player grade vintage Jr. or special - worth to buy??

idnotbe

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considering they are cheaper than Historic reissue, it's cool to have one.
but cannot pull the trigger yet, because of the concerns such as...


- how can i verify they are genuine??

in many cases, they are modified / refinished which makes it hard to see the genuineness.
and they are is too cheap to appraise with the expert.

- are they better instruments than Historic reissue?
for ex, better acoustic resonance??

- how does the modification / repair / refinish affect the tone and the playability?
for ex, shouldn't i buy the neck repaired one?

- how can i hedge the risk of the used instrument?
for ex, bad neck condition which cannot be cured by refretting / dressing / leveling...

- how much is the right price?


here are some examples...

https://reverb.com/item/1814691-vintage-1960-gibson-les-paul-special-tv-yellow-double-cutaway

https://reverb.com/item/2005687-gibson-les-paul-special-1960-vintage-cherry-red-electric-guitar

https://reverb.com/item/2133941-gibson-les-paul-special-1957-mahogany-stain

https://reverb.com/item/1745180-gibson-les-paul-special-1959-player-or-for-restoration

https://reverb.com/item/2059321-1959-gibson-les-paul-special


plz give me your advice based on your experience.
 

Jumping@shadows

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Short answer- YES, these are killer vintage LP's, and you know I've had my fair share :)
I would avoid double cuts with heel issues, and stick with beater single cuts, and I'll be happy to assist with any authentication :)
 

yeti

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If it was me I'd buy the cleanest old junior you can afford, provided you like how it sounds and plays. They aren't cheap guitars but the are among the few vintage guitars where current pricing reflects their intrinsic value as instruments pretty well. In other words, you're NOT paying for intangibles that have distorted (IMHO) the pricing of so many Les Paul variants.
PLus I feel that your investment will be reasonably safe.
 

Jimmi

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If it was me I'd buy the cleanest old junior you can afford, provided you like how it sounds and plays. They aren't cheap guitars but the are among the few vintage guitars where current pricing reflects their intrinsic value as instruments pretty well. In other words, you're NOT paying for intangibles that have distorted (IMHO) the pricing of so many Les Paul variants.
PLus I feel that your investment will be reasonably safe.

I think player grade wrap tails are pretty reasonably priced right now as are player grade 50s Customs.
 

old mark

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I agree with buying single cuts, not too modded, and original pickups for sure.
BUT I have 2 2010 / '11 Juniors and I love them both...got them cheap and used from GC online.

 

reedy

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The only thing I would add to the above advice is make sure to really play it before buying it. I like DC juniors myself and I've noticed that there is some variation in the neck angle which can have an effect on the playability. I also wouldn't worry if one your looking at has a refret. In my opinion this is a maintenance issue unless you are looking for an investment grade collector piece and really shouldn't affect the price too much.
 

jeggz

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Find one with a reasonable headstock repair, original pickup, original finish and ya can't go wrong for less than $3500.
Unless it's yellow, then it's less than 4K.
 

yeti

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I think player grade wrap tails are pretty reasonably priced right now as are player grade 50s Customs.
I know that you're correct in the context of vintage Gibsons but I'm speaking for those of us who, despite loving those guitars could never bring ourselves to pay 5figures for one, not even lowest of low 5 figures. The OP may be on a Historic budget, mid 4figures, if so a junior/ special is the way to go. If >10K is an option then by all means go the standard or Custom route.:)
 

ESchmidt

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It's a great plan. I just bought my first 1959 les Paul junior a few days ago. They are fantastic guitars. I got mine with a headstock repair. It's clearly visible but structurally sound. As long as the repair was done correctly I don't see it as an issue. Plus you can get the guitar much cheaper that way. Good luck on your hunt!
 

lewis_grey

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Speaking as someone who came from a Historic to owning a couple of player grade vintage Gibsons, I'd highly recommend it. They really do feel special things to own and definitely sound and feel different to anything new. There is some truth to that 'old wood' hype.

Here's what I ended up with....



Find the right one and do it!
 

renderit

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Having both Juniors and a Special I would lean towards getting a good grade Junior as opposed to a player grade Special. I kind of like my Juniors better. The Special above I would consider above player grade unless the electronics have been fiddled with or it has a break. It looks awesome.

