Other Guitars

Anyone selling a Byrdland copy?

26

Well, I like the sound of the Venetian better. You can really hear the difference

– paul pigat

From the horse's mouth! You can always trust Paul's opinion on these things. A Venetian cutaway guitar has a more rounded sound, less pointy and scooped. Some notes get trapped in the point of the cutaway and can't get out Also, frankly they are a safety concern and shouldn't be left unattended around children.

There is also a simple aesthetic taste consideration but it is secondary to these important sonic considerations.
I don't know if I feel any hate towards florentine cutaways though it is common knowledge that they are endorsed by satanic cults and the enemies of freedom.... I save that for pointy metal guitars that look like they deserve the appellation 'axe'

27

In this instance for me the guitar is the thing, not the music others produce on it.

Well, of course - in every case.


I quite liked Nugent in the Amboy Dukes, before he was famouser for who he is than for how he plays. "Journey to the CotM" was a bolt of lightning on the radio of the era. In the Dukes his playing (and the band) were on the same front edge as Deep Purple and Zeppelin: rock turning into hard rock on its way to metal. His playing was inventive and distinctive. The FAMOUS Ted Nugent, from his comeback in the 70s as a solo artist through whatever career he's had, seems to have abdicated innovation and development. If anything, his playing got more generic.

He's never figured into my thinking about guitars, though. The big hollowbody was part of his tone (or the feedback part of it), but it didn't influence me.

Nor, actually, did Steve Howe's choice of instrument - though his playing certainly did. And does. Though I understand that personally he's also a jerk.


Walter only posts the picture of the horrific Barney Kessel because he knows of the deep revulsion I feel whenever I see that guitar. It's so wrong. A shallow scoop of a Florentine wound on a deep hollowbody is wrong to begin with, and two wrongs do NOT make a right. That b/w picture of it, in sunburst, doesn't make my head twitch and my bile rise - but someone once posted excruciatingly high-res pics of a prehistoric black one with thorough finish checking and cracking that looked something like a medieval gargoyle with an emaciated and coruscated hide. That one about put me off my feed.

Shadows of its ghastly wings beating haunt my response to any guitar I see with that profile. Reverend makes some, though in solidbody it's not quite as threatening. Actually even the double-cut Gretsch Jet is a little close for comfort.

I bet Barney Kessel didn't even like the Barney Kessel. He musta thought two Florentines were a good idea when he was discussing the matter with Gibson (maybe he was remembering a weekend with two sisters from Florence) - but I bet he was horrified when he saw what the Kalamazoons had wrought. As Tox says, he wasn't often caught with it photographically. I mean, look at his expression in that picture. That is not a happy man. He's living up to his commitment and holding the guitar for an ad (mocking the guitar by playing not an exotic jazz chord, but an F7) - but note he's wearing a carnation in the same way people wore posies during the black death, to ward off the infernal stench which must waft from the guitar's f-holes.

The Johnny A, I cross myself for protection. The man's a great player, and I enjoy his albums. His signature guitar sounds great (though I thought his recorded tone was better on his albums with his original Gibson, before he got the sig), but visually it's a horror. At least it's not as deep as the abyss which is the Barney Kessel.


Well, I like the sound of the Venetian better. You can really hear the difference

And there you go! Obviously a nice rounded curve provides a sweeter environment for the internal reflections and resonance inside the guitar. Kinda guides them around smoothly so they speed on their way. Anyone would know having sharp little corners inside the guitar traps the tone and produces a cramped little wheeze. It's all that trapped tone that builds up inside the guitar, makes the wood unstable and enharmonic, and causes the finish to crack like dead rhino hide.

28

A Venetian cutaway guitar has a more rounded sound, less pointy and scooped. Some notes get trapped in the point of the cutaway and can't get out

You were responding as I was composing. See, it's an obvious thing.

29

In this instance for me the guitar is the thing, not the music others produce on it.

