Jay Turser JT-55P

Based on one of Gibson’s all-time coolest designs, the JT-55P ($349 retail/$229 street features a double cutaway mahogany body and a set maple neck that sports a rosewood fretboard.
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The gloss black finish looks sharp, and the abalone headstock inlays and position dots are exceptionally clean. The only downers are the control cavity—which reveals roughness around the cover plate and sloppy soldering inside—the plastic nut’s imperfect fit, and the excessive amount of white filler in the fretboard’s grain. In other regards, however, the JT-55P stands up well to scrutiny. The polished frets are evenly seated and their ends are almost impossible to detect. The chrome-plated hardware is very solid, and the slim neck feels great in your hand. A bit lower action is all that’s needed to make this guitar a nice player.

Weighing in at 6.1 lbs—a smidgen lighter than my ’61 Gibson SG/Les Paul Junior—the JT-55P combines both the comfort and resonant sonic qualities that endear this type of guitar to so many players. The P-90 style single- coil pickups really bring out the sparkle that so eludes humbuckers, while infusing the JT-55P with good presence and enough output to overdrive an amp’s front end. The distortion tones have that ballsy brightness that P-90s are famous for, and the edge isn’t rolled off when you turn down. This dynamic rock guitar is a good choice for anyone seeking a low-cost SG Special alternative.

Kudos Cool tones. Good playability.

Concerns Minor construction flaws.

Contact Jay Turser Guitars, (800) 431-6699; jayturser.com