1957 Gibson Les Paul TV Model
Posted on January 22 2021
This clean 1957 Gibson Les Paul TV Model electric guitar came through the shop a few years ago. The TV Model is its own Gibson model, even though most players and collectors refer to these as "TV Juniors" or Les Paul Junior in TV Yellow. It's a good way to describe it I suppose since it's identical to the Les Paul Junior in every way except for the finish and the model name on the headstock. Gibson's own catalog, however, gave it an entirely different listing than the Junior.
You can check out a few other 1950s Gibson Les Paul guitars I've collected here:
1954 Gibson Les Paul Model goldtop
1959 Gibson Les Paul Junior Cherry
Check out the headstock from this 1957 Gibson Les Paul TV Model. You can see the typical black painted headstock, gold Gibson logo, and silkscreened on top of the finish is the "Les Paul" signature with "TV MODEL" in block letters underneath. The Les Paul Juniors will have simply "JUNIOR" under the signature, the Specials have "SPECIAL", the goldtops and sunburst Standards will have "MODEL", and the Les Paul Customs will not have any silkscreen since they have the upgraded split diamond pearl peghead inlay.
Gibson called the semi translucent yellow finish both "Limed Mahogany" in one part of its catalog and "Limed Oak" in another. Limed Mahogany is certainly a more correct name since there's no Oak on this guitar. It's solid Mahogany. Anyway, that's the nature of the Gibson catalogs from the 1920s through the 1960s. It seems that the marketing department didn't communicate with the people actually building the guitars too much.
This picture of the body of the Les Paul TV Model shows some of the reasons these are fantastic guitars. The single P-90 style single coil pickup in the bridge position makes for a surprisingly versatile and simple guitar. The layout forces the player to make full use of the volume and tone knobs. The wrap tail style bridge has its own strengths and weaknesses. The firm contact of string vibration to the body yields a remarkably resonant instrument, yet the limited intonation adjustment can be a drawback. The bridge was designed when heavy gauge flat wound strings were the norm, so it's not intonated for an unwound third and .010 gauge roundwound strings. I don't mind!