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Hot-Mod Custom Wraptail Hot-Mod Custom Wraptail
A Rare “Special Order” from an Era of Innovation
In addition to racking up countless innovations in the mid ’50s, Gibson was known for accepting special orders from players who wanted their guitars modified in one way or another right from the factory. The Custom Special Order 1955 Les Paul Custom Wraptail represents just such an instrument—a cool and powerful “what if?” that might just exist out there somewhere. This exclusive limited-run model is crafted by Gibson’s Custom Shop and begins with the template of a stock 1955 Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty,” with all the upgraded appointments that the guitar originally entailed, but includes a particular player’s preference for a solid, toneful wraptail (aka wraparound) bridge. This unusual features set offers a fun and unusual twist on the hallowed Les Paul Custom, and one that is further enhanced by the Custom Shop’s newly rediscovered “Soft Shouldered ’55 Neck Profile.”

The original Les Paul Custom expressed Les Paul and Gibson president Ted McCarty’s joint vision of the ultimate solidbody guitar, with a sold mahogany body with carved top and glued-in mahogany neck, but it also embodied Paul’s notion of a “black-tie guitar for the black-tie musician.” Custom by name, custom by nature, it was made with a gloss ebony black finish, ebony fingerboard with pearloid block inlays, enlarged headstock with mother-of-pearl split-diamond inlay, and gold-plated hardware throughout. In place of the innovative Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece an original ’55 Black Beauty would have carried, the Custom Special Order 1955 Les Paul Custom Wraptail comes factory-stock with a customer’s preference for the simpler one-piece “wraptail” bridge, represented here by a TonePros wraparound unit with locking studs and long steel anchors for optimum vibrational transference between strings and body.

In addition to a screaming P-90 pickup in the bridge position—a meaty, thick, yet extremely articulate single-coil unit still beloved of countless rockers today—the 1955 Les Paul Custom carried Gibson’s new Alnico V (aka “Staple”) pickup in the neck position. In development in the hands of Seth Lover since 1952, at the request of McCarty, the Alnico V pickup was intended as an upgrade of the P-90, using six individual rectangular Alnico V magnets as pole pieces within the coil (rather than carrying bar magnets beneath the coil), a design change that gave it a crisp, bright tone with plenty of snap and clarity. Employed on several of Gibson’s high-end archtop electrics of the mid ’50s, including the L-5CES, ES-5, and Byrdland, the Alnico V pickup made its debut on the original Les Paul Custom of 1954. And to give this model an exclusive playing feel, Gibson has upped the ante with a quarter-sawn mahogany neck carved to the new “Soft Shoulder” ’55 neck profile, created by the Custom Shop’s luthiers after detailed study of a particularly “magic feeling” neck on an original ’55 Les Paul. With a similar front-to-back depth as standard rounded mid-’50s necks, it differs in its gently sloping sides, a feature that makes it sit incredibly comfortably in the hand. The detailed reproduction of this profile makes the Custom Special Order 1955 Les Paul Custom Wraptail a pure joy to play. This exclusive guitar comes with a Gibson Custom hardshell case and a “Year of 1955 Innovation” certificate. Check it out now at selected online dealers.

Technical Specifications
Body Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Mahogany
Neck Joint Set in
Profile Soft Shoulder '55 neck profile
Scale Length 24-3/4"
Fretboard Species Ebony
Frets 22
Nut Width 1-11/16"
Tuners Kluson tuners
Bridge/Tailpiece TonePros "Wraptail" one-piece wrapover bridge/tailpiece with long steel anchors and long, locking studs
Tone Controls Two Volume, Two Tone
Toggle Switch 3-way Pickup Selector
Neck Pickup Burstbucker 1 Neck Humbucker
Bridge Pickup Burstbucker 2 Bridge Humbucker
Hardware Gold
Finish Ebony
Sealer Nitrocellulose Finish
Other Includes Hardshell Case and Year of 1955 Innovation Certificate