Byrdland

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Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Byrdland

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 since been taken out of production.


See Also:



Contents

Models


Elitist Byrdland

Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Byrdland Headstock
  • 2002-2008

Body:

  • Solid spruce top
  • AAA Flame Maple back & sides

Neck:

  • 5-Piece Maple/Rosewood set mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard with block inlays
  • Tombstone headstock with pearl Flower Pot inlay
  • Elite or Elitist logo on back of headstock
  • 2-ply truss rod cover with "Byrdland" engraving
  • 23.5" scale
  • 1.68" nut width

Binding:

  • 6-ply body
  • 1-ply f-hole & neck
  • 5-ply headstock

Electronics:

  • USA 50SR & 50TR humbucker pickups
  • 2 Vol. 2 Tone controls
  • 3-way selector switch

Hardware:

  • 24K Gold hardware
  • Grover tuners with Imperial Buttons
  • Tune-o-matic bridge with ornate trapeze tailpiece
  • Ebony bridge base with pearl inlays
  • 5-ply raised tortoise pickguard
  • Gold bell knobs

Colors:

  • Natural finish (NA)
  • Vintage Sunburst (VS)



Elitist Byrdland (Japan)

Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Byrdland
Epiphone Elitist Birdland Japan Headstock Front Epiphone Elitist Birdland Japan Headstock Back
Epiphone Elitist Birdland Japan Headstock Front
Epiphone Elitist Birdland Japan Headstock Back

Body:

  • Solid spruce top
  • AAA Flame Maple back & sides
  • 17" body width
  • 2.375" body depth

Neck:

  • 5-Piece Maple/Rosewood set mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard with block inlays
  • Open-book headstock with Flower Pot inlay
  • Elite or Elitist logo on back of headstock
  • 2-ply, 2-screw truss rod cover with "Elitist" engraving
  • 23.5" scale
  • 1.68" nut width

Binding:

  • 7-ply body
  • 1-ply f-hole
  • 3-ply neck
  • 5-ply headstock

Electronics:

  • USA 50SR & 50TR humbucker pickups
  • 2 Vol. 2 Tone controls
  • 3-way selector switch

Hardweare:

  • 24K Gold hardware
  • Grover tuners with Imperial Buttons
  • Tune-o-matic bridge with ornate trapeze tailpiece
  • Ebony bridge base with pearl inlays
  • 5-ply raised tortoise pickguard
  • Gold bell or black reflector knobs

Colors:

  • Natural (NA)
  • Vintage Sunburst (VS)

Includes:

  • Hardacse



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