Gibson / Les Paul Special / 1955 / TV Yellow / Guitar For Sale

Not a custom shop, the real deal, time capsule, investment grade 1955 Gibson Les Paul Special…

There are a few myths as to the origin of the moniker ‘TV Yellow’. Some say that it originates through the association with television cabinet finishes which were often done in limed mahogany (the finish listed in the Gibson Catalogue). Another idea most often quoted is that the finish looked better when broadcast (a suggestion put forward by Les Paul himself) as white caused issues with early television cameras.

A more controversial one is that the TV stands for ‘Telecaster Version’, a name given to the finish by Gibson executives who thought the combination of a blonde finish and black pick guard would confuse new customers into buying the Les Paul Juniors over their rival Fender’s Telecaster. Whatever the answer, its certain that this is one of Gibson’s most distinctive finishes, one which went through many changes over the years.

As TV finishes go, this first year, more oaty shade is by far our favourite. This is a stunning example that seems to have been kept away from any sunlight and nicotine over the years. The body has no wear, with the only discoloration having come from some case rash. In fact, there is nothing to suggest that this guitar has been played more than a handful of times.

The neck is in stunning condition, the pink patch being the only very minor blemish.Fretboard and frets are as fresh as the day they are fitted. The headstock still has the sharp edges with only little wear to the finish on the the very tips.

The hardware and plastics are equally amazing. In fact you have to pinch yourself as everything looks just about as new and you have to remind yourself you are not looking at a reissue… Just look how there is no fade at all on the Gibson logo and hardly any fade at all on the knobs.Look how the plastics, including the jack socket, look as fresh as the day the came from the factory.

It is interesting the finish of these first year LP TV guitars are so different from the later years but you can see from within the cavity pics that the finish is the same, it is just they only bothered to rub it down for the first 14 months or so then they must have decided to leave to TV yellow as is. The result is this beautiful light TV finish you only see on 1955 to early 1956.

It is truly breathtaking and we have not seen another like this.

This guitar has a nice acoustic resonance and the chunky neck feels comfortable as you’d imagine. The real fun comes when plugged in as both P-90s deliver a fantastic gnarly tone when full tilt, cleaning up nicely with the volume and tone controls. Gibson produced some brilliant pickups in the 1950s and this guitar is certainly blessed with a well matched pair.

Electrically everything is as expected with solder joint undisturbed.

The guitar comes with its correct ‘gator-skin’ case though this may not be original to this guitar.

This guitar goes a long way to show that ‘student models’ of the 50s were certainly not just thrown together at Kalamazoo and to see one in this condition is certainly not an everyday occurrence.

ATB Guitars, UK  

Contact name:
Mike Long
Vintage Gibson, Fender and Martin from 1940's-1970's
Opening hours:
24 hours

Hello we’re ATB Guitars.

We are one of Europes leading sellers of vintage and rare guitars. We only sell vintage Gibson and Fender electric guitars from 1950 until 1975 and have an extensive inventory to browse in our bricks and mortar store in Cheltenham, UK or in our online web store.

Payment and p/x:

All prices are in UK GBP £ Sterling. Payment can be made by Paypal, bank transfer, cash, or money order cashiers cheque etc. 

Should you not be absolutely delighted with your purchase you may return it to Cheltenham, at your own expense, within 7 days from the date of delivery for a full refund. The item must not have been altered or tampered with in any way, and it must arrive in the same condition as it left us.

Postage and shipping:

We ship within the UK by Royal Mail Recorded (small items under 2Kg), TNT or UPS and Worldwide by Royal Mail Airmail Signed For (small under 2Kg) Parcelforce, UPS or FedEx. All shipping prices include expert packing, cartons and packing materials but not insurance which is typically around 2% of items value. Currently approx shipping rates for a single guitar are as follows:

UK excluding Northern Ireland and Highlands £29
Most of mainland Europe £49
U.S.A. £129
Asia £149 - £190
Rest of World including S. America £149 - £275


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