deliver to carve out intense grooves—Jack
Bruce being the first that comes to mind.
The downfall to many short-scale basses is
that they aren’t known for having a ton of
upper-end cut. That said, Gibson’s baby-blue
rocker put that assumption to the test, and
won in a landslide.
Running into a TC Electronic Classic
450 head and matching 2x10 cabinet, the
Les Paul Junior DC’s neck humbucker
delivered a surprising amount of meaty high
end—and I do mean surprising. It wasn’t
sharp and bright—it was more of a thick,
rope-like grind that cut through like a
knife. The low end was huge and expansive,
aided by the neck’s short scale, which allows
the strings to vibrate with less tension. I
The appeal of this
bass comes not
only from its
simple, classic look,
but also from its
had to drop the neck pickup’s Volume control down about 1/4 turn from full-blast
to keep the sound at a manageable volume
level—otherwise, it was just overpowering.
The bridge pickup served up its own
spectrum of tones, leaning towards a round-
ed midrange and tighter lows. The output
wasn’t as hot as the neck pickup on its own,
but a slight blend with the neck pickup
poured out some delicious, late-’60s heavy-
rock tones. This is where some of the best
sounds from this bass originate—setting up
the basic tone with the amp and the bridge
pickup alone, and then gradually bringing
in the neck pickup to fill in the extra space.
As I worked through various levels of pick-
up mixing, I came across a really cool John
Paul Jones-esque rock tone just by working
with the neck pickup’s volume to get vary-
ing degrees of dynamics. Bringing in the
neck pickup more yielded a fat low end—à
la “Dazed and Confused”—and dropping
it right after the iconic riff transformed the
tone into one that was perfect for the song’s
lead-heavy, driving chorus.
Short-scale basses are instruments that don’t
get nearly enough love from players. And
the Gibson Les Paul Junior DC is one that
deserves some serious attention—whether
you’re an experienced bassist or a guitarist
looking to transition to the 4-string. On a
short-scale model, the low end can be much
wider and stronger than what’s normally
heard from longer-scale basses, so keeping
an eye on your amp’s bass control is a must.
If you’re after a comfortable bass with a cool
look and killer rock tones, it’s a must look.
you’re a bassist in need of bigger
lows or a guitarist who wants a bass
with somewhat the same feel as
the high-tension feel and snap of a
long-scale bass is what’s needed.
or use a mobile device to watch a
video review of the bass at