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Product 453467

Gibson Custom 1955 Les Paul Custom Historic Prototype Electric Guitar   

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Gibson's Custom Shop builds Prototypes to ensure that the electric guitar's design is completely refined before it goes into production. Prototypes s...Read More

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A blend of vintage and modern with original-style Alnico V humbuckers, ABR-1 bridge, and introducing the Soft Shoulder '55 neck profile.

Gibson's Custom Shop builds Prototypes to ensure that the electric guitar's design is completely refined before it goes into production. Prototypes serve as the standard reference for production models, and instead of having a serial number stamped on the back of their headstock, they have a handwritten prototype notation there. Offered in extremely limited quantities, the 1955 Gibson Les Paul guitar and other prototype guitars have great collectibility potential.

The Alnico V pickup on this Gibson Les Paul was designed in 1952 by Seth Lover and Walt Fuller for Gibson to succeed the P-90 pickup on several of Gibson's distinguished archtop jazz hollowbodies, most famously the L5 CES, ES-5, and Byrdland guitars. Similar to the P-90 in appearance, the Alnico V is easily recognized by its distinctive rectangular pole pieces. It gets its name from the stronger Alnico V magnets, while each coil has 10,000 turns of 42-gauge wire to achieve its clear, round, ringing sound. It made its debut on a solidbody Gibson in the Fretless Wonder of 1954; the Les Paul Custom, or Black Beauty.

ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic Bridge and Stopbar Tailpiece
The ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge was the brainchild of renowned Gibson president Ted McCarty in 1954, setting a standard for simplicity and functionality that has never been bettered. The ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic is slotted directly into the body of the Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar using a separate stud and thumbwheel, providing a firm seating for the strings and allowing players the ability to adjust and fine tune intonation and string height in a matter of minutes. And held in place with TonePros long steel anchors and long locking studs, the stopbar tailpiece yields a great union between the strings and body, which results in excellent vintage tone and sustain.


Soft Shoulder '55 Neck Profile

The Soft Shoulder '55 neck profile makes the '55 Les Paul guitar sit in your hand like no other guitar neck. Gibson's guitar team chose a '55 Les Paul that had a neck with a "magical feel" to serve as a model for the Soft Shoulder '55r neck. The depth is the same from the top of the fretboard to the back of the neck as the rounded '50s neck, yet has gently sloping sides that sit comfortably in your hand.

Year of 1955 Innovation
1955 was a year of great innovation in all areas of American life. 1955 saw the dawn of the United States space program. The first of the classic V8
Chevrolets hit dealerships all over the country, reflecting the spirit of change that was in the air. And don't forget there was Rock and Roll! Jukeboxes were blasting music by Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, a kid named Elvis, and his guitar player Scotty Moore.

Something was afoot. The archetypical tones of this music had already been forged in the Gibson Guitar Factory. There, in 1955, the future sonic masterpiece known as the humbucking pickup was being prototyped. All the ingredients necessary to create the soundtrack of the next quarter century and beyond existed within that building.

FEATURES
  • Extremely limited quantity prototype
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany top wood
  • 24-3/4" scale
  • Set-in neck joint
  • Mahogany neck wood
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Soft Shoulder '55 neck profile
  • 22 frets
  • 1-11/16 nut width
  • ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece with TonePros long steel anchors and long-locking studs
  • Vintage-style Alnico V single-coil (neck)
  • P-90 single-coil (bridge) Volume/Volume/Tone/Tone controls
  • 3-way pickup switch
  • Kluson tuners
  • Gold hardware
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