Gibson Les Paul TV Guitars 1958

John Shults

Posted on May 02 2022

Les Paul TV 1958 Yellow guitar with red swirl pickguard

The Gibson Les Paul TV Model from 1958 went through the same transition as both the Les Paul Junior and the Les Paul Special: the switch from single cutaway to double cutaway. Like the other two models, the Les Paul TV also received an updated finish from muted yellow to a more bright banana hued yellow. It's an often forgotten model that's wholly separate in the catalog from the Junior. It's one of my favorite 1950s Les Paul models they made. 

As a Gibson Les Paul collector, I'm always on the hunt for the best examples of the Les Paul guitars from each year in the 1950s. The Les Pauls in 1958 are usually my favorite guitars to play. If you're curious about finding the year your Les Paul was made then check out the Les Paul Serial Number Lookup. Or if you're interested in how much I would value your Les Paul then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson

Gibson Les Paul TV 1958 guitar yellow in original case

Gibson Les Paul TV 1950s

The earliest Les Paul TV Gibson guitars were made as 3/4 size in 1954, but the catalog didn't list the model until 1956. It was initially introduced in exactly the same specifications as the Les Paul Junior, except was finished in a muted yellow that Gibson called Limed Mahogany. Like the rest of the Les Paul line, 1958 was a significant transitional year which saw the Les Paul TV update from the single cut/muted yellow into the double cutaway body style with bright yellow finish and a red celluloid pickguard. This color combination must have left quite an impression on young players as it certainly does to this Les Paul collector and player!

Les Paul TV yellow single cutaway Gibson guitar from early 1958 with black pickguard

 Both of the Les Paul TV guitars pictured here were made in 1958, but you can see how much different they are. The muted yellow with black pickguard is from early 1958. To my eye, the muted yellow is very indicative of the early to mid 1950s style, but the bright yellow and red are beginning to respond to the changes that fully came about in the 1960s. Gibson was responding to the changing needs of up and come guitarists and the new rock and roll sound which was popular in the day. Guitar players wanted full upper fret access and bright colors to delight a live audience.

Les Paul TV 1958 Values

The Gibson Les Paul TV guitar from 1958 sits in an interesting value point for Les Paul players and collectors. On the one hand, it offers only one pickup, basic wrap tail bridge, and no fancy binding or pearly inlay. The features are nearly identical to the Les Paul Junior, but the value is wholly different. The Les Paul TV was an entirely different model which is listed separately in the Gibson shipment totals. Gibson's shipment total records indicate that only 429 Les Paul TV guitars were shipped in 1958, while a total of 2,498 Les Paul Juniors are listed as having shipped that year. 

The value of a 1958 Gibson Les Paul is a function of both its supply and its demand. In the case of the Les Paul TV Model, the supply is vastly smaller than for comparable models, but the demand is likely about the same. The Les Paul TV suffers a bit from being a less well known model which is usually just lumped into the same category as the Les Paul Junior. 

As both a player and collector of Gibson Les Paul guitars from the 1950s, I'm always on the hunt for a 1958 Gibson Les Paul TV. If you've inherited a 1950s Gibson and are curious about its value then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson. I would be happy to take a look and offer an opinion of what I see. I may even be the buyer you're looking for. 

Les Paul signature with TV Model written underneath on the neck


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