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1954 Gibson Les Paul Junior, in exceptional original condition.

Here is a Junior in a condition which is increasingly uncommon to come across, from the first year of production, one of the most simple yet elegant electric guitars ever designed. As its name suggests, the Les Paul Junior was the starter model in the line bearing the American musician’s name in the 1950s, with a single P-90 pickup in the bridge position and a simple combination bridge/tailpiece stop-bar. For Gibson, the goal was that of reproducing the success that the ES-125 models for electrics or LG-1 for acoustics had met in their time: guitars of simpler making, but presenting the same construction quality of high-end models – in the case of the Junior, this translates as a flat-top, solid mahogany body instead of having the maple cap present on the Standard and Custom models, the absence of binding around the body and fingerboard, simple dot style fingerboard inlays, and the Gibson logo silkscreened on the headstock instead of being inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Indeed, the creators of the model were able to implement a minimalist, superbly effective design and the Junior was a hit right from its debut: launched in the summer of 1954 during the NAMM show, 823 guitars were sold in the first months, then more than three times that figure in 1955, proving to Gibson management that their bet was successful, and that solidbody electric guitars were here to stay.

The 1954 Gibson catalog also boasts a “Spanish Electric solidbody guitar with a refined sound, action and easy handling, for an unbeatable price” – for the laughable sum of $99.50 (an extra 49.50$ could allow one to complete the set with a Les Paul Junior amplifier, the whole therefore coming to the same price as a Fender Esquire, the entry-level model of the Californian manufacturer), many parents must have pushed their offspring to pick up a Gibson, and many instruments must also have found themselves stored under a bed or in a closet once the kid’s initial enthusiasm had passed. We can assume that this is what happened to the guitar presented here, since it comes to us in almost immaculate condition, except for a few marks and a slight cracking on the varnish. All the elements constituting this Junior are original: its Sunburst finish which has hardly faded, its P-90 pickup, its wiring and electronics whose solder joints have never been touched, its combined bridge/tailpiece stop-bar, its no-line Kluson tuners with oval plastic buttons, everything is as it was 69 years ago! The guitar has been fully setup and prepared by us, adjusted with a perfectly comfortable action.

Sold in a modern hardshell case.

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