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2003 Epiphone Elitist Byrdland Archtop, Near-Mint w/ Open Book Headstock, USA Pickups, Case & Tags, Japan Terada


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Up for sale, a 2003 Epiphone Elitist Byrdland in near-mint, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case and hangtags. This highly sought after, upscale Epiphone was crafted at the Terada factory in Japan; a short-lived addition to the Elitist lineup before being summarily discontinued.

What sets this particular Epi Byrdland apart from the pack is its distinctive, Gibson-esque "open book" headstock shape, an exceedingly rare variant, as the majority of examples (ostensibly the ones exported outside Japan) have a more common Epi headstock carve with a "bump" at the headstock's crest.

An extremely faithful iteration of one of Gibson's most storied golden age thinline hollowbody models, the Byrdland was a collaboration between two notable session guitarists, Billy Byrd and Hank Garland. This fearsome twosome collaborated with Gibson representative Clarence Havenga in the mid '50s to birth the Byrdland, a model replete with premium features while also boasting a shorter scale length to facilitate complex chord extensions and speedy lead runs.

The Byrdland has a 17” wide thinline body (2 3/8“ deep), solid arched spruce top, AAA flame maple back and sides, a three-piece maple neck with walnut stringers, a bound ebony fretboard, and a pair of Gibson 50SR/T USA humbuckers. The acoustic tone is full sounding and detailed, with a woody, percussive quality equally well-suited to pristine jazz chording and sizzling drive. The 50SR/T USA-made humbuckers (PAF-style) meter at 7.8k ohms in the neck position, with a tailored midrange for optimal clarity and plenty of harmonic complexity. The bridge meters at 8k ohms, with a focused, upper-midrange. This Byrdland weighs 6lbs 12oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 11-49 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.

Neck Specs:

-Wood: Three-piece maple
-Shape: Medium C, full shoulders, measuring .840” 1st fret, .930” 9th fret
-Fretboard: Bound ebony, pearloid block inlay
-Frets: Medium jumbo, pristine
-Scale Length: 23 5/8”
-Nut: 1 11/16” (43mm)
-Headstock: “Flowerpot” inlay, Elitist logo on back
-Tuners: Grover Super Rotomatics
-Serialization: T3-prefix on Epiphone Elite label (bass-side F hole)

Body Specs:

-Wood: Solid spruce top, AAA flame maple back and sides
-Pickups: 50SR/T USA-made humbuckers
-Controls: Volume x2, Tone x2, three-way pickup selector
-Hardware: ABR-1 bridge (inlaid ebony base), Byrdland looping trapeze tailpiece
-Plastics: Bound tortoise pickguard, witch hat knobs

The gloss Natural finish is framed by seven-ply binding, highlighting the tight flame figuring on the maple back and sides. There's barely a scratch on the body, and the smooth gloss on the neck profile is immaculate.

The original hardshell case with purple plush interior is included, along with the hangtags.