Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special


This is actually a detailed copy of a Les Paul Special with Junior styling, handmade by Charleston, SC guitar maker Joe Wilson. Or is it?

I have always been a Tele guy, but now and then I get it in my head that something else is what I really need...like a Junior. I’ve always thought that maybe a Junior would be cool. Ever since I saw Paul Westerberg playing one through a Vox AC 30 head with seperate cab I have envisioned owning one. But I also like the two pick-up configuration of the Special. So, one day while perusing eBay I came across this handmade guitar, owned by a guy who had the same thoughts I did. The pickguard on a Special is not as cool as a Junior, but two pickups are better than one. So, according to the auction, he enlisted the skill of Joe Wilson, who has built guitars for members of Alabama, and has a great reputation for working on high-end instruments (just click here to read about him). Evidently Joe built this guitar and even included real Gibson logos and parts. Not sure if you’re supposed to do that kind of thing really...I know Bill Nash had some legal troubles with Fender...but they’re there. You’d never know it wasn’t authentic if you aren’t one of those experts that get nitpicky about the details. Now, I say it was “evidently” built by Joe because some time later I decided to sell it...it just didn’t turn out to be my thing.

I called Joe Wilson at Shem Creek Vintage Guitars and let him know I was the owner of this guitar he had made. He was actually very gruff and short with me and claimed he never built the guitar. I emailed the original owner of the guitar and asked him what the deal was and he assured me that Joe built the guitar and perhaps he was a little hesitant to admit it to a stranger because of the overt Gibson copyright infractions.

It was a great playing guitar and really did capture that Junior sound. I think it was the feel of the instrument that didn’t click with me. I sold it for what I paid for it and I was happy with that. Again, this is a rare instance of not really being able to honestly say "I wish I had that one back." And that’s okay.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joe Wilson has been building counterfeit guitars for years. He claims that he doesn't build them, but if you wave some cash at him he will. I am suprised that he has not been sued by Gibson or Fender yet. I would not recommend this "luthier" to anybody.

Keith B. said...

I agree with what the other person posted about Joe Wilson. I would recommend look elsewhere for guitar repairs.

Mark K. said...

Joe Wilson and Bryn Wilson are the biggest jokes in Charleston. They should be selling used cars instead of fixing guitars.

Jacob Poole said...

Does he sell them for the same prices? If they're discounted then it wouldn't matter.I've taken a few of my guitars to him and he does great work.

Mark K. said...

Jacob Poole said...
Does he sell them for the same prices? If they're discounted then it wouldn't matter.I've taken a few of my guitars to him and he does great work.

Yes it would matter. A discounted price does not change the fact. You would still be purchasing what you would beleieve is a genuine Fender, Gibson, or Gretch instrument, when it a misrepresentation of an authentic guitar. Copyright infringements come into play here.

Anonymous said...

Joe Wilson still around? I remember people getting ripped off by him and his son Bryn since the 80's. I guess he is just ripping off the "vintage crowd" that live in Mt. Pleasant. I guess a shark goes where the prey is plentiful.

Anonymous said...

STAY AWAY FROM JOE WILSON SALES & REPAIR if you value your guitar and money! Joe Wilson is TOTALLY DISHONEST. I paid him $450 to repair two guitars that he wrecked, They're now unplayable. He then tried to sell me a guitar for more than thousand dollars that I could buy the same axe from Elderly Instruments or E-Bay. His was probably a counterfeit too.