FLASHBACK: 1960 Gibson Byrdland

FLASHBACK
1960 Gibson Byrdland
The Axe Of Choice For The Nuge

photo credit Gabriel Burgos

BACKGROUND
Named by Billy Byrd and Hank Garland, who contributed in the making of the guitar when Gibson’s president was looking for new ideas, the Byrdland was introduced in mid 1955, making it essentially a custom-built guitar, initially, as it is today.

WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE
During the late ’50s/early ’60s it was THE guitar to have for jazz and country players because of its narrow short-scale neck (this used to be very popular).

NOTABLE PLAYERS
Strangely, Ted Nugent. The guitar feeds back a lot at higher volume so it can be a nightmare for rock players. Ted, apparently, has tamed the beast.

INTERESTING FEATURES
The Byrdland had a rounded single cutaway from 1957-1960, humbucker pickups replaced the alnico pickups used on the earlier models and the guitar came in two colors- natural (wood) or sunburst. The shorter scale made playing single note runs and big neck stretches easier and truly helped guitarists play better.

OTHER NOTES
The famous jazz club Birdland actually filed a lawsuit against Gibson over the name! It was dismissed when Gibson proved the name’s origins.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Don Miggs is a singer/songwriter/producer and fronts the band miggs (Elm City/Capitol Records). His love affair with vintage instruments and gear only presents a problem when he’s awake. Find out more at miggsmusic.com, lalamansion.com, or his radio show, @thefringeAM820 (Saturdays 5-7PM EST).

photo by Gabriel Burgos

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