2020 gibson les paul special

2020 gibson les paul special DEFAULT

I’ve always felt badly for Gibson’s marketing team… their market is a vocal one that demands many things, often at cross-purposes. One key theme is that players want a vintage-like Gibson guitar at an attractive price point. Apparently, Gibson’s current management has accepted this challenge. Just a few years ago, the idea of a quality US-made, dual-pickup, nitrocellulose-finished single-cutaway Gibson for under $1k would have been a stretch.

The Gibson® Les Paul® Special Tribute is a throwback to the beloved Les Paul Special of the 1950s. Originally marketed as a student model (a step up from the similar one-pickup Les Paul Junior), Specials have long held a place in the hearts of players and collectors. While originals came with P-90 pickups, today’s Tribute version can be had with either P-90s or humbuckers.

You’ll be forgiven if your memory tells you this is old news. The original Special was well enough respected that Gibson has released a half dozen or more single-cutaway “Les Paul Specials” in the last couple of decades and probably a similar number of the double-cutaway guitars based on the 1959 version.

This is by demand. Those original “student model” guitars hit their stride when guitar music got loud and people realized those P90-equipped mahogany slabs made great rock machines (a view I’ll espouse as the owner of a ’59 Junior that survived some 1970s-era butchery but sees gig action to this day). The Special is simplicity itself… there’s no binding, no maple cap and a compensated wrap-around bridge instead of the Tune-O-Matic bridge and tailpiece found on the Special’s more costly cousins. Its pickguard attaches directly to the flat (uncarved) top. But what were once cost-cutting measures are now seen as features that contribute to a classic fundamental platform for the guitarist.

The guitar received for review was equipped with 490R & 490T humbuckers. This is no historic abomination… back in the ‘70’s a lot of older instruments (including Juniors and Specials) were routed out to accommodate humbuckers. While P-90s have their own special “thing” going on, the humbucker version might be the way to go for those seeking familiar Les Paul tones or those who push their amps into high-gain territory.

On a gig the Special Tribute sounded like, well, a Les Paul. Plugged into an amp set on the verge of breakup, rolling the guitar’s volume to around 7 yielded a bluesy “vintage” tone. Cranking the volumes made it “crunch” like a Les Paul should and, when goosed with pedals, the slightly mid-heavy 490’s cut through with classic lead tones.

Fit and finish were very good. The substantial unbound neck will feel a little different to those used to bound Les Paul Standards or Customs (where the fret ends sit behind the binding). These frets and fret ends were well-dressed, welcome news to those Gibson fans who have called the company out for spotty finishing work on lower-priced guitars in years past.

The finish is a thin-feeling coat of nitrocellulose (important to many Gibson aficionados), and while some prefer the highly-polished glossy feel of a Standard model, the satin finish on this guitar feels familiar to anyone who knows how nitro sinks into a 60-year-old mahogany slab over time. The reviewed guitar came with a Vintage Cherry finish, which would be my personal choice; it evokes an old cherry-finished Special with some mileage on it. White, black and walnut finishes are also available.

Collectors and vintage enthusiasts will have to look elsewhere for spot-on vintage details. For them, Gibson’s Custom Shop offers a Special at $3,799 and 1950’s-era examples can be found in the five-figure range. Some differences are barely noticeable, like the individual Gibson Deluxe tuners (rather than the original three-on-a-strip versions) or the oversized strap buttons (a great idea to anyone who has ever had a guitar slip off the strap).

Other differences may seem more significant. The Les Paul Special Tribute’s neck is maple rather than the traditional mahogany. On the cherry-finished example we reviewed, the difference is visible; the back of the neck looks almost pink compared to the body. Plenty of guitar forum regulars will tell you that a maple neck introduces more “snap” or high mids than a traditional Special should have, but in my humble opinion there’s no way to attribute specific tonal aspects of a guitar to individual features, and the overall sound of this guitar tells you it’s a Les Paul. Besides, I personally get squeamish carrying Gibsons in gig bags (like the one supplied) and wonder if the choice of maple makes this neck more resilient to the shocks and bumps that every guitar will eventually face in its lifetime.

What does matter to me and a lot of working musicians is the overall package, and this one is well worth checking out. If you’ve been dreaming about getting Les Paul tone and feel in a nitro-finished Gibson in this price range, this guitar should be on your radar.

Need another option? Check out the Best Electric Guitars right here!

Sours: https://americansongwriter.com/gear-review-gibson-les-paul-special-tribute/

Gibson 2020 Les Paul & SG review round-up

After Gibson emerged from its financial travails with a change of ownership, the company hit the reset button. Quite literally, Gibson was restored to factory settings. Large sums were invested in quality control.

The collection was simplified. The brief was simple, too: put pro-quality, aspirational electric guitars into the hands of players who have always idealised the brand. One of the most significant changes to Gibson’s lineup is the split in the production line range between the Original Collection and the Modern Collection.

This SG Special in Faded Pelham Blue is from the Original Collection; the Les Paul Tribute and the Les Paul Special Tribute with dual humbuckers and dual P-90 options are from the Modern Series. 

Retailing for under a grand, the Tribute models potentially represent the best of both worlds – an American-built Gibson that won’t break the bank. The spec options look neat, too. 

The big news with the SG Special is that finish, yet under the hood there are 500k audio taper CTS pots and hand-soldered Orange Drop capacitors. The Tribute models pare back the spec a little but they still offer plenty of guitar. Hmm, choosing between these is gonna be excruciating.

Gibson SG Special

That finish is amazing...

It is. It is Faded Pelham Blue, and it dates back to the early 60s when Fender was taking inspiration from classic automobiles and rolling out a host of cool solid-block colours, and Gibson wanted in on the action. Introduced on the budget Gibson Melody Maker line of SGs, it’s now a cult favourite, championed by the likes of John Shanks and Dave Grohl.

At A Glance

PRICE: $1,499 / £1,199
NECK: Mahogany, set
FRETS: 22, medium jumbo
PICKUPS: 2x P-90
CONTROLS: 2x volume, 2x tone, 3-way selector switch
HARDWARE: Chrome, Compensated Wraparound
FINISH: Faded Pelham Blue [reviewed], Metallic Burgundy

You mentioned 500k CTS audio taper pots. Why is this good?

One of the coolest feature of any guitar – and one that is still criminally under-explored by so many of us – is how tweaking your tone and volume controls can unearth all those extra magical tones. With inferior pots, you are lucky if there are two usable tones. Here you’ll find new tones on 1 through to 10 on the dial.

What’s the difference between this and an SG Junior?

So you noticed the white button tuners and dot inlay – that’s the same, but the Special has two P-90s and a binding on the neck. Yeah, sure, it’s stripped down – kinda – but there is some luxury there.

Gibson Les Paul Special with humbuckers

What’s the difference between this and the Les Paul Tribute?

Here, there is no maple cap. This saves the maple for the neck, which is glued to a solid mahogany body. Both have a satin finish in a nitrocellulose lacquer that on this review model still feels a little oily, and this will settle down as you rub the ‘new’ off it.

At A Glance

PRICE: $999 / £899
NECK: Maple, set
SCALE: 24.75"
FINGERBOARD: Rosewood with acrylic dot inlay
FRETS: 22, medium jumbo
PICKUPS: 490T humbucker (bridge), 490R humbucker (neck)
HARDWARE: Chrome, Compensated Wraparound
FINISH: Natural Walnut [reviewed], Worn White Satin, Ebony Satin, Vintage Cherry Satin

We’ve seen those pickups before, right?

These open-coil Gibson 490 humbuckers have been kicking around since the mid-to-late 60s. They feature an Alnico II magnet and were wound to create a more versatile PAF ’bucker that could work better with high-volume amps and new rock styles, and were often wired so they could be coil-tapped. They have a soupçon more upper-mids than the PAF.

A maple neck? That’s a bit weird.

We’d always associate Gibson guitars with mahogany necks but through the 70s it was not uncommon to see maple necks as standard. Besides, it’s nice to see some variation on the theme.

Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute with P-90s

This is the same guitar, but with P-90s. Does that make much difference?

Massive. Where the 490 humbuckers offer you enough rounded PAF cream to cause an arterial block, the P-90s are a more about being all sharp and vinegarish top-end and a pugnacious mid-range. You’ll get a lot of joy from blending these together and playing around on the tone controls. There’s a lot of tone here.

Won’t they be noisy?

They might not be as quiet as humbuckers but they are wax-potted to kill microphonic hum, which is the worst. Don’t be put off by the fact they are single-coils; these are totally mean. If you are looking for a rock ’n’ roll machine...

At A Glance

PRICE: $999 / £899
NECK: Maple, set
SCALE: 24.75”
FINGERBOARD: Rosewood with acrylic dot inlay
FRETS: 22, medium jumbo
PICKUPS: 2x P-90
HARDWARE: Chrome, Compensated Wraparound
FINISHES: Worn White Satin [reviewed], Ebony Satin, Vintage Cherry Satin, Natural Walnut

So this is just a rock guitar?

It could be. The P-90 and mahogany slab body combo is a classic pairing; it’s cheese and burger, a tone combo that the likes of Leslie West would wield judiciously. But here’s the thing: P-90s clean up beautifully. Roll back some of that back pickup’s top end and the cleans are worthy of a chef’s kiss before getting down to some jazz.

Gibson Les Paul Tribute

A Les Paul, made in the USA, and you’ll get change from a grand?

Yes, there’s no catch. You might even find these discounted online. The Les Paul Tribute is kind of somewhere between a Standard, a Classic and a Studio. Like the Studio, there’s no binding on the neck. Like the Classic, this has 490 humbuckers and it has extensive chambering to make it lighter. And you’ve got the chrome-covers on the pickups to give it that Standard vibe. It’s classy.

At A Glance

PRICE: $1,199 / £999
Mahogany w/maple top
NECK: Maple
SCALE: 24.75”
FINGERBOARD: Rosewood w/trapezoid inlay
FRETS: 22, medium jumbo
PICKUPS: 2x Gibson 490 Humbuckers
HARDWARE: Aluminium Nashville Tune-O-Matic
FINISH: Satin Tobacco Burst [reviewed], Satin Honeyburst, Satin Iced Tea, Satin Cherry Burst

Tell us more about the weight relief...

Gibson’s Ultra-Modern weight relief process is an evolution of its nine-hole and chambering patterns that have been used on guitars such as the Les Paul classic. It features a number of chambers around the body’s perimeter. If you’re playing live a lot you’ll appreciate it.

What else is new?

The satin finish is something we haven’t really seen before and it might take a bit of getting used to. Some will love it. It’s tactile and more subdued than the high-gloss. The body isn’t bound but the maple top gives a similar effect.

Head to head

Across the board, the Tribute Les Pauls have rounded, C-profile maple necks that feel like a fair compromise between the thicker 50s profiles, those bats you’d get on vintage Explorers, and the slim-tapered necks of the 60s SGs.

We would have liked a little more meat on the bones, but that is the thing with neck profiles, preferences differ, and they change over time, sometimes within hours. And these Tribute Les Pauls, dammit, sure offer a comfortable ride.

Switching from the LP to SG always requires some adjusting to the fretboard geography; the scale length is the same but there just feels like there is so much neck on the SG as it joins the body at 22nd fret. The SG feels slick and speedy, with a nice taper going on with the neck. It’s super-easy to get up the dusty end of the fretboard.

If the Les Paul Tributes feel ostensibly the same, albeit with less bulk around the body on the Specials, plugged in there is enough variance to give you pause for thought.

The SG feels slick and speedy, with a nice taper going on with the neck. It’s super-easy to get up the dusty end of the fretboard

The LP Special with humbuckers has a real gutsy tone. There is plenty of midrange to chew through rock riffs, and the 490 humbuckers have a Pavlovian response to more gain, letting you easily find that singing sweet spot for your solos, and crunch for digging in. 

On the Les Paul Tribute, there’s a little more high-end, more noticeable in the bridge ’bucker, but there is so much play on the Les Paul’s controls that finding the right blend is easy. 

The P-90 equipped LP Special has more high-end still but it is tempered by the hot-mids these soapbars are renowned for. They are deceivingly versatile. For a stripped-down singlecut experience, it is hard to beat. But for a few dollars more, the more refined experience of the SG might be more your speed. It too can perform as a rock machine, with similarly hidden depths there, and an all-time classic finish.

Final verdict

Gibson’s idea of splitting its collection into the Modern and Original makes sense. It keeps the purists happy while giving the company room to evolve. 

One sign that it is working is that on first impressions it was only the fact that the SG Special arrived in a Gibson hard case that distinguished it from the others, which arrived in padded gig-bags. Any gap in quality is incremental. All the guitars here are immaculately finished. 

The question is which serves your needs the most?  Those looking for a more stately Les Paul experience should plump for the Tribute. The 490 humbuckers are so underrated, and tone-wise this has the most ‘Standard’, most stereotypically Les Paul tone here. 

We are left with two guitars that support the hypothesis that says the P-90 soapbar is pound-for-pound the best pickup ever

But then there’s the brawny cool of the humbucker-equipped Special. With its five-ply guard and white button tuners, the no-fuss dot inlay, it’s a gnarly slap of mahogany that’s ideal for rock, blues, maybe even metal, too, and the walnut finish is just darn classy.

And so, we are left with two guitars that support the hypothesis that says the P-90 soapbar is pound-for-pound the best pickup ever. Either way, they make the LP and SG Specials so persuasive, running the gamut from blues-rock nirvana to smoky bar jazz.

