Possible NGD - '56 Les Paul Junior - Ideas?

'Hege

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I have a friend who works at a local large retailer. Whenever he gets something special traded in, guitar, amp, pedal, he’ll take a break and call me to see if I am interested. If yes, I will put down some amount for a 30 day layaway, and then spend the following Sunday at the store with my tools doing my diligence.
Gives me at least 30 days to establish what I can about the item before totally committing, and a few opportunities to light her up and see what she’s got… with a number of amp choices.

Case In point, he calls me last Sunday afternoon (now yesterday), a trade in of a 1956 LP Junior Sunburst #6123xx, not in original case, but in what looks to be nice condition. Fat neck, sends me a couple photos, shown here, and I so I do a down payment to put it on layaway.

I’ll be taking a close look under the hood next Sunday, and will have the old UV light and small tools in hand. I read something about the “leaning posts” and I see that this one has not had the pickup relocated away from the posts, that move apparently in early ’56 to avoid breakout at the post on the treble side. So maybe a really early ’56?

I would appreciate any thoughts, ideas, things to look for, caveats, from the experts here as I move forward. I know there are quite a few Junior champions/experts/lovers here.

It might be my first guitar from the 50’s. At least the Juniors are not too outrageous in price. Many in my collection came to me this way, the old “call on the sly”. Sometimes a retailer, sometimes a pawn shop, sometimes a buddy “who knows someone” selling a guitar.

I am one of the lucky ones whose wife is totally supportive of my habit(s), for the record!

Could be $2 for the brag jar there, I realize. Possible incoming ’56 LP Jr. AND a supportive wife.

IMG_5193 lo res.jpg
612311 lo res.jpg
IMG_5191 lo res.jpg
Thanks!
 

yamariv

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Wow, she looks really nice actually!! That's quite the buddy who gave you a heads up on a score like that! :dude:

When you go see it take pics of all angles and post them on here with any concerns you may have and we'll take a look for you. From what I see she looks to be nice and original. Curious to see pics of the control cavity and the underside of the P90 to authenticate it as 50's.

As for the posts leaning, once you get it just pick up a repro set of 1 inch long studs and bushings and pull the short bushings "if still original" out and insert the longer ones. Juniors of that time should already be drilled 1 inch deep from the factory (go figure..) You can get a nice set from Mojo Axe and other places (no affiliation, just a happy customer)

BTW, if it plays and sounds nice do it! You won't regret having a nice Vintage Junior in your arsenal :applause:I expected mine to sound good but was really blown away by the sound and feel of my old girl, she's a rock beast!

Keep us posted!
 

jvin248

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.

Nearly same age, this video convinced me I needed a Junior in the fleet (I have lesser friends though).

.
 

bossaddict

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The tuners are non-original, but it looks really nice overall. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
 

decoy205

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It looks straight from the pics not that I’m an expert. I wouldn’t worry too much about the bridge location I’ve spent years playing my buddies 55 and it was a fantastic guitar even with a headstock repair. Juniors are great great guitars. If you bond with it and it seems legit and the price works grab it you won’t be disappointed.
 

Left Paw

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Serial number denotes later 1956 production. Tuners should be single line Klusons, but the ones on it aren't repros but rather from the mid-sixties. May have been put on a while back when the original buttons shrunk and there were no replacements available. Otherwise looks like a nice straight guitar to me.
 

zombiwoof

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I had a '56 Junior and it had no problems with TP leaning, I read that they fixed that problem in '56, I don't know exactly when but mine was fine.
Al
 

'Hege

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Here’s a few photos from my first exploratory trip to see the new prospect.
I took it apart first, taking photos as I did so. Hope you all enjoy these, and hopefully some of the close ups will help with verification of what exactly I am considering.
Scratchplate? Single ply but thick.
Truss rod looks correct, how about that cover? So thin compared to scratchplate.
Body Routing looks OK?
Control cavity, Jackplate, and P90 comments? No date codes but some markings, Bumblebee Cap, one solder joint possibly later than original (flux residue)?
Tailpiece?
Re-finish? The entire backside and neck glow under the UV light (see jackplate (3 ply?) photo) with the exception being the areas on the neck where the finish is down to the wood.
Re-Fret? The frets are pretty small and not worn. I ‘m pretty sure at least one re-fret, and the freftboard is grooved from gripping and bending over the decades. With the little frets I can feel the grooves. The feeling goes away after a few minutes of playing. Nice big chunky neck.

Please share any thoughts or ideas, please!