Well, of course - in every case.


I quite liked Nugent in the Amboy Dukes, before he was famouser for who he is than for how he plays. "Journey to the CotM" was a bolt of lightning on the radio of the era. In the Dukes his playing (and the band) were on the same front edge as Deep Purple and Zeppelin: rock turning into hard rock on its way to metal. His playing was inventive and distinctive. The FAMOUS Ted Nugent, from his comeback in the 70s as a solo artist through whatever career he's had, seems to have abdicated innovation and development. If anything, his playing got more generic.

He's never figured into my thinking about guitars, though. The big hollowbody was part of his tone (or the feedback part of it), but it didn't influence me.

Nor, actually, did Steve Howe's choice of instrument - though his playing certainly did. And does. Though I understand that personally he's also a jerk.


Walter only posts the picture of the horrific Barney Kessel because he knows of the deep revulsion I feel whenever I see that guitar. It's so wrong. A shallow scoop of a Florentine wound on a deep hollowbody is wrong to begin with, and two wrongs do NOT make a right. That b/w picture of it, in sunburst, doesn't make my head twitch and my bile rise - but someone once posted excruciatingly high-res pics of a prehistoric black one with thorough finish checking and cracking that looked something like a medieval gargoyle with an emaciated and coruscated hide. That one about put me off my feed.

Shadows of its ghastly wings beating haunt my response to any guitar I see with that profile. Reverend makes some, though in solidbody it's not quite as threatening. Actually even the double-cut Gretsch Jet is a little close for comfort.

I bet Barney Kessel didn't even like the Barney Kessel. He musta thought two Florentines were a good idea when he was discussing the matter with Gibson (maybe he was remembering a weekend with two sisters from Florence) - but I bet he was horrified when he saw what the Kalamazoons had wrought. As Tox says, he wasn't often caught with it photographically. I mean, look at his expression in that picture. That is not a happy man. He's living up to his commitment and holding the guitar for an ad (mocking the guitar by playing not an exotic jazz chord, but an F7) - but note he's wearing a carnation in the same way people wore posies during the black death, to ward off the infernal stench which must waft from the guitar's f-holes.

The Johnny A, I cross myself for protection. The man's a great player, and I enjoy his albums. His signature guitar sounds great (though I thought his recorded tone was better on his albums with his original Gibson, before he got the sig), but visually it's a horror. At least it's not as deep as the abyss which is the Barney Kessel.


Well, I like the sound of the Venetian better. You can really hear the difference

And there you go! Obviously a nice rounded curve provides a sweeter environment for the internal reflections and resonance inside the guitar. Kinda guides them around smoothly so they speed on their way. Anyone would know having sharp little corners inside the guitar traps the tone and produces a cramped little wheeze. It's all that trapped tone that builds up inside the guitar, makes the wood unstable and enharmonic, and causes the finish to crack like dead rhino hide.

– Proteus

I generally don't like Florentine cutaways, but I really like the looks of the Johnny A model and I prefer the headstock on the Epi version.

30

All that may be true, but other than a slight potential for poking my eyes out, I still like them.

31

They should come with protective goggles and sheathes for the dangerous points.

33

THAT is gorgeous, and possibly unique on the market.

Seller/builder has only one Reverb transaction, and that’s a purchase...and English translation is dodgy. But based on his description here, the profile of his shop (and his concurrent sale of the Gibson that looks to have been his model for his one), I think I trust him. Looks like a new builder just getting started, surveying the market for a hole to fill, and putting it out there.

I’m very tempted.

34

Generally speaking, I also prefer Venetian cutaways, but no absolutes. I have and love a Ventura Barney Kessel copy, and the ES-175/ES-295 looks somehow right with a pointy Florentine. But here's Elvis playing Scotty's Super 400, which also looks pretty righteous with a Florentine cutaway:

Larry Coryell (one of my first guitar heroes) played one too:

And Kenny Burrell --- does anyone have a rounder, warmer, richer tone? I doesn't think so.