Many will go for the singlecut, the weight, the extra oomph of sustain, but the SG Special in Faded Pelham Blue is just the sort of get-it-while-it’s-hot guitar that will age beautifully, and will reward you with a supremely playable instrument and, possibly, a future classic.

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

Sours: https://www.guitarworld.com/features/gibson-2020-les-paul-and-sg-review-round-up
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New Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute is already available

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The new Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute and are part of the Modern Collection presented at NAMM 2020 are now available for purchase.

2020 Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute: Specs and Features

The new Les Paul Special Tribute line was announced at NAMM 2020 as part of the brand’s impressive product line for 2020. Now, it has been officially launched for sale, so you can already buy one.

Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute pickups

The new Les Paul Special guitars are available in two pickups configurations. One equipped with two P90s, the traditional pickups of the model. While the second has a 490R and 490T humbucking set, Alnico 2 pickups with vintage output but with reinforced mids. 

Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute with Humbuckers

Body and neck

Continuing the roots of vintage Les Paul Special guitars, both come with a mahogany body. On the side of the neck, this is made of rounded maple with a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard.

Both are also equipped with vintage Deluxe white button heads, which extend from a standard 24.75 ”Les Paul scale, to a compensated wraparround chrome tailpiece.

Both versions of the Modern Collection are handcrafted in Nashville, USA. Also, they come in a selection of vintage satin finishes: Worn White, Vintage Cherry, Ebony and Natural Walnut.

Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute with P90s

Price of the new Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute

The new Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute models have a list price of USD 999, and are already available in large online stores.

For more information, head over to Gibson.

Related Articles: Ted McCarty and Gibson’s Golden Age.

You can share opinions or also chat about this and more with other musicians in our comments section.

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Sours: https://guitarriego.com/en-us/guitar/new-gibson-les-paul-special-tribute-now-available/
Sweetwater \u0026 Gibson Ruined My Life

Vintage Bench Test: Les Paul Special shootout

If a week is a long time in politics, a year is a long time in the world of vintage guitars. We’ve said many times that the combination of a slab of Honduran mahogany, old P-90s and a zamak wrapover bridge offers as close to a sure-fire guarantee of great guitar tone as it’s possible to get, but although this pair of 1950s Les Paul Specials have that much in common, there are some significant structural differences. How much difference does a year and an additional cutaway make? Let’s investigate…

This 1958 TV Special is one of the very last of the single cutaway models, while the cherry double cutaway ’59 is one of the last to have the Les Paul Special designation. The model lingered on until 1961, but towards the end of 1959, the ‘Les Paul Special’ screen print was removed from the headstock and the guitar was re-branded the ‘Les Paul SG’.

The double cutaway superseded the single cutaway in mid-’58 and the differences between them extend beyond the stylistic. Gibson’s radical move towards unobstructed upper fret access necessitated a complete redesign of the neck joint – but we’ll discuss that in more detail later.

Les Paul Special 1959 Double Cutaway

The selector switch also had to be relocated, and after the initial run of double cutaways, Gibson began giving the bodies a softer edge roll-over. Our double-cutaway example has five serial numbers after the date digit and the rounder body edges, but since it still has the ‘Special’ logo, it was most likely produced some time during the first half of 1959.
The single-cut’s most distinguishing feature is the rubber washer around the pickup selector switch where you might expect to see a ‘poker chip’. Gibson’s rationale for using rubber parts on electric guitars has long been forgotten, but rubber rings often featured on its high-end jazzboxes and were apparently only fitted to single cutaway Les Paul Specials around March 1958.

If Juniors were the ‘student’ models, Specials must have been seen as a ‘postgraduate’ stepping stone towards Gibson’s higher-end solidbodies. The refinements included a second pickup, fingerboard binding and er… that’s about it. But despite occupying the entry level end of the catalogue, Juniors and Specials were professional quality instruments. Rather than compromise on the pickups and materials, Gibson simply devised a way to build a simpler version of the Les Paul in order to reduce costs.

Les Paul Special 1959 Double Cutaway Body

No doubt taking inspiration from Fender’s Broadcaster/Telecaster, Gibson eschewed the carved maple top and instead used mahogany bodies that were flat on the front and back. And it was the same lightweight Honduras mahogany that was used for Les Paul Goldtops, Customs and the later Bursts. Mahogany necks were still glued in, and Brazilian rosewood was used for the fingerboards.

