Released in 1955 as a collaboration between the two prominent jazz guitarists Billy Byrd and Hank Garland, the Byrdland was Gibsonäó»s earliest äóÖthinlineäó» ES instrument and was based upon the L-5CES. Four prototypes were produced in April 1955 (two Natural, two Sunburst): one each for Byrd (Natural) and Garland (Sunburst), and two for Gibsonäó»s own promotional purposes. Ledger books show these were labelled as äóÖspecial thin modelsäó» of the L-5CES. Upon release the Byrdland had an unusual spec suited to Byrd and Garlandäó»s needs; the guitar featured a carved spruce top, curly maple rims and back with a venetian cutaway, a three piece curly maple 23 1/2äó_ short scale neck with ebony fingerboard, pearl block inlays and a body joint at the 14th fret. Initially released in Sunburst and Natural the guitar would go through spec changes over the years either through innovation or elements of design continuity; the most significant change being the replacement of the P90 pickups by Gibsonäó»s new Humbuckers by 1959 and in mid-June 1961 the cutaway changing from Venetian to Florentine. The guitar would remain in production for over six decades before being discontinued by Gibson only recently.
This fantastic example from 2009 features a 60äó»s style Florentine cutaway in dark Cremona Sunburst. It also boasts all of the high end specs of this Deluxe artist-model guitar including a solid carved bookmatched Sitka spruce top; solid carved Bigleaf maple back and sides; solid three-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 and bound F-holes.
Appointments comprise all gold hardware including Grover Super Rotomatic tuners with tulip keys; loop style trapeze tailpiece with engraved crossbar; compensated gold tune-o-matic bridge with inlaid ebony foot; twin Gibson äóÖ57 Classic humbuckers; bound 5-ply tortoise pickguard; gold bonnet knobs and three-way control switch. The Byrdland is in excellent condition with no tarnishing or fading to the gold plated hardware and minimal evidence of playwear. The guitar comes with the originally supplied Gibson hard case and certificate.