The goal for the Les Paul Jr. was to have a high-quality guitar that was still affordable. This was achieved by stripping the Les Paul down to the basics: one pickup, one volume knob and tone knob. It was equipped with one P-90 dog ear pickup in the bridge. It was originally released in sunburst, but Gibson also introduced the TV version (a kind of yellow, also known as TV Yellow) for professional musicians, who would be featured playing the guitar on television; the yellow would look white on black and white television, without the glare of an actual white finish.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Les Paul Jr. became very popular because of its simplicity and distinguishable tone when played through a high gain amplifier. The P-90 pickup gave the guitar a distinct crunch that was desired by rock and blues players of the time, including Leslie West of Mountain, Luther Grosvenor (a.k.a. Ariel Bender) of Spooky Tooth and Mott the Hoople, and Johnny Thunders of The New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers. A Les Paul Junior also became John Lennon’s main guitar during his post-Beatles years.