It’s hard to conceive of a better preserved single-cutaway TV Special than this example. Besides a bit of buckle rash and a few scrapes around the lower bout, the finish is in remarkable condition and there’s barely any neck wear. Gibson’s TV finish varied over the years, but we’d describe this as Dijon mustard with a hint of olive-green drab. There’s no pale undercoat and you can just about see the grain through the finish.

Les Paul Special 1958 TV Special

At the time of writing, the guitar is fitted with a bridge that may not be original. The top is quite sharp, rather than rounded, it’s skewed towards the bass side so the strings run off centre, and the measurements differ slightly from the indisputably original bridge on the ’59. However, we’re assured this guitar will be sold with a genuine vintage bridge.

The cherry guitar’s finish is in almost as fine shape. There’s a bit more patina in the form of lacquer checking and neck wear at the headstock end, but the colour remains remarkably unfaded. Both guitars retain their full complement of factory-fitted Centralab potentiometers and oil-filled ‘bumblebee’ capacitors, and the correct three-on-a-plate single line Klusons are the only tuners ever to have been fitted.

Les Paul Special 1958 TV Special Tuner

In use

If you’ve never played a vintage Gibson before, you may feel a little intimidated by the neck depth. But if you persevere, you might find you soon forget the ‘size’ and ease into the sublime playability. Once your brain adjusts, 1950s Gibsons such as these have an ‘old slippers’ level of comfort and familiarity.

We’ve become quite accustomed to the 50s Gibson feel over the last few years, and would no longer describe these necks as being especially fat. As for the ‘baseball bat’ comparison, we can only assume it was devised by people who had never spent much time with guitars such as these, or were simply oblivious to the finesse and subtlety of Gibson’s 50s profiles.
Both guitars feel fantastic in the hand and there’s little to choose between them. The single cutaway’s neck is a fraction deeper, while the double cutaway’s depth remains slightly more consistent along its length, but in essence, they’re pretty much the same.

We find the single cutaway balances in the lap a little better, but again it’s barely noticeable, and the double cutaway has none of the neck heaviness associated with SGs. It does have a bit of neck whip, so Townshend/Frisell-style vibrato is on the cards, but the whole structure feels more solid and stable than a typical SG.

Les Paul Special Fretboards

Both guitars still have their factory fitted frets, and here there is more of a distinction. The fretwire Gibson was using in 1958 was still 1.85mm (0.073”) wide, but by 1959 the wire had widened to 2.56mm (0.1”). Since the double cutaway has been so lightly played, the frets retain their original height of 0.83mm (0.032”).

The single cutaway’s frets are almost uniformly flat on top, and whether that’s down to playwear or fret levelling is open to question. The upshot is that the wider frets are actually lower in height at 0.75mm (0.03”). We find the narrower frets easier to play, but again we’re splitting hairs. The double cutaway guitar has a replaced nut, but it appears to be vintage correct nylon.

Some might argue that having just two guitars to compare isn’t much of a sample group from which to draw definitive conclusions regarding tonal qualities of single and double cutaway Les Paul Specials. Nevertheless, the unplugged characteristics of these guitars are so distinct, we’re confident that our observations are broadly applicable.

Les Paul Special Bridges

Both guitars weigh about the same, and the materials are identical, yet the double cutaway is noticeably brighter and louder. It’s comparable to a really nice early SG Special, but we hear a tad more heft in the low mids as well as a more complex and shinier treble response. There’s also a pleasing solidity and clarity to the tone that combines woodiness with a gnarly bite.

All these seductive sonics incline us towards the double cutaway at first, but our viewpoint becomes more nuanced as the single cutaway’s subtle charms gradually reveal themselves. It may be less bright and quick to respond, but we soon realise that the oft-cited correlation between single cutaways and superior sustain could be a fair assessment.

Listening carefully to the ADSR (attack, decay, sustain and release) curve, the double cutaway responds with a very fast attack that holds its level for a second or so. It then drops off quite suddenly to sustain well – albeit at a slightly lower level before a gradual fade out. In contrast, the single cutaway holds its peak level longer, with the fade to silence occurring in a more even and gradual way – over quite some time. In other words, the decay phase is largely absent from its ADSR curve.

Les Paul Special Tone Controls

It’s a far warmer and mellower tone that is more in keeping with our expectations of a 1950s Gibson solidbody, and not dissimilar to a 1954 Goldtop we have on hand to compare. However, the single cutaway sounds brighter and louder than the Goldtop – probably because there’s no maple cap to subdue the mahogany’s natural sonic exuberance.

