Gibson Les Paul Junior and |
Gibson Les Paul TV Model Guitars
1954 to 1960
Description: Gibson Les Paul Junior solidbody guitar
Available: 1954 to present.
Collectibility Rating: 1954-1960: B, 1961-1963: C-.
Originally sold as Gibson's least expensive, single pickup,
student solid body model (it was replaced as the least expensive
solidbody Gibson in 1959 by the Melody Maker). Also 3/4 scale
versions of the LP Junior were made by special order in the 1950s,
but are fairly rare (rarity is a good thing in this case, as 3/4 scale
Les Paul Juniors are not very desirable due to their smaller size; also
the body of the 3/4 scale Juniors is usually made of Maple, not Mahogany).
A really under-rated guitar, I find the Gibson Les Paul Junior to be
an amazing sounding solid body electric guitar with the 1954, 1955, 1956,
1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960 models the best. The Les Paul TV Model is
the same as a Les Paul Junior, except for the color and the "Les Paul TV Model"
peghead designation. The limed-mahogany
finish was rumored to look better on black & white TV sets, hence
the name "TV Model". The except to this rule are 1954 and most 1955 model Les Paul TV models.
For the first year or so of production, the Les Paul TV model was 3/4 scale
and used a *maple* body. By 1955 the model changed to full scale but still
retained the maple body. By 1956 the body was mahogany and full scale.
The late 1955 and later full scale mahogany version is the most desirable as the
sound is much fuller with a long scale and mahogany body.
If you need to figure out the exact year of your Gibson Les Paul Junior, use the Serial Number.
See the Gibson Serial Number Info web page
for help determining the exact year.
If you have a vintage Gibson Les Paul Junior guitar for sale, please contact me at
- 1954 Gibson Les Paul Junior guitar introduction specs:
- Mahogany single cutaway
slab body, 1 soapbar P-90 pickup with black cover, stud tailpiece/bridge
combo with the string looping over the bridge, dot fingerboard inlays, 24.75" scale,
single ply black pickguard,
gold logo, "Les Paul Junior" silkscreened on peghead in gold, nickel plated
parts, 2 color yellow to brown sunburst finish, brown back and neck
finish. Pickup location very close to the bridge. Short threaded bridge post
inserts which often lean forward and can even crack the wood between the
bridge posts and the pickup, yellow "ink stamp" serial number on a dark brown back.
For the LP TV model, it had a
*Maple* single cutaway slab body, 3/4 scale, mahogany neck meets body at 14th fret.
One soapbar P-90 pickup with black cover, gold "barrel" knobs, single ply
black pickguard, stud tailpiece/bridge combo with the string looping over
the bridge, dot fingerboard inlays, gold logo, "Les Paul TV model" silkscreened
on peghead in gold, nickel plated parts, "TV" beige finish.
Tuners are "no line" Kluson "3 on a plate" style tuners with plain brass posts (the posts are
not nickel plated like the rest of the tuner parts).
- 1955 Les Paul TV model specs:
Maple body, full 24.75" scale, neck meets body at 16th fret.
By mid to late 1955 mahogany bodies are the norm for this model
(serial# 5 57xx maple, 511xxx mahogany). Usually one piece mahogany body,
but sometimes two piece body is seen.
- 1956 Gibson Les Paul Junior guitar specs:
- Threaded post inserts which are sunk
into the for the wrap-around tailpiece increased in length. This modification stops
the posts from leaning forward. This was a common problem on 1954 and 1955
Les Paul Juniors, and often cracked the wood between the posts and the pickup.
Also the pickup was moved slightly towards the neck to allow more
wood between the pickup route and the bridge posts. This happened in
By mid-1956 tuners change to
"single line" Kluson "3 on a plate" style tuners with plain brass posts (the posts are
not nickel plated like the rest of the tuner parts).
Pots change from IRC to Centralab in early 1956.
- Mid 1958 Gibson "Les Paul SG" Junior guitar specs:
- body style change to symmetrical rounded
double cutaways, thick slab mahogany body, cherry red finish around serial number
"8 49xx" (but note that single cutaway Junior have been seen as late as 1959). The peghead
still says "Les Paul Junior", but often this body style is referred to
as the "Les Paul SG" body style. The first few batches of 1958 and early 1959 double cutaway
Les Paul Juniors had a noticably sharper body edge, like the edge on the
single cutaway Junior. By early 1959 the edge became more rounded (but there
were definately 1958 models made with the rounded body style too).
Also in late 1958 there were some 4-digit serial number Juniors and Specials
(all with 6000 to 7000 serial numbers like 6264 and 7234, with no "8" or "9" as the leading digit).
All the 4-digit serial number Juniors and Specials seem to have the more square-edged body style.
(Also often the 4-digit serial number Juniors used "soapbar" style P90 pickups
underneath the dog ear covers.)
With the double cut body style the pickguard changes to single ply tortoise,
but either a black pickguard or a tortoise pickguard can be seen until
late 1959/early 1960. The serial number color changed from a yellow inkstamp
to a black inkstamp on the cherry red models, but some early 1958 cherry Juniors
still had a yellow serial number. Again some early 1958 cherry Juniors have
a slightly different pickguard shape with the bass-side of the pickguard going up the
cutaway horn slightly (instead of being rounded). The Les Paul TV Model
also changed to a double cutaway format by mid-1958.
- 1959 Gibson Les Paul Junior guitar specs:
- Rare, but some single
cutaway LP Juniors are still seen in 1959 finished in cherry red (instead of
sunburst as a 1954-1958 single cut would have). Frets changed to larger width in
spring 1959 (but some 4-digit 1958 Juniors have factory large frets.)
- 1961 Gibson Les Paul (also known as "SG") Junior guitar specs:
- body style change to symmetrical pointed
double cutaways, thin mahogany body with beveled edges, cherry red finish,
vibrato optional. The peghead still says "Les Paul", but often this body
style is refered to as the "SG" body style. Even though it still says
"Les Paul" on the peghead, I personally call this a "SG Junior".
The Les Paul TV Model also changed to this format.
- Gibson Les Paul Junior guitar discontinued 1963 in name only (now called
SG Junior with no Les Paul designation on the peghead).
Les Paul TV Model discontinued in 1963.
The Les Paul Junior is still in production today as "Les Paul Junior" in several different