How much is too much for a Jr.?

John Quinn

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,305
I recently assembled a precision kit guitar. I paid $370 shipped for the body and neck solid wood great neck impeccable fret work with a slab of rosewood board. I finished and assembled it myself took it to my luthier to cut a nut and setup. Paid $70 for that. I used Wolfetone meaner Faber compensated bridge and locking studs. Bought those used for about $160. Pickguard other plastic and tuners about $110 and staining supplies about $50. All in under $800 and the guitar is a beast and built to my specs. If you don’t want to finish it you can probably get it done for under $300. The finishing was actually fun and easy. Here’s the final result.
View attachment 642558 View attachment 642559
That is really good looking - good for you!
 

John Quinn

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,305
Love my Eastman jr. I changed out the bridge to a different Faber and really like the tone. I also shimmed the pickup to make it a bit closer to the strings and it is now as nasty as I need it to be. That varnish finish, ebony board, bone nut, great fretwork, tuners and neck carve---better than any recent Gibsons I tried. Also really light and resonant.




How did you shim a set neck?
 
Messages
601
Well I probably should have waited so as to avoid gas buying but after seeing a reverb ad I went directly to the retailer and slammed down my card for a new SB55DC/v.

Going to live with the guitar for a while. If anything needs changing, I'll handle that later.

It's entirely possible I'll like the pickup that comes in the guitar, presumably Eastman puts some consideration into which ones they get from Lollar.
 

BigDoug1053

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,382
I will admit my age bias - the Gibson Specials and Juniors were promoted as student guitars in the 1950s. Anything over $1500 seems excessive for a very simple electric guitar. Also, the only one pickup guitars I have are jazz archtops, so I don't "get" single bridge electrics. Maybe if I was in a punk or metal band, a one PU would look cool. But I am both a clean and high gain guy and I need the bridge+neck combo for clean... That's why I started out on a '61 SG Special, and have a Faded LP Special DC...

 

Sean French

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,527
Gibson USA SG Junior.
$1400 new. :aok
Killer guitars!!! :dude
I've owned an original 1957 LP Junior, a Historic DC LP Junior, a Historic DC LP Special and two R4 Historics.

Here is my favorite!
This awesome 5.8 pound '20 with a Wolfetone Meaner pickup. I also added reflectors and knob pointers.

IMG_1056 (2).JPG
 

Jedi

Member
Messages
2,280
Recently I've been looking into getting a Les Paul double cut Jr., or a similar guitar that doesn't say Gibson on it but is made in the same way.

While I am usually a "you get what you pay for" kind of guy, and I'd usually prefer to just have what I want and perceive to be the best (for me) than the difference in cost, I have to admit with these juniors I am kind of stunned by the asking price on some of them.

I have seen multiple different companies offering these guitars in the 5 to 6 thousand dollar US range. I realize prices are up overall, but this is a single pickup guitar without a carved top, no fancy burst, no complex routing or weight relief, etc. At this price, I feel like I might as well look for a vintage Gibson.

So how much is actually too much for this style of guitar? Do you have a very expensive one and love? Perhaps it was built by a small company... At what point for such a "simple" design (yes I get it nothing's ever that simple) do you run out of levers to pull to make it better?
If you can find a nice vintage Jr. for $5K or $6K let me know so I can buy it.
 

ahab

Member
Messages
1,827
If it were me, I would probably go for a Gibson USA Les Paul Junior. 1599.00 is at the high end of what I would pay for a junior, but you would get a new guitar with a warranty. Also, I love Gibson P90s so this would eliminate the need for a pickup swap. Of course, this would mean going for a single cut rather than a double, which, for me, is preferable anyway. I wouldn't pay much more than this for a junior, but I know that this really limits the options if you are looking for a US built, set neck instrument. Heritage would be another choice for me, but I am not sure if they build a double cut junior style guitar anymore.

