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Lennon's Junior


New member
Dec 31, 2005
Can anyone tell me about the Junior that John Lennon played in 1972 at Madison Square Garden? It appears to have had a Charlie Christian pickup installed in the neck position. Since this was the early 70s, I'm assuming that this was a genuine Christian pickup. So would the body have had to be routed to accomodate the long magnet?


New member
Jul 3, 2006
I am sure most really know the history of Lennons guitar :

"When I ( Ron DeMarino )got the Les Paul Junior from John, it was in its original factory condition Tobacco Sunburst finish, single P 90 pickup, wraparound tail piece, and Kluson tuners, but he wanted it modified. He didn't know much about guitars. For instance, he wanted a guitar with "humberdincker" pickups in it. Obviously he was referring to humbucker pickups, but he didn't know. He would say, 'I'm a rhythmer, you know? I don't know anything about these things.' I would try to talk him into getting a better sound out of this or that like, 'Why don't you put these pickups in? You'll get a better sound.'

That's when we did his Les Paul Junior, and I put a Charlie Christian pickup in."We put it in the neck position," says DeMarino. "Installing the Charlie Christian pickup involved extensive routing and major modification to the back of the guitar. We left the Gibson P 90 pickup in the guitar and added a toggle switch wired for pickup selection.

When I got the guitar back to John he liked the way it sounded."Co-hosting with Mike Douglas John and Yoko co hosted The Mike Douglas Show on American television, February 14 18, 1972. One of Lennon's guests was his hero Chuck Berry. John used his newly modified Tobacco Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Junior with the Charlie Christian pickup when he jammed with the great Chuck Berry as the two performed "Johnny B. Goode" and "Memphis."More LP mods Soon after, DeMarino again received the Les Paul Junior back from Lennon for more modifications. "John liked the way the Junior played and sounded but he thought it didn't stay in tune," DeMarino says. "We talked about it, and I decided to remove the wraparound tailpiece, plug the holes, and install a Gibson Tune O Matic bridge with a stop tailpiece. I also took off the old Kluson tuning pegs and put on a new set of tuners. Nobody thought twice about modifying an old guitar in those days. It wasn't like today, where guys are worried about wrecking the value of a vintage guitar. We would just do whatever had to be done to make a guitar function better. And that's what I did with his Les Paul Junior.

John also asked me to sand off the Sunburst Finish and put the guitar to bare wood, the mahogany. That's the last I worked on it. I think he liked the guitar because he ended up using it at the big show they did in New York at the Garden."JL at MSG On August 30, 1972 John Lennon used his customized Gibson Les Paul Junior in its new raw wood modified state during his famous live performance at New York's Madison Square Garden to benefit the One to One Organization, a group that helped mentally retarded children.

This is how John Lennon's modified Gibson Les Paul Junior exists to this day. It is part of the Lennon estate and is currently on display at the John Lennon Museum in Japan.



Well-known member
Jun 27, 2003
I saw it up close and personal about 12 years ago. It is an original C.C. Pickup. I've found the Loller version to sound very close to the old one's. I haven't tried Seymour's but I bet it's spot on. The Lollar was a bit smaller in size. No much smaller but I think it was just the size of the top bobbin. I know the Loller reads about 4K d.c.