This Gibson Les Paul Special 1957 in original tv yellow finish came through the shop 2015. It's a really great example of the late 1950s Gibson single cutaway Les Paul Special with two P-90 pickups. It was a really great guitar to play and had all the tone I look for in a 1950s Les Paul. I've been looking for another example like it since then. Like most Gibson Les Paul guitars from 1957, its serial number began with a 7 prefix to indicate 1957 followed by 4 digits after a space. 

As a Gibson guitar collector, I'm always on the lookout for great examples of Gibson Les Paul guitars from 1957. The Les Paul Special is a great guitar but I'm also looking for the Les Paul goldtop Standard, Les Paul Custom, and Les Paul TV Model. You can get help with finding the year of your Les Paul here: Les Paul Serial Number Lookup. Or if you're curious about how much I would value your Les Paul then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson

Gibson Les Paul Special 1957

By 1957, the Les Paul Special was only two years old after being introduced in 1955. The Special was the third level of the Les Paul line established by Gibson in the 1950s with the Junior, Les Paul TV Model, Les Paul Special, Les Paul Model (goldtop), and Les Paul Custom from least to most expensive. The Les Paul Special was more of the working man's solid body electric guitar with everything you need to play and no frills. The upgraded Les Paul Model (goldtop) featured a carved Maple cap on the body, binding, fretboard inlays, and stunning gold finish to separate itself from the simple Special. The Special featured a solid Mahogany body with flat top and no top carve. The fretboard inlays were simple dots, the yellow finish was muted, and the simple wrap tail bridge was more crude than the goldtop's Tune-O-Matic.

Gibson Les Paul serial numbers differed from the hollow body instruments significantly. The lower grade hollow body guitars received a factory order number with letter prefix to indicate the year it was made. The fancier top of the line hollow bodies received both an FON and a consecutive serial number. The serial scheme for the Les Paul line consisted of a number prefix to indicate the last digit of the year followed by four or five digits specific to the guitar. This Gibson Les Paul Special 1957 has a number prefix 7 to indicate 1957 followed by four digits specific to this guitar. You can check out more on how to date a Gibson Les Paul here: Les Paul Serial Number Lookup.

The Les Paul Special retained its single cutaway body style and tv yellow finish until the transition to the double cut body style in 1958. Gibson refreshed the model with an optional new Cherry Red finish and relocated the toggle switch from the bass side upper bout to the control knobs area. One problem with the new double cut body style was that the neck joint was weaker than the same joint stabilized by the upper bout. This prompted Gibson to move the neck pickup away from the fretboard about an inch to regain stability. Check out this Gibson Les Paul Special 1960.

Les Paul 1957 Gibson guitar values

Gibson Les Paul 1957 Values

The value of Gibson Les Paul 1957 guitar depends heavily on the exact model, exact year of manufacture, condition, and originality. You can contact me here if you're curious about how much I would value your Les Paul: Sell a Gibson. Since there were 5 Les Paul models in 1957, it's important to compare values of guitars of the same model. This Gibson Les Paul 1957 is the Special; a step above student grade but not the presentation grade Goldtop or fancy Les Paul Custom. Gibson guitar collectors love the Les Paul Special for its great playability and tone without having to take out a mortgage to buy it. 

Gibson Les Paul guitar values also depend heavily on the exact year it was made. Gibson continuously improved and update the Les Paul guitars throughout the 1950s; they produced more guitars some years and fewer guitars other years. Gibson guitar collectors may be looking for a certain year Les Paul because of the neck shape or unique features to that year. 1957 is one of the best years for the Les Paul line in my opinion. The neck profiles are large (0.90" at the first fret and 1.00" at the 12th fret). The large frets wouldn't replaced the more 1950s style small frets until 1959. It's important to compare the values of Les Paul guitars to other guitars made during a similar year or time period. 

Condition and originality also heavily affect the values for Les Paul guitars in the 1950s. The condition of a vintage guitar is unique to each guitar, so there isn't a firm consensus on what type or level of wear is more or less valuable than another. It's easier to compare the condition of two guitars next to each other. Also, each changed part will decrease a Les Paul collector's interest in buying the guitar. Some parts are more important than others such as the pickups. A replaced pickup will decrease the value of the guitar more significantly than replaced tuners or knobs.  

If you're curious about how much I would value your Gibson Les Paul guitar from the 1950s or 1960s then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson. I would be happy to take a look at photos and offer feedback about the year it was made, condition, originality, etc. Or if you're looking for serial number information, check out the Gibson Les Paul Serial Number Lookup.

Gibson Les Paul Special 1957 rhythm and treble switch

John Shults

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