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Byrdland - Short scale neck Better than I could have ever hoped for....

#1 User is offline   dougstrummer 

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:29 PM

Guys (and Gals) - just recently acquired my first-ever Byrdland (new Crimson Custom Shop). I researched and researched EVERYTHING about Byrdlands and kept hearing one occasional negative comment: the short scale neck weirds-out certain players. Let me first say a couple of things about me personally as a player....been playing semi-professionally for approx. 30 years, I currently own about 60 guitars (mostly top-tier custom shop Strats, LP's, 335's, 175's, Suhr's, etc. for recording purposes), and I'm 6' 3" w/ hands bigger than my Dad who was 6' 7".

My first thought about the Byrdland after playing through about four songs after receiving her....I WISH THAT I HAD BOUGHT A BYRDLAND LOOOOOOONG BEFORE NOW (I will be selling about 90% of all of my guitars now..keep a look out on eBay!!). The short scale neck is a complete non-issue except that it allows me to play faster and cleaner than I've ever played. It's hard to describe other than IT'S JUST BETTER. The difference in "feel" and short scale is similar to the difference between the thickness of your thumbnail vs. your pinky nail?? Huh?...exactly!! (and anyone who says differently probably just can't afford a "Byrd"...sorry, but there can't be any other explanation. I came into this purchase ready to be disappointed...mainly because of my big hands, but it only helped). However, the difference is in the ease of playability... just that ever-so-slight difference in scale. Funny, but that's what this guitar was originally designed for, right?? And versatility.....WOW, there are NO boundaries. Please understand that I'm not being "Gah-Gah" over my new purchase...I've got an arsenal of amazing guitars, I can afford this new one, and I can also afford to send it back (and was prepared to do so at the SLIGHTEST scale problem). Now I'm just disappointed that I've waited so long in my career to have even tried to play one, and am also not looking forward to the effort required to sell about 50 guitars on eBay. The neck and the scale is the BEST thing about this "Byrd"...don't let anyone tell you otherwise as I've explained their probable motivation earlier....that's my point here.

If you're serious about playing your very best, give a "Byrd" a try....then save and save your $$ to get one. There's not a lot of inventory out there so be prepared to wait for a good one. And all of the "short scale" talk is BS (IMHO)...I've tried it and now know first-hand that the difference in "feel" is a myth (my fingers landed on every note and chord right outta the box), but the scale difference in ease, accuracy and speed is extraordinary...just hard to articulate (for me, anyway).

Thanks for listening to me help set the record straight about the short scale (not a fair description, btw...Gibson should call it something else). Perhaps "Precision Scale"? LOL!!

Merry Christmas everyone,

Doug

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#2 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 02:07 AM

Nice looking guitar, Doug. Sounds like you're going to enjoy it for a long time. Congrats.

The one thing about your post that confuses me a bit is your emphasis on the short scale length as being the primary negative feature of Byrdlands. I'm sure that's an issue for some, but in my experience, the main problem people have always had with Byrdlands was the narrow width of the neck/fingerboard/nut. That's why I was never keen on them, even though I actually enjoy shorter-than-standard scale length (love my L5CT and my Gretsch Country Gent).
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#3 User is offline   dougstrummer 

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:20 AM

Thanks, Jim. And you are correct in that there were a few comments/concerns during my research regarding the neck width, but I believe that this was addressed in the mid-70's by making Byrd's neck width at the nut more standard??? (please don't quote me as I'm not a historian and I'm sure that there are guys on here who can correct me down to the year/month/day/hour when this changed). At any rate, my Byrd is brand new and the neck width doesn't feel terribly different (if at all??) than my 335's or LP's as I deliberately sat down and kept playing/exchanging between guitars trying to find the differences (without finding anything notable). I do know what you mean as I have a mid-60's Mosrite Ventures model and the neck width is basically unplayable for me because it is so thin.

Many thanks,

Doug
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#4 User is offline   cdntac 

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 02:58 PM

I love my '66 Byrd.

The short scale is a non-issue and the extremely thin neck is a non-issue for me as well.

What style of music do you play on yours? Amp?
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#5 Guest_EastEnder_*

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 03:24 PM

Congratulations on the Byrdland. I've had three and loved them all.

Strange, though; I was contemplating a new one and found that the short scale and narrow neck bother me. Never bothered me before.

So I'm probably going for the L-5 CT. Similar animal.

In any event, the mighty Byrdland can do it all. A good choice.