Good luck, OP. If you opt for a Gibson, play as many as you can. Not because the QC is subpar but rather to find the one that speaks to you. It seems to me that Gibsons have a peculiar tendency to do this.
 
Messages
601
If you can find a nice vintage Jr. for $5K or $6K let me know so I can buy it.

That wasn't my point, which I feel like I've said more than once. More like if I'm spending 6k on a junior, might as well go nuts and buy a vintage guitar.

If it were me, I would probably go for a Gibson USA Les Paul Junior. 1599.00 is at the high end of what I would pay for a junior, but you would get a new guitar with a warranty. Also, I love Gibson P90s so this would eliminate the need for a pickup swap. Of course, this would mean going for a single cut rather than a double, which, for me, is preferable anyway. I wouldn't pay much more than this for a junior, but I know that this really limits the options if you are looking for a US built, set neck instrument. Heritage would be another choice for me, but I am not sure if they build a double cut junior style guitar anymore.

Good luck, OP. If you opt for a Gibson, play as many as you can. Not because the QC is subpar but rather to find the one that speaks to you. It seems to me that Gibsons have a peculiar tendency to do this.

Already bought an Eastman.
 

Heinz W

Genuine '66 Relic
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,750
If you can find a nice vintage Jr. for $5K or $6K let me know so I can buy it.
You should be able to find a '60s SG Junior for around that price, they sound damn near as good as '50s LP Juniors. Of course, the SG is a different animal than a LP, feel wise. So you have to be ok with that. I have a '68 that sounds almost as good as my '58 DC. Just be aware that late '60s have those narrow nuts, and they are problematic for some (me included). I'd look at the '61-' 65 years, leaning more towards '63-'65 for the fuller necks.
 

BADHAK

Member
Messages
10,301
I had one built as a local custom build for $2200 AUD ($1515 USD). Very satisfied…suggest the OP try this route if you have a trustworthy and skilled custom builder, Rotten seems to have good luck with this approach as well.
Who was the builder ?? I'm Aussie and thinking of getting one done.
 

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,802
Congratulations on the Eastman and good luck with it.

To anyone finding this post in the future, the US-built Hamer Juniors are great guitars if you don't need the fat 59-style neck... my personal Junior is a '59 that was butchered into affordability, and I love that thing.

But I also had a Hamer that was spec'd out by Greg at BCR Music... since Greg was (maybe still is) a serious Junior lover he twisted Jol's arm into doing a couple of special runs with thinner headstocks and a few other non-standard features. Mine was a killer guitar but I kept grabbing the '59 when I needed a Junior.

What I really need is a time machine. When we were kids who used to haunt 48th Street, we saw lots of Juniors. But they weren't on the street... the street didn't want them, so they were all in the pawn shops we walked past as we went from the Port Authority bus station to 48th.

I remember taking one kid into the city on the bus so he could buy a solid-state practice amp. On the walk to the street, he noticed he had enough money to buy a real Gibson from the pawns and thought about doing that instead. I talked him out of it.

Wherever that guy is today, I'm sure he hates me and I don't blame him.
 
Messages
5,785
At one time I had three, though one was a TV Model. I currently have a 1957 TV Model and a fairly recent Gibson Custom Shop R8 double cutaway Les Paul Junior. I had a ten to twelve year old single cutaway Les Paul Junior Faded. The Les Paul Junior Faded was $500. It was a good guitar. It played well and sounded like a Les Paul Junior. I liked it but, when I found something I wanted more than it, I traded it. I just didn't use it very much since I had those other two. I reckon the only thing I didn't like about the Faded was that its neck wasn't thick.

I don't fully grok why you don't want a Les Paul Junior with Gibson on it. There are some Gibsons I don't like or am not attracted to. So I don't acquire those. But most of the most awesome guitars I've ever played are Gibsons. But if you are dead set on not having a Gibson I reckon you might like a single pickup Heritage H-137. You might also like a set neck Japanese Greco copy.