Thanks
Truss Rod.jpgTrus Cover and Screws.jpgIMG_5222.JPGtailpiece.jpgtailpiece2.jpgtailpiece3.jpgpickup and studs.jpgbody routing.jpgIMG_5233.JPGIMG_5235.JPGHeadstock angle.jpg
 

yamariv

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Wow brother, looks like you have a super nice "almost" all original Junior on your hands! From my full year of obsessive research before finding my 60 Junior here's my thoughts on it below.. I'm not sure of the price you agreed upon but if it's 5k USD or less I'd jump on that asap, I'd say in that condition with no breaks or refin it's worth between $5200-5400 in our market today. Have you confirmed it hasn't had a neck crack or break with the UV light yet?

Ok, to me everything looks correct except for the replacement nut. Does the truss rod work? It looks like you have alot of adjustment play left on it so that awesome! Bridge, P90 and wiring all look awesome. The solder looks untouched from factory on the volume pot, there's a weird not as clean blob on the tone pot but that could be factory too, just not as pretty. The P90 looks awesome and period correct and they did use Bumble Bee caps in 1956.. The pickup route looks awesome, to sure about the jack plate as there are great repros out there and the originals are prone to crack and be long gone.

Thanks for posting the pics and keeping us updated on this, it's nice when we hear back from the OP as we can tell our help is appreciated :dude:
 

'Hege

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...Thanks for posting the pics and keeping us updated on this, it's nice when we hear back from the OP as we can tell our help is appreciated :dude:
I'm such a lurker. This forum has provided me with immeasurable help over the few years I've been here. I was hoping that the pics would be enjoyed.
I took a hard look with a bright UV light, no evidence of any headstock repair, nothing untoward at the neck attach.
Yep, we're i the mid $5s on this one, lol I don't know why I'm sitting here pretending I'm not going to pull the trigger come 5/15.
I plugged in after re-assembly. Framus Dragon 100W, Crunch mode with gain about 10 o'clock, into a 4x12 closed back.
I was ready for it, but not PREPARED for the depth of this thing. Tone rolls of smoothly. But the Volume knob tells the story of the pickup. 1-3 nice and clean, 3-6 starts to grind, and from 7-10 it's like hitting a boost channel. beedle, beedle bwaaaAAAAHHHHH.
Holy cow do I get it now.
Got to pull out my Leslie West vinyl now and get to studyin' while I count the days.
Thanks yamariv
 

yamariv

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No probs Hege, I always love being able to pass on some knowledge and help out if I can! Like you, this forum has helped me immensely on my guitar/amp journey, awesome members on here for sure..

That's awesome to hear she sounded Huge, she sounds like a good one then for sure! Now after playing it, are you going to be able to hold out for another 3 weeks before bringing her home? :hmm:

When you do get her home, I'd recommend putting an Aged Mojo Axe intonated bridge on her and maybe ordering a repro jack plate to use and keep the original tucked away before it cracks. (No affiliation, just a very happy customer..) Also, looking at your pics, looks like your 56 doesn't have any post lean or cracking on the treble side stud which is awesome. 56 is the year they started to correct the problem, wonder if yours has the deep bushings in it or if it just got lucky with no post lean. You might want to eventually check a bushing to see what depth they are and put in the inch long ones to prevent any future damage if the half inch ones are currently in there.

Anyway, when you bring it home let us know! Cheers :)
 

'Hege

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And heck yeah I brought it home.

Mated up with a 1949 Gibson GA30 and Klon Pedal.

"Bleeding Tweed" would just about cover it. Great tone. Hahaha like they belong together!

Overall, just super happy with the flexibility using just vol and tone on the guitar. But it's making me work for it, as I have not really been a knob twiddler. Am now.

Worth every penny to my ears.

YMMV
IMG_5317.JPG
 

yamariv

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Woohooo, you finally did it..Happy New Vintage Junior Day!! :dude: I can't believe you were able to hold back for all that time while it was on layaway, you have more patience than me @'Hege !!

Glad she's treating you well and that she sounds great with the Vintage Amp, that's a nice pair right there! Play it and enjoy it brother!
 

Jack S.

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I've only played one SC junior. I was pretty blown away by it. I remember the neck being really big but still easy to play. Congrats on your score!
 

crashbelt

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Awesome - these are the most musically brutal guitars on the planet bar none - and that includes other 50s P90 guitars like LP Specials and double cut Juniors, of which I've had both.

All I've done with my 55 is to put in the longer bushings, a Mojoaxe aged intonating tailpiece, and repro tuners to save the originals.

These are incredible instruments for the right price. Mine was £3,500 4 years ago and is a well gigged keeper.
 




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