Time to amp up, and it’s immediately apparent that the pickups both reflect and emphasise the characteristics we hear in the unplugged tones. Bear in mind that only a year or so separates these guitars, but the pickups have vastly different tonal qualities.

Without sending the pickups off for metallurgical analysis, it’s impossible to provide a definitive explanation. It’s widely accepted that P-90s were made with alnico III magnets until ‘around’ 1957, after which Gibson supposedly switched to alnico V. Then again, vintage pickup restorers have concluded that the grade of alnico magnets Gibson used was often dictated by availability. Therefore, manufacturing dates often indicate a range of possibilities rather than absolute certainties.

Les Paul Special Pickups

What’s certain is that the single cutaway’s P-90s sound exactly like the alnico III P-90s in our ’54 Goldtop and ’56 ES-225. They’re ultra transparent, without sounding especially bright, and they have a smoothness and fluidity that we love. The bridge has a snarly quack, providing countrified cleans that ease into raunchier rock tones with added overdrive.

Over at the neck, the tone has a pure and rounded quality that is old-school jazz to a tee when played clean, and becomes almost vocally expressive through a cranked amp. The middle position’s phasey mid-scoop and slightly compressed transient attack is a third tonal option that is entirely distinct from the other two.

Besides the possibility of different magnets, we should also factor in the proximity of the pickups to the strings. There’s quite a gap on the single cutaway guitar, but barely any on the ’59. Although there is some scope for adjustment with ‘soapbar’ P-90s, the main reason is the redesigned neck joint.

The double cutaway instrument’s fingerboard terminates at the point where the neck joins the body and the neck extends beyond the neck pickup rout by almost 30mm. In order to keep the neck tenon flush with the top, Gibson had to set the neck deeper into the body. This requires the bridge to be set lower too, for a viable playing action.

Les Paul Special 1959 Double Cutaway Headstock

Furthermore, Gibson must have been keen to avoid compromising structural stability by routing too deep into the tenon to accommodate the neck pickup. As a result, it sits about 5mm closer to the strings by default, and the bridge pickup is set similarly to maintain balance.

Gibson pickups of the 1950s are extremely sensitive to height adjustment and jacking P-90s up like this brings out their brighter and more aggressive qualities. That’s very much the case with this double-cut Special.

The pickups are more powerful, but in actuality they probably don’t produce significantly more output than the 1958 model’s units. We suspect the 1959 P-90s create an impression of greater loudness by emphasising the upper midrange frequencies – much like PAFs with their covers removed.

Les Paul Special Electronics

There’s no denying that the double-cutaway guitar is a far wilder and hairier ride, but the older P-90s counter with a more even frequency response. With less push in the upper mids, the single cutaway’s tone has a smoother and creamier quality that, to our ears, sounds more musical. For reference, the bridge and neck readings of the single and double cutaway models are 8.28k/8.21k and 8.77k/8.41k respectively.

Of the eight 1950s P-90s in the room at the time of writing, the 1959 Special’s bridge pickup displays the least microphony. Consequently, the neck pickup it’s paired with actually sounds clearer and has a more extended treble response. Where the 1958 LP’s bridge pickup has a wiry vintage quack, the double-cut’s has more of a throaty bark, but somewhat less complexity, chime and tonal depth.

On the plus side, it’s less susceptible to high gain squeal and provides a consummate rock tone. The double cutaway’s tone is also far punchier, more up front and has tighter lows. It’s the Special you need for chiming, cutting and crunching through a mix, and with brightness to spare, there’s a bit more scope for working the controls.

Les Paul Specials Headstock

Either of these Specials would be a dream guitar to own, but which one is the best? The answer depends more on your playing style, sonic tastes, aesthetic preferences and how the guitars are being used.

Taken in isolation, we find the single-cutaway 1958 model sweeter sounding and more inspiring to play. We also feel it might be the superior studio guitar. But out there in the real world of rehearsals, and gigging, with the perpetual struggle to hear oneself properly, we suspect the double-cut ’59 could win out.

