Fender Competition Mustang bass, Gibson Melody Maker, Epiphone Granada
Fender Competition Mustang bassGibson Melody MakerEpiphone Granada3
Home | Guitar Model Info | Catalogue Scans | Forum | Other Stuff | Search   
     VintageGuitarAndBass on Facebook FlyGuitars on Twitter

pick a brand

The majority of the instruments profiled on this site were produced by the brands to the left (click for more), although there is also some limited content on the following guitars and amps
Ampeg, Baldwin, Dan Armstrong, Futurama, G&L, Goya, Hayman, Ibanez, Marshall, Musicman, Ovation, Peavey, Rickenbacker, Selmer, Silvertone, Supro and Yamaha, WEM

Or try the site search

Trying to find the value of your guitar?
Vintage guitar parts for sale

Classic Motorcycles For Sale
Classic Cars For Sale
Vintage guitars for sale

Gibson Les Paul 55

1955 Reissue Les Paul

Gibson Les Paul Special 55
Gibson Les Paul 55. This late 70s model has a separate bridge and tailpiece, unlike the 1955 original, and the first 1974 reissue

Specifications from the 1978 Gibson catalogue

Gibson LP55 in the 1978 Gibson catalogueBody Specifications: Solid mahogany body - Single cutaway - Adjustable chrome-plate tune-o-matic bridge with chrome-plated stop-bar tailpiece - Black pickguard with white revealed edge - Two new adjustable Gibson SSC-1 Super Single Coil pickups with individual volume and tone controls - 3 position toggle switch for pickup selection (individual or both pickups simultaneously - Body size length 17 3/8" width 12 3/4" depth 1 3/4"

Neck Specifications: Laminated mahogany construction - width at fingerboard nut 1 11/16" - Rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays - Cream coloured fingerboard binding with side dots - Chrome-plated individual machine heads - Gibson truss rod with molded truss rod cover - 22 frets - 24 3/4" scale length - Dark Sunburst or Wine Red finish

The Gibson Les Paul 55, as the name suggests, was a reissue of the 1955 Gibson Les Paul Special, produced in the mid and late 1970s. It was broadly accurate to the original (see the 1955 Gibson catalogue), but with a sunburst (rather than limed mahogany) finish. It started life as a limited edition guitar, and therefore not appearing in catalogues or price lists at the time. But it sold well enough to join the Gibson line proper a little later. The vast majority of all Les Paul 55s were produced in 1974, at Gibson's Kalamazoo factory. A number more were produced from 1976 (only 2 guitars shipped) until 1979, and these were improved slightly with a separate bridge and tailpiece. With it's solid mahogany body, one-piece mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, and dual single coil SSC-1 pickups, it was quite different from other Les Pauls available at that time.

Gibson Les Paul Special 55 - Would you sell your soul for a 1955 Les Paul Special
Gibson Les Paul Special 55 - Would you sell your soul for a 1955 Les Paul Special
British advert, by UK Gibson agent Selmer. The advert announces the reissue of the 1955 Les Paul Special, or Les Paul 55.

Once re-reintroduced towards the end of the decade, the Les Paul 55 was included in Gibson publicity, it's first US catalogue appearance being in the 1978 full line catalogue. The model described in the catalogue was given the name Les Paul 55/78. The first reissue from 1974 is now often referred to as the Les Paul 55/74, although there is no indication that the '74' suffix was used when the guitars were initially available.

Sales in the years 1976-79 combined never exceeded those of 1974. The shipping figures and pricing, where known are shown below

 Guitars ShippedZone 1 US RRP
1978293$619 15/5/1978
1979224$659 1/1/1979

Price comparison from 15th May 1978 - Gibson Solid bodies. The LP55 is the cheapest guitar in the Les Paul range (with the Les Paul Special Doublecutaway), but still a hefty price for the time, and more than many other classic Gibson solid bodies.

The Les Paul$3000
Les Paul Artisan$1039
RD Artist$859
Les Paul Custom$849
Les Paul Recording$799
Les Paul Pro Deluxe$789
Les Paul Standard$749
Les Paul Deluxe$699
RD Standard$859
Les Paul Special Doublecutaway$619
Les Paul 55$619
L-6S Custom$589
SG Standard$569
Melody Maker Doublecutaway$539
L-6S Deluxe$459

Demand was insufficient to sustain ths model, and it's last listing in a Gibson price list was in January 1979, being replaced in the June 1979 price list with an even cheaper Les Paul, The Paul.

Back to the GIBSON INDEX | comment

# # #
There are 1 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
Jeff Rost Comment left 20th September 2017 01:01:04
The two guitars shipped in 1976 were like the 74's with the wrap tailpiece. The model with Tun-o-matic and stop tail began in 1977. I have one of those two and have seen the other.

Comment on this article

All comments are moderated. Name and email details are required.

Email address
Your comments

Anti-spam question - to catch web robots

How many legs does a cat have?