On a fairly rare occasion I pick up and play a guitar and think THAT'S A REAL GUITAR, HOSS. The first time I thought that, it was a 1956 Gibson ES-175D. It had, to me, the perfect neck. It felt right. It also sounded right. And I could definitely grok why some folks really like old guitars. So I got it, still have it, and play it.

That ES-175D was expensive. I can only spend that kind of money on a very rare occasion because I usually don't have that much money to spend on a guitar. So I am very selective and only spend that kind of money on guitars I really really like a whole lot. My 1960 ES-330D is a good example. My 1974 Les Paul Deluxe, although it was less expensive but more than I spend on most guitars, is also a good example.

But the most awesome electric guitar I have ever played is my 1957 Les Paul TV Model. I knew it was awesome when I first picked it up, plugged it in, and played it for a few minutes. And I reckon it took me a few minutes to wrap my head around the idea that a guitar could be that good. But I realized how awesome it really was when I started playing it on gigs and using it regularly. Fortunately though, I already had some nice old guitars that somebody else liked enough to trade his, or his store's, Les Paul TV Model and another much less old Les Paul for. Coincidentally, the other Les Paul I got in the trade is the guitar I traded for the Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Junior and some other things.

I got the Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Junior because it has a big neck like the TV Model does and because I just like playing Les Paul Juniors. Had I not traded something for it, the price tag was $2200 and I probably could have gotten it for $2100. It felt like a $2200 guitar. It feels, plays, and sounds like a near top level instrument. I would, hypothetically, pay that much for it.

Acquiring a real 1957 Les Paul TV Model that I like that much was pretty much a once in a lifetime thing. I could not afford it had I not been able to trade some things for it. And, had I not gotten the opportunity to trade, that guitar would have been one of those guitars that I would admire but would probably never actually get to own.

All things considered, it really depends on how much you really want a Les Paul Junior or Les Paul Junior-like guitar and how much you can actually afford.

For me to consider the possibility of spending $5000 or 6000 on a non-Gibson Les Paul Junior-like guitar I would have to pick it up and think THAT'S A REAL GUITAR, HOSS and like it as much as my 1957 Les Paul TV Model. My Les Paul TV Model would be more than that.
 

bluegrif

Member
Messages
5,671
Lot of praise for the Eastman, but it's quite different from the old model isn't it?

Seems like a very wide neck, ebony/okume, shifted pickup position... It does look like a ridiculous good guitar for the money irrespective I was just more considering guitars that were a bit closer to the original specification.

I have a T386 here in my studio and honestly, if I didn’t know it was a wider nut I doubt I would have noticed. It’s like 1.3 mm wider than a Gibson. This one measures 1.74” or just a tiny bit over the standard 43mm. Unless you have a strong preference for narrower nut widths, like vintage Fender’s 1 5/8, or the even narrower Norlin era Gibson 1 9/16) I doubt you’d be bothered.
 
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Messages
601
I have a T386 here in my studio and honestly, if I didn’t know it was a wider nut I doubt I would have noticed. It’s like .3 mm wider than a Gibson. This one measures 1.74” or just a tiny bit over the standard 44mm. Unless you have a strong preference for narrower nut widths, like vintage Fender’s 1 5/8, or the even narrower Norlin era Gibson 1 9/16) I doubt you’d be bothered.

As it happens I do prefer Fender nut width, but this isn't the end of the world.

If the Eastman is a good instrument in its own right that is fine. It's not hard to get acclimated unless a guitar is really towards an extreme. If anything I was mostly just trying to talk myself out of any guitar purchase (this is the second one in two months after two years of not buying a guitar, so that's not great lol).

I recalled some good advice I've often given myself; you don't play historical accuracy, you play a guitar. And it seemed like the folks who have had the Eastman double cut juniors have thought they are great guitars. Even without the "for the money qualifier".

