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2008 Epiphone Byrdland Elitist
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Serial #: T806442
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 bookmatched quartersawn 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; compensated inlaid ebony bridge, 7-ply body binding, tripe-bound neck and peghead; bound soundholes; bone nut.
Hardware: All original gold hardware includes twin Gibson 50SR/T USA humbucking pickups, Frequensator tailpiece, Tunematic bridge and Grover Super Rotomatic tuners; bound tortoise pickguard with epsilon logo; gold 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, and crafted in the prestigious Terada factory of Japan. Both Broadway and Byrdland Elitist guitars became instant player favorites, but have been removed from US distribution, the the lasting disappointment of their many fans.
This example is in as-new condition, and fitted with a solid bookmatched quartersawn 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 logo stamped Frequensator tailpiece, Tunematic bridge and Grover Super Rotomatic tuners, bound tortoise pickguard with epsilon logo and gold bell knobs. Fit and finish are stunning throughout, and the action is smooth and low over a gentle C profile neck. Tone is warm and rich with the twin Gibson 50SR/T USA humbucking pickups. All original tags, paperwork and accessories are included: even the original pickguard protector sheet is still in place. An outstanding value in a true pro instrument, and now a very rare bird indeed. One only: call now.
Case: Original Epiphone deluxe arched plush 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.