1970’s Ibanez Les Paul Jr.

A beautiful (tho slightly relic’d) example of Ibanez’s 70’s Gibson copies.

Back in my early Sixfthick days, Dan our guitarist was trying to find his ideal guitar to play in the band. He tried a few (very) cheap Tele’s, then a Gonzales all maple Les Paul (which was mine) and an Ibanez Jet King. But he really liked my vintage ’62 Epiphone Olympic which I had fitted with a mini Firebird humbucker. The sound had the cut to slice through the mix but still had bottom end thanks to the mahogany body. After playing it live for a few months, I noticed that the delicate finish on the Epiphone wasn’t holding up to the rigors of playing in a cane punk band so I told Dan that the Epi was getting retired from live Hick use. We needed to find a replacement.

We were playing a gig in Sydney and as we had a day to kill, I hit the guitar shops. In a shop on King Street, Newtown I found a beautiful 70’s Ibanez Les Paul Junior. The scratch plate was shot (looked like the material had disintegrated) but it played GREAT and the price was right.

The body looked to be one piece mahogany (or maybe 2, but expertly matched) with a beautiful grain that any Gibson owner would kill for.The weight is perfect too, light and easy on the neck.

Also, the neck profile was fantastic. Really thin and flat, almost like a 1960 Gibson SG. Dan liked it, so he bought it and pressed it into Hick service for a while.

Photo by Karen Hoyer

These guitars really are hidden treasures. Unlike some of Ibanez’s cheaper Gibson-type guitars, this was a true copy. No bolt on neck or funny inlays. The workmanship is first class. There’s not one bit of this guitar that Ibanez cut corners with. The set in neck is expertly done and solid as a rock.

As mentioned previously, that scratch plate had sh!t itself. Tym Guitars epoxied the back to give it a few more years use, but in the last year, thanks to Queensland’s 90% humidity, it finally died in an explosion of toffee coloured shards.

As this is a lawsuit Ibanez, it features the lawsuit headstock complete with the original (and my favourite) Ibanez logo. (Excuse the dust and missing string… this guitar hasn’t seen any action for a while.) Also note the original Ibanez Star tuners and ‘Super 70’s’ & Made In Japan sticker. This Ibanez is fantastically original.

This Les Paul had some fun times in the Hick, including a Sydney gig where Aussie swamp rock legend Spencer P. Jones borrowed it for a solo show.

Photo by Karen Hoyer

Soon after buying this, Dan bought a 90’s Gibson Les Paul Junior (single cutaway) and fitted a mini Firebird humbucker to it to match the sound of my Epiphone. This became his main guitar for the next few years and the Ibanez was packed away in his cupboard.