Key Features

1958 Gibson Les Paul TV Special

  • PRICE £9,995
  • DESCRIPTION Solidbody electric guitar, made in the USA
  • BUILD Solid mahogany body and set mahogany neck with bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard
  • HARDWARE Wrapover bridge, Kluson single line tuners
  • ELECTRONICS 2x P-90 pickups, individual volume and tone, 3-way pickup selector switch
  • SCALE LENGTH 625mm/24.6″
  • NECK WIDTH 42.8mm at nut, 52.1mm at 12th fret
  • NECK DEPTH 23.5mm at first fret, 25.2mm at 12th fret
  • STRING SPACING 36.6mm at nut, 51mm at bridge
  • WEIGHT 3.62kg/7.98lb
  • FINISH TV Yellow nitrocellulose

1959 Gibson Les Paul Special

  • PRICE £8,495
  • DESCRIPTION Solidbody electric guitar, made in the USA
  • BUILD Solid mahogany body and set mahogany neck with bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard
  • HARDWARE Wrapover bridge, Kluson single line tuners
  • ELECTRICS 2x P-90 pickups, individual volume and tone, 3-way pickup selector switch
  • SCALE LENGTH 625mm/24.6″
  • NECK WIDTH 43.2mm at nut, 52.8mm at 12th fret
  • NECK DEPTH 23mm at first fret, 24.6mm at 12th fret
  • STRING SPACING 37mm at nut, 50.4mm at bridge
  • WEIGHT 3.25kg/7.17lb
  • FINISH Cherry nitrocellulose
  • CONTACTatbguitars.com
Sours: https://guitar.com/review/vintage-review/vintage-bench-test-1958-tv-les-paul-special-1959-double-cutaway-les-paul-special/

Special les 2020 gibson paul

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Return Of The Special

The Les Paul Special returns to the classic design that made it relevant, played and loved shaping sound across generations and genres of music. It pays tribute to Gibson's Golden Era of innovation and brings authenticity back to life. Originally introduced in 1955, the Les Paul Special has been embraced by musicians for over 60 years. It is based on the Les Paul Junior with a slab mahogany body, fat 50s-style mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, wraparound bridge, an additional rhythm P-90 pickup, binding on the neck and additional controls for the rhythm pickup and the 3-way toggle switch. Available in the always classic TV Yellow and Vintage Cherry.



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Sours: https://www.gibson.com/Guitar/USA2KP357/Les-Paul-Special/TV-Yellow
Gibson Les Paul Special - TV Yellow - In-Depth Demo!


P-90 Single Coil Pickup

Legendary Tone

First introduced in the early 1950s, Gibson's legendary P90 single coil pickup produced a raw powerful tone that helped define the blues and rock and roll in their formative years. Today, the P90's traditional combination of high output and brilliant tone is still considered a favorite among many top musicians. Known by such familiar nicknames as the "Soapbar" and the "Cobalt," the P90 still cuts through any type of music, all while displaying amazing tonal sensitivity for everything from blues and rock to mellow jazz riffs. It's perfect as a vintage replacement, and features vintage, braided two-conductor wiring. It's also fully wax potted to eliminate any chance of unwanted microphonic feedback.

Sours: https://www.epiphone.com/Guitar/EPIKNE179/Les-Paul-Special/TV-Yellow

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Gibson Les Paul Special

The Gibson Les Paul Special is a variation of the Gibson Les Paul guitar. It was introduced in 1955.[1]


Like most of Gibson's other budget models, the Les Paul Special was produced in a TV Yellow finish, which was made by Gibson as a finish that would look good on black and white television[citation needed]. In 1958, the model received a major change when it was introduced as a doublecut model instead of the traditional singlecut.

In 1961, the Les Paul received a drastic change when it was formed into what we know today as the Gibson SG. Once Les Paul's contract had expired later that year,[citation needed] the Les Paul submodels changed with it. In 1968, when the contract was renewed, the original models were rebooted, and Gibson and Gibson Custom Shop now offer a total of four Les Paul special models: two single cut and two double cut.[7][failed verification]

  • 1956 Les Paul Special Singlecut in TV Yellow
    (reissued by Epiphone, modified to stopbar-bridge)

  • 1960 SG Special
    (renamed from "Les Paul Special Doublecut" in 1959)[1]

  • Gibson Les Paul Special Singlecut in Spearmint (1998)


See also: Gibson Les Paul Junior

The list of Special models manufactured since 1955.[6][verification needed]

Single Cutaway[edit]

