In the Gibson organization chart, the Special occupies a singular place. Introduced in 1955 as a slightly more upscale guitar than the Les Paul Junior, it is an efficient and versatile instrument that retains the simplicity of its predecessor. It falls somewhere between the Junior and the Standard, with the latter's two-pickup configuration but the Junior's simpler and more basic equipment. Offered in its iconic TV Yellow finish, this 1956 Les Paul Special was among of the first of its kind to leave the Gibson factory. An exceptionally well-preserved example to be discovered at Matt's Guitar Shop!
In 1954, Gibson introduced the Les Paul Junior, a guitar designed for beginners and students. As a cost-saving measure, several features of the Standard and Custom models were omitted from the Junior. It features a flat-top "slab" mahogany body in sunburst finish. The Junior is equipped with a single P-90 pickup - unlike the two- or three-pickup humbucker configurations of more expensive models - and simple volume and tone controls. 1955 saw the launch of the Les Paul TV model, identical to the Junior except for the name, and featuring a soon-to-be legendary finish: an opaque mustard yellow called "TV Yellow". The Les Paul Special introduces a guitar between the Junior and the Standard: it features two P-90 pickups and four control knobs.
When Gibson introduces the Les Paul TV model, the guitar appears in this distinctive yellow color, later christened TV Yellow. There are many myths surrounding the origin of this unique shade, which has gone down in history as one of the classic Les Paul hues. The most rational explanation lies in its name: "Television Yellow". The TV Yellow finish can be traced back to the television cabinets of the 1950s. Considered furniture in their own right with splendid decorative wooden cabinets, TV cabinets were painted in particular colors. One of the colors in vogue was a yellowish color called 'Limed Mahogany' by the catalogs. Seeking a contemporary finish for its latest instrument, Gibson adopted this hue, which was very much in vogue at the time.
This 1956 Gibson Les Paul Special is a guitar with an efficient, punchy sound, and is versatile thanks to its two P-90 pickups. With its TV Yellow finish and in perfect condition, it has all the hallmarks of the legendary model that seduced Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Billie Joe Armstrong over the years. An exceptional vintage guitar to discover at Matt's Guitar Shop!