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By the mid-1950s, it was clear that Gibson, its competition, and—more importantly — the buying public had fully embraced the solid body electric guitar, making it the fastest growing segment among fretted instruments. The aim now was to create an instrument for every market segment, and the Les Paul Special single cutaway model—introduced by Gibson in late 1955—was positioned as an intermediate model between the $99.50 Les Paul Junior and the $235 Les Paul goldtop model.
Priced at $169.50, this first edition of the Les Paul Special was a single cutaway model fitted with two of Gibson’s P-90 singlecoil pickups, a wraparound bridge/tailpiece, upgraded bound fingerboard, and inlaid mother of pearl Gibson headstock logo. Like the Les Paul Junior, the Special sported the visually attractive limed mahogany, or TV Yellow, finish on a thick-bodied, single cutaway design. With few exceptions—namely the occasional maple body or natural and cherry red finishes—the Les Paul Special remained a single cutaway, TV Yellow model until its redesign in 1958.
The Gibson Custom Shop 1960 Les Paul Special Single Cutaway features a period-correct solid mahogany Les Paul-style body with nickel hardware and lightweight aluminum wraparound tailpiece. The 24 ¾-inch scale length neck and headstock with Holly veneer are crafted from one piece of mahogany and features a long neck tenon that reaches into the body like many of the Les Pauls from the late 1950s and early 1960s, enhancing both the tone and sustain. The neck is topped by a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with pearloid dot inlays, single-ply crème binding, and given Gibson’s traditional ’50s rounded neck profile. The electronics feature period-correct CTS pots and bumble bee capacitors, with the standard 2 volume, 2 tone knob setup, and three-way selector switch. The white button tuners are also as they were on the original 1960 model