Don"t wanna be an American idiot? climate strap on billie Joe Armstrong"s signature model...

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£1615$1799

ByMusic Radar Team03 January 2008


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Okay, it"s a one-trick pony, yet it does the trick really well indeed; expensive it may be, however there"s no denying the Armstrong"s charms.


ConsExpensive. Some may not prefer the environment-friendly Day styling. Some might not have the ability to find the green Day styling...

Okay, it"s a one-trick pony, however it does the trick really well indeed; high-quality it may be, however there"s no denying the Armstrong"s charms.


Cons- Expensive. Some might not choose the environment-friendly Day styling. Some might not be able to find the eco-friendly Day styling...




Green Day"s billie Joe Armstrong has always been a great songwriter, but it wasn"t until 2004"s American you are fool album the he became a bona fide rock "n" roll icon.His key instrument soon obtained star status too - a 1956 Gibson Les Paul small affectionately reffered to together "Floyd". Never one to miss out on a marketing opportunity, Gibson soon suggested a signature axe based upon Floyd. 2 years on, the billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul small arrived.


When Gibson presented the small in 1954, the an easy concept to be to offer a an easy and cheap sports of the Les Paul to the college student market. Ago then the junior retailed for simply $99. Half a century later, it"s ballooned to a grand and a half.So yes, this is a huge investment (especially when you consider that the Epiphone Juniors begin at £139) because that a "simple" electric, yet it still prices less 보다 the custom Shop "57 and "58 reissues that are currently the just Gibson-made alternatives. Back in 2004, Armstrong claimed that if the did endorse a guitar, "it would be simple - one pickup, no switches, simply one point where you can crank it and it would be loud." and also we"re pleased to say the he"s been true to his word.

The body

Although Gibson launched twin cutaway Juniors in 1958, the environment-friendly Day male reckons castle "don"t sound as great as the solitary cutaway" and also has plumped for the initial as the basic of his signature model. The human body couldn"t it is in simpler; a slice of mahogany that looks choose a Les Paul top top the Atkins Diet. No contours. No maple caps. No embellishments. Nothing to interrupt the virginal white surface ar bar a black color pickguard and also master volume/tone pots. Whether this is minimalist or just plain boring, it"s totally your call.


The billie Joe small is easily accessible in three various finishes and it"s a more important decision than you could think. Below on our standard White junior you obtain an ebony fingerboard (both the Vintage Sunburst and Ebony versions use the an ext run-of-the-mill rosewood). In ~ the very same time there is the slim drawback the we"re lumbered v black volume pots (the others have cooler amber regulate knobs). Ultimately, whichever finish you pick you get the very same nickel hardware (like the initial Juniors, the hardware consists of a wraparound bridge and also white-buttoned tuners) and also a cool leopardskin-lined hard case.

As is signature design protocol, Armstrong has scrawled his signature top top the earlier of the headstock, which is the only noticeable Day reference point. So it"s good for non-Green work fans, too.

So far, therefore 1950s. It"s not till you check out the Junior"s solitary pickup in the bridge place that you"re dragged kicking and also screaming right into the noughties. It might look specifically like the "dog-ear" P-90s the featured top top the an initial Junior guitars, yet the spec paper reveals this is in reality Gibson"s stacked double-coil H-90, designed come iron out all the interference that was the achilles hoe of the initial model. "It"s kinda based on the P-90," confirms Armstrong, "but it"s hum-cancelling, so you have the right to play it onstage and crank the with lots of distortion. Girlfriend just gain to hear what the etc sounds like."


As anyone native The Clash"s Mick Jones come Dirty pretty Things" Carl Bârat will tell you, Les Paul Juniors aren"t expected to look at pristine. This etc is a clip of punk-rock and should be play in sweaty basements and carried home in a binliner. The good news is the whether you choose to chip a bit of paint off the billie Joe Junior because that authenticity or stick v its immaculate united state finish, us don"t see any kind of structural troubles in the pipeline.

For one thing, the neck is collection too deep into the body (it hits at the 16th fret) to warp or snap under normal playing conditions. And also for another, the leg configuration is as well simplistic to walk wrong. The only potential deathtrap we deserve to envisage is the mix of the angled headstock and the small strap nubbins (we were using a relatively standard strap and also the guitar fell off a couple of times throughout our review). So prevent tears through investing in a couple of strap locks.

That said, at the very least the Junior is among the lighter members the the Gibson family, particularly when contrasted to that is Les Paul sibling. Us played it because that two hours without acquisition a break and you should be able to make it v a ideal gig there is no buggering up your spinal column. Besides which, the billy Joe junior is comfortable whereby it counts - up and down the length of the neck and fingerboard.

The slim-taper "60s file neck combines superbly v a narrow than typical nut profile (1.687") and also a gorgeous fretboard to make rapid runs really easy. Many thanks to a standard Gibson 24" range length, bending, squeezing and adding vibrato to the Junior"s strings likewise feels herbal and allows for much more than Armstrong"s trademark powerchords. OK, therefore the Les Paul Junior has actually never been a shred machine, but it plays fast enough to be offered by the likes that Billy Corgan and Gary Moore, so friend shouldn"t have any kind of problems.

SoundsWhen it concerns tone, the Gibson Les Paul junior has constantly enjoyed a reputation as an uncomplicated rock "n" role workhorse, finest played with a high-gain valve amp. In our experience these guitars sound crunchy, brittle and rasping; the type of tone that Libertines fans would certainly kill for and also Eric Clapton would run a mile from. Armstrong has actually his very own description: "The sound i go because that is that real punchy mid-range kinda sound," the explains. "The an initial time ns picked increase a Junior, which to be the etc I now call Floyd, i plugged it in and it to be the sound I"d heard in my head for so plenty of years. They just have actually a actual rock "n" roll sound. You can really listen the sound that the wood."

Upon cranking the billie Joe Junior v a Marshall (the frontman"s amp that choice), the explanation provides a lot an ext sense. As soon as you dial up a gentle distortion there"s an essential sound come this guitar that appears to bypass the H-90 pickup and give friend the unadulterated ton of the mahogany body and neck instead. Press the acquire dial a tiny harder, meanwhile, and also you will bring in the ragged quality that small nuts have constantly raved about. Granted it"s no a smooth or subtle tone, doesn"t acquire close come the sustain of the full-size Les Paul and wouldn"t be much use come anyone interested in starting up one Allman brother tribute band. However for a gig in a sweatbox venue, or slicing with a murky mixing board, you won"t discover anything better.

Let"s not pop the champagne rather yet, though. As we feared, the billy Joe junior is not a specifically versatile guitar. The tone control tries its best to include diversity (and a decent amp help in this respect), however the absence of a neck pickup inevitably means that girlfriend will find other axes "fill the room" an ext convincingly.

And with surprisingly few tips that the hat to the environment-friendly Day frontman your audience could not also realise the you"re rocking a signature model. To the naked eye, it"s a textbook Les Paul Junior. Very cool, of course, yet hardly the stuff of revolution.

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Still, this together an instrument rather than a fashion accessory. And, although expensive, because that tone, build and also comfort that you"d need to be a basket situation not to evaluate it.