Monday, May 23, 2016

A Guitar Named for Billy Byrd and Hank Garland

Just like mine but a stock photo
The Byrdland is an electric guitar that gets its names from guitarists Billy Byrd and Hank Garland. The first ones were custom made for them.
The Byrdland was the first thinline guitar. It was essentially a Gibson's L-5 with a depth of 2¼-in about an inch less than the L-5. In addition Byrd and Garland wanted a short scale neck (23½") which makes the frets closer together. The Byrdland is still available from Gibson for about nine thousand dollars.

In the early 2000's Epiphone, a division of Gibson, created some hand mande guitars called the elite or elitist series. These guitars were made in Japan. One of the models was a handmade copy of the original Gibson Byrdland. I managed to find one and bought it. The guitar is an amazing replica of the original. Great wood, same dimensions and essentially the same electronics. The guitar has a venetian, rounded, cutaway. The differences are found in the peghead shape, more Epiphone than Gibson and the tailpiece. The original was engraved "Byrdland" and mine is blank.

Blank Byrdland tailpiece

This guitar also has a carved top and back. Its hardware is gold and it has a remarkably solid feel. The binding and finish are flawless. 
This might be my favorite guitar because its unique. There are few guitars that have a short scale and it is very easy to play. The neck is superb and all in all it plays just like an eight grand guitar. The finish is just beautiful. And it sounds just like a jazz guitar should.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Other Side of Silence (Bernie Gunther, #11)The Other Side of Silence by Philip Kerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The names have not been changed because no one was innocent. Bernie Gunther added to history. Real people, true events and a carefully woven story of intrigue and deception that uses but does not rely on Bernie's colorful and wholly believable past. Philip Kerr has a way with history and his research has found obscure events and brought them to life in this story. Another thing I like is that Bernie almost acts his age. I look forward to his next Bernie book!

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Friday, May 13, 2016

The Lady from Zagreb (Bernard Gunther, #10)The Lady from Zagreb by Philip Kerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a masterpiece, murder, deception everything a good detective story should have. As the author points out in the acknowledgments, the murders don't get solved and there is little resolution. The history is magnificent. Easy to follow, yet it is a complex story filled with real people and places. I'm so glad that Philip Kerr did not give up on Bernie. I'll start the eleventh as soon as I'm done here. Please, if you read the book read the Acknowledgement at the end too. I love finding out "who" the characters were based on. A brilliant work.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Extreme Prey (Lucas Davenport, #26)Extreme Prey by John Sandford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lucas Davenport at his best. Finds a shred of a clue, not enough to imagine and uses it to unravel a complex and fascinating mystery. All the adventure and nail biting you can imagine. The characters are sinister and revolting, yet real and understandable. You might meet the villains at the supermarket or run into them at the mall. This is a chilling story of the politics of insanity. How the insane can live perfectly normal lives among us and still be monsters capable of horrible crimes. Makes me want to stay home.

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Due Diligence (Rachel Gold Mysteries #5)Due Diligence by Michael A. Kahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this for a book club but I'm so glad I did. Rachel Gold and her friends are a delight. Michael Kahn has fashioned a complex yet totally understandable and believable thriller/mystery. A simple story woven with delightful characters. I really enjoyed the dialogue and the action. I may want to go back and read some more of the Rachel Gold mysteries. There are nine of them to date with several other books to his credit.

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