See also: Single cutaway

  • 1955–1958:  Les Paul Special (Single Cutaway)
  • 1974:[3][4]    Les Paul '55 Special limited edition
  • 1974[6]/1977[3]/(1978[5])–1981: 
            Les Paul '55 (Special Single Cutaway Reissue)
  • 1989–1998:  Les Paul Junior II (Les Paul Special Single Cutaway Reissue)[8]
  • 2019-present: Les Paul Special (reissue with wrap tailpiece; vintage cherry and TV yellow finishes)
  • 1996–1999:  Les Paul Special SL (LPJS)
  • 1999–2003:  Les Paul Junior Special (LPJS)
  • 2001–2005:  Les Paul Junior Special Plus (LPJ+)
  • 2001–2002:  Les Paul Junior Special With Humbucker (LPJSH)
  • 2003–2006:  Les Paul Junior Special Faded With Humbucker (LPJSH)
  • 2006–2008:  Les Paul Special New Century (LPJSHM)
  • 2009–2011:  Les Paul Junior Special Robot (RBLPJ)
  • 2011:    Les Paul Special Humbucker (Model LPJSHO)
  • 2012–2013:  Les Paul Junior Special Humbucker (Model LSH)
  • 2012–2013:  Les Paul Junior Special P-90 (Model LS90)
  • 2014:  Les Paul Special AAA Flame Top Semi-Hollowbody (Model LPSPGCMCH1)

Double Cutaway[edit]

See also: Gibson Les Paul Doublecut and Double cutaway

  • 1958–[1]/1959[6] Les Paul Special (Double Cutaway)
  • 1959:    Les Paul Special 3/4 (Double Cutaway)
  • 1959–1961:  SG Special (Les Paul Special Double Cutaway)
  • 1976[5]–1989:  Les Paul Special Double Cutaway (1st Reissue)
  • 1993–1995:  Les Paul Special Double Cutaway (2nd Reissue)
  • 2015:    Les Paul Special Double Cutaway 2015
  • 1994:    Centennial Les Paul Special Double Cutaway
  • 1999–2002:  Les Paul Junior Lite (LPJL)
  • 2003–2008:  Les Paul Faded Double Cutaway (LPFD)



  1. ^ abcdeDuchossoir 1998, pp. 211

    "The Les Paul Special was introduced in 1955 as an intermediate model between the regular Les Paul guitar and the lower-priced Junior and TV instruments. Like the latter, the Special underwent two successive body redesigns in 1958 and 1961 while the Les Paul affiliation was discontinued in late 1959. The model was then renamed SG Special without any apparent changes in the specification other than the removal of Les Paul marking. Overall four variants of the Special can be distinguished between 1955 and 1965.”, “Les Paul Special (1955-1958) ...”, “Les Paul Special (1959) ...”, “SG Special (1959-1961) ...”, “SG Special (1961-...”"

  2. ^"The Gibson Les Paul Special". Vintage Guitar (June 2007).

    "When the Les Pae back in the 1970s, the Special ed more popular than the Junior. In fact, the Junior was nowhere to be seen until 1987, while the Special reappeared as early as 1972 in a single-cutaway version, one of which became the main axe of reggae legend Bob Marley. The double-cutaway version became a separate model when it was reintroduced in '76 as the Les Paul Special Double Cutaway."

    [verification needed]
  3. ^ abcdAchard, Ken (August 1996). "The Seventies". The History and Development of the American Guitar. Bold Strummer (published 1996). p. 121. ISBN .

    "The success of the reintroduced Les Paul series ... One of the first of these limited editions appeared in 1970, and was the original Black Beauty Les Paul Custom. ... Other limited edition Les Paul models have been the single cutaway Les Paul Special design of 1955 offered in 1974 as a limited series, and again in 1977 to the range as the "Les Paul '55", plus the Sunburst Les Paul Standard in 1974."

  4. ^ abBishop, Ian C.; Bishop, Ian Courtney (1990). The Gibson Guitar from 1950. Bold Strummer guitar series. Bold Strummer. p. 8. ISBN .

    "The only other limited edition Les Paul not so far described, is the 1974 edition of the 1955 sunburst flat top Les Paul Special, with the two black covered single coil pickups. ..."

  5. ^ abcdCarter, Walter (2007). The Gibson Electric Guitar Book: Seventy Years of Classic Guitars. Music Series. Backbeat Books. ISBN .

    "Les Paul Special Double Cutaway (1976, 1978-85, 1993-94): Double cutaway, tune-o-matic bridge (wraparound 1993-94), selector switch on treble side near bridge, chrome-plated hardware (nickel-plated 1993-94) metal tuner buttons, ..."

  6. ^ abcde"GIBSON Les Paul: Special Series", Blue Book of Electric Guitar Value, Blue Book Publications, Inc, retrieved 28 March 2016
  7. ^http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-Custom/1960-Les-Paul-Special-Double-VOS.aspx.
  8. ^Les Paul Junior II/Les Paul Special Single Cutaway Reissue (LPJ2)"GIBSON Les Paul: Special Series", Blue Book of Electric Guitar Value, Blue Book Publications, Inc, retrieved 28 March 2016

External links[edit]

Media related to Gibson Les Paul Special at Wikimedia Commons

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Les_Paul_Special

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