GIBSON | LES PAUL | LES PAUL 55

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

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? (1975)
British advert, by UK Gibson agent Selmer. The advert announces the reissue of the 1955 Les Paul Special, or Les Paul 55.
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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.

Specifications from the 1978 Gibson catalogue

Gibson LP55 in the 1978 Gibson catalogue
Body 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

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

Les Paul 55 shipping data and original pricing

 Guitars ShippedZone 1 US RRP
19741925 
19750 
19762 
1977331 
1978293$619 15/5/1978
1979224$659 1/1/1979
total2775 

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 Double cutaway), but still a hefty price for the time, and more than many other classic Gibson solid bodies.

The Les Paul$3000RD Standard$859
L-5S$1079Les Paul Special Double cutaway$619
Les Paul Artisan$1039Les Paul 55$619
RD Artist$859L-6S Custom$589
Les Paul Custom$849SG Standard$569
Les Paul Recording$799Melody Maker Double cutaway$539
Les Paul Pro Deluxe$789S-1$519
Les Paul Standard$749L-6S Deluxe$459
Les Paul Deluxe$699Marauder$419

Demand was insufficient to sustain this 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.

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Jeff Rost Comment left 20th September 2017 01:01:04 reply
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.

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