Introduced by Gibson in 1961, the newly redesigned Les Paul Junior would feature a new thin, double cutaway body in line with the new entirely revamped Les Paul range. The new Les Paul Junior would feature a beveled, solid Honduran Mahogany body with the afore mentioned double cutaway body. A one piece Honduran Mahogany set in neck with dot inlayed rosewood fingerboard, silkscreened ‘Les Paul Model’ and Gibson Headstock logo, a single dog ear P-90 with single volume and tone controls, a simple wrap over bridge and 3-a-side Kluson tuners. The Junior would sit between the Melody Maker and the Les Paul Special in Gibson’s Solid Guitar lineup.
This new Junior Model would go through a few changes in line with the Gibson range throughout its 10 years in the catalog. Notably in 1966 when the larger pickguard is introduced and importantly in later -1963 the Junior would lose its Les Paul designation and was renamed simply SG Junior.
This guitar, #72932 dates to the earlier part of 1962 and would have been one of the earlier guitars to feature the new horizontal compensated ‘Lightning Bolt’ bridge. The Cherry Red nitro-cellulose lacquer finish has lost only a little of its original vibrancy fading to very pleasant hue much like the Vintage Cherry finish offered by Gibson on new guitars today. The finish is in generally good condition with minimal wear, knocks or dints. The most prominent being to the side of the input jack. The lacquer has very little weather checking and good bright lustre throughout. The guitar has an honest repair to the back of the headstock that has been well executed. The front of the headstock is free of repair and the ‘Les Paul Junior’ gold silkscreen has avoided being polished out. The neck has a larger than average ’62 slim ‘C’ profile that measures 21.4mm at the 1st fret increasing to 23.4mm at the 12th. The nut width is the era standard 1 11/16th.
Electronically the P-90 measures a decent 8k even, with the Centralab pots sharing a 2nd week of 1962 source code. All wiring appears undisturbed with no signs of solder joints being broken. The guitar has been refretted with sympathetic gauge wire and had a new nut cut. The ‘Angel Wing’ pickguard is the 7-hole version used in ’61 and earlier ’62. The guitar came to us missing its original compensated bridge and with a Leo Quann Badass bridge fitted. Original bridges have a tendency to twist under tension over the years. Tuners are the original Kluson 3-a-side with plastic buttons.
The guitar feels noticeably light and at 5.7 lbs on the scales it is light even by Junior standards, this translates to a guitar with a loud acoustic voice that rings and resonates freely. Guitars don’t get much simpler than this; featherweight, well seasoned Honduran Mahogany, a single pickup in the bridge position, volume and tone control and a wraparound bridge. This P-90 is a particularly good one, with plenty of bite and presence without being overtly shrill or shouty. The Volume and tone controls work well with no pops or grumbles allowing you to fully explore the full range of colours and textures of a good P-90 guitar into an overdriving amp offers.
The guitar comes with a modern hard case.