EE
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#6 User is offline   don t fret 

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:58 PM

Yes, I'd have to agree the short scale is a pleasant surprise! I just landed a 1970 Byrdland and have been enjoying the ease of playing field. What a treat.
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#7 User is offline   soundjunkie 

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:12 PM

[flapper] All this talk about a Byrdland! I have wanted one my whole life. [crying] They are so damn rare and new ones with Florentine impossible to find. What's the deal Lucille. Come on Gibson! At least tell people how to aquire one from your Custom Shop. People will crap away thousands on multiple guitars they never use, yet scoff at the price of a Byrd. Makes no sense to me. I want one badly. Preferably natural with the cool contrasting dark stained back headstock or a Black with white back headstock like Ted has.
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#8 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 03:33 PM

 soundjunkie, on 13 February 2013 - 12:12 PM, said:

People will crap away thousands on multiple guitars they never use, yet scoff at the price of a Byrd. Makes no sense to me.

Exactly. I've been saying this for at least 25 years. I guess for some it's about quantity rather than quality.
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#9 User is offline   Danny W. 

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:03 PM

 soundjunkie, on 13 February 2013 - 12:12 PM, said:

[flapper] All this talk about a Byrdland! I have wanted one my whole life. [crying] They are so damn rare and new ones with Florentine impossible to find. What's the deal Lucille. Come on Gibson! At least tell people how to aquire one from your Custom Shop. People will crap away thousands on multiple guitars they never use, yet scoff at the price of a Byrd. Makes no sense to me. I want one badly. Preferably natural with the cool contrasting dark stained back headstock or a Black with white back headstock like Ted has.



There are currently four florentine Byrdlands on Ebay, although none are blond. I've seen two newish blond ones for sale recently. If you really want one, you can find it.

Danny W.
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#10 User is offline   DC42 

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 04:52 PM

Howdy all...been eyeing up a Byrdland for a long time. Finally ordered one this week. One item I am concerned with is string gauge. My guitars are all strung with .10 gauge (including my Heritage hollows). I will go through a phase with 11's every now and then but have never used heavier. The Gibson site does not list the stock string gauge for Byrdlands but have a feeling it is .12's (based on making a few online inquires). I like to bend and just do not want to get the new guitar home only to play the set up game (due not being comfortable with the strings).

My long time luthier retired and I would dread bringing the Byrdland into an unproven shop. It appears the shorter scale does effect tension so curious how the "out of the box" experience will be. Any thoughts?

Happy picking...

Dave
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#11 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 04:59 PM

I think it will be very interesting - I've settled on 0.11 gauge sets now and don't have any problem bending the 0.18 plain G on my Gibsons.

Using Fender pure nickel and/or DR handmade blues, the best strings I ever tried.

Would a (EDIT ](*,) ) Byrdland come with flatwounds?

good luck.
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#12 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 05:16 PM

At given tuning pitches the tension ratio is the square of the scale ratio. At the Byrdland's 23.5" scale same gauges do result in 90.1 % tension compared to 24.75" scale (common on Gibson guitars) or 84.9 % tension compared to 25.5" (classic scale length, common on Fender guitars).

Furthermore, tension at given scale and pitch follows the square of the gauge. For instance, combined with the scale ratio, 11 gauge will have 102.8 % the tension on a 23.5" scale compared to 10 gauge on 25.5" scale.

Hope this helps.
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#13 User is offline   DC42 

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 06:10 PM

Thanks for the replies. It will be interesting. So many theories regarding archtops. Some say it is blasphemous to use light strings, pin the bridge, etc., etc.. To each their own really. I am just hoping for a good out of the box experience. Online inventory regarding florentine cuts were slim so I contacted Dave's Guitars in Wisconsin (they set up a custom order). It really is a stock build but it will be a while until it is completed down in the custom shop. Hoping for the best.

Have had issues with low and high end guitars upon receiving them so again just hoping all goes well.

Dave
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#14 User is offline   Versatile 

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 01:19 AM

My current favourite squeeze, an ES225, came strung with 12's which was OK

But I hankered after an easier ride for fingerstyle etc so cautiously swapped to 11's with a plain 3rd

No problems whatsoever and no need for any neck adjustment.... [thumbup]

Snappy tone retained and bends facilitated

V

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#15 User is offline   DC42 

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 05:46 AM

 Versatile, on 20 May 2016 - 01:19 AM, said:

My current favourite squeeze, an ES225, came strung with 12's which was OK

But I hankered after an easier ride for fingerstyle etc so cautiously swapped to 11's with a plain 3rd

No problems whatsoever and no need for any neck adjustment.... [thumbup]

