By the end of 1957, sales of Gibson’s popular Les Paul Junior single cutaway model had begun to decrease and the company explored new ideas to keep an affordable, yet fully professional guitar in the hands of young players and amateurs alike. Using the same $99.50 price point it had for the previous three years, Gibson introduced a revamped version of the Les Paul Junior in July of 1958 that featured a brand new double cutaway design which allowed players complete access to the Junior’s 22-fret fingerboard—an idea that had also been implemented on Gibson’s Modernistic guitars, and the ES-335.
Gibson also introduced several new finishes that sought to take advantage of the rapid development of color television, including a transparent cherry red finish that would ultimately become known as the Heritage Cherry Sunburst finish, and a limed mahogany finish similar to the yellow color of a banana. The idea was to produce a more “lively” finish so that the guitars could stand out on home television screens, hence the origin of the nickname “TV Yellow.” These two marketing moves proved highly successful as sales of the new Les Paul Junior jumped from 2,408 units in 1958 to an unprecedented 4,364 units in 1959.
The 1958 Les Paul Junior Double Cutaway from the Gibson Custom Shop recreates one of the most popular Gibson models from the company’s famed “Golden Era” of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The symmetrical rounded double cutaways are exact reproductions of the legendary 1958 model. The slab mahogany body remains slightly lighter than the standard Les Paul, and Gibson’s legendary dog-eared P-90 pickup offers the soulful, classic tone that only a P-90 can, with more warmth than a standard singlecoil pickup, and blended with higher output and sweet treble response. The Les Paul Junior’s body and 24 ¾-inch scale length neck are made from premium mahogany, with the neck featuring a long neck tenon, 22-fret rosewood fingerboard, pearloid dot inlays, and Gibson’s traditional ’50s rounded neck profile. The CTS pots, bumble bee capacitors, nickel hardware, white-button tuners, and lightweight aluminum wraparound tailpiece are all period-correct. It is available in TV Yellow, Faded Cherry and TV White finishes – in either V.O.S. or Gloss – and comes with the standard Gibson Custom Shop case and certificate of authenticity.