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1957 Gibson Byrdland

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Serial #: A-25689, orange oval label

Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 23 1/2" Nut Width: 1 10/16" Body depth: 2 1/4"

Materials: Solid carved bookmatched spruce top; solid carved flame maple back, sides, and neck; solid ebony fingerboard; L-5 style block mother of pearl fingerboard inlay and flowerpot peghead inlay; 7 ply top binding, triple bound back and neck, bound f-holes..

Hardware: Original gold hardware includes Kluson Sealfast tuners with tulip keys, bound 5-ply tortoise pickguard, engraved Byrdland tailpiece, ABR-1 Tuneomatic bridge with Brazilian rosewood base. 60's vintage Gibson Pat Sticker humbucking pickups, gold reflector cap knobs, and nylon bridge saddles.

Notes: It was a disc jockey convention in Nashville, and the year was 1955. At a booth demonstrating Gibson's new offerings, 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?" When the brainstorm ended, 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.

This handsome guitar is one of just 78 sunburst Byrdlands made in its model year. Built in only the third year of production, the guitar shows handsome bookmatched flame figure in its back, sides and neck. Unlike the 60's Florentine cutaway models, which used laminate in the backs, this original series Byrdland is crafted with a solid, carved maple back and sides. Lovingly maintained, the guitar has all original sunburst finish, as is without cracks, pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. Apart from a few incidental lacquer dings and a some wisps of normal finish checking, the guitar ilooks much as it did as it left the Kalmazoo factory almost six decades ago. Even the original shielding cans still surround the original volume and tone pots and caps.

The Kluson Sealfast tuners, bound tortoise pickguard, engraved Byrdland tailpiece, and ABR-1 'no wire' Tune-o-matic bridge are all original and in excellent condition. The twin gold Gibson Patent Sticker humbucking pickups, reflector cap knobs and nylon bridge saddles are of '60s vintage. The neck has a gentle C neck profile with flawless action over fine original frets, and the unique scale length makes stretch chords and fills a snap, regardless of hand size. The tone is as warm and rich as the golden sunburst finish, with peerless depth and clarity. And all reposing luxuriously in its original form-fitted Lifton 'California Girl' brown plush hardshell case.

A groundbreaking model in exceptional condition, this remarkable guitar offers true '50s Gibson quality at an unbratable price. One only: call now.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished as required; 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 wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel flatwound strings (.012-.054). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" 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.

Case: Original deluxe brown arched Gibson Lifton plush lined hardshell case.


















































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