Gibson launches the Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior, featuring P-90 DC pickups for hum-free high-volume performance

The Gibson Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior is offered in Vintage Ebony and Silver Mist and features hum-cancelling P-90 pickups
(Image credit: Gibson)

Gibson and Billie Joe Armstrong have joined forces for a new line of signature Les Paul Juniors that apply the Green Day frontman’s favourite specs to one of the most classic – and under evolved – electric guitar designs of all time.

For the player who favours minimalism, it doesn’t get much better than the Junior – a stripped-down work of art in mahogany with a single-pickup configuration that does a lot of heavy-lifting tone-wise. Armstrong has had signature Les Paul Juniors before. Most recently, in November 2021, Gibson’s more affordable brand Epiphone released a Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior in Classic White. 

That, however, was a mid-priced instrument retailing for under £500. These new Gibson USA models are a little more high-end. And they beg the question: is £2,199 street too steep when Original Collection Juniors are retailing for circa £1,389? Well, everything is more expensive these days, and there is the potential for these more bespoke instruments to become collector’s items in time. 

Gibson Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior

(Image credit: Gibson)

Available in either Vintage Ebony Gloss or a Silver Mist finish, the Billie Joe Armstrong is an all-mahogany build; the glued-in mahogany neck is carved into a signature SlimTaper profile and is glued to the contour-less mahogany body.

Both guitars feature 12” radius rosewood fingerboards, seating 22 medium jumbo frets whose positions are counted out with acrylic dot inlays. They have a 24.75” scale and a 1.695” Graph Tech nut.

These guitars ship in special signature hot-pink hard-shell guitar cases, lined with animal print fur. The biggest signature detail on the guitar that is visibly Billie Joe Armstrong is the man’s signature on the truss rod cover.

But really these are all about that no muss, no fuss high-volume performance from the single P-90 DC dog-ear pickup, a hum-cancelling design that was based on Seth Lover’s original Sidewinder  P-90 DC design from 1958.

Turn it up loud and it should respond in kind. These styles of pickup just love a bit of gain and volume, but roll back that single black ‘Top Hat’ volume knob and your sound should clean up. There’s also a tone knob too, so no complaining about there being no neck pickup. Everything you could need is right there in front of you. Under the hood, this has been all hand-wired, with Orange Drop capacitors as standard.

Finally, and keeping things steady, we have an aluminium wraparound bridge/tailpiece. The headstock is fitted with Vintage Deluxe tuners with white buttons. The Silver Mist model ships with a black pickguard. The Vintage Ebony Gloss has a tortoiseshell ‘guard. Both look the part and are available now. See Gibson for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.