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1953 Prototype Gibson Les Paul Junior 3/4 Short-Scale Electric Guitar #42980

Availability: In stock




BRAND: Gibson

MODEL: Les Paul Junior 3/4

FUNCTION: 1953 Gibson Les Paul Junior

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: This listing is for an ultra-rare all original 1953 Gibson Les Paul Junior 3/4 Scale electric guitar. 

We are selling the guitar for the second owner for whom it was gifted by his Grandmother in 1967 when he was 8 years old. Grandma bought the guitar at a family member's garage sale in 1960. The guitar has been in the same family since and is just now being presented for sale for the first time.

In 2017 the guitar was presented in pictures to George Gruhn of Gruhn's Guitars in Nashville for certification and valuation where he prepared a letter certifying his authentication and evaluation. That same year the guitar was taken to Norm's Rare Guitars where he too appraised the guitar for its originality. Those documents can be provided upon request and will be included with the sale.

In 2005 Vintage Guitar magazine featured on the cover what was believed to be the only 1953 Gibson Les Paul Junior Prototype in existence........ until now. Being that the guitar presented in this listing is a 3/4 size guitar, it still holds true that the LP Junior featured in that magazine is likely one-of-a-kind, and therefore, so is this one.

Most of the time, guitars such as these don't hit the open market as they get traded behind the scenes by high-end brokers and affluent collectors, so don't hesitate on this very rare opportunity to own this historical piece!

Excerpts taken from Geroge Gruhn's evaluation:

"The Gibson Les Paul Junior model debuted early in 1954. However, we have previously seen one other Gibson Les Paul Junior model electric guitar with physical characteristics like this one [The one featured in Vintage Guitar Magazine], both of which we assume to be early prototypes. Like the previous guitar, this instrument does not have a serial number. However, the potentiometer date manufacturing codes (volume 22nd week of 1953--Tone 20th week of 1952) are consistent with this guitar being originally assembled in mid to late 1953, as was the case with the other example. 

Other deviations from later production models include the following: a higher neck inset with a shallower neck angle, a slightly smaller "dog-eared" single-coil P-90 Pickup, a smaller pickguard that mimics the "gold top" Les Paul Model shape (attached directly to the body with four screws), and the finish is a rich "Cremona Brown" sunburst (also seen in a few early production models). Upon examination, we note that the frets have been dressed and there are some mild fingerboard divots. The finish exhibits typical deterioration with lacquer checking, small dings, surface scratches, compression marks and edge-chipping. The numerals "311" have been die-stamped into the end of the peghead....

In other respects, the instrument was made with a single-cutaway mahogany slab body, stud-mounted "wrap-around" bridge tailpiece assembly, two gold-colored speed knobs, mahogany neck, classic open-book peghead with gold silk-screened Gibson and "Les Paul Junior" logos, three on a strip Kluson tuners with white buttons, Brazillian rosewood fingerboard with Pearloid dot inlays, and nick plated metal hardware. We were unable to make an in-hand assessment of the pickup, potentiometers, capacitor, and wiring, but from the photos provided and for the purposes of this appraisal assume them to be correct." - George Gruhn


  • "Serial #" 311 (Die stamped on the very top of the headstock)
  • Finish/Color: BrownBurst/Mahogany
  • Weight: 7.30 lbs
  • Nut Width: 1.58"
  • Scale Length: 23"
  • Fretboard: Brazillian Rosewood
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Frets: 19
  • General Neck Shape: D
  • Pickup Configuration: single original P-90
  • Knob and Switch Configuration: Original Volume, Original Tone


  • Non-original hardshell case


  • Vintage Guitar Magazine with an article about the only other known 1953 LP Junior in existence. (2 copies will be included, one sealed and the other for reading)
  • Letters of Authenticity from Gruhn's Guitars and Norms Rare Guitars. 

PHYSICAL CONDITION: Very Good considering it's age. As mentioned in the description above, there are numerous scratches, dings, dents, and wear throughout the body and headstock. Overall the guitar is in good solid condition and easily playable. It does not have any modifications, repairs or non-original parts. The tuning pegs are dry and cracking but still mostly intact and stable as long as they are not touched. 

WORKING CONDITION: Very Good - Plays great! Sounds great! Pickup and controls are in perfect working order! Overall working condition is very good.



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