Gibson Midtown Kalamazoo

Gibson introduces the Midtown Kalamazoo, a modern recreation of the '50s era Byrdland guitar, featuring "split-coil".

Gibson Midtown Kalamazoo

This new guitar adds to the growing number of Midtown series of instruments, which Gibson introduced in 2011.

While the previously released Midtown guitars mostly base their designed on ES-335, the Midtown Kalamazoo takes a different turn, featuring a design based on a popular archtop electric guitar model that was co-designed by Billy Byrd and Hank Garland.

Gibson shares the story behind this new instrument: "The original Byrdland guitar—unveiled from Gibson's Kalamazoo, Michigan, factory in 1955—was designed in consultation with two first-call Nashville session players, Billy Byrd and Hank Garland, and it incorporated several "advancements" that the two saw as beneficial to the player of the day. Its fast, slim neck profile and shorter 23 ½" scale length were intended to boost soloing speed and ease complex jazz chording, while its thinline hollow body helped to minimize feedback yet retained traditional archtop tone."

Just like the original 1955 Byrdland, the new Moditown Kalamazoo comes with a thinline body that features a maple top and mahogany back. The neck is made from mahogany and feature's the same scale length and profile as what Byrd and Garland decided. The guitar has a rosewood fretboard with acrylic pearloid block inlays, that matches the mult-ply bindings on the body and the headstock. The signature "flower pot" inlay on the headstock completes the Byrdland look.

While the wood materials and design of the guitar is very much traditional, the electronics add in an element of modern technology, split coil. The Midtown Kalamazoo comes with dual '57 Classic humbuckers, which are based on vintage PAF pickups. It comes with independent volume and tone amber top-hat knobs along with a Switchcraft 3-way pickup selector. The guitar's split coil feature adds to its tonal versatility, the tone knobs can be pushed or pulled to reproduce single coil sounds that are not possible on vintage Byrdland instruments.

Other features of the guitar include Grover locking keystone tuners, tune-o-matic bridge, and a traditional zig-zag trapeze tailpiece - all finished in elegant gold. A bound tortoise pickguard rounds up the guitar's looks and features. The Gibson Midtown Kalamazoo is currently only available in high-gloss Vintage Sunburst finish, using hand-sprayed nitrocellulose lacquer.

The Midtown Kalamazoo is expected to hit the stores on Nov 5, 2013, with an MSRP of $2,498. Visit Gibson for more details.

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