Distinctive is certainly a phrase we could associate with this 1956 Gibson Les Paul Junior TV Yellow.
There are a few myths as to the origin of the moniker ‘TV Yellow’. Some say that it originates through the association with television cabinet finishes which were often done in limed mahogany (the finish listed in the Gibson Catalogue). Another idea most often quoted is that the finish looked better when broadcast (a suggestion put forward by Les Paul himself) as white caused issues with early television cameras.
A more controversial one is that the TV stands for ‘Telecaster Version’, a name given to the finish by Gibson executives who thought the combination of a blonde finish and black pick guard would confuse new customers into buying the Les Paul Juniors over their rival Fender’s Telecaster. Whatever the answer, its certain that this is one of Gibson’s most distinctive finishes, one which went through many changes over the years.
This 1956 is a fantastic example of the ‘wheatier’ end of the colour spectrum and to many represents the true TV Yellow hue. As you can see from the photos the finish is exquisite with only moderate wear to the back and a little to the clear coat on top in the places you’d expect. There are a few minor dinks also present. The neck and is surprisingly free of wear with again only a few paint chips onto the end of the headstock. The fretboard is in excellent shape with plenty of life left in the frets.
The guitar has seen some changes during its life. The bridge posts have been moved at some point to correct the intonation, a common feature of guitars from this period. We must admit that the work undertaken to blend this work into the original finish is amazing as its only really visible under black light or at certain angles, and even then you have to be looking very closely.
The jack socket mounting plate has been replaced, the tuners are reproductions and it seems that other tuners have been put on this guitar in the past, as is evident by the visible holes in the back of the headstock. Apart from these things, everything else is correct. The pickup and harness are correct as are the knobs, tailpiece and pickguard.
The guitar comes with a correct ‘Gator skin’ case
As with many Juniors from this period, a guitar like this makes you question the need for more in your life. A resonant un-plugged sound yields a wide tonal palette when paired with a suitably dimed amp, anything from subtly delicate to all out wall of sound without the shrillness that your minds ear is expecting.
A classic Gibson colour scheme, in this condition with tone to match is certainly a no-brianer for anyone looking a real head turner. Grab it before it’s gone.