Epiphone has just unveiled a signature Les Paul Junior for Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and it is the epitome of punk cool. As electric guitars (opens in new tab) go, the Les Paul Junior is a hammer, and Armstrong's new Classic White single-pickup signature guitar (opens in new tab) is as minimalist as it gets.
It’s basically a slab of mahogany that has a fat mahogany neck glued to it. It has a single, dog-ear Epiphone PRO P-90 that readily shows its teeth when you step on an overdrive or fuzz pedal (opens in new tab), but sweetens up nicely should you want to throw some jazz chords around or play the blues.
But with Billie Joe’s John Hancock on the rear of the headstock, this Junior was built to play hard, through the loudest guitar amp (opens in new tab) you can find, with all the raw, hot, fat rock tones that the P-90 is famous for.
Now, conscious that these aesthetic choices are on the table, Epiphone has wax-potted this pickup to try cut down on the high-volume microphonic squeal, and has used high-quality CTS pots in the control circuit so that when you back the volume or tone control back, something happens. With minimalist guitar designs like the Junior, that’s invaluable.
Elsewhere, there is a Graph Tech nut, Epiphone Vintage Deluxe tuners with white buttons, a wraparound Lightning Bar bridge, and we’ve got an Indian laurel fingerboard instead of the Indian rosewood that’s found on the Gibson USA models.
The stylistic restraint extends to that ‘board, of course, with dot inlays marking out the 22 medium jumbo frets. And everything else is as you would expect – 24.75” scale, 12” radius fingerboard, 60s Kalamazoo headstock… It’s all very nice.
Again, like the Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard (opens in new tab), the signature flourishes are kept to a minimum; you’ll have to look at the back of the headstock to see whose guitar this is. Or, indeed, look at the case, for the Epiphone Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior comes in a custom hard case – not bad for £489 / $549 street.
See Epiphone (opens in new tab) for more details.