1957 Gibson Les Paul Special

Here is a vintage 1957 Gibson Les Paul Special electric guitar in TV Yellow finish. This particular example, serial number 7 3866, is in extremely excellent, well-preserved, 100% all original condition and includes; the original Lifton 4-latch brown hardshell case with original Excelsior key, the original strap, original Les Paul hangtags, and a box of original vintage strings. This no issues example is super clean with no breaks, no cracks, no repairs, and no modifications.

The Gibson Les Paul Special in TV yellow finish is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic electric guitars ever made. Early versions sometime feature a lighter, less bold, shade of TV yellow that some collectors have referred to as “fawn” or “wheat.” Others have noted that the finish is reminiscent of highly coveted Korina pieces from the late-1950s. And while it is definitely not a custom color by any means, it is clearly a different finish, certainly much more rare, and in my opinion, much better looking. This lighter shade of TV yellow finish is highly attractive and exotic in a nicely subtle way.

This example features; a single-cutaway slab mahogany body with a TV Yellow (wheat/fawn shade) finish, 2 soap-bar P-90 pickups, stop bar/roll over tailpiece, a bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays, an inlayed pearl Gibson logo, single-line Kluson tuning machines, original top hat knobs, a 3-ply (b/w/b) pickguard, nickel plated parts, an original Lifton brown hardshell case (with key), an original strap, vintage string set, and original hangtags!

With only the slightest evidence of playing wear, this guitar looks more like a VOS reissue than an original. This guitar would receive a conservative condition rating of 8.5+/10 on a bad day, as the only significant condition flaw is the superficial belt buckle worming on the back of the body, that has dented through the finish in a couple very small areas: appearing more like small specs of dirt than unattractive and significant wear patterns. The guitar is nearly pristine, and it is more impressive in person than in photos.

Incredibly, the guitar has not faded in the slightest, and the finish is just as vibrant and sheen as it was when it was made. Perhaps even more incredible is the fantastic player’s qualities the guitar exhibits. While some suggest that “the good ones got played, while the bad ones did not,” this sloppy logic certainly does not apply to this guitar. It feels U-N-B-E-L-I-V-A-B-L-E, and the neck profile is so perfect it really is quite amazing. Both pickups sound exceptional: with clear, sweet, resonant highs, and round, rich, transparent lows and mids, this guitar has the perfected balance of a Bosendorfer Imperial Grand piano.

The guitar weighs 8 lbs. and 1 oz. (which is probably the mean weight for the model, as we just sold another which weighed exactly the same) and feels absolutely incredible. The original frets display very minimal fret wear, retain plenty of life, and nicely complement the neck size and shape. The all-around package will make you forget about your other guitars, and focus on bonding with one of the best ever made.

The several small condition issues that keep this guitar from being considered “like-new,” or in perfect cosmetic condition are as follows: slight shrinkage of the pickguard (which is very common), and some light, very minimal buckle wear on the back of the guitar. The stoptail/wrap-around studs haven’t tilted even a degree, and are perfectly vertical and structurally intact. The original tuning machines still retain the original shrunken plastic buttons, but they are so nice otherwise, that we opted to include an extra vintage set with replaced vintage-colored buttons. Additionally, the original switch tip had a small crack along the side, so we included an additional vintage spec repro as well.

It was only several short years ago that this guitar was commonly being sold for over $25,000.00, and in my honest opinion, I feel like that value should hold strong today. However, while prices have changed, I feel like the innate value of this guitar has not. It is a ’57 vintage Les Paul TV Special in exceptionally clean all original condition, and both collectors and players alike would agree that this example represents the best of its class.