Gibson Les Paul Special Solid Body Electric Guitar (1956)

Gibson  Les Paul Special Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1956)
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Item # 12110
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Gibson Les Paul Special Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1956), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 612129, limed mahogany finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

This is a played in, super vibey example of a late 1956 single-cutaway Les Paul Special, showing signs of use but still in fine playing condition for 68 years on. It has an older refret but remains otherwise original. It still resides in the original pink-lined brown hard shell case, very well worn but still a collector piece in itself since it also is correct for the now-iconic Les Paul Standard models.

This guitar's features are typical of the first variant of this model with a beautiful "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 the pearl Gibson logo and silkscreen "Les Paul Special" designation. The original wiring is complete and intact including the much-loved "bumblebee" capacitors.

Although 1956 was a fairly high production year for this model, it still saw only 1345 of these limed mahogany beauties shipped out of Kalamazoo. The two-pickup LP Special is not nearly as common as many folks seem to think; by comparison the single pickup LP Junior sold over 3,000 units that year alone. These single cutaway Specials are much more solid in construction than the double-cutaway version that replaced it a couple of years later; many find the handling and sound more pleasing as well.

This is simply a great all-around guitar; it excels at rampaging Rock'n'Roll to hard blues but has a softer purr as well when dialed back and can even handle twangy country. As the iconic Gibson solid bodies from the ever-receding 1950s become more venerable, the original single-cutaway Special represents the greatest value in a genuine "Golden Era" Les Paul. In its beat up but original 4-latch brown Gibson hard shell case, this is simply a cool package of Kalamazoo goodness from the original golden era of Gibson electrics!
 
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.)., 7.82 lbs.

This guitar is nicely well-worn overall but not damaged or abused and (except for the refret) remains very original, showing honest play wear but no structural damage or repairs. The TV Yellow finish remains completely original showing typical checking overall and a decent amount of play wear, especially to some of the body edges. The back of the neck is worn down to the wood along both edges over part of its length and has some scattered small dings and dents. The lacquer has retained the attractive "limed" dark yellow patina, darkened just a bit but not heavily "smoked".

All hardware remains original including the lightweight stop tailpiece, pickups and wiring and the Kluson Deluxe tuners, which do have newer buttons to replace the crumbled originals. Everything shows general wear but nothing out of the ordinary. The electronics are all original with untouched solder joints and the capacitors in fine fettle. Even the original thin plastic jack plate is intact; most have been broken by now. For some reason there is an extra layer of white paint around the inner edge of the control cavity under the cover (just the upper edge, not the cavity itself). This is the second LP Special from this serial number area we have recently seen with this, and now are starting to wonder if this was some factory oddity specific to some of these from mid/late 1956.

The guitar has been refretted with somewhat wider and taller wire than the original thin mid-'50s style, more appropriate for many rock-oriented players. These show only very light wear and play very well. Despite the wear (or to some because of it) this is a superbly attractive, great sounding Les Paul, played in and ready to go for the next 68+ years. It is housed in the original pink-lined, 5-latch brown hard shell case with some fairly wear (and old duct tape marks) but still serviceable. Very Good + Condition.