50s Les Paul Junior vs. Special - which would you choose

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by mikeowen17, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. GiorgioV

    GiorgioV Member

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    I disagree on this, simply because I've removed the neck pickup from guitars that came with 2 pickups and the difference IS there and it is quite evident. If you were right I wouldn't have noticed anything.
     
  2. eddie101

    eddie101 Silver Supporting Member

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    Check out Jake E Lee @2:13

    FWIW, I'm not into heavy metal stuff - too old for that **** - but I always liked Jake and his playing. Kinda unusual choice of axe for him here, but pretty cool nonetheless.
     
  3. Laurence

    Laurence Silver Supporting Member

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    Junior. I have two now and used to have another. However, the best Hubert Sumlin sound I ever got was with a an old Special that happened to get that honky/polarity mixed type tone on the middle setting. If you can get one that does that, virtually nothing else is like it.
     
  4. crashbelt

    crashbelt Member

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    I have a 55 LPJ and 59 and 60 LPSs.

    The LPJ is quite unlike any other guitar, not just LPSs, for incredible sheer musical brutality.

    I've done 500+ gigs using the 59 LPS for all our bottleneck numbers. Through a late 50s Gibson tweed amp (GA8 or GA18T according to size of venue) its perfect for crunchy blues/rock.

    If I could only have one, the LPJ does things notother guitar can imho!!
     
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  5. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    I had this 62 Epiphone Coronet at one point and it is a cheaper way to get a single pickup P-90 guitar made by Gibson from that era. Yes, the P-90 roars. The differences though is that the body isn't as thick - although it was extremely light. I like the 50s shaped necks a bit more too. This one was not quite as thin as a 60s slim taper. I do find Gibson's P-90s come in different specs from the 50s and 60s, plus there are good and bad just like vintage PAFs. The wood though was extremely resonant and light probably around or just under 6lbs.
     
  6. simonm

    simonm Member

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    I voted for SC because that's what I've got ;) - stripped TV Model c57. Love it.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Custom Deluxe

    Custom Deluxe Member

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    Are any of the newer Gibson Jr's worth the time searching out?
     
  8. bgio

    bgio Supporting Member

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    I am kind of in this boat right now. But between a Junior and 54 RI. Thanks for everyone's input so far.
     
  9. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    Junior, and I have both. ;) There's something about the simplicity...
     
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  10. GaryMcT

    GaryMcT Gold Supporting Member

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    Aaaaand I may have to change my mind. I need to change strings on both and compare, but the junior seems beefier than the special right now.
     
  11. carl_is_tall

    carl_is_tall Member

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    A few years ago I decided to jump in to my first real vintage (50's) Gibson and knew all I could afford was a Jr or Special. I played a few at the guitar show in Arlington. Guitar shows are the greatest way to try out guitars you never could otherwise play. Anyway, decided the Jr was the way to go. Specials were nice, but every Jr I played had an extra something to it.

    I was not looking for a museum piece. I wanted a player that was all original but that had plenty of "character." Shopped around a bit, called some secret contacts, found a '55 in Kansas City. Drove up and got it. Holy crap this thing is so freaking fun to play. Like has been said before it's almost freeing to play it because there are only 2 knobs,... and you have to rely on touch and feel more than anything. As much as I like it turned all the way up,.. I also love the sound with the vol on 5 and the tone rolled off to 5. It gives it an almost acoustic sound that is really unique and that I can't get from any of my other guitars. That guitar into my '64 Vibro Champ or my 5e3 is just too much fun.

    Get the JR!!

    Here is a clip from a gig of our TP&TH tribute band. A version of You Wreck Me. This is the '55 Jr into my '66 Vibrolux Reverb vol on 7. I might have turned on an El Capistan delay. I use the PS 2 to tame the stage volume. The Jr is SO GOOD at clarity while still having drive to it. An amazing quality of the guitar.




    Here's my '55 LPJ, my '66 Tele and my '66 Vibrolux Reverb. I call that gang "The Hard Ways"

     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019 at 11:01 AM
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  12. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    For me, LP special. The best sounding old LP I ever got to spend time with was my buddy's mid-50s LP special. Amazing p/us, huge sound. By contrast, I played several LP juniors from different vintage years. Never found one I liked as much as that special. My preference for the neck p/u being one reason for sure.
     
  13. cheapgtrs

    cheapgtrs Supporting Member

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    Special because I like a LP neck pickup
     
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    This video convinced me to pursue a Junior. Juniors teach you how to really use the volume and tone knobs, how to dig in or play light.


    Eventually I found one, for $15 and a $7 pickup swap plus knobs, push/pull pickup split, a fret level, about $30 in bits and bobs total. .... And it gets played more than the Gibsons in the fleet.
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Ps28

    Ps28 Member

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    Special. The neck pickup is the best neck pickup on any guitar..bridge is a fire breather on mine. Into an ac30 is perfect and I usually just use a klon and a tuner.
     
  16. 55hz

    55hz Member

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    I’m going to say:

    Junior. Blah, blah, long neck tenon not affected by neck pickup route, strings not pulled on by the neck pickup...etc.

    Then? I’d say play as many of either one as you can...and buy the one that floats your boat.
     
  17. 57gold

    57gold Gold Supporting Member

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    I made my choice, 2 1957s. Big, badass sounding P90s. The Jr has a huge round neck and very deep and powerful pick up, particularly on wound strings. The TV is lighter in weight and sings from the eighth fret up, lighter response from wound strings so maybe more balanced. Have an untenable Pigtail on her, which shifted the EQ a bit.

    [​IMG]

    Gregg Levy of HiTest Guitars, now just tubes, did a VG article comparing Jrs and TVs of the 1950s, he accumulated like 15 of them, both single and double cuts and had none other than Leslie West try them out and discuss their qualities. Here it is, a fun read:

    https://www.vintageguitar.com/1914/gibson-les-paul-jr/
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019 at 5:30 PM
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  18. datguytim

    datguytim Member

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    Junior for sure. Nothing like a great one - Specials have a way different vibe = they don't do what a Junior does. You can get a faux Special tones via picking/strumming dynamics & vol/tone manipulations on a Junior. And blow holes in the walls with a cranked Marshall
     
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  19. jb83

    jb83 Supporting Member

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    Cool jr. I’ve got a 56 that could probably serve as my only guitar. Did yours have the stud holes filled and moved back?
     
  20. carl_is_tall

    carl_is_tall Member

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    Thank you! They were not moved, but were repaired from The posts leaning forward. Since I didn’t own it before the repair, I can’t describe any difference. But if it was any better, I’d be shocked. This guitar is almost the perfect one guitar guitar. If I could only own one,... it would either be the Jr or my 335.
     

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