Two of the guys responsible for my love affair with big hollow body guitars played Florentine L-5's: Jerry Miller of Moby Grape:

and Terry Haggerty with the Sons of Champlin:

While I've since come to prefer the Venetian style of L-5, without Terry and Jerry, I probably wouldn't even be reading this topic, so I gots to offer up some love to the pointy cutaways too.

35

paul pigat wrote:

here ya go Link

I like everything about that guitar save the narrow neck.

The Midtown Kalamazoo mentioned in another recent thread is a candidate.

36

THAT is gorgeous

Not so much to an old Gibson purist like me. I'll give it credit for having a few attractive elements, but my eyes are sensitive to asymmetries and such from looking at fakes over the years. Looks like the body's lower bouts are slightly off, the knob placements are off, the cutaway shape is slightly off, the pickguard is slightly off, and the pickups don't even look parallel to each other! The fact that they couldn't even straighten the bridge for the photo shoot just adds insult to injury for me. And stay off my lawn!

37

Nice post, Parabar. We can add this one to your list of florentine Super 4's:

38

I see the pickup misalignment, now that you mention it. The slight visual variances from Gibson convention don't bother me, as I'm primarily interested in a direct Gibson clone - just the specs.

To me the bridge looks right, with the base at the slight angle which would provide best straight-line intonation without an adjustable bridge. I know it HAS an adjustable bridge, and there's also a school which likes to see the base at a perfect right angle to the travel of the strings. And it's not such a big deal with a floating base, because when the user decides he wants something other than an adjustable-saddle bridge, he can move the base where he needs it. (I'd also argue that someone who wants it straight across can also move it where he wants it.)

But a pinned (or much worse, stud-mounted bridge) placed at the wrong angle (be that straight across or too extreme) locks the player into using adjustable-saddle bridges forever - or either moving the base/studs or commissioning a frightfully expensive bridge with truly unique compensation.

Now, I'll try to get my hobby horse off your lawn.

39

My initial rant included the admission that the bridge position could easily be adjusted (if not pinned), but I spared everybody and went with the Reader's Digest version.

40

With all this cutaway talk, you'd almost forget about the scale of these guitars. A friend of mine has an incredibly beautiful all original 50's ES350T, with P90's. Being the Chuck Berry fan I am, I dreamt of those guitars, looked at pictures, etc....

Finally getting to play one...it looked even better than in all the pictures, it sounds glorious, (I've recorded two tunes with it IIRC), but the short scale and tighter string spacing are downright weird.

I don't mind smaller nut widths and slightly tighter string spacing so much, I don't have big hands and my beloved vintage Guilds don't have very big nut widths, but....the combination of the very short scale ànd the narrow spacing makes for a very strange feeling neck, there's something almost mandolin-y about it, toy guitar. And the very wide 17" body doesn't help the weirdness, or the rubbery (lack of) string tension. Fender mustang neck on a huge, yet thin body. Very odd guitars that really take some getting used to.

41

Right? I had a totally pristine '65 ES175 I couldn't get rid of quick enough. Felt like a toy compared to the Tele/ES50 scale lengths and width I am used to.

42

A 175 even, really? The 24 3/4 scale doesn't bother me at all, and I think half of my guitars are 25 1/2 scale, the others 24 3/4, and I'm so used to both I hardly notice any more....but the Byrdland/ES350T's 23.5...whew. That's SHORT!

43

My reason for never having owned a Byrdland or 350T had everything to do with the narrow nut width and string spacing. I probably would have pulled the trigger on a custom (1 11/16" nut) Byrdland by now if not for the fact that I was fortunate enough to have had an electrified L5CT find me years ago. The only thing that would have sweetened the dream come true would have been a Charlie Christian pickup, a la Hank's Byrdland. Anyway, a 17", carved top, "thin" body archtop is a wonderful thing, in my experience.

