’55 Les Paul Junior

’55 Les Paul Junior “Strings and Things” Mod

This is an interesting guitar indeed. I saw it advertised as a “Strings and Things Les Paul copy” on CraigsList, but because I knew the history of Strings and Things, and the very amazing, very expensive, historically significant guitars they put out over the years, I was quick to call and try to snatch up this guitar. I lucked out and jumped on the next ferry from Seattle to Bremerton to meet up with the guy who owned it.

As soon as I saw the guitar, I knew it was legit. Neck angle and headstock size gave it away. I proceeded to look under the hood, opening up the back, checking under the pickups, looking at the truss cover and so on. Everything matched up. I managed to contain my excitement. I offered him a bit less than his modest asking price and he took it. Unfortunately, he had put on the front of the guitar a sticker that when lifted and removed, took with it some paint. Frankly, I wasn’t upset about that – the guitar looks stunning and the blemish gives it some character.

To further solidify my find, I contacted Chris Lovell from Strings and Things in Memphis. I described the guitar and sent him photographs. He indeed confirmed that it was one of theirs, likely modified between ’77 and ’82 by Tom Keckler. Sure enough, the pots substantiated that. The CTS pots were dated ’78 and have ceramic caps which match the style being put into Les Pauls by Gibson at the time. He also noted that the headstock logo and inlay were consistent with what they did to their modified Juniors and Specials.

There’s a lot more to the story: forum posts, phone calls from a rock star, as well as some stupid low ball offers for this thing. In the end, I decided to keep it – it’s a ’50s Gibson, which means “old wood.” That’s as good as gold to me.

Parent page: Instruments and Amplifiers