Les Paul Junior Special: tell me about it

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Bucksears, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. Bucksears

    Bucksears Silver Supporting Member

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    Talking about the more recent ones, dual soapbars, tune-o-matic, black pickguard.

    Toying between this and the Epi ES-339 P90 PRO. The 339 P90 would be a little more versatile, but the LP Jr Special just looks so raw/rock-n-roll to me.
     
  2. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Member

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    Are we talking Gibson or Epiphone?

    If Gibson, I had 2 2012 models, one with P90s and one with HBs. They were excellent guitars with gobs of tone for not a lot of money. Good simple no-frills rock and roll machines, and very comfortable to play. I didn't even mind the baked maple fretboards.
     
  3. Bucksears

    Bucksears Silver Supporting Member

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    Ah, can you elaborate on 'baked maple'?
    I remember hearing something about that before on this board a long time ago.

    The Special I'm looking at is a 2012 Gibson model.
     
  4. Rumble5

    Rumble5 Member

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    My #1 right now is Les Paul Junior Special w/ P-90s, Heritage Cherry in gloss. I love it.

    I've got a '79 Les Paul Standard, but I didn't want to have to worry about it getting knocked over, banging the headstock, or damaging it in some other way when I take it to a jam or have beer drinking buddies over to play. So I wanted a less expensive Gibson guitar that I wouldn't worry so much about.

    I picked up the LP Jr Sp two years ago on a closeout sale for $550- a really good price for a new American-made Gibson, and you can still get them slightly used for about that price. I believe it's the only new guitar I've ever bought.

    I think the quality is excellent for the price. It's got a really nice finish that allows you to see the wood grain underneath. It's got the neck binding. The P-90 pickups sound spectacular- they are pretty aggressive pickups and push my old amps (Pro Reverb and JMP) harder than humbuckers do, so I get a really nice old-school breakup, yet they're more defined and articulate than humbuckers. The sound sits right in between my Tele and the LP Standard, and I play the Jr Special by far the most out of the three.

    The only drawback I've noticed is the hum, but that will be the case with any guitar outfitted with P-90s.

    Overall I think the Jr Special is one of the best guitars for the money I can think of. Highly recommended.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  5. Rumble5

    Rumble5 Member

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    Supposedly they take a maple board and treat it with a heating process that makes it dark. Mine has a baked maple fretboard. If I hadn't read that it was baked maple I wouldn't know the difference between it and the one on my '79 LP Standard or any of the other Gibsons I've owned over the years.
     
  6. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Some have rosewood, some BM depending on the year. But i think '12 was the transition year, not sure. If so it could be either. Personally i wouldn't want a gibson with BM. If you want gibson tone and are sensitive to tone, chances are good you won't like it. It won't be a huge difference but it will be one of those things that may eat at you as being just not quite right if you know what i mean. Some will tell you i'm wrong, but i'm just making you aware that if you're one like me you'd be better off waiting. I have a rosewood board '11 thats a GC special run which differs in that it has neck binding and vintage style tulip tuners. Fantastic guitar, tho be aware the necks are pretty thin. I may sell mine partially because of that, but i've yet to make up my mind. So if thin necks bother you look elsewhere. I can deal with it but i'm such a fender man that the neck plus the fact i always reach for my fenders has me wondering if i should let it go. I just know if i do tho i will wish i didn't even tho i rarely play anything but fenders.
     
  7. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

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    My '12 Junior Special is a fun, very fun guitar. It has the baked maple as well. I don't notice any difference between it and other fretboard woods. I'm perfectly happy with it. I got mine on clearance as well... mid 400 bucks if I remember correctly.

    I also recently played an Epiphone ES-339 Pro, but with humbuckers. The pickups on the Epi were a little flat sounding. But, it kinda needed a setup. So, I bet with some playing of heights, it might be a heck of a guitar. The neck shapes were similar. The upper fret access on the 339 blows the Special's away. Weight was lighter on the 339 as well.

    I actually contemplated selling the JR Special to fund a 339. But, I am sitting on it a while to let the GAS settle and see if I still feel this way in a few months.


    Bottom line is both guitars are nice. The Gibby took a little set up and pickup height fiddling... Something tells me the Epi would require the same. The Gibby has nitro, and thin nitro at that. And the Epi has thick poly. For the prices these are available, it's almost a crime not to own one or the other.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  8. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Member

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    There are many years of Juniors, and many years of Specials, but there was only one model year where there was a "Junior Special," and that was 2012. All had baked maple, the guitar was never spec'd any other way. Tonally, I didn't notice any difference between them and my rosewood Gibsons of comparable build. They played and sounded great, and were an absolute bargain. I paid $375 each on closeout.
     
  9. ReddRanger

    ReddRanger Member

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    I have a P-90 LP Jr Special as well and I'm totally fine with the baked maple board.
     
  10. monty

    monty Member

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    Me too. I didn't even realize it wasn't RW until I read it here.
     
  11. MissoulaGriz

    MissoulaGriz Member

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  12. Bucksears

    Bucksears Silver Supporting Member

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  13. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a 2012 LP JR Special. It's an "ugly" one painted flat black. It came set-up perfectly from the factory. Someone at the plant knew what they were doing! I have to say I like everything about it. The Gibson P-90's deliver. I also bought a JR at about the same time and these two guitars are just great. These are truely guitars I will never sell



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  14. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Well, then i dunno what you'd call this, but as far as i'm concerned it is a JS. And in case you missed it it's a GC special run. They only made these for 2 years.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    That's right. I don't know why Gibson used the name junior special for that one model year!
     
  16. ixnay

    ixnay Member

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    My 2011 Jr Special with ebony fretboard disagrees with you.

    http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Ele...Gibson-USA/Les-Paul-Jr-Special-Exclusive.aspx
     
  17. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Member

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    According to the headstock, it's a Les Paul Special. The "Junior Special" says "Model" under the Les Paul script. The special label is on the truss rod cover for that one. It was a unique model that was introduced in 2012 under much scrutiny for two reasons: the bizarre name with both "Junior" & "Special" which were contradictory terms in the Gibson history, and the baked maple boards.
     
  18. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Member

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  19. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Call it whatever you want, but according to the serial number AND GC where i bought it, it's a '11 and i have read these were made in '11 too. In fact, i may be wrong but i think they may have also been made in '10, but 11-12 i'm sure of.
     
  20. ixnay

    ixnay Member

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    Like the difference between a Les Paul Junior and a Les Paul Jr. Got it.
     

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