Up for sale, a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special in excellent condition and in perfect working order. The little brother of the Les Paul Standard, this golden-era Gibson guitar sports its original nitro lacquer Cherry finish, a hefty baseball bat neck profile, and the kind of P-90 growl that’s been emulated for decades. Few guitars can match the feel and playability of these solid mahogany wonders, and the Les Paul Special has a dynamic, touch sensitive quality that responds instantly to your pick attack, with equal parts glassy clarity and wooly, P-90 warmth. Acoustically resonant and lively when strummed with authority, the entire guitar rings out with a voice that is harmonically rich and sounds great through just about any amp with which you pair it. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar and featherweight at 7lbs 4oz, this Les Paul Special plays exceedingly well with low, consistent action and fresh 10-46 strings.
The neck has the aforementioned generous C shaped profile that fills the palm comfortably, staying a hair more slender at the nut and graduating to full "baseball bat" depth and roundness by the time you reach the 5th fret and beyond. The shoulders on the profile are nice and full, and it's arguably Gibson's most emulated and desirable neck shape with enough substance to really add to the overall resonance and sustain of the instrument in a profound way.
The bound, Brazilian rosewood fretboard has a dark, tight grain pattern, and the guitar has been cleanly refretted with medium jumbo fretwire. These frets have similar width to what Gibson was using in the era, with notably more crown and height for effortless bending and decades of future fret life. Currently, the frets show virtually no wear, with perfectly rounded crowns and no buzzing or dead spots. On the headstock, the silkscreened “Les Paul Special” text and inlayed “Gibson” logo are present, as well as a very clear and unfaded stamped serial number from the ’59 production run. The single line Kluson Deluxe tuning machines are present as well. These tuners show modest surface rust but still work as intended, and the stock white buttons have only lightly shrunk over the decades. The guitar had previously been fitted with a different tuner set, but thankfully the Kluson strips cover any extra mounting holes for a clean, original look.
Typical for most of the Les Paul Specials from this era with Gibson’s famously shallow neck joint, there is a slender, professionally repaired heel crack. The crack is tight and is very slight, with light, targeted overspray. Conventional knowledge on these cracks is that the repair is actually stronger than the original joint, and the guitar has a very solid feel and 100% structurally sound heel.
Both original P-90 pickups are present, featuring their original winds and reading at a well balanced 7.87k in the bridge and 8.11k ohms at the neck. With the original pickguard removed, one can see the original rich shade of Cherry and how the exposed finish has elegantly aged to a color that bridges the gap between Walnut and Cherry. There's still quite a bit of red in the top and a deeper shade on the back (which saw less UV) with gorgeous, faint lacquer checking across the entire instrument including the neck and headstock. A peek in the electronics cavity shows untouched solder joints, original pots and the famed “Bumblebee” tone caps, highly desirable for their smooth treble roll off and a sweet sound that’s been emulated but never duplicated.
The black bonnet knobs, Rhythm/Treble three-way toggle surround and white switch tip are intact. Another hallmark of these guitars is the lightweight aluminum wraparound tailpiece and this one does exactly what all the hype suggests, adding a certain top end zing and acoustic clarity. The bridge inserts have plenty of adjustment room in both directions as well. Even the original black plastic input jack plate is present!
Cosmetically, the guitar is in remarkable shape as shown in the photos. Along with the light and consistent finish checking, there is faint, targeted buckle rash in the finish only centered on the back of the guitar, and a few tiny nicks scattered around the edges of the body and adjacent to the input jack. There is also a bit of wear down to the bare mahogany on the back along the bass side waist of the body. Other than light, honest use over the decades, this is an extremely well kept and soulful examples of one of Gibson’s most beloved models of the 1950s.
A vintage faux alligator chipboard case with red plush interior is included.