At any rate thanks for the vote of confidence; the guitar is scheduled to show up tomorrow. I will report back with my honest opinion. One shaped by the fact I don't think I've owned a guitar this inexpensive... in a good number of years. And yet I still don't really feel like I settled with this instrument, strangely.
 
Messages
601
At one time I had three, though one was a TV Model. I currently have a 1957 TV Model and a fairly recent Gibson Custom Shop R8 double cutaway Les Paul Junior. I had a ten to twelve year old single cutaway Les Paul Junior Faded. The Les Paul Junior Faded was $500. It was a good guitar. It played well and sounded like a Les Paul Junior. I liked it but, when I found something I wanted more than it, I traded it. I just didn't use it very much since I had those other two. I reckon the only thing I didn't like about the Faded was that its neck wasn't thick.

I don't fully grok why you don't want a Les Paul Junior with Gibson on it. There are some Gibsons I don't like or am not attracted to. So I don't acquire those. But most of the most awesome guitars I've ever played are Gibsons. But if you are dead set on not having a Gibson I reckon you might like a single pickup Heritage H-137. You might also like a set neck Japanese Greco copy.

On a fairly rare occasion I pick up and play a guitar and think THAT'S A REAL GUITAR, HOSS. The first time I thought that, it was a 1956 Gibson ES-175D. It had, to me, the perfect neck. It felt right. It also sounded right. And I could definitely grok why some folks really like old guitars. So I got it, still have it, and play it.

That ES-175D was expensive. I can only spend that kind of money on a very rare occasion because I usually don't have that much money to spend on a guitar. So I am very selective and only spend that kind of money on guitars I really really like a whole lot. My 1960 ES-330D is a good example. My 1974 Les Paul Deluxe, although it was less expensive but more than I spend on most guitars, is also a good example.

But the most awesome electric guitar I have ever played is my 1957 Les Paul TV Model. I knew it was awesome when I first picked it up, plugged it in, and played it for a few minutes. And I reckon it took me a few minutes to wrap my head around the idea that a guitar could be that good. But I realized how awesome it really was when I started playing it on gigs and using it regularly. Fortunately though, I already had some nice old guitars that somebody else liked enough to trade his, or his store's, Les Paul TV Model and another much less old Les Paul for. Coincidentally, the other Les Paul I got in the trade is the guitar I traded for the Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Junior and some other things.

I got the Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Junior because it has a big neck like the TV Model does and because I just like playing Les Paul Juniors. Had I not traded something for it, the price tag was $2200 and I probably could have gotten it for $2100. It felt like a $2200 guitar. It feels, plays, and sounds like a near top level instrument. I would, hypothetically, pay that much for it.

Acquiring a real 1957 Les Paul TV Model that I like that much was pretty much a once in a lifetime thing. I could not afford it had I not been able to trade some things for it. And, had I not gotten the opportunity to trade, that guitar would have been one of those guitars that I would admire but would probably never actually get to own.

All things considered, it really depends on how much you really want a Les Paul Junior or Les Paul Junior-like guitar and how much you can actually afford.

For me to consider the possibility of spending $5000 or 6000 on a non-Gibson Les Paul Junior-like guitar I would have to pick it up and think THAT'S A REAL GUITAR, HOSS and like it as much as my 1957 Les Paul TV Model. My Les Paul TV Model would be more than that.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

A few thoughts in response. Firstly, re not wanting Gibson on the headstock. This is complicated. Obviously if I look at a vintage DC junior, it will. And I did consider a 58 reissue, but I did not see these floating around for 2.2K. Listed prices seemed to be a bit over 4k and then the Murphy stuff is 6. That was the impetus for my original question; how much is too much? I might be convinced to part with 3, which is probably the street price right now, for one that says Gibson on it.

But I have not had good experiences with Norlin and onwards Gibson USA over the years and as such have little interest in those guitars. Epiphone is cool but huge volume, and I just like the smaller places. I also am in the phase of more wanting great guitars to keep forever, and biased or not, that means I'm typically looking at higher priced instruments.

For what it's worth, I own a single Gibson guitar. It is a collector's choice Les Paul and I think it's brilliant. It's also an exceptional example of a modern Gibson. My own personal feeling is that if I had to pay the 10k they seem to be going for to replace it sight unseen, I'd far rather have a Bartlett. Like, 10 times out of 10.

The guitars that had caught my eye were a Gibson CS, a Knaggs Keya J, a Collings 290DC and the Eastman. Some folks had suggested single cuts and that just wasn't what I was looking for.

Of these, the GCS is quite expensive and ok it's probably a pretty good guitar. But it is quite expensive, and actually I didn't see many 58 reissues around. Love my CC though.

The Knaggs is a little too untraditional for me. I like Knaggs guitars a lot but only some have a look that makes me want to pick them up and play and the Keya J wasn't it. Love my SSC though.

The Collings had a huge problem; availability. And when I could find them, they often didn't have the Throbak. Perhaps it is silly but at least in the comparisons I've heard I've preferred the throbak in that guitar. Also many of them were colors I didn't really care for. I don't own a Collings and I will admit I don't love the tones you get from their acoustics or semi-hollows, but I have REALLY liked their solid body guitars. A CL is the sort of guitar I would consider under many circumstances.

I saw some cool suggestions for older guitars. But frankly, I don't think I have much luck buying guitars second hand. Folks tend to have different opinions about condition than I do. I wouldn't call it lying, more just I'm particular about condition in a details-oriented way I dont find matches used guitar sales super well.

That left Eastman. Despite it being the cheapest option it actually checked a lot of boxes: looks good, high quality finish, the hardware and electronics are of high quality even if the pickup may not be my first choice on paper, some forward looking choices like oukume and jescar frets.

Hope that explains my thought process adequately.
 

bluegrif

Member
Messages
5,671
As it happens I do prefer Fender nut width, but this isn't the end of the world.

If the Eastman is a good instrument in its own right that is fine. It's not hard to get acclimated unless a guitar is really towards an extreme. If anything I was mostly just trying to talk myself out of any guitar purchase (this is the second one in two months after two years of not buying a guitar, so that's not great lol).

I recalled some good advice I've often given myself; you don't play historical accuracy, you play a guitar. And it seemed like the folks who have had the Eastman double cut juniors have thought they are great guitars. Even without the "for the money qualifier".

At any rate thanks for the vote of confidence; the guitar is scheduled to show up tomorrow. I will report back with my honest opinion. One shaped by the fact I don't think I've owned a guitar this inexpensive... in a good number of years. And yet I still don't really feel like I settled with this instrument, strangely.

Ill be interested to see what you think, because so far my experience has been positive enough you can forget the “for the money” qualifier. Eastman guitars are less money primarily because they’re made where even highly skilled luthiers simply operate on a different pay scale. My first Eastman was an acoustic archtop (AR805) and I was frankly stunned. I bought it for a specific series of shows and didn’t want to spend a lot. I first tried a Loar, which was what I expected at that price point. I decided it wouldn’t do and found the Eastman used for about $1,000 (this was over 10 years ago). I really wasn’t expecting it to be a lot better but the difference between it and the Loar was night and day. It was perfectly carved and finished, and held it’s own with a 30s Gibson I’d owned.
 

BadAssBill

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,734
Different strokes and all that...but I will say if you can make a vintage jr work for your budget and gigs do it. You don't want to take them to sweaty dive bars but I do gig with mine on large stages or where I have enough room between my guitar and a sloppy beer drinker. I will say that it's a top 3 guitar I've ever played...if not #1, and I've played/owned a lot of guitars over the years. I've told the story a few times...but it's had stuff done to it....it's player grade...but the electronics are all original and IMHO that's what matters. They are available out there...for sure. I bought mine 4 years ago maybe....3600.
 




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