Top Navigation

Byrdland, ’57

Natural, Serial number A26105.

In 1955 Gibson developed a slimmer hollow body electric guitar to appeal to players wanting a more comfortable instrument that didn’t weigh as much as a solid body. Enlisting the aid of Nashville session aces Hank Garland and Billy Byrd, a thin-bodied L-5 CES with a shorter 23 and ½” scale (instead of the L-5’s 25 and ½” scale) and a 2 and ¼” deep body (the L-5 was 3 and 3/8” deep) was the result. This new high-end electric with the same upscale appointments as the L-5, was named the Byrdland, after its endorsers. Shortly before its introduction at the July 1955 NAMM show, Gibson decided to make the most of the new thinline idea, by adding two more affordable models: The ES-350T (a laminated wood model with the same dimensions as the Byrdland) and the economy ES-225T. The 1956 Gibson catalog describes the benefits of the new guitars: “These revolutionary “Thin” models represent the latest advance in the design of Electric Guitars. The thin body – only 2 ¼” deep – fits close, reducing the right arm stretch and relaxing the wrist. The slim, short-scale neck is phenomenally fast.”

The 1957 Byrdland pictured has the characteristics most often associated with the classic guitar that year. These are best described in the 1958 Gibson catalog: “Hand-graduated, carved top of choice close-grain spruce – arched, highly figured curly maple back with matching curly maple rims – alternate black and white ivoroid binding – three-piece curly maple neck with Gibson Adjustable Truss Rod – multiple-bound ebony fingerboard with block pearl inlays- Tune-O-Matic bridge – twin, powerful pickups positioned for contrasting treble and bass response – individually adjustable polepieces – separate tone and volume controls which can be preset – toggle switch to activate either or both pickups – gold-plated metal parts – stunning new tailpiece design – hand-bound pickguard – individual machine heads with deluxe buttons.” This Byrdland still has the original style Alnico V “staple” single coil pickups that lasted on the model until the next year, when they were upgraded to humbuckers.
Fifty two natural finished Byrdlands were shipped in 1957.

Recent News

1937 Martin D-28 Vintage Demo
March 31, 2017 by Justin Zeman

Carl has been busy back in repair lately! He spent some time on one of Dave’s old Martin acoustics. Here we have Alex Meine (Carl’s brother) playing on the 1937… READ MORE


  • J-MOD100 Now Available for Pre-Order
    January 31, 2017 by Tylor

    No compromise amp designed with John Mayer. The J-MOD 100 amplifier was intimately designed by Paul Reed Smith, Doug Sewell, and John Mayer to not only handle Mayer’s live work… READ MORE

  • Goodbye 2016!
    December 31, 2016 by Justin Zeman

    We would like to thank all of our customers for an amazing 2016. We wouldn’t exist without such a solid customer base. Happy New Years from Dave’s Guitar Shop! We… READ MORE

  • Shop Talk in Guitar World
    December 30, 2016 by Tylor

    We are excited to be featured in the newest issue of Guitar World in “Shop Talk” featuring the coolest guitar shops in the nation! Check it out: