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Gibson Les Paul Custom Black
Gibson Les Paul Goldtop (3rd Series)
By fall 1955, the tuneamatic bridge and stop tailpiece was adopted (solving the intonation complaint), making the Les Paul Goldtop a big winner. The combination of P-90 pickups and a tunematic/stop tailpiece is considered by most Les Paul players as a great setup. Hence the late 1955 to early 1957 Les Paul Standard Goldtop is regarded as a very usable and versatile guitar.
Fall 1955 to Early 1957 Gibson Les Paul Model Goldtop specs:
Tune-o-matic bridge added (with "ABR-1" on the bottom side of the bridge and no wire to hold the saddles in place), stud tailpiece moved back to anchor strings (stop tailpiece). This happened around serial number "510xxx". The "Gibson" peghead logo moved further from the top edge of the peghead (some 1954 models also seen with this feature). Tuners now had "Kluson Deluxe" stamped in the gear cover in a vertical line. The four knobs change from a barrel shape to a top-hat ("bonnet") shape in 1955. The tone capacitors for (all) Les Paul models changed in late 1955. Prior to this they used a brown waxy looking tubular Sprague capacitor called the Sprague "grey tiger". But by 1956 this changed to Sprague's "bumble bee" tube cap, which was black with colored value stripes (in the 1968 the same capacitor was again used on the single cutaway Les Paul standard reissues, but Sprague has changed the marketing name of the capacitor to "Black Beauty"). The Bumblebee caps were used from 1956 until 1960 for all pre-SG Les Paul models (Juniors, Specials, Standards, Customs).
Gibson Les Paul Junior
Gibson Les Paul TV
By 1955 the model changed to full scale but still retained the maple body. The late 1955 full scale mahogany version is the most desirable as the sound is much fuller with a long scale and mahogany body.
1955 Les Paul TV model specs:
Maple body, full 24.75" scale, neck meets body at 16th fret. By mid to late 1955 mahogany bodies are the norm for this model (serial# 5 57xx maple, 511xxx mahogany).
Gibson Les Paul TV Special (1st year)
Available: 1955 to present
Collectibility Rating: 1955-1961: B, late 1961-1963: C+.
A step up from Gibson's least expensive Les Paul model, but was still sold (at the time) as a 2 pickup student model.
This is the most confusing (name-wise) of the Les Paul models because the Special lost its "Les Paul" designation on the peghead before any of the other Les Paul models (in late 1959).
1955 Les Paul Special introduction specs:
mahogany single cutaway slab body, 2 soapbar P-90 pickup with black covers, stud tailpiece/bridge combo with the string looping over the bridge, dot fingerboard inlays, 24.75" scale, bound neck, pearl logo, "Les Paul Special" silkscreened on peghead in gold, 3 layer black pickguard, nickel plated parts, beige "TV" finish.