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1972 Gibson showcase brochures
1972 Gibson showcase brochuresIn 1972 Gibson produced a series of 'Guitar of the Month' brochures, each dedicated to one of their high end models, the Les Paul Recording guitar, L5-CES, ES-175D, Super 400-CES, ES-355TD-SV and Byrdland. Each brochure was a single sheet folded into four panels, with details of the instruments themselves, their features, musical purpose, and a little history behind the development of each guitar. Only the Les Paul Recording was a new model; the others were all well established in the Gibson line. Follow the link to see scans and further information on these leaflets and other Gibson guitar catalogues from the CMI and Norlin periods.
1966 Kalamazoo KB-1 bass
Kalamazoo KB-1 bass Gibson assembled these 30 1/2" scale Kalamazoo KB-1 basses in their electronics plant in Kalamazoo, MI - separate from the main Gibson plant. They used the same components and hardware as on the Gibson EB bass series; but with a pre-painted masonite body and a bolt-on maple neck; a very different construction to Gibson's usual output. Initially the KB bass had a Mustang-shaped body (see the 1966 Kalamazoo KB-1, left), which was soon redesigned with the classic SG shape (see the 1967 Kalamazoo KB-1, right). Have a listen to sound clips of this bass here.
Older updates here

Gibson Byrdland
Thin line semi-acoustic guitar

1958 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogueFrom the 1958 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogue

This cutaway electric Spanish guitar, with its thin body and extra-narrow, short-scale neck, is easier and less tiring to hold and permits playing chords previously beyond reach

1960 Gibson full line catalogueFrom the 1960 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogue

At the top among guitars! Designed by famed guitarists Billy Byrd and Hank Garland

1962 Gibson full line catalogueFrom the 1962 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogue

The first Gibson catalogue to show the Byrdland with it's new Florentine cutaway; prior to this it had the more rounded Venetian cutaway body style

1963 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogueFrom the 1963 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogue

The Byrdland is outstanding tor performance and beauty—the result of premium materials and superb Gibson craftsmanship. Tone and response are stunning

Gibson 1966 Full Line catalogueFrom the 1966 Gibson full line catalogue

...the Gibson Byrdland continues to be the choice of artists who demand oustanding performance in a guitar with slim comfort, feather touch action and exceptional tonal response

1970 Gibson thinline catalogueFrom the 1970 Gibson thinline catalogue

A supreme acheivement in a thin electric acoustic. The Byrdland is designed for the artist who demands perfection in appearance and performance. The extra narrow, short scale neck makes diffcult chord positions easy to reach

1972 Byrdland ShowcaseGibson 1972 Byrdland showcase, part of the guitar of the month series

...the playing artistry of Billy Byrd and Hank Garland brought about a guitar that has been admired for years by thousands of discriminating guitarists, the Gibson "Byrdland"

1978 Gibson catalogueFrom the 1978 Gibson catalogue

Custom carved spruce top. Curly maple back and rims. Graceful Venetian cutaway

1983 Gibson catalogueFrom the 1983 Gibson catalogue

The Byrdland stands alone amongst modern archtops. Owing to the particular vision of Nashville pickers Hank Garland and Billy Byrd. Thinner than most Gibson custom carved instruments, the Byrdland is a joy to play - even more of a joy to hear

Gibson Byrdland
Gibson Byrdland

Top: mid sixties Byrdland, with Florentine cutaway. Below: 1970 Byrdland with Venetian cutaway

Jazz strings suitable for this guitar

D'Addario EJ22 (D'Addario Electric Guitar Strings Jazz Medium)

D'Addario EHR350 (D'Addario S/Steel Half Round Electric Guitar Strings Jazz Light)

D'Addario EXL115 (D'Addario Electric Blues/Jazz Rock)

D'Addario EXL115W (D'Addario Electric Guitar Strings Blues/Jazz Rock Wound 3rd)

D'Addario XLS600 (D'Addario Stainless Steel Electric Guitar Strings Jazz Medium)

D'Addario EHR360 (D'Addario S/Steel Half Round Electric Guitar Strings Jazz Medium)

D'Addario ECG24 (D'Addario Chrome Flat Wound Electric Guitar Strings Jazz Light)

D'Addario XLS590 (D'Addario Stainless Steel Electric Guitar Strings Jazz Light)

D'Addario EJ21 (D'Addario Electric Jazz Light)

