Updated November 2, 2017: We’ve gone over this article to make sure it’s still up-to-date and relevant (which it is!) If you’re looking at this guitar, you might also want to read about another new, similar guitar from Epiphone, the SL1
This is a good full-sized beginner guitar for kids ages 11+. The Les Paul Junior was created by Epiphone (Gibson’s cheaper line of guitars) as a way for players to get an instrument that looks, sounds, and feels like a real Gibson Les Paul but at an affordable price.
Since a brand new Gibson Les Pauls can cost between $900 and $5000+, the Epiphone Les Paul Junior is a great option for beginners who want a quality guitar, but aren’t quite ready to spend a lot of money.
Some famous players of Les Paul Juniors include John Lennon (post Beatles), Keith Richards, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, and Paul Westerberg of the Replacements. As a little side note: If your kids happen to be into Rocksmith this is often recommend as one of the best to use, and is sold by Rocksmith as a bundle with the game (Read More: Kids and Rocksmith).
The body on the Les Paul Junior has the standard Les Paul shape, and it made of mahogany. Don’t be misled by the ‘Junior’ in the name, it is a full-sized guitar that is more lightweight than other Les Paul type models, so you really don’t want to buy this for anyone younger than 11 or 12 years old because it will be too big and uncomfortable to play. The LP Junior has only one pickup, and two controls: volume and tone, so not a lot of features here, but a lot of players appreciate this simplicity (guitars with this electronics setup are used by tons of professionals). You can get the Les Paul Junior in a number of nice colors – Alpine White, Cherry, Ebony, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Translucent Blue and Vintage Sunburst.
There aren’t really many features on the guitar, which actually makes it perfect for a beginner. The simplicity makes it simple, and fun to play. I also like this model for a young teen because it’s very light compared to some of the other Les Paul styles, the light weight adds to its playability for kids and teens.
The Junior is known for its good tone and intonation. That just means that it says in tune well and sounds really good. There is only one pickup on this guitar, so you might get a huge range of tones, but for a beginner this really isn’t something to worry about.
As I mentioned above there is only one pickup, but it’s a decent quality one, and it sounds really good – surprisingly good for the price of this guitar. The rest of the electronics are very solid for a guitar in this price range.
Frets on the Junior are generally well dressed (not something that can be said for all budget guitars). The neck is smooth and easy to play.
Things to look out for with The Les Paul Junior
As a beginner guitar there isn’t really much to complain about with the Epiphone Les Paul Jr. Some people might have minor qualms with the quality of the tuners, but the standard criticisms (cheap tuners, don’t like the strings, poor pickup, etc. ) are pretty superficial and can be fixed or upgraded very easily.
This is a perfect full size starter guitar. Kids and teens who are just starting out can really do well with the model. Its lightweight, so it’s comfortable to play, and beginners can learn how to do basic repairs, cleaning and string replacement without worrying that they are going to damage a $400 or $500 guitar.
It has the classic Les Paul styling, so it looks great, and the set-up, workmanship, finish and hardware are all really impressive for this price range. Are you getting the same quality as a $3000 Gibson Les Paul? No, but you’re getting pretty great quality for the price.
This is a very good first guitar for the price, and it’s perfect for kids who want a nice, simple electric guitar. It’s still affordable enough for parents who don’t want to spend too much in case their child loses interest in playing though, which makes it a pretty safe purchase for kids 11+ who can hold a full-size guitar.
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Specifications – Epiphone Les Paul Junior
Fretboard- Rosewood with dot inlays
Frets- 22 medium-jumbo
Bridge Pickup -Epiphone 700T humbucker
Controls- Master Volume and Master Tone
Bridge/Tailpiece- Combination Epiphone wrap-around StopBar™ bridge and tailpiece Hardware: Nickel
Machine Heads- Premium die-cast tuners 14:1
Color,- Alpine White, Cherry, ebony, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Translucent Blue and Vintage Sunburst
Read More: How to Find the Best Electric Guitar for Your Child