For most of us, the affordable Epiphone range of guitars is the only way to get hold of iconic designs from Gibson such as the Les Paul Standard, Firebird, Explorer and Flying V. You already knew that? Hey, we’re just making sure…
Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has a Gibson signature model based on ‘Floyd’, his 1956 Les Paul Junior. Original ’50s LP Juniors like Billie’s cost a bloody fortune, but don’t despair. Our little Epiphone job is on the right side of 200 quid.
Epiphone has obviously cut some corners to bring our Les Paul Junior in at £149. Instead of the mahogany body of the original Gibson guitar we get alder, and the neck is bolted on not glued-in. We also find a big fat humbucker in the bridge position instead of the P90 single-coil that we expect to see on a Les Paul Junior.
The good news is that this guitar sounds pretty damn good, especially with a bit of distortion. Warning: too much filth and the pickup will squeal a bit, so let’s be careful with the fuzz. Playability is decent although we did find the tuning lacked stability. Stretching the strings helped, so do the same and you should be OK.
The Epiphone Les Paul Junior is a cracking little guitar for the money, but get this: shop around and you’ll find this guitar for as little as £79! It’s the cheapest way to bag some vintage-style, punk-approved class.
Pros: Looks the business, it’s a bargain.
Cons: Tuning can be unstable.
Buy: Epiphone Les Paul Junior is currently available from Thomann