Gibson Les Paul Special Cream 1960
Posted on December 16 2022
I purchased this very clean 1960 Gibson Les Paul Special in original Cream finish from its original owner earlier this year. While many collectors would describe this as a double cut TV Special, Gibson's own paperwork wouldn't use these terms to describe a guitar like this until the 1980s. It seems that even Gibson's own paperwork in 1960 was a bit confused since there is no "Les Paul Special" listed in the catalog or price list for that year. It was listed as an SG Special; many of the guitars that look like this didn't bear the Les Paul signature on the headstock. But this guitar does indeed bear the name of the legend himself.
As a Les Paul guitar collector, I'm always on the hunt for the nicest examples of Gibson Les Paul guitars made in the 1950s and 1960s. If you're looking for more information on a Les Paul then you can check out the Les Paul Serial Number lookup. Or if you're considering selling, you can reach out to me here to sell a Gibson.
This 1960 Gibson Les Paul Special has a unique history
I was privileged to buy this 1960 Gibson Les Paul Special directly from its original owner. As I'm buying vintage guitars, I always ask about their history in order to keep it alive. He purchased this guitar brand new with his signing bonus he received from the Navy. His job with the Navy was on submarines throughout his career. In 1962, he was commissioned on a submarine in October of 1962 which was positioned off of the coast of Cuba. He was able to bring his guitar with him on the submarine which means that this guitar was in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis as it happened.
But its original owner was not destined to become a professional musician. He lightly played his Les Paul Special throughout his lifetime. It has survived in amazing condition with no breaks, repairs, or changed parts. It's an excellent example of the model.
What is a Les Paul Special?
Gibson's Les Paul Special model debuted in its catalog in 1955 as the fifth submodel in its Les Paul line already consisting also of the Les Paul Model (later Standard), Custom, Junior, and TV. The Special's trim package consisted of its translucent yellow finish it described as Limed Mahogany then Cream by about 1960. It also featured a pearl inlayed Gibson peghead logo, silk screened "Les Paul Special" name, pearloid dot fretboard markers, neck binding, and two pickups. The strings mount to the body in a combination bridge and tailpiece commonly referred to as the "wrap tail" bridge.
The model was initially introduced with a single cutaway slab Mahogany body in 1955 but was upgraded to the double cutaway body style in 1958 (example here: 1957 Gibson Les Paul Special). The neck profiles remained fat from 1955 until beginning to slim in 1959. The 1957 era Les Paul neck profile generally measures about 0.91" deep at the first fret and just over 1.00" at the 12th fret. This 1960 Gibson Les Paul Special's neck profile measured 0.82" deep at the first fret and 0.90" deep at the 12th fret.
Do you have one you're considering selling? I'm looking for 1950s Les Pauls: Sell a Gibson.