It’s been 60 years since the doublecut Gibson Les Paul Special made its debut, but it’s an enduring classic – and in 2018, the Gibson Les Paul Special is as hot as ever.

In truth, the Les Paul line-up was never originally intended to be a “family” of guitars; it just grew organically, like families do. The first Gibson to bear Les Paul’s name was just the Goldtop with its luxuriant finish that was just what Les wanted. But its success soon led to the all-black “tuxedo” looks of the three-pickup Les Paul Custom. So far so good, and so high-end.

In response to the clamor from younger players wanting their own affordable ‘Lesters,’ along came the single-pickup Junior and the two-pickup Special in a much simpler “slab” body construction and with a return to the raw roar of P-90s. But that Special didn’t really reach its zenith until it came in this then-new, double-cutaway form – a sort of halfway house between the original Les Paul Goldtop we all know and love and the soon-to-come SG that arrived in 1960-61. Indeed, in ’59, for no apparent reason, the Les Paul Special actually became the “SG Special” in name… although, let’s face it, barely anyone actually called it that.

2018 Gibson Les Paul Special Double Cutaway

TV Looks, Rock’n’Roll Sounds

Like most of Gibson’s other budget models, the Les Paul Special was produced in a “TV Yellow” finish that, legend has it, was designed to look good on black and white television. The ‘limed mahogany’ look of TV Yellow has long-been a classic Gibson finish. It is much favored by players seeking a certain no-frills aesthetic. Is it the austerity that strips away all the glitz of a flame-top Standard that makes a TV Yellow Special so appealing? That’s anyone’s guess.

What is clear is that the Special and simpler Junior was a massive hit, particularly in TV Yellow. Over the years, the Special (and related single-pup Junior) has become a go-to for numerous raucous rockers. Billie Joe Armstrong had his own Signature Junior in TV Yellow for the release of the 2012-2013 Green Day albums, ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! Matt Bellamy of Muse, used a Les Paul Doublecut Lite on early albums. Keith Richards famously has an early 1957 Gibson Les Paul double cut in TV Yellow always used for “Midnight Rambler” (capo at the 7th fret, played in standard tuning). While New York Dolls/Heartbreakers legend Johnny Thunders played a late 1950s double cutaway Les Paul Junior.

Despite some famous Junior players, when Les Pauls returned in a more traditional guise in the 1970s (after the solely “SG” years), the Special again proved more popular than the Junior with the paying public, due to the versatility of that second pickup. In fact, the Junior was nowhere to be seen until 1987, while the Special reappeared as early as 1972 (albeit in the single-cutaway version, one of which became the main axe of reggae legend Bob Marley).

But from 1976, the double-cut Special became its separate model as the Les Paul Special Double Cutaway. And that, essentially, is what you can still get in 2018.

The 2018 Les Paul Special Double Cutaway

This, then, is an iconic rock'n'roll guitar reborn. 2018’s special edition Les Paul Special Double Cutaway combines uncompromising modern performance with a few nice vintage touches. The mahogany body's double-cutaway styling yields superb access to the top of the SlimTaper neck and rosewood fingerboard, while the nickel wraparound bridge enhances the sustain and rich tone for which these guitars are famous.

2018 Gibson Les Paul Special Double Cutaway

As a salute to its rich heritage, it features a historic Gibson script logo on the headstock and two powerful P-90 soapbar pickups. This guitar will deliver extremely big and well-rounded tones in vintage style. Get the full spec on the 2018 Les Paul Special Double Cutaway. Hardshell case included.

2018 Gibson Les Paul Special Double Cutaway

Remember, this one’s a limited edition. But don’t just take our word about how great it is. Listen up to an early glowing review from Gibson customer Andy F at Sweetwater’s site: “It’s rad, it rips, and it’s freakin' yellow, man! Get it if you dare! These won't last long.”