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.