1968 Gibson Byrdland
This beautiful Gibson Byrdland is almost 40 years old and has managed to remain virtually unchanged from its original state. This guitar plays and sounds as smooth and creamy as butter . The 23 1/2 scale makes even the most daunting finger stretches a piece of cake. The humbucker pickups actually have a closer pole-piece spacing then the standard Les Paul humbuckers. The string spread remains fairly parallel due to the shorter scale neck and so closer spacing were required. This guitar features all of the adornments of an Gibson L5 included solid carved front, back and sides. The thinner body depth and shorter scale make for a really comfortable fit though and were very deliberate details from Billy Byrd and Hank Garland. Both are attributed to the design of this model and the name Byrdland is derived from combining their names. The Byrdland was Gibson's first thin-line model and was quite the innovation in 1957 and originally had a Venetian cutaway. In 1961 and through 1968 the Byrdland cutaway was changed to the sharp Florentine cutaway that this guitar sports. Additionally and unique to the Byrdland model is the triple-loop tubular tailpiece with "Byrdland" engraved on the crosspiece. Also the fretboard has the usual dot markers on both sides suggesting that left handed necks were mildly retooled right handed necks. It is hard to see in the picture below but the pickguard is tortoise grained with binding not the usual black three ply plastic. Cool.
The front view of the Headstock shows the same flaming chalice inlay as the Gibson L-5. This Byrdland truss rod cover clearly indicates that not all parts were made in a left handed version. Hence the upside down "Byrdland" engraving. The Kluson Sealfast tuners on this Byrdland are the same tuners featured on the original Byrdland when it debut in 1957.
2003 Gibson Custom Historic ES-135
This beautiful factory left handed ES-135 is the only lefty 135 I have ever seen. I bought this at Elderly Instruments website after being tipped off by a friend. While it was priced higher than the many right handed models for sale, there were some things to consider. First it being a lefty (which I'm) makes this model very hard to find. Secondly it is not a factory run but rather is hand built by Gibson's Custom, Art & Historic Division (aka Custom shop). It came with a signed Gibson certificate stating so. Lastly, even the right-handed models are rarely seen with factory Bigsby and P90 pickups let alone the bound neck this beauty sports. There is of course the Gibson SwingMaster which in my humble opinion is a bit over the top. With the goofy factory pin-up decal (actually a real photo of a woman rather than a cool pinup artist's rendition) and gaudy headstock "SwingMaster" tag, even if a left-handed SwingMaster could be found it wouldn't be my bag. Also while the ES-135 is not a carved top there is something to be said about the beautiful tiger grain of this guitar though the SwingMasters do come in some very cool colors. Anyway be sure to scroll all the way down for info on my two failed attempts at actually ordering a custom shop Gibson and why this sweetheart will do just fine.
2004 Gibson Les Paul Custom
This is a Gibson Custom Shop Left handed Les Paul I bought "pre-owned". It is a dream and there isn't much more to add.
1974 Gibson SG Special
The cool thing about this factory axe is the stock Gibson vibrato, in lefty! (see insert). Also cool and unique to my collection is the stock Gibson mini-humbuckers. Brighter and more biting than their full sized siblings these mini humbucker pickups have a very cool and useful tone.
1968 Gibson ES-330TD
Earlier versions of the ES-330 had the neck meet the body at the 15th fret. This one has the full length ES-335 style neck joining the body at 19th fret. Unlike the ES-335 this guitar is truly a hollow body. The P90 pickups really sound great.
On the left is the 1968 ES-330TD. To the right again is the 1974 SG Special.
How to Order a Custom Gibson Guitar....NOT!