Les Paul/SG Special Guitars

1961 Gibson Les Paul/SG Special

Color: Cherry, Rating: 9.00, $8,500.00 (ID# 01029)
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One of the Very Last of the Les Paul/SG Specials.


1961 Gibson Les Paul SG Special.

This wonderful guitar weighs 8.40 lbs. and has a nice, fat nut width of 1 11/16 inches and a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches. Solid mahogany body, one-piece mahogany neck with a typical early sixties thin profile, and a bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and inlaid pearl dot position markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo. Two-layer (black on white) plastic truss-rod cover. One of the very last Gibson guitars to have the serial number ("1 1116") inked-on in black on the back of the headstock. Closed-back single-line Kluson Deluxe strip tuners with white plastic oval buttons. Two P-90 pickups with outputs of 6.33k and 8.40k. Five-layer (black/white/black/white/black) plastic pickguard with six screws. Four controls (two volume, two tone) plus three-way pickup selector switch, all on lower treble bout. Black plastic bell-shaped "Bell" knobs with metal tops. The three-way pickup selector switch is surrounded by a thin black plastic ring engraved with "RHYTHM" and "TREBLE." The pots are stamped "134 6027" (Centralab July 1960) and the two capacitors are the original "Bee" type. Angled combination "wrap-over" bar bridge/stud tailpiece with two adjustable worm screws. All hardware nickel-plated. The cherry-red finish is totally unfaded and apart from a one inch 'ding' on the treble bottom edge and a few small surface marks and indentations, this is an exceptionally fine (9.00) example, of one of the very last of of the very best of the slab-bodied Les Paul Specials. Housed in the original Gibson 'aligator' soft-shell case (7.50).

"The double-cut Les Paul Special came and went in the same year. The change from the earlier single-cut style occurred early in 1959, while toward the end of the year Gibson removed the model's Les Paul logo, changing its name to SG Special even though everything else stayed the same" (Tony Bacon and Paul Day, The Gibson Les Paul Book, p. 23).

"The double cutaway Special was listed as a Les Paul for less than a year, and in the price list dated 1st November 1959 the model appeared as the SG Special. All the specifications remained the same save for the removal of Les Paul markings on the headstock and the installation of an enlarged one-piece guard covering the area between the front pickup and the fingerboard. For all practical purposes, this latter feature permits to distinguish three slightly different sub-variants of the double cutaway slab-bodied Special between 1959 and 1961. Despite the change of designation, the Specials built between late 1959 and early 1961 are often called Les Paul guitars. It is certainly true structurally, even though a Les Paul/SG designation (and not SG/Les Paul!) would be more appropriate to signal both the thick-body style and the absence of Les Paul markings on the headstock. The last samples were released in early 1961 with serial numbers either inked-on (1-0359 registered on 20th March) or impressed into the headstock (1-1155 registered on 22nd March)" (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, pp. 211-212).

Note: According to Duchossoir "The last samples [of the Les Paul/TV Special] were released in early 1961 with serial numbers either inked-on (1-0359 registered on 20th March) or impressed into the headstock (1-1155 registered on 22nd March)". So from that we should assume that after March 22nd, 1961 all serial numbers on these guitars were stamped into the back of the headstock… but we cannot assume anything…
We did have in our inventory (now sold) one of the very last of the Les Paul/TV "Cream" guitars - these were the very last thirty two thick-body double-cut Juniors that were all finished in "Cream" and had consecutive 'stamped/impressed' serial numbers from 300-331. Our guitar has the serial number "320" and was shipped from the factory on "2-28-61". So obviously they were still using both styles of serial number marking at the same time - confused!!!!

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