Gibson has announced the arrival of the 2023 Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior – its latest signature guitar for the Green Day frontman.
The new model is fairly similar in spec to Armstrong’s 2018 signature LP Junior, featuring a mahogany body, a mahogany neck with Armstrong’s custom slim taper profile and a rosewood fingerboard. Elsewhere, you’ll find gloss nitrocellulose finishes (in Ebony or Silver Mist), a wraparound bridge and Vintage Deluxe tuners.
There are some crucial differences, though. The first and most important of these is the inclusion of a P-90 DC Dogear pickup, which replaces its predecessor’s ’57 Classic humbucker. This takes it much closer to Armstrong’s favorite Les Paul Juniors – the 1956 sunburst he dubs ‘Floyd’ and his black 1959 model.
“The single cut ’50s Les Paul Jr has been the root of my guitar tone for over 20 years,” says Armstrong. “Ever since I bought ‘Floyd’ my 1956 Sunburst Jr, in the early 2000s I have been addicted. It’s a simple, raw, and powerful guitar that has a sound that just can’t be beat! Plug it straight into any tube amp, crank it and it will roar!“
A large part of that is down to the updated P-90, which aims to channel the classic tone of the pickup, but uses a dual-coil design to reduce unwanted noise. Gibson describes it as a “modernized” take on the Sidewinder build developed by PAF pickup inventor Seth Lover in 1958.
Secondly, there’s been a few tweaks to the headstock end, namely a new Graph Tech nut and a truss rod cover that now carries Armstrong’s signature.
The third and final difference is the least consequential but most immediately noticeable: an offensively lurid pink hardshell case. Specifically, a rock-solid Gibson Protector case with luxurious leopard print plush lining. Naturally, we love it.
One last thing to note is the price, which has risen almost 60 percent compared with the 2018 model: from $1,399 to $2,199 for the 2023 edition. That’s a pretty sizeable swing, even with the custom case and new P-90.
So, thanks for nothing, inflation... on the plus side, if you spend your rent money on it, you can probably sleep in the case. That plush lining looks really comfortable.
If that feels like poor decision-making, you can always pick up the 2021 Epiphone Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior, which also features a P-90 pickup and is priced around $549.
For more information on the Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior, head to Gibson.