Hollowbody / Production from 1955 to current day.
The name Byrdland used on the 1955 Gibson guitar was a little confusing at the time to the buyers who knew of the famous New York Jazz club with the same name. The guitar was a signature model for two Nashville musicians, Billy Byrdland and Hank Garland and combined their names as Byrdland.
The Jazz reference did work however as Billy Byrdand and Hank Garland were both among the best Jazz guitarist in Nashville in the early 1950’s, but their country ties were stronger. Garland was nicknamed “Sugarfoot” for his solo on the Red Foley’s hit, “Sugarfoot Rag” and Byrd was featured in the band of traditional country singer Ernest Tubb.
The Gibson Byrdand’s unique feathures were a shorter 23.5 inch scale length, which catered to the wide hand stretches of Jazz chording. The body was also an inch thinner than an typical archtop and the first models had Alinco V pickups with rectangular polepieces, before the appearance of the humbuckers in 1957.
The versatility of Billy Byrdland and Hank Garland was reflected in the Gibson Byrdland’s use by such diverse guitarists as country entertainer Roy Clark, hard rocker Ted Nugent and free Jazz innovator James “Blood” Ulmer.