What's great and not so great about Gibson Les Paul Juniors?

Gibson Certified Vintage guitars
(Image credit: Gibson)

Tom Bukovac's latest visit to vintage guitar shop mecca Gruhn's in Nashville is a deep dive into the one world of the one-pickup Gibson Les Paul Junior. And it's a real education.

While session man Bukovac notes it could never be his do-it-all electric guitar in a studio gig, he celebrates its unique qualities in this four-man roundtable discussion and demo session alongside Gruhn's repair shop manager Greg Voros, sales staff member Corey Terrell and Music City musician / design engineer / tech Eric 'Ebo' Borash (also of Ebo custom amps renown).

Best electric guitars: Gibson Les Paul Junior

(Image credit: Gibson)

What other guitar's volume can be dialled down to create such a great electric/acoustic hybrid tone? Pete Townsend was a fan of this strummy secret weapon on The Who's Live At Leeds. And while P-90s can be brash and sometimes hard to tame, they do have hidden depths. The Junior proves to be their most unfiltered showcase with a dogear pickup screwed into the body. And even though the '50s Gibson originals usually need a bridge upgrade, they remain the most desirable examples. 

There's four great vintage examples of the P-90 Les Pauls (including the two-pickup Special) up for discussion and playing comparison in the video above –including a double-cut. Do they sound different to single-cuts? They get to that too.

Of special note is Bukovac's ability to simulate the delay of Pink Floyd's Run Like Hell  – without a pedal – at the 26-minute mark is truly impressive. We've never seen anything like that! 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.