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2006 Epiphone Byrdland Elitist

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Serial #: T604670

Body size at lower bout: 17 " Scale length: 23 5/8" Fingerboard width at nut: 1 11/16" Body Depth: 2 3/8"

Materials: Solid arched spruce top; arched AAA flame maple back and sides; solid 3-piece maple neck with walnut center stripes; solid ebony fingerboard with block inlay; compensated inlaid ebony bridge, 7-ply body binding, triple-bound neck and peghead; bound soundholes; bone nut.

Hardware: All original gold hardware includes twin Gibson 50SR/T USA humbucking pickups, Byrdland loop tailpiece, Tunematic bridge and Grover Super Rotomatic tuners; bound tortoise pickguard with epsilon logo; black bell knobs; adjustable truss rod, medium jumbo frets; 3 way toggle switch.

Notes: It was a disc jockey convention in Nashville, and the year was 1955. Gibson, Inc. had a booth demonstrating their new offerings, and ace session guitarists Hank Garland and Billy Byrd were sampling the merchandise. Then, according to Garland, Gibson rep Clarence Havenga asked the fateful question: "What would you like in a guitar that we don't already have?" By the time the three had finished brainstorming, a new guitar was born.

Christened the Byrdland after its co-creators, this innovative guitar started life as an L-5CES, with its solid carved spruce and maple body, block and flowerpot inlay, and multi-ply binding right down to the pointed end of the ebony fingerboard. But Hank and Billy wanted more. First, both the scale length and nut width were shortened, to create Gibson's fastest neck ever, specifically tailored to facilitate stretch chord voicings and lightning fast lead runs. Special pickups had to be fabricated to accommodate the narrower pole spacing as well. And finally, Hank had been playing a custom Stromberg with a slimmer body depth, and he asked Havenga to match it. The traditional body depth of Gibson archtops had been unchanged since the Loar era, but by April 4th 1955, Gibson ledgers recorded the creation of four L-5CES guitars with the handwritten designation 'special thin model'. Thus did the Byrdland become Gibson's first ever thinline guitar, pioneering one of the most popular and influential body designs of the modern era, and Hank and Billy's brainchild has remained in the catalog to this day.

In the late 90's Gibson's Epiphone division issued the Elitist series, a limited run of premium instruments built with solid spruce soundboards, ebony fingerboards and other top-shelf appointments. Crafted in the prestigious Terada factory of Japan, they are equipped with Gibson USA pickups and setup in the US. Problem was, the Elitist series did its job too well: at less than half the price of the originals, they cannibalized sales of the Gibsons, and were summarily withdrawn from the market. Both Broadway and Byrdland Elitist guitars became instant player favorites, and now that the models have been discontinued, they've become collectors classics as well. With top-shelf quality at less than half the price of the Gibson version, it's small wonder we can't keep these Elitists in stock, when we can find them at all.

This immaculate example is fitted with a solid arched spruce top, arched AAA flame maple back and sides, solid 3-piece maple neck with walnut center stripes, solid ebony fingerboard with abalone split- block inlay, and a compensated inlaid ebony bridge. All gold hardware includes loop Byrdland tailpiece, Tunematic bridge and Grover Super Rotomatic tuners, bound tortoise pickguard and black bell knobs. Fit and finish are stunning throughout, and the action is smooth and low over a gentle C profile neck. This rare blonde example is in superb condition, with exceptionally vivid tiger flame maple throughout. Guitar has been lovingly maintained without pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and apart from a single tiny lacquer dent near the bass soundhole, appears largely unplayed. Tone is warm and rich with the twin Gibson 50SR/T USA humbucking pickups. An outstanding value in a true pro instrument, now a very rare one indeed. One only, call now.

Case: Original Epiphone logo deluxe plush arched hardshell case.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge radius inspected and recurved as necessary; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

This instrument is strung with medium gauge strings (.012-.054). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.






































































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