Gibson Guitars 1550-07 GUS User Manual
In 1954 the growing popularity of the Les Paul Model prompted Gibson to expand the line. On
the high end, the Les Paul Custom sported an Ebony finish and low frets for fast action, and
it immediately gained two nicknames: the Black Beauty and the Fretless Wonder. On the more
affordable end, the Les Paul Jr. featured a flat “slab” top and a single pickup, and it became
the best-selling Les Paul of the 1950s.
One year after the Les Paul Jr., Gibson offered a two-pickup version of the slab-body model
called the Les Paul Special. The Special was further distinguished by its yellow-stained “TV”
The double-coil humbucking pickup, invented by Gibson engineer Seth Lover, debuted in
1957 on the Standard and Custom, introducing the sound that would shape rock 'n' roll music
in the 1960s.
In 1958, Gibson introduced more important design innovations than in any other
year in the company’s history. Gibson president Ted McCarty combined the look of an ƒ-hole
archtop with the performance of a solidbody and came up with a completely new type of gui-
tar—the semi-hollowbody ES-335. McCarty also designed two radically modern solidbody
shapes: the Flying V and Explorer.