44

I'm with Walter on this one, Spike. The Gobel's 24 3/4" scale feels great to me, as it does on my Gent (ok, 24.6), my Epi Sheraton and the Gibson 3X5's I've had in the past. Not only does it not bother me, I think I prefer it.

45

THAT is gorgeous

Not so much to an old Gibson purist like me. I'll give it credit for having a few attractive elements, but my eyes are sensitive to asymmetries and such from looking at fakes over the years. Looks like the body's lower bouts are slightly off, the knob placements are off, the cutaway shape is slightly off, the pickguard is slightly off, and the pickups don't even look parallel to each other! The fact that they couldn't even straighten the bridge for the photo shoot just adds insult to injury for me. And stay off my lawn!

– JimR56

I agree that the body shape seems a little wrong However the bridge being at an angle isn't at all unusual. I don't know if I have one guitar with a perfectly straight bridge due to intonation necessity. I guess with a tuna-matic you can set up the bridge more if you are attempting to achieve a perfectly straight bridge , I don't ever use tuna-matics and I've never had a problem with bridges being on rakish angles. (and thanks for thinking of me Paul)

I still maintain pointy cutaways are a safety hazard

46

I agree that the body shape seems a little wrong However the bridge being at an angle isn't at all unusual.

Even on Gibson floating archtop bridges with compensated wooden saddles, it's a bit unusual. On those with tune-o-matics, it's very unusual.

I don't know if I have one guitar with a perfectly straight bridge due to intonation necessity. I guess with a tuna-matic you can set up the bridge more if you are attempting to achieve a perfectly straight bridge , I don't ever use tuna-matics and I've never had a problem with bridges being on rakish angles.

I get it, and I've seen plenty of bridges on rakish angles. The comment I made was about the guitar in the link, and about Gibson-style floating archtop bridges with tune-o-matics. It's unusual to see one with the base on an angle like that, because it should be unnecessary.

47

Nice post, Parabar. We can add this one to your list of florentine Super 4's:

– JimR56

I saw that when it was first aired. Love Robbins playing but absolutely loved his tone when he was playing the big archtops. I have an old Charlie Musselwhite album with Robbin playing on it from around the same time. Tasty X ten.

48

i don't claim to be an expert, but there is one sitting two feet to my right, and i have to say, without pulling out a fine-toothed comb, i found several differences between what's in the reverb ad and my mij elitist byrdland. the top wood, the fingerboard wood, the neck joint, the end of the fretboard, the inlays, the pickguard, the pickguard bracket, the tailpiece, the fholes, the placement of the knob, missing switch grommet, no bridge inlays, etc... the woods don't seem as nice and the finish doesn't seem to be a big deal, either. sort of tri-bursty. even the shape seems a little different, especially the cutaway.

i'm not saying something about that guitar is off, but it certainly doesn't feel on. i get that it is meant to be a 350, but i'd thought i'd give my two cents from this side of the fence.

venetian #1

49

i don't claim to be an expert, but there is one sitting two feet to my right, and i have to say, without pulling out a fine-toothed comb, i found several differences between what's in the reverb ad and my mij elitist byrdland. the top wood, the fingerboard wood, the neck joint, the end of the fretboard, the inlays, the pickguard, the pickguard bracket, the tailpiece, the fholes, the placement of the knob, missing switch grommet, no bridge inlays, etc... the woods don't seem as nice and the finish doesn't seem to be a big deal, either. sort of tri-bursty. even the shape seems a little different, especially the cutaway.

i'm not saying something about that guitar is off, but it certainly doesn't feel on. i get that it is meant to be a 350, but i'd thought i'd give my two cents from this side of the fence.

venetian #1

– feet

Despite a few general similarities between the two models, most of the differences you refer to (wood types, hardware, ornamentation, etc) are to be expected when comparing the Byrdland and the 350T. The Byrdland was a more expensive, high-end model.


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