Single-pickup guitar review round-up: modern electrics vs 1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior

Modern single pickup electrics up against a genuine classic
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If you’re the sort of guitar player that likes multi-channel, multi-switching amps and MIDI-switching pedalboards that take up more space than a drum kit, you might wonder why on earth any player would latch on to an electric guitar with just one pickup? We’d wager the appeal lies in direct contrast to that: less is more.

Here, we take four, affordable modern single pickup electric guitars – the Fender Classic Series ’50s Esquire (£754), Eastwood Airline ’59 1P (£699), Fret-King Eclat DBC (£599) & Gordon-Smith GS-1 (£454) – and see how they compare to our benchmark tone monster: an original 1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior. The amp throughout is our house Vox AC15C1.

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Riccardo Alderigi says:

what kind of amp are you using?

Cool Rick says:

GS-1 got that Billy Gibbons vibe

Cameron Armstrong Music says:

dear god, do I ever want an old LP Junior

zack burchett says:

What a TASTY sounding old 6 string. (the paul) Love this guy’s playing as well, very soulful and ‘unforced’ if this makes sense. The second guy played well too, But not with the same touch as first guy.

Wadenkrang Guttenberg says:

neville get some cream on those raw hands of yours. damn you got them scrubbed to the bone

Eric Layton says:

The Gordon Smith is wreaking havoc with my GAS levels

The Walrus says:

i started playing guitar 2 months ago and my guitar that we had in our house for years only has one pickup, and i don’t like the feel of the volume and tone knobs because they’re jagged, but that’s the design i just don’t like. i want a new guitar, especially one that i found on that looks really cool, ANDDD the pickup has a weird feel when i pick different strings over it.

John Wayne says:

The angle the strings leave the nut on this guitar are hideous. Look at both E strings and the G&D

yeatzee7786 says:

amp sounds wonderful, wish I could get an AC15 to sound like that

Count Von D says:

So…brass saddles have more “bite” than steel saddles? Hmmmm….

James Krys says:

I have a Godin Redline 1. One EMG pickup and a volume control. You can find a few demos on You Tube. Fun guitar.

Dick Buttlington says:

Talk less, play more please.

TheTRUTH says:

Wait… did he just list a bunch of guitar players and forgot about Eddie?

boonexy says:

Look i get the whole “you can do anything sentiment” but you could make a longer video going over pickup combinations… just a bit too reverent

Lemonpi3 says:

Both of these guys are very well spoken without over doing the explanation, love the demo simple version. Neville is just pure class

Yonatan Nahmias says:

hi there first of all learned allot:)
second: the distortion is from a crancking amp or some distortion pedal ?
thanks allot 🙂

Wolverine's Bestie says:

Love that 57 Junior! I’d love one from 1955-57 in that TV yellow finish.

jay446944 says:

I’m looking for a starter guitar for my niece. Done some research but haven’t found out the difference between a P90 and a regular single coil. I don’t know much about guitars obviously myself.

cmgill2 says:

Had an early LP Jnr back in the day, it was wrapped in a towel in the back of the van as I didn’t have a case, the van rolled over 3 times on hidden bend coming back from a gig, most of the gear was smashed to bits but somehow there was not a scratch on the LP or any of us! Still kick myself for not holding on to that guitar.

Wade Guidry says:

Where’s the Hello Kitty Stratocaster?

gibbanz22 says:

Can i have them all?

william whitton says:

Neville has written many superb articles , particularly on blues playing,… here he shows how gorgeous a Junior can sound, …a superb player too, tasty , classy licks with beautiful vibrato & note choice… class.

Pico51 says:

how could the finish on an ELECTRIC guitar affect tone? It’s a breadboard with fancy wound wires… this is all that mythos building nonsense, based around :boodle: and naught else

Bernd Gantner says:

All guitars sound pretty similiar. It´s the hand that makes the sound, not the pickup.


Looks just like the Junior (even same year) as the one the guitarist in my old band had, 30 years ago. At one point, he had it in his guitar tech’s shop for maintenance when a nationally-known guitarist offered him $500 for it. My guitarist turned it down, as he should have. The sad part of this story is that a couple of years later when my guitarist fell on financial difficulties, he sold it to a nobody for $100. I was so mad he didn’t offer it to me! That guitar had the best sound, the best bite, crunch… that brittle sound I loved so much!

JCKnuckles says:

2 dudes virtually repeating each other

Pablo Rages says:

I have a 30 yo Gibson LP std and a cheapest of cheap epiphone LP jnr I got with Rocksmith …. and of course the Gibson is better …but the epiphone feels great to play and sounds fine ….really surprising for such a basic cheap guitar

James Will says:

I like the style of Gordon Smith GS-1. Well I like the idea of One Humbucker on the bridge, that’s not an metal/shred guitar, but does anyone know the quality of gsg? Price wise it seems like a cheap guitar, but how does it play? And if there is another good maker that makes a One Humbucker guitar on the bridge position that’s not a metal/shred guitar please tell me!!

Chuck Hutch says:

Lost in almost all these comments is the fact that they both would take the Esquire.

Luke Riegert says:

Should have thrown a PRS SE One into that mix, beautiful alternative to the costly LPJs

Evan Parker says:

maybe this whole video goes a little more in-depth than most would need, but the comparisons you make and the production quality of this video are both super awesome. nice work.

Classix1969 says:

the 57 sounds amazing…..but surely the intonation is a mile out ?

Slim Rhyno says:

Epic vid about the most overlooked guitar “platform,” the single-pickup guitar. Be still, my beating ❤.

Teachering says:

Love my Telecasters.

Myiphone5 says:

How many people strap on lollipops exactly?? O.O

Corentin R says:

What a tone with the ’57 Junior! I’m dreaming night and day about that guitar! The Vox amp makes that junior sound so amazing! Thanks a lot! Really nice videos by the way! Love from France!


The older I become, the more necessary simplicity and good quality materials and build become.

df2486 says:

On the Gordon-Smith GS-1, which pickup were you using, The P90? Great Info, Thanks

Injurylawyer says:

single pickup guitars are great but you can apply all these techniques to a multi-pickup guitar

Rubén CG says:

Just one question which amp was used during the demos? Very nice video, thanks.

Nathan Braswell says:

I finally understand what people mean when they say that tone is in the hands

TheMusicfan189 says:

I would pay ridiculous amounts of money for the 57 Junior oh my gooooddd

Albert Gutierrez says:

His voice! It can only be unenthusisastic synthaxe man

Jamie Bullock says:

Awesome video, learned a lot

Longview 164 says:

11:59 lollipop

Guitars AndJams says:

Great info, I play with the knobs on every guitar XD, all teh tonez

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