The Gibson Les Paul Junior and Studio models are very similarly priced, but they are actually quite different guitars and will suit different types of players. In this article, I’ll compare the tone, features, feel and looks of both Les Paul models so you can decide which is the best electric guitar for you.
The Quick Answer
The Gibson Les Paul Studio has two humbucker pickups whereas the Les Paul Junior has a single P90 pickup located in the bridge position. The Studio is heavier but has a slimmer neck profile compared to the Junior. Both models cost approximately $1600 in the USA and £1300 in the UK.
Here is a table highlighting the differences between the Les Paul Studio and Junior guitars.
|Feature||Gibson Les Paul Junior||Gibson Les Paul Studio|
|Pickup Configuration||Single P90||H-H|
|Pickups||P90 Dog-Ear||490R/ 498T|
|Neck Shape||Vintage ‘50s||Slim Taper|
|Inlays||Acrylic Dots||Acrylic Trapezoid|
|Tuning Machine||Vintage Deluxe||Kluson Style|
|Pickguard||Black/ Tortoise Shell||Black|
|Pickup Selector||None||Not Mounted (3-Way)|
|Control Style||Top Hats||Speed Knobs|
|Case||Hard Shell||Soft Shell|
|Average Price (USA)||$1600||$1600|
|Average Price (UK)||£1300||£1300|
Vintage Tobacco Sunburst
Pickups and Tone
The Gibson Les Paul Studio has two humbucker pickups, whereas the Junior has a single P90 pickup located in the bridge position. The humbuckers in the Studio model have a warmer and fuller tone with more bass and lower-mids compared to the brighter and thinner sounding P90 in the Junior.
The dual pickup configuration on the Studio makes it easier for the player to switch between tones easily using the 3-way pickup selector and individual tone and volume controls for each pickup. You can still get a range of tones out of the Junior by utilising the tone and volume control, but since it only has one pickup, the ability to change the tone quickly mid-song is limited.
The Studio also has a coil tap function which allows you to produce single-coil-type sounds by pulling up on the tone control. This adds even more versatility to the guitar and is a very useful feature to have if you don’t own another guitar with single coil pickups.
Check out these YouTube videos to hear sound demos of each guitar.
Feel and Playability
The Les Paul Junior is lighter than the Studio. The Junior does not have an weight-relief but has a flat and thinner body compared to the Studio and does not have a maple cap. The Les Paul Junior typically weighs around 7-7.5 lbs whereas the Studio weighs 8-8.5 lbs on average.
The Studio is heavier than the Junior but it’s ultra-modern weight relieved body makes it lighter than most other LP models including the Standard.
The LP Junior has a thicker feeling ’50s style neck compared to the slim taper neck profile on the Studio. The Junior suits players with larger hands looking for that vintage profile, whereas the Studio has a more modern feeling neck which will be better suited to players with smaller hands.
Both guitars have gloss finishes on the neck and body which feel slower to play on than satin finishes, but can be sanded down to achieve this effect.
The Junior and Studio have different bridge designs. The Studio has a tune-o-matic bridge which is seen on most other LP models, whilst the Junior has a wrap-around bridge which is less common. The wrap-around bridge improves sustain, however the tune-o-matic bridge makes it easier to get the correct intonation on the guitar. The hardware on the Junior is nickel plated and on the Studio it is chrome-plated.
There are also several cosmetic differences which make these guitars look very different. The obvious differences in appearance are due to the contrasting pickup configurations and the number of controls, but there are also some more subtle ones too.
- The Junior has dot fretboard inlays whilst the Studio has trapezoid inlays.
- Junior models have flat black/ tortoiseshell (depending on color) pickguard whereas the Studio has the classic angled pickguard, albeit in black compared to cream which is seen on most LP models.
- The Studio has speed knob style controls whereas the Junior has the more iconic top hat controls.
Another notable difference between the two cosmetically is the body shape. Although they both retain the classic single-cutaway design, the Studio has the classic curved top due to the maple cap, however the Junior has a flat top since it is just made from a slab of mahogany.
You also get different color options for both guitars:
- Junior: ebony and vintage tobacco sunburst.
- Studio: ebony, smokehouse sunburst, wine red and tangerine burst.
Images link to Amazon
Considering other LP models? Check out my complete guide to the Les Paul guitar range to learn more.
Despite there being many differences between the Junior and Studio guitars, there are also several similarities including the price.
Both the Gibson Les Paul Junior and Studio guitars have mahogany bodies and necks with rosewood fretboards. They have the same scale length, and 22 medium jumbo frets. Neither guitar has any binding and both have black controls and have left-handed versions available.
Here is a table summarising the similar features that both models share.
|Fret Size||Medium Jumbo|
|Nut Material||Graph Tech|
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