A few weeks ago I passed by a small music shop in a Viennese suburb and saw a 60€ Epiphone Les Paul Junior in the window (actually it was 69€ but the seller insisted to sell it for 60, I didn't object). I bought it because I want to design a kind of LP variation (you might have noticed this in the last sketches) and I needed to feel its balance - I never played a Les Paul, I'm not attracted to these guitars at all. So more or less I needed a template - also I had in the back of my mind that I'd like to customise a cheap guitar just for fun.
It's Epiphone's last discontinued Junior model with the zebra humbucker and it's astonishingly good for the price - the neck is of good quality, easy to play, straight, good finish, good fret work, tuners do their job - and the pickup is clear and powerful - this just confirms again that people who spit on China-made cheap models are merely being snobbish (when they are not racist). Only the wraparound bridge was badly set up but easy to fix...
And I had no remorse crudely modifying it it: I refinished it with white spray paint - it doesn't matter if the layer is too thin to last long, it will look even better once beaten -, put a Warman chrome dog-ear P90, also cheap but sounding nicely - the reviews I read about it didn't lie -, and adorned it with a Tom of Finland sticker (that I ordered in Thailand - not only it is hardly possible to find a non-old school pin-up decal, but when you do it's not around the corner...)
I really like my new little guitar, I tried something similar with a cheap First Act a few years ago but the neck was too thin, fretwork awful, and it sounded always quite weak, even with a new pickup. The Warman P90 sounds really good, clear and chiming when clean, sharp and agressive when dirty. Maybe I just needed to play on a P90 after all these years with humbuckers... I still have these Custom 77 pickups, for my next next project (the next will recycle the Junior humbucker, that I wouldn't leave unused...).