Gibson Les Paul Special / Junior Neck Body Joint With / Without Lip ?

Herr Dalbergia

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
582
Reaction score
387
Hello dear forum,


Some of the specials and juniors are built with this so called lip at the body joint, this little bit extra wood in the cut away where the neck joints the body. Other have no lip and the cutaway blends in nicely with the neck without any step at the joint in the cutaway surface.

Can you give me a short basic overview which models are built how, in which period of fabricating which neck-body joint was used? What are the main differences and what is more common and thought after? Which is more popular and more valuable. I have seen a mid 90ies with lip, but also some without this "feature" from this decade.

What's the story?

Thank you very much in advance. Any comments and ideas appreciated.

Cheers Alex
 

nimrod

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2014
Messages
157
Reaction score
200
I have a 2011 Junior. It does not have the "shelf". You will find all the Juniors from the 50's have it. So, usually modern Juniors have a shelf if they are a VOS/Custom Shop/Signature Billie Joe model. The regular-run Juniors have no shelf, and the single cut blends into the neck. So, I guess you could say having a shelf is more sought after just because the Juniors that come with it are "higher quality".
 

rjshare

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Messages
4,935
Reaction score
5,037
i think that the real difference is actually in the construction of the neck joint. those with a shelf have a normal mortice and tennon neck joint like any other traditional les paul, but those that dont have a shelf dont have it because the neck pocket is a bigger cutout basically like you would see on a fender (but obviously then glued in). i stand to be corrected on this but i have a couple of modern juniors that dont have it and a mm that does and it certainly looks to be the case.

whether it makes a difference or not is open to discussion (especially once the drummer comes in) but in any case the "vintage" way was with a shelf and modern construction is without.
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
12,941
Reaction score
8,678
^ You've got your examples mixed up, but essentially correct.
Yep, the original Jr has the neck tenon shaped at the same dimensions as the fretboard....so a taper all the way to the end. As the join needs wood to support it all the way around, there is a lip on the cutout side.......well, essentially the centreline is skewed toward the upper horn but leaving the back end in the same spot. You just end up with less space in the upper horn where the switch would have sat.

There are several versions of specials. Those with the Jr type neck attachment, and those with the typical LP keyed tenon. This latter method of course has an indented tenon so it ends up with the 3-sided support due to the lesser width.

Of course with the carved maple cap you would have a VERY ugly neck area if you tried the Jr style tenon. But its a more time-consuming/finicky process to make as well. Hence it being used for the more expensive models.
 

Kris Ford

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2011
Messages
4,754
Reaction score
4,081
^ You've got your examples mixed up, but essentially correct.
Yep, the original Jr has the neck tenon shaped at the same dimensions as the fretboard....so a taper all the way to the end. As the join needs wood to support it all the way around, there is a lip on the cutout side.......well, essentially the centreline is skewed toward the upper horn but leaving the back end in the same spot. You just end up with less space in the upper horn where the switch would have sat.

There are several versions of specials. Those with the Jr type neck attachment, and those with the typical LP keyed tenon. This latter method of course has an indented tenon so it ends up with the 3-sided support due to the lesser width.

Of course with the carved maple cap you would have a VERY ugly neck area if you tried the Jr style tenon. But its a more time-consuming/finicky process to make as well. Hence it being used for the more expensive models.
This!

So, I guess you could say having a shelf is more sought after just because the Juniors that come with it are "higher quality".
Actually, no.:D They're sought after because they are vintage wood, Kzoo built and kick ASSS, for being a lowly "student model". Remember the Junior was the bottom of the barrel (before the Melody Maker), and in reality, were just cut out, sanded, glued, painted, assembled, and shipped.

The "shelf method" is just gluing a neck in a pocket, whereas the "modern" with out are actually MORE labor intensive to fit a mortise and tenon joint, so I can't say that it would be a matter of "higher quality":)
 

tzd

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Messages
5,834
Reaction score
3,765
5 posts and no pics!!! Can someone post some pics so I know what you're talking about?!
 

rjshare

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Messages
4,935
Reaction score
5,037
5 posts and no pics!!! Can someone post some pics so I know what you're talking about?!


See around the 17th fret in the cutaway there is a little bit of body stocking out? Well that's what we are talking about :thumb:
 

nimrod

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2014
Messages
157
Reaction score
200
The "shelf method" is just gluing a neck in a pocket, whereas the "modern" with out are actually MORE labor intensive to fit a mortise and tenon joint, so I can't say that it would be a matter of "higher quality":)
I put "higher quality" in quotes not because I think they are higher quality, but I know there are those out there who think that every modern Gibson sucks and every vintage is better build quality. I mean, everyone knows that a $2,000 Junior VOS is worlds apart from a $700 Junior regular-run.:rolleyes:
 

Harley90

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2013
Messages
162
Reaction score
98
Just an fyi, Hamer did this on their models (have the "shelf" that is) I think it was a bit more pronounced. At the time I remember it was for added strength, better tone or whatever. I didn't like it at the time but these were very much top shelf guitars.
 

rockstar232007

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2008
Messages
16,327
Reaction score
12,958
Modern USA Juniors/Specials = No "shelf".

Vintage/CS Reissues = "shelf".

As others have mentioned, the models that have the "shelf" are less time consuming to produce, and are only done so for historical-accuracy.
 

jeffy

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2010
Messages
1,566
Reaction score
814
Modern USA Juniors/Specials = No "shelf".

Vintage/CS Reissues = "shelf".

As others have mentioned, the models that have the "shelf" are less time consuming to produce, and are only done so for historical-accuracy.
To make things more confusing, here's an exception to the rule; The 2006-2012 Billie Joe Armstrong Single-Cut Junior made by Gibson USA.



Then it's a whole other can of worms when you start talking about the tailpiece.
 




Top