Snappy tone retained and bends facilitated

V

:-({|=


Nice Versatile. Been thinking that may be the route to take but will just wait and see.
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#16 User is offline   Sleeko 

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 05:13 PM

Here's Anthony Wilson playing his;

https://www.youtube....h?v=D7XU8uJzZtQ

To the OP, that black is sharp!
If you can find one, a less expensive but worthwhile alternative is the Epiphone Elitist Byrdland. Average price on Ebay used is between $2200.00 - $2500.00. The kick in the tail is that I paid $1600.00 new. I've been pleased with mine and it compares favorably to my L4CES. I string mine with Thomastik flatwound 13's.
My only complaint is after a while it starts to cut into my chest with the upper bout. This is in the sitting position while playing. I don't experience this with any of my other guitars.


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#17 User is offline   Zentar 

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 06:44 AM

What is the scale length on a Byrdland?
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#18 User is offline   slimt 

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 08:43 AM

 Zentar, on 25 September 2016 - 06:44 AM, said:

What is the scale length on a Byrdland?


23 1/2.. Byrdlands are a fine guitar.. I have a few.. I actually prefer those over L5s or 400s.. which I own also.. there all nice.. :)
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#19 User is offline   Sleeko 

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:58 PM

Here's a nice one . . . [thumbup]


https://www.youtube....h?v=kvxHuojzm_Q


And a Florentine cut . . .


https://www.youtube....h?v=ECV23eI2G-k
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#20 User is offline   ronjazz 

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 05:12 PM

 dougstrummer, on 23 December 2012 - 11:29 PM, said:

Guys (and Gals) - just recently acquired my first-ever Byrdland (new Crimson Custom Shop). I researched and researched EVERYTHING about Byrdlands and kept hearing one occasional negative comment: the short scale neck weirds-out certain players. Let me first say a couple of things about me personally as a player....been playing semi-professionally for approx. 30 years, I currently own about 60 guitars (mostly top-tier custom shop Strats, LP's, 335's, 175's, Suhr's, etc. for recording purposes), and I'm 6' 3" w/ hands bigger than my Dad who was 6' 7".

My first thought about the Byrdland after playing through about four songs after receiving her....I WISH THAT I HAD BOUGHT A BYRDLAND LOOOOOOONG BEFORE NOW (I will be selling about 90% of all of my guitars now..keep a look out on eBay!!). The short scale neck is a complete non-issue except that it allows me to play faster and cleaner than I've ever played. It's hard to describe other than IT'S JUST BETTER. The difference in "feel" and short scale is similar to the difference between the thickness of your thumbnail vs. your pinky nail?? Huh?...exactly!! (and anyone who says differently probably just can't afford a "Byrd"...sorry, but there can't be any other explanation. I came into this purchase ready to be disappointed...mainly because of my big hands, but it only helped). However, the difference is in the ease of playability... just that ever-so-slight difference in scale. Funny, but that's what this guitar was originally designed for, right?? And versatility.....WOW, there are NO boundaries. Please understand that I'm not being "Gah-Gah" over my new purchase...I've got an arsenal of amazing guitars, I can afford this new one, and I can also afford to send it back (and was prepared to do so at the SLIGHTEST scale problem). Now I'm just disappointed that I've waited so long in my career to have even tried to play one, and am also not looking forward to the effort required to sell about 50 guitars on eBay. The neck and the scale is the BEST thing about this "Byrd"...don't let anyone tell you otherwise as I've explained their probable motivation earlier....that's my point here.

If you're serious about playing your very best, give a "Byrd" a try....then save and save your $$ to get one. There's not a lot of inventory out there so be prepared to wait for a good one. And all of the "short scale" talk is BS (IMHO)...I've tried it and now know first-hand that the difference in "feel" is a myth (my fingers landed on every note and chord right outta the box), but the scale difference in ease, accuracy and speed is extraordinary...just hard to articulate (for me, anyway).

Thanks for listening to me help set the record straight about the short scale (not a fair description, btw...Gibson should call it something else). Perhaps "Precision Scale"? LOL!!

Merry Christmas everyone,

Doug


Hello Dougstrummer,
My brand new Gibson Byrdland (VSB) arrived this afternoon and I am experiencing the same epiphany as you did. I've had it out of the case for only a few hours, but I can already see the difference between the Byrd and my three L5's, I love the L5's, but the Byrd's short scale makes my chording so much more efficient. Hopefully, this joyful experience will not be short-lived, and will survive the honeymoon period. I realize that the post that I have responded to is a tad ancient, but I decided to give it try anyway.
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