Gibson's Custom Shop builds Prototypes to ensure that the guitar's design is completely refined before the instrument goes into production. Prototypes serve as the standard reference for production mo... Read More
Gibson's Custom Shop builds Prototypes to ensure that the guitar's design is completely refined before the instrument 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 Goldtop Les Paul and other prototype guitars have great collectibility potential.
This Gibson Custom '55 Les Paul Goldtop guitar is equipped with P-90 single-coil pickups and a wraptail bridge/tailpiece”the archetype pickup-bridge combo favored by several generations of rockers including Leslie West, Steve Marriott, Keith Richards, Mick Ralphs, Mick Jones, and Paul Westerberg on the Les Paul Jr. The Gibson Custom '55 Les Paul guitar ups the ante with its carved maple top, dual P-90s, and the introduction of a comfortable and resonant neck profile, the Soft Shoulder '55.
Soft Shoulder '55 Neck Profile
Gibson's guitar team chose a '55 Les Paul guitar that had a neck with a magical feel to serve as a model for the Soft Shoulder '55 neck. The depth is the same from the top of the fretboard to the back of the neck like the rounded '50s neck, yet has gently sloping sides that sit comfortably in your hand. The Soft Shoulder '55 neck provides plenty of the ample feel and resonance of a traditional rounded '50s neck while leaning toward the comfort of the '60s slim-tapered neck.
Both the neck and bridge positions are equipped with cream-colored screaming single-coil P-90 pickups. The P-90 was the standard pickup on all Gibson models in the late 1940s and into the 1950s and because of its crisp, bright tone it has experienced resurgence in popularity with many of today's modern rockers. These classic Gibson pickups deliver sizzling, slightly gritty midrange roar. You'll find that the P-90s' high output and biting treble has more nuanced harmonic coloring than the typical Fender single-coil pickup.
TonePros "Wraptail" Bridge/Tailpiece
The TonePros "Wraptail" vintage-style one-piece wraparound bridge/tailpiece on the Gibson Custom 1955 Goldtop Les Paul guitar has locking steel studs mounted into long steel anchors for superior tone transference. A classic piece of hardware, the wraparound bridge/tailpiece on the '55 Les Paul offers a simplicity and functionality that is hard to match. It provides a firm seating for the strings, allowing the player to adjust intonation and string height as needed. This yields an incredible union between the strings and body, resulting in excellent tone and sustain.
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 acclaimed 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.
The top comes in a classically beautiful Antique Gold finish, just as Les' first Les Paul guitars did in 1952. The rim, back, and neck showcase the beautiful grain patterns of Grade A mahogany and are treated to many coats of high-gloss lacquer. This lacquer accentuates the beautiful wood grain patterns of the mahogany body and protects its maple top. Hand finishing is a process that demands several coats and many hours. Unlike many other manufacturers who settle for a polyurethane finish, Gibson opts for a nitrocellulose finish that will encourage the natural vibration of the instrument for a purer tone. In addition, a nitro finish is very porous and actually gets thinner over time. That way your guitar's wood can breathe and age beautifully.