Gibson’s drive to pioneer a broad selection of guitars designed to meet the ever-growing demand for solid body electrics came full circle with the introduction of the double cutaway Les Paul Special in 1959. The model was actually introduced in late 1958, but only 958 units were manufactured that year. Its popularity, however, was almost immediate and production doubled to 1,821 units in 1959, making the Les Paul Special double cutaway Gibson’s third most popular model behind the Les Paul Junior and ES-125T.
Body and Finish
The model itself was almost identical to the double cutaway design of the Les Paul Junior, including the neck-to-body-junction at the 22nd fret, allowing players complete access to the fingerboard. It also sported the visually attractive limed mahogany, or TV Yellow, finish, with the occasional maple body or natural and cherry red finishes.
This model had virtually the same features as the single cutaway Les Paul Special, including two Gibson P-90 singlecoil pickups, a wraparound bridge/tailpiece, upgraded bound fingerboard, and inlaid mother of pearl Gibson headstock logo. Early versions also saw the toggle switch placed directly above the volume and tone controls of the rhythm pickup, and a small piece of plastic between the end of the neck and the rhythm pickup. Later versions—like this 1960 Gibson Custom model—featured the toggle switch much closer to the wraparound bridge/tailpiece, and the volume and tone controls in a more elongated formation.
The 1960 Les Paul Special Double Cutaway from the Gibson Custom Shop represents the model in its most stylish design—a painstaking recreation, achieving with absolute certainty the look, feel, and vintage vibe of the original. The thicker, solid mahogany body is faithfully reproduced, giving it the typical, lush resonance expected of any Les Paul. A one-piece mahogany neck and headstock with Holly veneer is attached to the body via a long-neck tenon—one of the Les Paul’s more time-honored characteristics from the “Golden Era” of Gibson guitars. The 24 ¾-inch scale length neck is topped with a rosewood fingerboard, pearloid dot inlays, and hand-crafted with Gibson’s comfortable and highly playable ’60s slim-taper neck. The electronics are made to the same specs, featuring CTS pots and bumble bee capacitors, along with the standard two volume and two tone knob setup and three-way pickup selector. A black, five-ply pickguard with beveled edges accents the contour of the body. The 1960 Les Paul Special Single Cutaway comes TV Yellow, Faded Cherry and TV White finishes – in either V.O.S. or Gloss – along with the standard Gibson Custom Shop case and certificate of authenticity.