Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I'm considering purchasing an 1970's ibanez byrdland (24.75 scale 1 11/16 width).

    My concerns are that the pickup poles not being aligned directly aligned with all the strings evenly will make it hard to find an even sound.
    Secondly the two E strings seem to quite close to the edge of the fingerboard which makes me feel like the strings might slide off of the edge of the neck which would be impractical. I do have quite a strong attack (ala Lage Lund, Grant Green ect)
    What I would hope to get from this instrument is a reliable, and comfortable instrument I can play a ton and grow on. So I really don't want to deal with any niche issues right off the bat.

    I'm wondering if anyone can comment on these concerns? I've found the byrdland/es350t body size to be the sweet spot for me so I'd like this to work out. That being said I'm looking to be done buying and selling instruments...
    Ibanez Byrdland Questions-byrd-1-jpgIbanez Byrdland Questions-img_1305-jpg

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    FWIW most (all?) Gibson Byrdlands have the alignment-with-pole-pieces problem. They narrowed the neck and string spacing but still used standard-sized pickups. I seem to have seen the occasional byrd in which the strings line up pretty well with the pole pieces, but IDK exactly how that happens. Maybe someone else has a more informed comment. (I wonder whether the earlier alnico pup models have this issue, for example.) In any event, the odd non-alignment of the strings with the PUPs is one of the variables with any Byrd. Some seem to line up under the treble side and others seem to line up under the bass side, but IDK how that happens, either... unless there is some real wiggle room (even more than I'd expect even from Gibson's highly-variable standards) for cutout and placement of those holes for the PUPs.

    In short, don't worry about it - they're all that way - but DO play hands on the exact axe you plan to buy before parting with the cash. Not one that is the same model and year, the exact one. If you like it, jot the serial# down and put down a deposit if you are not going to pay in full and walk out with it that day.

    I have a '74 Gibson Byrd that I love, BTW, and nope, the strings don't line up under the pole pieces on it, either. But I played a few before finding this one. Most were ok, some were real dogs.

    $0.02: I'd say the alignment of strings to poles looks pretty good in your picture...

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    If you're worried about the strings sliding off the board you can get a new nut and or bridge saddle and cut them a hair closer.
    Personally I've seen tons of guitars by all makers where strings aren't perfectly aligned over the polepieces.
    In the early 60s Gibson was installing neck pu's w narrower spacing to compensate for the wider string spacing over the bridge pu but stopped after several years.
    Ideally you'd want them perfect but a little off shouldn't make too much difference in sound.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    FWIW most (all?) Gibson Byrdlands have the alignment-with-pole-pieces problem. They narrowed the neck and string spacing but still used standard-sized pickups. I seem to have seen the occasional byrd in which the strings line up pretty well with the pole pieces, but IDK exactly how that happens. Maybe someone else has a more informed comment. (I wonder whether the earlier alnico pup models have this issue, for example.) In any event, the odd non-alignment of the strings with the PUPs is one of the variables with any Byrd. Some seem to line up under the treble side and others seem to line up under the bass side, but IDK how that happens, either... unless there is some real wiggle room (even more than I'd expect even from Gibson's highly-variable standards) for cutout and placement of those holes for the PUPs.

    In short, don't worry about it - they're all that way - but DO play hands on the exact axe you plan to buy before parting with the cash. Not one that is the same model and year, the exact one. If you like it, jot the serial# down and put down a deposit if you are not going to pay in full and walk out with it that day.

    I have a '74 Gibson Byrd that I love, BTW, and nope, the strings don't line up under the pole pieces on it, either. But I played a few before finding this one. Most were ok, some were real dogs.

    $0.02: I'd say the alignment of strings to poles looks pretty good in your picture...
    Thanks for the info starjasmine. Unfortunately I cannot try this guitar beforehand which is partially my fear as it is a niche instrument. The owner does have a reasonably return policy but obviously I'd rather not go down that road.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    If you're worried about the strings sliding off the board you can get a new nut and or bridge saddle and cut them a hair closer.
    Personally I've seen tons of guitars by all makers where strings aren't perfectly aligned over the polepieces.
    In the early 60s Gibson was installing neck pu's w narrower spacing to compensate for the wider string spacing over the bridge pu but stopped after several years.
    Ideally you'd want them perfect but a little off shouldn't make too much difference in sound.
    Thanks for the info wintermoon! It's good to know that it is an option to go with a new nut and saddle if need be. I have seen guitars with the e's kind of close to the edge of the fretboard but this just seems closer to the edge than I've ever seen.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Next best thing to the real thing..... all the problems have solutions that are not expensive, so don't hesitate. If you plan to pass could you post a link to the advert since others may be interested
    Last edited by Ray175; 04-21-2021 at 06:48 AM.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irwin1993
    Thanks for the info starjasmine. Unfortunately I cannot try this guitar beforehand which is partially my fear as it is a niche instrument. The owner does have a reasonably return policy but obviously I'd rather not go down that road.
    In that case, be sure to try out at least a few Byrds locally that are considered good examples if you can. That would at least give you some kind of baseline against which to evaluate this instrument.

    And now my cautionary tale: bought a Gibson Byrdland on eBay before I found the one I have now. Before the auction closed I contacted the seller by phone to arrange for a 48-hour approval period, and made it clear to him that if there were ANY problems the guitar would be coming back. Told him that in addition to my approval, I'd be taking the guitar to a very experienced luthier for inspection as well as to a local player with decades of experience playing that very make and model of guitar professionally. The seller assured me that the guitar played "like butter", that he was happy to accommodate the extended approval process, that I'd find no issues, and that he'd happily take it back if I didn't want it.

    Well, all three of us felt that the neck was not up to par (my fretting-hand wrist literally hurt after 45 mins with this guitar, despite the fact that I played over 3 hours daily for decades) and I found some cosmetic issues that were not in the photos posted. I contacted the seller to return the guitar and he was not very nice about it. I felt sorry for him because he probably didn't know what a good Byrd should play like and I let him keep $100 for his trouble and shipped back to him at my expense. His shipping cost to me was around $40 via UPS and when I took the guitar to my local UPS store they wanted $250 to ship back. I asked whether this was because they planned to construct a hard box for it or give it some other kind of special handling, and the answer was "no." They were literally going to put a different label on the same cardboard box it came in and send it back in the same class of service I could get for $40 if I took it to the UPS dispatch center downtown myself. Basically, they decided they would try to gouge me based on the value of the merchandise being shipped. Needless to say, I did not avail myself of their services.

    That was the last time I tried to buy a guitar "remotely." Other posters on this forum have even worse stories. So... I think you are absolutely right to avoid online sales with private parties, though sales between members of this forum seem to be a noteworthy exception. Perhaps you could try watching online sites like Elderly or even contacting some reputable dealers to let them know of your interest upfront, and ask them to contact you when they get what you are looking for. Or you could plan a fishing expedition to NY, LA, or Nashville. That comes with it the problem of getting your new purchase back home... there is nothing quite like the feeling of signing a damage waiver and checking a newly purchased guitar into baggage because you can't get it onto the plane...

    Anyway, I do wish you luck with this and I hope these cautionary tales strike the appropriate balance between frightening and helpful

    SJ

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Over a period of more than 60 years I bought well more than 200 guitars, mostly sight unseen. The problem with restricting yourself to guitars you can try out in person is that it greatly limits the range of available instruments. Many of the guitars I owned were not available locally. I did return quite a few, usually because they were incorrectly described, sometimes because I just didn't like them, but being able to try them at home, with my own amps and after I set them up properly, was well worth the shipping costs to return some.

    Speaking of which: open an account with Fedex or UPS, measure and weight the boxes, buy shipping online, tape label to box, drop off at appropriate store and get a receipt. For a bit extra they'll pick it up at your house. Much cheaper than buying it at the shipping place.

    I no longer have most of the guitars I used to own. While I sold some to or through dealers, many went to private buyers. I had only one return--the buyer claimed I mis-described the color, which I hadn't, but after he shipped it back he called and said he'd changed his mind, so he paid for shipping three times. I had a few that suffered shipping damage, which my Heritage insurance covered. All in all, I had many happy buyers, some of whom are on this forum. The idea that it's not safe to buy guitars sight unseen is simply untrue and greatly limiting.

    Danny W.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny W.
    The idea that it's not safe to buy guitars sight unseen is simply untrue and greatly limiting.
    Well, I wouldn't say it's "not safe" but its certainly not AS safe as trying in person. You seem much more willing than I am to put up with all that goes along with it. Agreed that this approach does limit your available selection, which is why buying from a reputable dealer like Elderly or Gruhn is a good compromise. Kudos to you for willing to make the effort and put up with the hassle - I don't really want to do that.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I agree w Danny. In a perfect world you'd like to try before you buy but how many of what you want are within driving distance? Having purchased many many archtops the vast majority were not in person and offhand I don't think I returned more than 1/2 dozen.