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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