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1970-2 Gibson Byrdland

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Serial #: 677688

Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 23 1/2" Nut Width: 1 11/16" Body depth: 2 1/4"

Materials: Solid carved bookmatched spruce top; solid carved 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 Kluson Sealfast tuners with tulip keys; loop style trapeze tailpiece with engraved crossbar; compensated Tuneamatic bridge with rosewood foot; twin Gibson Pat. sticker humbucking pickups; 3 way control switch. Original black bonnet knobs and pickguard in case, additional gold bell knobs and hand bound 5-ply tortoise pickguard installed.

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 museum-quality example comes complete with its original Gibson hangtag brochure, which indicates it was purchased on March 15, 1972, from Columbia Music and Electronics, Inc. Its Kalamazoo label, twin original gold Patent Sticker pickups, no-volute neck, and generous 1 11/16" nut all date its manufacture from sometime between 1970 and early 1972. All original gold hardware is attached, including the engraved Byrdland tailpiece, Tunematic bridge, and genuine Kluson Sealfast tuners, now long unavailable. The natural blonde finish is all original, and ambered to a gorgeous deep honey color. The instrument is notably free of pick, thumb or fingerboard wear, and the true nitro finish is absent even the usual weather checking one expects in an instrument of this vintage. Apart from a bit of fogging on the pickup covers and tailpiece, the guitar shows few signs of age, and virtually none of playwear altogether.

The original medium jumbo frets are in gleaming condition, with a fresh high-precision setup for smooth low action. The neck has a comfy light D neck with a solid ebony fingerboard, and unlike earlier versions of the model, has a full 1 11/16" nut width for easy fingering. The tone is warm and rich, and the compact scale fingerboard is perfect for lighning runs and stretch voicings. Versatile and highly playable, the Gibson Byrdland is a landmark in the evolution of the modern electric guitar: 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 roundwound 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 black arched Gibson logo plush lined hardshell case.







































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