Epiphone Byrdland

The Epiphone Byrdland, part of Epiphone’s Elitist range of guitars, is a stunningly beautiful archtop hollow-body electric guitar that was born to play jazz.

Originally designed and built by Gibson in 1955, the Epiphone Byrdland takes its name from its two designers, jazz guitarists, Billy Bird and Hank Garland.

The current incarnation of the Byrdland has a single Venetian cutaway, the same as the original Gibson Byrdland. Gibson modified the cutaway between 1961 and 1968, using the deeper and more rounded Florentine cutaway.

The carved solid spruce top is complemented by AAA flame Maple sides and back. The maple/rosewood neck is a five-peice job, having been three-piece on the original Gibson model between 1955 and around 1965. Fingerboard is ebony with trapezoidal inlays and the nut is bone. Tuners are Grover with Imperial buttons, which really look the part in 24K gold.

Down at the other end, the neck is set at the 24th fret, and the rhythm and treble humbuckers each have volume and tone control pots. There’s also a three-way pick-up selector, making it easy to switch between rhythm, treble, and both pick-ups. And the lovely 34K gold tailpiece and black scratchplate look perfect next to the carved spruce top.

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The Byrdland has been available in a number of finishes over the years, including Natural, Sunburst, Wine Red, VIntage Cherry Sunburst, and Ebony. The Epiphone Elitist Byrdland is available only in Natural.

Interviewed in 2004 by Epiphone, The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn described his Epiphone Byrdland as ‘a beautiful guitar, probably the most beautiful guitar I’ve seen in my life! The, wood, the gold hardware and pickups, made with Japanese precision, it’s just gorgeous’ High praise, indeed.