Gibson Les Paul TV 1956

John Shults

Posted on March 02 2022

Gibson Les Paul TV 1956 in original tv yellow finish with single cutaway

This Gibson Les Paul TV Model 1956 has just come into the shop from the family of its original owner from Nampa, Idaho! It's a really nice example of Gibson's single cutaway Les Paul with a tv yellow finish which Gibson called "Limed Mahogany" in the catalog in the 1950s. Many Gibson collectors call this a TV Junior, but Gibson's catalog distinguishes between the Sunburst finish single cut/single pickup guitar into two separate models. The catalog calls the single P-90 pickup solid body electric Les Paul guitar in tv yellow finish the "TV Model".

As a Gibson guitar collector, I'm always on the hunt for the nicest examples of 1950s and 1960s Gibson guitars. If you've inherited a 1956 Gibson Les Paul and are curious about how much I would value it then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson. Or if you'd like to know more about how to find the year of a Gibson Les Paul then check out: Les Paul Serial Number Lookup.

Gibson Les Paul TV Yellow 1956 in original brown case

Gibson Les Paul TV 1956

Gibson's Les Paul TV Model debuted in 1955 and not much changed by 1956. There is much speculation about why Gibson called this the "TV Model" and I've yet to find a document from Gibson in the 1950s which describes exactly why. One of my favorite books on 1950s Gibson Les Paul guitars, The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy by Robb Lawrence, details what I think is the most likely explanation which is that it is the model that Les Paul debuted on TV. Whatever the reason, the Les Paul TV Model can be accurately described as a Les Paul Junior with Limed Mahogany (TV Yellow) finish. 

This 1956 Gibson Les Paul TV Model has survived in spectacular all original condition with no repairs or modifications of any kind. It weighs in at 7.6 lbs which is on the heavy side for this model, but still a light weight guitar. The neck profile measure 0.91" at the first fret and 1.01" at the 12th fret. It's really a joy to play on full height original frets, original wrap tail bridge, and even still has the crumbling original tuner buttons. It also has the original matte black pickguard which was update to a red celluloid pickguard in 1958. You can check out the double cutaway Les Paul TV Model here: 1958 Gibson Les Paul TV Model.

Gibson Les Paul TV Model headstock 1956

Gibson Les Paul 1956 Values

The value of a Gibson Les Paul guitar from the 1950s depends on a few important factors: exact model (there were 5), exact year of manufacture, condition, and originality. You can contact me here if you're curious about how much I would value your 1950s Gibson: Sell a Gibson. Gibson manufactured five different Les Paul models in the 1950s: Les Paul Junior, Les Paul TV, Les Paul Special, Les Paul Standard, and Les Paul Custom. The most valuable Les Paul is the Gibson Les Paul Standard made from 1958-1960, followed by the Les Paul Custom, Special, TV Model, then Junior as the least valuable. We know that this Les Paul TV is from 1956 because of its serial number. You can find the year of your Gibson Les Paul here: Les Paul Serial Number Lookup.

Another significant aspect of the value of a 1950s Gibson Les Paul is the exact year of manufacture. Gibson continually updated each model every year throughout the 1950s, and Gibson guitar collectors are usually looking for specific features from a certain year. Not only that, but production numbers and demand are different for each year and model, so it is easier to find examples from certain years compared to others. 

Like most collectibles, condition and originality also factor heavily into the value of a 1950s Gibson Les Paul guitar. Gibson guitar collectors generally prioritize clean, all original guitars over comparable Les Pauls with repairs and modifications. Some parts are more important to value than others; for example, the finish of a Gibson Les Paul is one of its most important parts affecting value. The pickups on a Les Paul also can heavily influence their value. 

If you're curious about how much I would value your 1956 Gibson Les Paul then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson. I would be happy to take a look, offer feedback, and I may even be the buyer you're looking for. 

Gibson Les Paul 1956 values by year

More Posts


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing