NVGD - the Byrdland

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by Jayyj, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    Got carried away taking pictures of the new aquisition so thought I'd better put a few of them in a NGD post...

    Byrdlands are one of those guitars that I've always fancied owning but I'm not a jazz player and realistically I've always felt they're just too expensive for the use I'd end up getting out of one. Still, I've circled a couple of player grade Byrdlands and 350Ts over the years and this one felt like a good deal - it wasn't cheap but it was affordable and the issues on this one felt fairly minor compared to others I've seen in that price range.

    It's a '69, the first year they went back to the venetian cutaway. One of the pickups is a later T top (stamped rather than stickered) and someone added a master volume which is a shame, but the two mods were enough to save a couple of grand and put it within reach. I was planning to replace the stamped T top but it sounds every bit as good as the Pat No in the bridge so I don't really see the point, and I might get rid of the master volume at some point. Oh, and I got caught out on one undisclosed issue: holes from a Bigsby under the original Byrdland tailpiece. Well, I had a B6 (and a Towner adapter, I wasn't going to drill it!) earmarked for the guitar anyway, so not too big a deal.

    The colour is just great on this guitar, a vibrant cherry burst with lots of checking that shows the grain off beautifully. The red pigment changes a lot depending on the light and it isn't the easiest to photograph, but it looks awesome in person.

    And, soundwise, it's almost certainly the best guitar I own and a candidate for best I've played. I'd had guitars with great clarity but they tend to be a little on the harsh side, and guitars with great warmth that ended up a little mushy when overdriven, but the Byrdland sounds fantastically warm whilst also incredible clarity and definition. Played clean the neck pickup is like velvet and the bridge has a wonderful Sun Records snap to it - crank it up and it's really raucous and growly. High fret access isn't great and for very high gain it lacks the smoothness of a 335, but I'm absolutely blown away by it in terms of tone.

    Right then, pictures:

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  2. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Wow, always wanted one since I was young. Very nice! Which scale is it?
     
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  3. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    23 1/2" scale. On a couple of my guitars I tune to Eb and use a capo on the first fret if I need to go up to standard tuning, so the Byrdland just feels like my 355 with the capo on. The neck on this Byrdland is identical to the 355 - a hair over 1 5/8" nut width and a medium C profile - so it feels very familiar and I went up a string gauge to get the tension right.
     
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  4. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

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    That is flat out beautiful.

    Congratulations.
     
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  5. davess23

    davess23 Member

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    I was drooling over this guitar in a different thread. Very, very nice. I've never seen one quite that color.
     
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  6. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Beautiful! Is that a solid spruce top?
     
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  7. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    I have a modern CS hardtail version with the soft cutaway like yours. I always use the same descriptive for the sound ... sumptuous tones! FWIW, I can't play jazz worth a damn, but still love playing a guitar with so much personality.

    Enjoy that vintage beauty. I can practically hear its resonance.
     
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  8. Non-Musical Hack

    Non-Musical Hack Member

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    Congratulations. She sure is pretty.
     
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  9. sixstringfuel

    sixstringfuel Hotdogs kill

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    Nice, all that and character too.
     
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  10. dougstrummer

    dougstrummer Make a Joyful Noise. Gold Supporting Member

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    Gorgeous....enjoy...love mine!!
     
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  11. bossaddict

    bossaddict Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Beautiful! Congrats!
     
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  12. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    Yeah, the colour was one of the things that pushed me over the edge - there are quite a few from this era with a brownish sunburst but I've only seen a couple of cherryburst ones. Guitarpoint have one the same colour at the moment also dated '69 although it must be a very early one as it has the florentine cutaway. I love it, still classy enough for jazz but looks like it'd take a rockabilly gig in its stride as well.

    Yes, solid spruce top, laminated maple back and sides in this era. I guess solid isn't that big a deal with all that hardware on it, but it's much louder than my ES330 unplugged.

    One of the guys at work is a great jazz player so he gave me a quick demo and it sounded phenomenonenal, but I'll mostly be paying indie and Americana on this one. Pretty much much anything sounds good on it! Do you have a picture of yours? I've never seen a hard tail one.
     
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  13. hogy

    hogy Supporting Member

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    Very beautiful guitar, congratulations.

    Ted Nugent recently did a video where he demoed a few of his guitars, including a couple Byrdlands and his '58 'burst. One of the Byrdlands sounded so incredible, much better than the 'burst to my ears. See if you can find that video, it's pretty interesting.
     
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  14. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Supporting Member

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    Byrdland are awesome, have always been on my "one day" list, congrats! That scale length can just be torn up, very comfortable for me in terms of reach etc...


    I too picked up a '69 Gibson, yesterday in fact, and the back of the neck looks very similar though a different color...... (that's a clue, hehe)
     
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  15. slimdave

    slimdave Member

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    Cool! I play Americana with a 59 Harmony Meteor and an old 67 DR. It sounds fat, clear and bright.

    What amp are you gonna use with this?
     
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  16. Anje

    Anje Supporting Member

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    +1 with Hogy!
    I also thought of that very same video when I opened this topic, here it is:


    Fantastic looking guitar, great photos too! Thanks for sharing :beer
    That's one model of old guitar I wish I'd be able to get one great player exemple one of these days, sounds more "unique" to me than a ES3x5 compared to classic solidbodies.
     
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  17. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    Exciting, look forward to seeing it! Let's see, if it's a three piece maple neck, guessing it's an archtop of some sort? I can only think of the ES340 and J200 that have it outside of the L5, Super 400, Tal Farlow etc.

    I have a Princeton '65 reissue that it sounds good with, and one of the Supro reissues. I'm vaguely wondering about getting back into the vintage amp thing now I'm a bit more clued up on maintenance - I used to have a couple of great Selmer amps when I was in my 20s but didn't really know to look after them, just bought them, played them until they didn't sound good anymore and sold them on. So maybe another Selmer might be on the cards once my finances have recovered a bit from the Byrdland.
     
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  18. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Supporting Member

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    Ding ding ding!!! Will post soon.
     
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  19. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    Excellent, nice score - I've always liked that model. I'm convinced maple necks add a little bit of a bite to a 335 and it works very well on them. Blonde or walnut?
     
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  20. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Supporting Member

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    Behind the layer of arm/sweat/corrosion/gig gunk is a Walnut-Esque color from what I can tell.
     
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