The Gibson Les Paul Special was designed as a model that sat between the regular Les Paul and the entry level Les Paul Junior. First offered in 1955, the initial single cutaway LP Special design was identical to the original Les Paul Junior introduced a year earlier. In fact the only differences between the Les Paul Junior and Les Paul Special are that the fingerboard is bound, it has two single coil pickups with controls for each one (four total knobs) and a three-way pickup switch.
This is a very nice example of the double-cutaway Les Paul Special from we think 1959. We say “we think” because the serial number has been obscured by a refinish treatment done long ago.
But we think this is from 1959 which was the last full year of production before the "Les Paul" designation was removed from this model. In 1960 Gibson catalogued this guitar as an "SG Special" although this body shape was still that of the LP Junior rather than its pointy-horned successor.
This Les Paul Special was made in Kalamazoo Michigan. It has a solid slab mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, and two killer P-90 pickups.
The headstock carries the pearl Gibson logo and the "Les Paul Special" designation with strip Kluson deluxe tuners. The fingerboard has a flattish profile but the neck retains a substantial feel - chunkier than some of 1960’s output from Kalamazoo. It sports a multi-ply bevelled-edge black celluloid pickguard and a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece with dog bone adjustable bridge. The arm of the Bigsby has been shortened to approx 5”.
This is a great all-around guitar - an effortless player suitable for rampaging rock & blues, but also suitable many other genres with some subtle use of the wonderfully sensitive volume and tone controls.
It is impossible to see serial numbers on the pots but everything appears to be undisturbed in the control cavity. The P-90 pickups sound wonderful.
There is some light finish wear overall, but the lacquer is in excellent condition. It is a rich vintage white lacquer refinish done long ago, but we know not by whom.
The bound fingerboard has no divots and plays beautifully. We think this one has had a pro refret as the frets are in very good shape with little wear showing.
As Gibson solid bodies from the 1950's and early '60's become ever rarer, the two-pickup Special represents a great opportunity to own a "Golden Era" Gibson solidbody.
It includes a very nice reproduction Lifton hard case in excellent condition.