Its not everyday that we get lightly used Florentine Gibson Custom Shop Byrdlands, but when we do they are absolutely gorgeous like this Byrdland! With a smooth and crisp playing low action height, theres not a note too far out of reach. Not to mention its lush, eye grabbing vintage sunburst finish on solid Spruce. This lady shows almost no sign of fret wear and just a half dozen tiny dings on the top (see picture). The label inside is hand signed by the late great Jim Hutchins. Inside its Original Gibson Logo Hardshell Case is all the paperwork and case candy it came with, except the CS certificate is absent. Strap lock buttons are installed for safety.
Many working musicians of the fast-paced and musically adventurous ’50s required a new instrument — one that captured traditional Gibson archtop artistry and craftsmanship, but represented a redrawing of the blueprint for the needs of the day. Enter the Byrdland, released in 1955 after consultation with first-call Nashville session musicians Billy Byrd and Hank Garland. Outwardly every bit a Gibson, this model represented a handful of developments that were radical, even revolutionary, in its day.
The Byrdland retained the traditional carved solid-spruce arched top and wide dimensions (17”) of big-bodied jazzers like its predecessor the L-5CES, but was considerably thinner, at only 2 1/4” deep. The electric guitar was here to stay, and Gibson’s designers quite rightly determined that a guitar that was intended primarily as an electric—rather than acoustic—instrument should be made in a way that would minimize feedback. Gibson created the Thinline series, which included the Byrdland partnered by the ES-350T, released the same year. Together they constituted the first of the new thin-bodied breed, and launched a design trend for archtop electrics that would proliferate to this day. So successful was its design ethos, that it not only offered a popular alternative for jazz, pop, and country players, it also proved capable of cranking out heavy rock in the hands of guitarists such as Ted Nugent.
At the request of Billy Byrd and Hank Garland, the Byrdland was made with a reduced scale length, but featured all the finery of a top-of-the-line Gibson archtop guitar. Although the Byrdland debuted in 1955 with a rounded Venetian cutaway, Gibson updated the body in 1960 in keeping with the style of the times and gave it the deep, pointed Florentine cutaway. The Byrdland’s super-thin neck and 23 1/2” scale length might have implied a “student model” instrument, but it was intended purely for speed and playing ease, and its five-ply binding, ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlay, gold-plated hardware, and triple-loop Byrdland trapeze tailpiece all single it out as a top-shelf guitar.
By now, the Byrdland had also acquired an upgrade in electronics, too. Originally offered in 1955 with Alnico V single coil pickups, it was made with PAF humbucking pickups from 1957 onward. Coupled to the traditional independent volume and tone controls and a three-way selector switch, these units gave the Byrdland the ability to produce anything from a smooth mellow purr to a hot, cutting twang.
Heritage's largest Dealer for 3 decades & counting
WOLFE GUITARS, Jupiter, Florida TEL: 561-746-2209
www.wolfeguitars.com We ship worldwide
|2005||Near Mint||Vintage Sunburst||Original Hard|
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