Les Paul Guitars

1961 Gibson Les Paul

Color: Cherry, Rating: 9.00, Sold (ID# 00088)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113

One of the Last of the Slab-Bodied Les Paul Specials

This featherweight guitar weighs just 7.20 lbs. and has a nice, fat nut width of just under 1 11/16 inches and a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches. Solid mahogany body, one-piece mahogany neck, and bound rosewood fretboard with 22 frets and inlaid pearl dot position markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo. Closed-back Kluson Deluxe strip tuners with white plastic oval buttons. Two P-90 pickups with outputs of 8.78k and 7.78k. Five-layer (black/white/black/white/black) plastic pickguard. Four controls (two volume, two tone) plus three-way pickup selector switch surrounded by a thin black plastic ring engraved with "RHYTHM" and "TREBLE." Black plastic bell-shaped "Bell" knobs with metal tops. Combination "wrap-over" bar bridge/tailpiece. This guitar is in exceptionally fine (9.00) condition, with only a minimal amount of belt buckle wear on the back, a few tiny marks on the edges. The top is very slightly faded. The pots are dated "137 59 50 (the fiftieth week of 1959, i.e. December 1959). This is an exceptional example of one of the last of the slab-bodied Les Paul Specials. Housed in the original Gibson brown "alligator" softshell case with brown felt lining (7.50).

"The double-cut Les Paul Special came and went in the same year. The change from the earlier single-cut style occurred early in 1959, while toward the end of the year Gibson removed the model's Les Paul logo, changing its name to SG Special even though everything else stayed the same" (Tony Bacon and Paul Day, The Gibson Les Paul Book, p. 23).

"The double cutaway Special was listed as a Les Paul for less than a year, and in the price list dated 1st November 1959 the model appeared as the SG Special. All the specifications remained the same save for the removal of Les Paul markings on the headstock and the installation of an enlarged one-piece guard covering the area between the front pickup and the fingerboard. For all practical purposes, this latter feature permits to distinguish three slightly different sub-variants of the double cutaway slab-bodied Special between 1959 and 1961. Despite the change of designation, the Specials built between late 1959 and early 1961 are often called Les Paul guitars. It is certainly true structurally, even though a Les Paul/SG designation (and not SG/Les Paul!) would be more appropriate to signal both the thick-body style and the absence of Les Paul markings on the headstock. The last samples were released in early 1961 with serial numbers either inked-on (e.g. #1-0359 registered on 20th March) or impressed into the headstock (e.g. #1155 registered on 22nd March)" (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, pp. 211-212).

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