Gibson Les Paul TV Model Junior Solid Body Electric Guitar (1956)

Gibson  Les Paul TV Model Junior Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1956)
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Item # 10798
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Gibson Les Paul TV Model Junior Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1956), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 6-2799, limed mahogany finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original brown alligator chipboard case.

This is a great-sounding and nicely original example of one of the most sought-after of 1950s Gibsons today: the 1956 Les Paul "TV Model". This one features a fairly lightweight (7.37 LBs) mahogany body and a single, very punchy sounding P-90 pickup. This guitar has had some minor wear but the finish and fittings remain all original except for replaced buttons on the original Kluson Deluxe tuners.

The "TV" model is structurally the same as the Les Paul Junior, distinguished by a lighter "limed mahogany" finish on the body and neck instead of a dark sunburst and a "Les Paul TV Model" silkscreen on the headstock. This variant is quite a bit rarer than the standard sunburst version -- only 511 TV Models shipped in 1956 compared to over 3000 of the standard sunburst Juniors.

The "TV" designation supposedly refers to the increased visibility the light-finished guitar would offer on the flickering monochrome sets of the day. It seems a bit odd though, as this was marketed as a student model. Who might actually be seen playing it on television is an open question; maybe on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour?

The neck on this one has a typical round-backed '50s profile, but a bit slimmer and shallower than the later '50s models tend to be. The P-90 pickup is mounted under the "dogear" plastic cover right up under the strings, giving it a very powerful output. The wiring rig is untouched, topped off with the black numbered knobs typical of the mid/late '50s. The tuners are strip Kluson Deluxes, and the designation "Les Paul TV Model" is stenciled on the headstock under the Gibson logo.

As the name implies, the TV Junior was the most basic of Gibson's 1950s Les Paul line, with a single pickup, tone, and volume knobs, and simple bar bridge/tailpiece. This lack of complexity has stood it in good stead in the 1950s and beyond. While designed as a student guitar, the Junior has become justly renowned as one of the crunchiest and most powerful of straight rock guitars, with fantastic natural overdrive capabilities when paired with the right amp. The combination of the solid, thick mahogany body and neck with the single solidly mounted P-90 and bar bridge maximizes tonal response in this mode.

Many players prefer this model to all others for both crunch rhythm and searing lead. From Leslie West to Mick Ralphs, and Johnny Thunders to Paul Westerberg to Billie Joe Armstrong, Gibson's original 1950s Les Paul Junior and TV models has proven itself over and over to be the most basic of rock machines, as simple and effective as they come. This is a really superb one, clean enough to admire but worn in enough to actually play.
Overall length is 39 in. (99.1 cm.), 13 in. (33 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 11/16 in. (4.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.)., 7.37 lbs.

This "TV" is in excellent playing condition with all original finish and hardware except the Kluson Deluxe tuners have been fitted with new correct style buttons. The P-90 pickup, electronics with "Bumblebee" cap, pickguard and bridge/tailpiece are all original and unaltered with some typical minor wear; the plastic pickup cover has some pick scuffing on the top.

The guitar's beautifully pale TV finish has only yellowed slightly; it shows light wear overall with dings, dents, and some light checking. The top has a few noticeable dings on the upper bass zone, lower cutaway horn and lower bass bout area. The headstock has typical wear along the edges. The back of the neck has some feelable dings through the finish in the 9-12th fret area, but lower down is very clean. The frets are untouched original, showing some minor wear in the lower positions but still play fine. This guitar has the expected rip-roaring sound and is an excellent very hot player, complete in the original alligator-grain SSC. Excellent Condition.