harmonic overtones that make you want to let big chords just hang…

The guitar is a great weight at 7.9lbs and comes with a later hard case. A wonderful opportunity to get a 50s Gibson solid body at an excellent price!