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Les Paul Guitars

1958 Gibson "Les Paul" TV Junior

Color: TV Yellow, Rating: 9.25, $0.00 (ID# 02154)
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1958 Gibson Les Paul TV Double-Cut
All Original and Near Mint

 

1958 Gibson "Les Paul" TV Junior

 

This super light TV Junior weighs just 6.50 lbs. This is one of the earliest versions, with a solid mahogany "slab" body with slightly rounded edges. One-piece mahogany neck with a nice fat nut width of 1 11/16 inches, a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches and that great late '58 / '59 "baseball bat" style profile. Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 22 original '58 thin style frets and inlaid pearl dot position markers. Headstock with "Gibson" logo and "Les Paul TV Model" silk-screened in gold. Black plastic bell-shaped truss-rod cover secured by two screws. Closed-back single-line Kluson Deluxe strip tuners with white plastic oval buttons. Serial number "8 5073" inked-on in black on the back of the headstock. One black P-90 pickup with a good strong output of 7.80k. Black plastic pickup cover stamped on the underside "UC-450-1 / 1", secured by two screws. Single-ply tortoiseshell pickguard with four screws. Two controls (one volume, one tone) on the lower treble bout. Black plastic bell-shaped "Bell" knobs. The potentiometers are stamped "134 808" (Centralab February 1958) and the capacitor is the requisite 'Bumble-Bee' type. Combination "wrap-over" bar bridge/tailpiece with two intonation adjustment screws. There is one small surface chip (the size of a slightly elongated match-head) on the back of the neck just behind the twelfth fret. There are a few miniscule indentations on the back of the guitar, a few very small and insignificant surface marks on the edges of the body and a tiny chip on the top bass corner of the headstock. The original thin frets show just a minute amount of playing wear. This is quite simply the finest example of a '58 / '59 TV Junior (with a neck to die for) that we have ever seen and therefore our rating of near mint (9.25) condition is extremely conservative. The look, the feel and the sound of this little screamer is insane…  Housed in the original Gibson brown 'Aligator' softshell case with brown felt lining (9.00).

The change from the asymmetrical (single-cut) to the symmetrical (double-cut) body occurred in mid-1958 around serial number "8 49XX". This Les Paul TV Junior (serial number 8-5073) is the earliest of the double-cut Les Paul's that we have ever seen.

"The Les Paul TV underwent a major body redesign in mid-1958 and, like the Junior, took on a double cutaway shape with rounded horns permitting complete access to the higher registers. The overall dimensions remained the same but the neck-to-body junction was relocated at the 22nd fret. Simultaneously, a new TV shading akin to banana yellow and a shell-like pickguard were introduced. All the other specifications remained the same… In late 1959 the model was officially renamed SG TV without any changes in the specifications but for the removal of Les Paul markings on the headstock. The Les Paul affiliation was nonetheless ambiguously maintained in catalogs. Owing to its thick body style, the third variant should probably be referred to as the Les Paul/SG TV to mark the difference with the thin-body variant introduced subsequently" (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics. The Classic Years, p. 214).

"In 1955, Gibson launched the Les Paul TV, essentially a Junior but with a finish that the company referred to variously as 'natural', 'limed oak' and (more often) 'limed mahogany'. Surviving original TV models from the 1950s reveal a number of different colours, with earlier examples tending to a rather turgid beige, while later ones are often distinctly yellow. Today there is much debate about where the model's TV name came from...One such theory says that the TV name was used because the pale colour of the finish was designed to stand out on the era's black-and-white TV screens. This seems unlikely, not least because pro players appearing on television would naturally opt for a high-end model...Others say the guitar followed the look of fashionable contemporary furniture, where the expression 'limed' was used for a particular look. Certainly Gibson promoted the Les Paul TV as being 'the latest in modern appearance'. There's also been a suggestion that 'TV' might be a less than oblique reference to the competing blond-coloured Telecaster made by Fender. But in fact the name was coined to cash in on Les Paul's regular appearances at the time on television on The Les Paul & Mary Ford Show. This was effectively a sponsored daily ad for a toothpaste company, for which the couple signed a $2million three-year contract in 1953. Gibson reasoned that if you'd seen the man on TV, well, now you could buy his TV guitar. Following a reader's enquiry to Guitar Player in the 1970s, a Gibson spokesman confirmed that 'the Les Paul TV model was so named after Les Paul's personal Listerine show was televised in the 1950s'" (Tony Bacon, 50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul, p. 28).

A grand total of 2,270 TV models were shipped between 1954 and 1959. The body shape was changed in mid 1958 and the exact number of 'Double-Cut' Les Paul TV Juniors out of the 429 guitars shipped that year is unknown but can be fairly accurately guessed at around 200 guitars. In 1959 the edges of the body were more rounded and the frets changed to the jumbo versions as found on the big brother Les Paul Standards. By the late 1959 the "Les Paul" name had been dropped from the headstock and the guitar became known simply as the TV Junior.

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