A beginner’s guide to the Gibson Byrdland – the cult classic archtop that took flight after a request from two Nashville guitar aces

Gibson Byrdland
(Image credit: Future)

During the mid 1950s, sales of Gibson archtop models declined dramatically. Players were frustrated by the archtop electric’s bulky dimensions and tendency to feed back, but at the same time many were also displeased with the heavier weight and less-resonant acoustic properties of Gibson’s solidbody models. 

In response, Gibson introduced its first “Thinline” models in 1955, which offered a sort of “Goldilocks” solution where the traditional archtop’s depth was reduced by about half. Gibson’s first thinline model was the Byrdland, followed shortly afterwards by the somewhat similar ES-350T.

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