Gibson Les Paul Special Solid Body Electric Guitar (1957)

Gibson  Les Paul Special Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1957)
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Item # 12020
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Gibson Les Paul Special Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1957), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 7-3799, limed mahogany finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, molded black plastic hard shell case.

This is a nice example of a 1957 single-cutaway Gibson Les Paul Special, showing light signs of use but still in overall quite clean shape for over 65 years on. The features are typical of this first variant of the model with a light "limed mahogany" finish on the body and neck, two powerful P-90 pickups with black plastic "soapbar" covers, black bonnet knobs, a multi-ply beveled-edge black celluloid pickguard and the nickel-plated bar bridge/tailpiece assembly. The headstock carries a pearl Gibson logo and silkscreen "Les Paul Special" designation on the face and mounts plastic-button Kluson Deluxe strip tuners. The finish on this one is a medium-banana shade, with less yellow hue in the finish than some.

Although 1957 was the peak production year for this model less than 1500 were shipped out, which is not a huge total even for the 1950s. The LP Special is not nearly as common as the single pickup LP Junior, which sold over 3500 units that year in sunburst and "TV" finishes. These single cutaway Specials are much solider in construction than the double-cutaway version introduced in late 1958, and many find the sound more pleasing as well.

At 8.07 Lbs. this is fairly light for one of these and handles perfectly. The neck is a medium-C profile with a substantial feel but less chunky than some. This is simply a great all-around guitar, suitable for everything from rampaging Rock'n'Roll to raw blues and even twangin' country. As the iconic Gibson solidbodies from the 1950's become ever more desirable the original Special still represents the greatest value in a "Golden Era" Les Paul.
 
Overall length is 39 1/4 in. (99.7 cm.), 13 in. (33 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 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.)., 8.07 lbs.

This guitar is not pristine but clean overall, remaining nicely original with no repairs or modifications except "new" vintage buttons on the original Kluson tuners. The finish is beautiful with some lateral checking and crazing; there are small dings, dents and chips scattered around, most notably on the body edges. The back of the neck has a few feelable dinks, with the deepest through to the wood on the treble side just below the nut. The back of the body has some light belt buckle scuffing into but not through the finish.

The hardware and electronics are all original with untouched solder joints. The stop tailpiece has noticeable plating wear on the top, the tuners show some corrosion and as noted the plastic buttons are old but not original. The jackplate is original and amazingly uncracked. The original small frets have very little wear. Besides being nicely preserved this is an excellent player with the expected killer sound; even not plugged in it really sings. This guitar lives in a modern molded plastic case suitable for road work. Excellent - Condition.