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Limed-mahogany, thick-bodied single cutaway
1960 Les Paul Special Single VOS

By the mid-1950s, it was clear that Gibson, its competition, and—more importantly—the buying public had fully embraced the solid body electric guitar, making it the fastest growing segment among fretted instruments. The aim now was to create an instrument for every market segment, and the Les Paul Special single cutaway model—introduced by Gibson in late 1955—was positioned as an intermediate model between the $99.50 Les Paul Junior and the $235 Les Paul goldtop model. Priced at $169.50, this first edition of the Les Paul Special was a single cutaway model fitted with two of Gibson’s P-90 singlecoil pickups, a wraparound bridge/tailpiece, upgraded bound fingerboard, and inlaid mother of pearl Gibson headstock logo. Like the Les Paul Junior, the Special sported the visually attractive limed mahogany, or TV Yellow, finish on a thick-bodied, single cutaway design. With few exceptions—namely the occasional maple body or natural and cherry red finishes—the Les Paul Special remained a single cutaway, TV Yellow model until its redesign in 1958.

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