Reader Guitar of the Month: The Wolf

How one guitarist transformed a hunk of plywood into a P-90 tone monster modeled after a classic Les Paul Junior.


Name: Tim Bradley

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Guitar: The Wolf

I have an arsenal of axes, but I’ve never had a guitar loaded with a P-90—until now!

For years I’ve had my eye on a single-cutaway Les Paul Junior in TV Yellow: the simplicity, the single P-90, and the interesting color … supposedly it showed up as white on black-and-white TV. My fellow guitar player in my ’90s hard-rock cover band found a junker guitar body and gave it to me. It was in rough shape, but I got an idea: “Why not try to make a Junior?”

I started by stripping off the cheap, black polyurethane with a heat gun and scraper. Nasty stuff. Underneath, I discovered plywood.

I certainly could’ve bought a quality body, but I figured since the Junior was originally an entry-level instrument, why not keep going and see if I could turn this frog into a princess?

Once sanded, I used a Dremel tool to route the existing humbucker bridge pickup cavity to fit a P-90. Then I applied thick color coats (I wanted it as opaque as possible) and about 12 coats of clear gloss. After wet-sanding, buffing, and polishing, I was ready to assemble this plywood tone monster.

I’d spent basically nothing so far, so I splurged for high-quality internal components, including CTS 500k pots and 0.22 cap, a Switchcraft output jack, and vintage wiring. I wired up the electronics in vintage ’50s style, where the middle lug of the tone pot is grounded and the cap connects to the volume pot’s output lug. I highly recommend this!

Externally, eBay got me an aftermarket neck, wrap-around bridge, and vintage button-style tuners. Then I entered what I deemed to my wife as “shim hell,” as it took me a while to figure out what angle the neck should be (the original pocket was flat). And after some research, I found that a Les Paul Junior Tribute pickguard would do the trick to hide the neck pickup cavity.

The two final pieces-de-resistance were a Wolfetone Meaner P-90 pickup and wolf headstock decal (amazingly, it looks like mother-of-pearl inlay). Naming this single-coil scorcher of an axe wasn’t hard: This beast howls!

Send your guitar story to

An overachieving overdrive that gets way bigger than its name suggests.

Sweet balanced crunch tones. Dynamic. Sparkling, full, and clean at attenuated guitar volume. High-quality build.

Pretty expensive.


Great Eastern FX Small Speaker Overdrive


Overdrive pedals don’t often set my world alight—even great ones. But I’ve spent a month with the England-built Great Eastern FX Small Speaker Overdrive, and it remains attached to the other end of my coil-y cable. Ostensibly, the Small Speaker is meant to be a variation on the tweed-Fender-Champ-in-a-box theme. However, both the pedal’s name and the Champ associations fail to do justice to how large and alive it sounds and feels tethered to a bigger amp.

Read More Show less

Megadeth founder teams up with Gibson for his first acoustic guitar in the Dave Mustaine Collection.

Read More Show less

The bass wiz and author shares deep wisdom about bass, music, and more.

Read More Show less