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-.

General Comments:
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 cfh@provide.net

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 early 1956. 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. 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.

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 variations.


1957 Gibson Les Paul Model single cutaway with original softshell alligator case:


1957 Gibson Les Paul TV Model single cutaway with original softshell alligator case:


1958 Gibson Les Paul Junior double cutaway cherry red.
This guitar has the 1st generation 1958 squared-edge double cutaway body style.
Also not the 4 digit ink-stamped serial number, which only happened in 1958 on Les Paul Juniors and Specials.


Here's a pictures of the 1958 squared-edge body (red) Les Paul Junior,
and the more common rounded edge body (yellow).


1959 Gibson Les Paul Junior double cutaway cherry red and original hardshell Lifton case:


1959 Gibson Les Paul TV Model double cutaway and original softshell alligator case.
This model has the post-1958 (and more common) rounded-edge body style.


Another 1959 Gibson Les Paul TV Model double cutaway.
This model has an original black "stinger" on the back of the peghead. This was usually
done by Gibson to hide some cosmetic flaw.



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