Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior Overview and Best Prices

Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior Review
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  • 1 Prices - Used from $1,400 >
  • From Gibson's 2020 Artist Collection series
  • Lukas Nelson Signature
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Gibson Alnico 3 P-90 Dogear (P90/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: (/)
  • Neck pickup: (/)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Speed knobs
  • Vintage Style Compensated Wraparound bridge
  • 50s Vintage Set neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Vintage Deluxe strip with white buttons tuners
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 73
Sound 69
Build quality 64
Value for money 64
Overall Score 69
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $3900, which means that the Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior is around 59% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in United States.

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User Feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Playability

The Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior meets 3 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior's construction favors people with relatively big hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior Scale Length Comparison
Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior Neck Profile
Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior's neck thickness is approximately 0.92'' (23.4mm) at the first fret, and 1.02'' (25.9mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Gibson website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a V type neck. This is a vintage type of neck that is not so common nowadays. Some people like it because they can rest their hand easily while letting their thumb hang over the edge of the fretboard. It's thicker than most modern necks, so it's great for playing chords but not so much for shredding.

However, Gibson tends to be inconsistent with the shape and thickness of their necks. So two instruments, even if they're the same model, might have necks that feel different. It's been like this for a long time, and other brands don't have this problem.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.75'' Scale Length
V Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
Asymmetrical Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.664'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior Nut Width
Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior Nut Width

The Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior Fret Size Comparison
Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 75
Solo Playability 60
Playability 73

Tone

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body, Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Mahogany Body and Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Gibson. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior's configuration is P90. These pickups are, in fact, single-coil pickups, although they look like humbuckers. They have more output than single coils, but less than Humbuckers. And the same thing could be said about their tone; they're not as warm as humbuckers but not as bright as single coils. This gives a lot of versatility to P90s, as they can be used for many different genres, but it's used more often by players looking for a vintage tone.

Like any other single-pickup-guitar, it should have good sustain since there will be less interference with the vibration of the strings because fewer pickups means less magnetic interference. However, you're stuck to one tone option, unless you use effect pedals.

Versatility

Naturally, the Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior doesn't come with a pickup selector because it's a single-pickup guitar. These instruments have less versatility, but they're good for practicing. Besides being cheaper, limiting yourself to a single-pickup guitar can help you improve by learning to control the tone with your technique and playing style. Things like playing further away from the bridge for a warmer tone, or plucking the strings fast for a snappy sound can help you become a better player.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Unfortunately, we didn't find information about the switching diagram for this guitar.

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with P90 configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Country or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 39
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 69

Build Quality

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior is made in United States. Guitars made in the USA have the reputation of being the best instruments you can get. This statement isn't as accurate as a few years ago, but you should still expect top-quality from a guitar made in this country.

Bridge

Vintage Style Compensated Wraparound: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior has a Ivory Tusq nut. This material is made to look, feel and sound like Ivory. It's made of organic polymers and doesn't contain oil or animal products. This is probably the highest quality nut you can get, so you can expect good tune stability and more clear tones when playing open strings. Most people seem to agree that it looks nicer than any plastic and even some bone nuts.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 51
Features 50
Quality Control 90
Build Quality 64

All Specs

Gibson Lukas Nelson 56 Les Paul Junior
General
Brand: Gibson
Year: 2020
Configuration: P90
Strings: 6
Made in: United States
Series: Artist Collection
Colors: Sunburst
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: Vintage Style Compensated Wraparound
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Vintage Deluxe strip with white buttons
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Acrylic Dots
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: 50s Vintage
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.92'' (23.4mm) - 12th Fret: 1.02'' (25.9mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Ivory Tusq
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs: Speed
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Gibson Alnico 3 P-90 Dogear (P90 / Passive)