And be on the lookout. I picked up a 63 (SG Type) Junior for $2500 that is in good condition because the Les Paul logo had been rubbed off (pretty common) they mis-identified the year! The thing absolutely kicks butt. All original.



 

Pete M

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I think you need to go case by case. Some of these player grade things will play like crap and I don't think I could live with some of those heel repairs. There are some real basket cases out there, but then I've seen quite a few good condition juniors and specials where the tailpiece is slammed to the body and makes me think there could be an issue with getting the action low enough.

Personally I would draw the line at anything worse than a well repaired headstock 'smile' break. I'd be looking for most of the original finish and pickups if possible. Stay away from solid colour refinishes. You want something where you can see the wood is all there. Replacement parts and other electronics don't really matter to me.

I think DCs are great guitars. It's difficult to compare with singlecuts as they almost have their own thing going on soundwise. It's just a shame so many (mostly Specials) have neck heel issues. Lots weren't exactly repaired in the most visually appealing or structurally sound way. Given the above I see more value in looking at juniors than Specials. Specials are usually too far gone at the low price range, and basket case SC specials are usually too expensive. DC Juniors seem to be the best bang for your buck maybe with a few minor issues that aren't deal breakers. I also like the early SG Juniors.
 

ajory72

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Wild-hare suggestion: what about an equivalent Epi like a Coronet?
Never new they existed pre 1960 !

I prefer the body and headstock shape to this 1959 model over the mid 1960's Coronets... [i'd change the volume/tone knobs though]



Very cool and SG like :)
 

capnjim

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I bought a players grade '57 special. I got conned and paid way too much.

I really wanted to hate the guitar as I kind of got burned....and wanted to unload it...But, and I am a guitar skeptic..there is something to that wonderful 50's hunk of mahogany.
I have tried several different pickups, and no matter what I put in it, there is a certain tone that rings through like no other guitar I have ever owned.

I finally splurged and bought a set of really good handmade P-90's and its honestly the best sounding and playing guitar I have ever owned.
Bottom line...the magic is in the wood.

Try to find a special or JR with non-original parts and make it your own.
Best of luck!!
 

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bossaddict

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Wild-hare suggestion: what about an equivalent Epi like a Coronet?
Never new they existed pre 1960 !

I prefer the body and headstock shape to this 1959 model over the mid 1960's Coronets... [i'd change the volume/tone knobs though]



Very cool and SG like :)
Coronets are great guitars, but keep in mind that they have a shorter scale than a Les Paul or SG Junior. Otherwise, they have very similar plus sides (solid Honduran mahogany body, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, single P-90, made in Kalamazoo, etc.).

I'm clearly more of a fan of the batwing headstock. ;)

 

idnotbe

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Short answer- YES, these are killer vintage LP's, and you know I've had my fair share :)
I would avoid double cuts with heel issues, and stick with beater single cuts, and I'll be happy to assist with any authentication :)
thanks Yukki !
btw... why do you prefer SC to DC?
 

Jumping@shadows

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My pleasure mate :)
I've had two '59 TV Specials and while they admittedly sounded incredible, the balance was off for me, and they felt rather 'cluttered', but more relevant to your OP, you'll never see a SC LPS with heel/neck problems and the vast majority of '59s with the pickup in the 'correct' position (i.e under the harmonic node like all but a handful of other Gibson guitars), have suffered some kind of issue, and with so little glueing surface and often seen wood damage, they're rarely repaired right.
 

Blacksheep

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I own and gig three vintage juniors and one special. I also have a CS DC Special.
I think the chances of getting burned with a fake are small simply because there's not that much profit margin for the faker.
To produce something that will fool a buyer who has done even a little homework would not be cost effective. There was a faked 59 TV on eBay last year but it was so badly done it was laughable.
And the answer to the SC vs DC Junior debate is simple: You need both.
As far as Specials are concerned, I wouldn't go for a DC pre the neck pickup move for the reasons Yuuki outlines.
 

Philuk

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I had a R9 and went to a Vintage Special and it really does sound amazing. It's had a refinish but that just adds to the mojo IMO.

Get one!
 


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