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Gibson Les Paul Junior Tribute Doublecut Bass review

A short-scale slab of mahogany that's old-school but never gets old, the Junior has never been more relevant to today's bassist

  • £899
  • €919
  • $999
Gibson Les Paul Junior Doublecut Bass
(Image: © Gibson)

Our Verdict

A very fun bass with a very approachable feel, the Les Paul Junior Tribute Doublecut is all about vintage warmth and low-end rumble, but the more versatile the player, the more you can bend it to your musical ideas.

Pros

  • Very persuasive tones.
  • Nice choice of finishes.
  • Excellent build.
  • A fun bass to play.

Cons

  • Short-scale is not for everyone.
  • Not ideal for slap players.

What is it?

Short-scale electric bass guitars will never go out of style. Before you start talking spec, pickups and hardware, all that jazz, they offer some inherent benefits no matter how they're built.

That is all because of the scale – the distance between nut and bridge. With a shorter scale, the strings have a lower tension, showing a little more mercy to your fingers. Ideal for beginners, for anyone who struggles with mobility and stretch in their picking hand.

The Les Paul Junior Tribute Doublecut is inspired by the EB-0 that Gibson unveiled in 1959 but there is a lot of today's bassist to enjoy here. This is a bass design that celebrates minimalism and foregrounds the playing experience and the tone.

It's an impressive build, with a mahogany body and set neck resplendent in deep cherry red mahogany. While your fingers will thank you for the short-scale – and this one measures in at 30.5” on a 20-fret rosewood 'board – the lower back won't be so forthcoming. The Junior is a big old slab. No weight relief, no contouring to shave off some ounces.

Gibson Les Paul Junior Doublecut Bass

(Image credit: Gibson)

Gibson has equipped the Junior with a set of vintage-looking Hipshot tuners, with a hefty-looking Gibson bridge. While a single 

You can choose from Worn Cherry, Worn Ebony, Worn Brown and Blue Stain finishes. Our review model is Worn Cherry, but it's not "worn" in the sense of relic'd. The colour is more muted, letting the wood do the talking, and looking already like a decades-old bass – albeit one that has been miraculously free of blemishes.

There is a single Gibson humbucker, with volume and tone controls, and a coil-tap for more precise and sharp single-coil tones.

Gibson Les Paul Junior Doublecut Bass

(Image credit: Gibson)

Performance and verdict

One of the first things that strikes you with the Junior are the dimensions of the pickup. This is a single-pickup instrument, but it's huge. Massive. 

So when you do the arithmetic: a short-scale bass, big humbucker, you'd be expecting some generously plummy bass tones, all the sharp edges taken off the top, a musical midrange but, more to the point, a low-end frequency floor that seemingly shifts the ground beneath your feet as you play.

Also consider...

Best bass guitar: Fender Mustang bass

(Image credit: Fender)

Fender American Performer Mustang
For those looking for a comfortable, playable bass with great traditional tones, the Mustang fits the bill.

Epiphone EB-3
We’re pleasantly surprised by the calibre of the EB-3. For any player starting out, or for fans of this era, you really can’t go wrong at this price. Just remember to wear it low! 

By and large, that is what you get. Fit a set of flatwounds to the Junior and you've got warmth, comfort, a veritable cocoon of bass frequencies to take shelter in. But here's where the coil-tap comes in handy.

When engaged, it strips some of the body out of that midrange, a sleight of hand that scoops the tone and presents an upfront tone with a little more pokiness to it. It will not sound modern per se, but it's an alternative voicing that makes this a little more versatile than you might expect.

Slap players won't be down with this. Okay, there might be some exceptions, but this is a bass built for RNB and soul, for old-time rock 'n' roll, and for rock too – that thunder can do wonders for a heavy rock jam, especially with a little overdrive to heat things up.

Gibson Les Paul Junior Doublecut Bass

(Image credit: Gibson)

The more on point your technique, the more versatile the Junior becomes. Play it close to the fretboard and it's super-plum Motown all over. Use a pick down by the bridge and it'll brighten up a little. It's old-school like that; get creative with your playing and it will reward you.

Gibson's neck carve and finish feels just right. If you like the idea of a short-scale bass that carries serious vintage weight in its tone, this has you covered. There is something admirable, too, in that there are so few concessions to modernity. 

MusicRadar verdict: A very fun bass with a very approachable feel, the Les Paul Junior Tribute Doublecut is all about vintage warmth and low-end rumble, but the more versatile the player, the more you can bend it to your musical ideas.

The web says

"The coil-tap on the BassBucker gives some added dimension to the instrument. The mid-scoop gives the sonic illusion of more bass and treble, which takes the LPJT to another, vibey place. With the tone rolled all the way off, your reggae tracks will sound amazing, and with the tone up, you can leave some longer scale basses in their cases."
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Hands-on demos

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Specifications

  • PRICE: £899
  • MADE IN: USA
  • BODY: Mahogany, choice of Worn Cherry, Worn Ebony, Worn Brown, Blue Stain finishes
  • NECK: Maple, 30.5” scale
  • NECK JOINT: Set neck
  • NUT WIDTH: 40mm
  • FRETBOARD: Rosewood, 20 frets
  • PICKUP: Les Paul Bassbucker
  • CONTROLS: Volume (push/pull for coil-tap), tone
  • HARDWARE: | Hipshot tuners, Gibson bridge
  • WEIGHT: 3.5 kg / 7.7 lbs
  • CASE/GIGBAG: Gigbag
  • LEFTHANDED OPTIONS: No
  • CONTACT: Gibson