Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends


1969 Gibson Byrdland

Status: Pricing and hold status for all instruments currently available is shown on our Instruments page here. If this instrument does not appear on the Instruments page it has been sold, and is no longer available. Photos and descriptions of Previously Sold instruments may be found here. To be notified of examples of this model or similar instruments in the future, please contact [email protected],. Please be specific on which instrument(s) you're looking for, and we'll be happy to contact you as soon as they become available.

Serial #: 543805

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; arched flame maple back and sides; solid 3 piece maple 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 twin Gibson Pat. sticker humbucking pickups; Kluson Sealfast tuners with tulip keys; loop style trapeze tailpiece with engraved crossbar; compensated Tune-o-matic bridge with inlaid ebony foot;original black bonnet knobs in case, with extra gold reflector cap knobs installed; 3 way control switch. Hand bound 3-ply tortoise pickguard.

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.

This fine pre-Norlin guitar has twin original gold Patent Sticker pickups, no-volute neck, and a handsomely flamed body, with a solid carved bookmatched quartersawn spruce soundboard. All original gold hardware is attached, including the engraved Byrdland tailpiece, Tune-o-matic bridge, and genuine Kluson Sealfast tuners, long unavailable on the market. A set of aged gold reflector cap knobs are fitted to the controls, with the original black "witch hat" knobs included in the case. The classic 60's sunburst finish is all original, and remarkably free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear: even the typical finish checking one expects in a guitar of this vintage is happily absent.

A hand bound tortoise pickguard is installed, and the case is a brown Gibson logo hardshell with pink plush lining and silk coverelet. The original medium jumbo frets are in great shape, with smooth low action over a fast, comfy light D neck with solid ebony fingerboard. The tone is warm, rich and woody, with the resonance only decades of age can impart. A rare and striking example of a landmark in the evolution of the modern electric guitar.

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 roundwound 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.

Case: Deluxe brown arched Gibson logo hardshell with pink plush lining and silk coverelet.







































Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends