So, I have been at the Custom Shop for 15-plus years. I have seen a lot of guitars. I mean a lot of guitars…
When I walk through the Custom Shop, I see reissues with insane maple tops. I see carved tops with incredibly matched back and sides. But, you know what catches my eye? A Les Paul, double cut, Junior. I know, I know. You’re saying, “Tell me it isn’t so, Sean!” Well, it’s true. Walk with me here:
My ’97 LP Florentine has an outstanding flame top. I love the guitar. I love gigging with it. I have been gigging all summer. Almost every weekend with a wide range of music genres. And, something I noticed… I do not switch my pickups. I stay on my bridge pickup all night long, with all three bands. I never move that toggle. Does this make me a sterile player with no color or imagination? I don’t care. I spend most of the gig’s time tap dancing on my pedal board.
I have a 1955 LP Junior that I occasionally pull out of the closet. I used to play it all the time. But, then the value went up on those vintage treasures. So, being a father of two and home owner, I decided to retire it and hold onto it till the kids get to collage. But… I loved the sound of single pickup P-90. It was fantastic! So, I pulled the single cut Junior out the other night. FANTASTIC! As with the ’54, ’55 LP Juniors, the neck pitch is a very low and the strings come very close to the top of the cover, but it was still FANTASTIC.
Lately, when I walk through the Custom Shop, All I see are the LP Juniors being built. I do not see the quilt tops or the flame ’59s. I see a simple, single pickup, funky-looking double cut Junior. I really do not care of the color. The TV yellow is a timeless color. Last week I was into the faded cherry Junior, because Keith Urban was pictured in Premier Guitar magazine with one. This week I am digging the TV white. The TV white and TV yellow finish process is a bear to produce. The TV finish is a product of filler and color in a particular order to achieve utter color creaminess.
The simplicity of the wraparound tailpiece is just plain sexy. No need for an adjustable bridge. Just wrap it and go. Some players believe the tone is much more pronounced with a wraparound versus a guitar with a Tune-o-matic and stopbar configuration. The jury is still out, for me. But, I do love the simplicity of a wraparound. Simply FANTASTIC!
Some boutique amplifier builders in the past five years have been going simple. One volume and one tone gives you all the spiritual smack down you could possibly ask for. Why clutter your signal path with tone circuits? An Old Tweed Deluxe through a 2X12 or 4X12 cabinet? It’s “slap your mama” good tone!