Thomastik-Infeld JS111 (light flatwound jazz swing electric guitar strings)

The Byrdland is a particularly fine Gibson jazz archtop guitar, designed by, and taking its name from, Billy Byrd and Hank Garland - two influential jazz guitarists of the 1950s. As the 1972 Gibson Showcase brochure states, "craftsmanship, playability and tonal performance have been the 'key elements' in the design" of the Byrdland. It debuted in 1955 and has been on Gibson price lists ever since. Initially it had a rounded Venetian cutaway; the same body shape and size as the L-5 CES, ES-5 Switchmaster and ES-350, although it , and the ES-350 were shorter scale than the L-5CES and ES-5 (23 1/2" compared to 25 1/2") - specifically for easy jazz chording and soloing

ModelGibson Byrdland
Available1955-date
PickupsTwo single coil P90s (1955-59) changing to humbuckers from 1959/60
Scale23 1/2"
BodyCarved spruce top, curly maple rims and back. Two body styles available with Venetian (1955-early 1961, 1968-1985) or Florentine (1961-1968) cutaway. Currently both cutaway styles are available from the Gibson Custom shop.
NeckThree piece (changing to five-piece in around 1965) curly maple short scale neck. Ebony fingerboard, pearl block inlays. Joins body at the 14th fret
Frets22
Hardware2 volume, 2 tone, gold hardware throughout
FinishesNatural, Sunburst, Wine Red (1977-79), Ebony (1977-79), Vintage Cherry Sunburst (1983-85)

The Gibson New for '61 flyer heralds the change to a "deeper Florentine cutaway body... for easier, more comfortable playing in the upper register, and to permit the playing of many chords and intervals previously beyond reach"

From 1962 the Byrdland was advertised in price lists as custom order only.

The following description is taken from the 1970 Gibson catalogue

BYRDLAND-N
A supreme achievement in a thin electric acoustic, the Byrdland is designed for the artist who demands perfection in appearance and performance. The extra narrow, short scale neck makes difficult chord positions easy to reach.

FEATURES: Carved spruce top with select curly maple rims and back. Extra narrow five-piece curly maple short scale neck joins body at the 14th fret. Adjustable truss rod. Ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlays. Adjustable Tune-O-Matic bridge. Powerful twin Humbucking pickups with separate tone and volume controls. Three position toggle switch to activate either or both pickups. 17" wide, 21" long, 2 ¼" thin; 23 ½" scale, 22 frets.

Byrdland - Sunburst finish
Byrdland N - Natural finish

603 - Faultless plush-lined case
ZC-3 - Deluxe zipper case cover


Similar models
Gibson ES-350TD
Gibson L-5 CES
Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster

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US ebay listings

VINTAGE GIBSON PICKGUARD BRACKET 1959 FOR GIBSON ES-345 ES-355 L5-CES BYRDLAND

Current price: $29.95
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1972 Gibson Byrdland, NICE for the Low $$$$, w/ Original Hard case

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Gibson BYRDLAND Tailpiece GOLD USED Jazz Guitar JVGuitars.com

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UK ebay listings

RARE 1964 GIBSON L-5 CUSTOM w/ BYRDLAND SCALE LENGTH & CHERRY SUNBURST FINISH

Current price: £6556.20
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Time left: 4d 11h 22m
Gibson Pickguard Bracket for Super 400 L-5 L5 Byrdland es 350 jazz archtop 4

Current price: £23.24
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TED NUGENT WITH GIBSON BYRDLAND GUITAR PHOTO PRINT AD

Current price: £5.95
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vintage 3" Gibson rod for Super 400 L5 L 5 es 350 300 Byrdland pickguard bracket

Current price: £8.34
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Vintage 1959 Gibson Alligator Soft Case ES-335td ES-335 Es-125TD ES-345 Byrdland

Current price: £116.22
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13 GIBSON BYRDLAND VSB JAZZ ARCHTOP SEMI-HOLLOW THIN BODY MINT EBONY FB *351

Current price: £4470.14
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Vintage Gibson Kluson Sealfast Tuner Archtop Byrdland Super 400 L5 J200 221TU3

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1983 PRODUCT INFO ACTICLE FOR GIBSON '56 ES-350T BYRDLAND'S COUSIN GUITAR

Current price: £5.95
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Time left: 28d 2h 11m
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