When someone mentions "vintage Les Paul", it's hard not to think about an old Goldtop, Black Beauty, or...Burst. But in the canon of vintage electric guitars, one of the most heralded, identifiable, and unmistakably cool single-cuts to bear the Les Paul name is the Special model.
Introduced in 1955 following the prior-year release of the Les Paul Junior, the Les Paul Special features much of the design sense of the Junior, albeit in a two-pickup format with some elevated appointments like a bound fingerboard and inlaid Gibson headstock logo. The all-Mahogany slab-bodied six string offers up some added versatility with addition of the P90 neck pickup, essentially transplanting the electronics of the then Les Paul Standard model (Goldtop, cream P90s, and wraparound bridge) into a leaner style build.
The Limed Mahogany finish synonymously associated with "TV Yellow" is absolutely superb on this guitar, with some beautiful aging and lacquer checking throughout. The original color has mellowed out with more of an ambered tint, although the unaffected color can be seen quite clearly beneath the pickguard.
Neck profile is typical of the era as well, with a full C carve and a smooth taper up the neck. It feels worn-in in all the right places, though, and proves to be a very sweet playing neck despite the larger profile. The original small frets are leveled and still retain nice playability across the bound Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard, which has worn into a deep chocolatey color the way many of these Rosewood boards do. The original Black bonnet knobs and black plastics contrast wonderfully against the finish, with all age-appropriate aging throughout.
This Les Paul Special is ripe with acoustic energy - incredibly resonant with excellent sustain and a distinct attack that only a wraparound tailpiece seems to impart. This is the epitome of wraptail tone in our most humble opinion. Plugged in, the original P90 pickups are strong and well balanced, with great snap and a chirpy top end with great natural compression. This is especially evident when pushing it into a cranked up amp. The wiring harness is 100% stock with no modifications and all original solder joints, featuring the famous Bumblebee capacitors of the era.
While they don't come close to commanding the price of a vintage Goldtop or Burst these days, Les Paul Specials are worthy of all of the attention they get, and their consistent rise in the vintage market proves just how formidable an instrument they truly are. This '57 is an exceptional example of the 50s slab-bodied staple, plain and simple.
Condition: Very Good+. As complete a mid/late 50s LP Special as you'll see outside of a total case queen. Original finish, electronics, plastics, switch tip, and bridge. The tuners are vintage-correct Kluson replacements that function perfectly.
Priced with a non-original aftermarket hardshell case.
- Original Limed Mahogany 'TV' finish
- Original frets
- Mid/late 50s Neck Profile
- Profile Measurements: .92" @ 1st fret / .99" @ 12th fret
- Original soapbar P90 pickups: 7.94k Bridge / 7.84k Neck
- Original wiring harness with Bumblebee capacitors
- Original black bonnet control knobs
- Original Catalin switch tip, selector switch, and poker chip switch plate
- Replaced tuners - Kluson Deluxe single line tuners
- Weight: 8lb 5oz