The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

SOLD Gibson Byrdland Thinline Archtop Electric Natural, 1976


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The Gibson Byrdland appeared in 1955 as a custom order for Billy Byrd and Hank Garland. These two were top Nashville session guitarists who wanted full archtop tone, but in a more comfortable thinner body and a shorter scale length – 23.5 inches, rather than Gibson’s standard 24.75 inches – to allow easier access to complex chords fingerings. The Byrdland was the first of Gibson’s thinline archtop guitars, with many more to follow. The design was so successful that it was quickly promoted to production status.

Like other high end archtop models, the Gibson Byrdland sports a carved Spruce top and carved Maple back. The neck is maple with ebony for the fingerboard, headplate and bridge base. Position markers are Mother of Pearl blocks and the headstock features a classic ‘Flowerpot’ inlay below the Gibson logo, both in Mother of Pearl. The hardware is gold plated, with a set of Grover Imperial tuners and a fancy trapeze tailpiece with ‘BYRDLAND’ engraved on the string bar. Until the late-1957 appearance of the new Seth Lover-designed humbucking pickup, P-90s, AlNiCo ‘Staple Tops’ or Charlie Christian pickups were installed.

This natural-finish Gibson Byrdland was built during 1976 at historic plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It features the rounded Venetian cutaway; at various times the Byrdland has been available with either the Venetian or the pointed Florentine cutaway. In 1976, both were available. The pickups are regular Patent Number humbuckers; at this time there were vanishingly few humbucker variations available – though within a few years, that situation changed dramatically.

This Gibson Byrdland example is in overall good condition. Fret wear is light though the fret tops are a bit flat; the finish is in good condition with light wear. Nitrocellulose lacquer naturally sinks over time, and the grain of the Spruce top is plainly visible. Much of the gold plating has worn off the pickup covers though not off the tuners or the tailpiece. The ABR bridge sits on a ‘floating’ Ebony base with Mother of Pearl inlays; the saddles are nylon, commonly used by Gibson at the time.  The bound, faux-tortoise pickguard is original and intact, with some expected wear to its surface where the player’s fingers rested.

These models are very comfortable to play, and make good on the design goal of delivering the sound of a full-size archtop and easy reach to complex chord voicings.

The original hard shell case is included.

Price: $8,500.00 CAD
  • Model: Byrdland
  • Year: 1976
  • Finish Gloss Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 00101193, built during 1976 in Kalamazoo MI
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 28/01/2022

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 6.82lbs 3.1kg
  • Scale Length: 23.385in 594mm
  • Nut Width: 1.660in 42.17mm
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