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1955 Les Paul Goldtop Wraptail 1955 Les Paul Goldtop Wraptail
A Wraptail Rocker from the Golden Age of Electric Guitars
Gibson’s Les Paul Standard of 1958-’60 with sunburst finish and PAF humbuckers might take the lion’s share of the glory, but countless no-nonsense rock and rollers will profess their love for the earlier Goldtop incarnation of the breed from a few years earlier, with two screaming P-90 single-coil pickups and rock-solid “wraptail” (aka wrapover) bridge. Recreated to period-perfect detail in the exclusive limited-run Gibson Custom Shop, this guitar captures the glory of the seminal Les Paul as it was really starting to soar, and embodies several Gibson advancements of the era. Having racked up more innovations in guitar design in the previous 50 years than all other major guitar manufacturers combined, Gibson was rolling toward a historical peak in the middle of the 20th century. Arriving at the crux of this period—with rock and roll barely a year old, and the nation itself in the midst of social and cultural innovation—the 1955 Les Paul represents a turning point in guitar technology and design, a gateway from the old hardware and components of the pre-rock and roll years to the new designs that would continue to rage well into the 21st century.

Following on the heels of the first “trapeze bridge” Les Pauls of 1952 and ’53, the Goldtop with wraparound bridge of 1954 and ’55 embodied the guitar as co-designers Les Paul and Ted McCarty had envisioned it: the most playable, toneful solidbody electric guitar available to the professional musician, made with a nod to more than half a century of Gibson tradition yet primed with modern innovations, and dressed in gold to indicate its status in the world. Looking toward the future, its solid mahogany back and maple top addressed rockers’ needs for tonal depths, clarity, sustain, and richness while squelching the feedback that was problematic in acoustic-electrics. Benefiting from the past, its carved-arched top, perfectly back-angled set neck with long-tenon joint, and bound body and fingerboard offered elements of longstanding Gibson tradition and quality that discerning players were still demanding in their instruments.

Simple, yet extremely solid and effective, the wraparound TonePros bridge on the Custom Shop 1955 Les Paul Goldtop Wraptail—with locking studs mounted in long steel anchors—offers an extremely efficient resonant coupling between strings and body and helps thicken and warm up the overall tonal brew. Gibson’s legendary P-90 pickups present more meat and midrange aggression than thinner single-coil pickups, yet with plenty of high-end clarity and a slightly grainy edge that really helps the Les Paul Goldtop cut through the mix. As for looks, the authentic hand-sprayed nitrocellulose Antique Gold finish (actually created, as in 1952-’57, by adding a bronze powder to tint the clear lacquer) stunningly captures all the simple elegance of the original. In addition to these historically accurate details, however, Gibson has upped the ante by given the 1955 Les Paul Goldtop Wraptail’s quarter-sawn mahogany neck the new “Soft Shoulder” ’55 neck profile, created by the Custom Shop’s luthiers after detailed study of a particularly “magic feeling” neck on an original ’55 Les Paul. With a similar front-to-back depth as standard rounded mid-’50s necks, it differed in its gently sloping sides, a feature that made it sit incredibly comfortably in the hand—and the detailed reproduction of this profile makes the Gibson Custom Shop 1955 Les Paul Goldtop Wraptail a pure joy to play. This exclusive guitar comes with a Gibson Custom hardshell case and a “Year of 1955 Innovation” certificate. Check it out now at selected online dealers.

Technical Specifications
Body Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Mahogany
Neck Joint Set in
Profile Soft Shoulder '55 neck profile
Scale Length 24-3/4"
Fretboard Species Rosewood
Frets 22
Nut Width 1-11/16"
Tuners Kluson tuners
Bridge/Tailpiece TonePros "Wraptail" one-piece wrapover bridge/tailpiece with long steel anchors and long-locking studs
 
Tone Controls Two Volume, Two Tone
Toggle Switch 3-way Pickup Selector
Neck Pickup P-90
Bridge Pickup P-90
Hardware Nickel
Finish Antique Gold
Sealer Nitrocellulose Finish
Other Includes Hardshell Case and Year of 1955 Innovation Certificate