Eric Clapton’s 1950s Gibson Byrdland

Eric was seen with this guitar on a charity Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971 organized by George Harrison and Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar. The guitar was used during the first show (the Brownie being used for the second one), and this seems to be the only time Clapton ever used this guitar on stage.

Eric (far right) using the Gibson Byrdland during the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. Photo credit: badgreeb RECORDS/Flickr

Based on the visual cues -like the flowerpot headstock inlay, gold-plated hardware, pointy fingerboard at the end, and the tailpiece – the guitar appears to be a Byrdland model. There are however some deviations – like the fact that the fretboard has double parallelogram inlays which are usually found on the 350T model. But, given the fact that most thing point towards a Byrdland, and taking into consideration that Eric himself was apparently quoted saying he played that exact model during Concert for Bangladesh, it is safe to assume that this is indeed a Gibson Byrdland.

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Steve O'Connor
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Steve O'Connor

I believe he also played the Byrdland in the Chuck Berry movie most notably in the song, “Wee Wee Hours.”

Ron
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Ron

Eric Clapton’s 1950s Gibson Byrdland
I think Clapton used this on one of the live ” Somewhere over the Rainbow”

Steve G
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Steve G

What happened to the guitar. Who owns it now?

Brad
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Brad

It appears that the second show guitar actually wasn’t Brownie (no fingerboard wear) but another mid fifties two tone sunburst Strat.

William Northcutt
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William Northcutt

This is probably well-known. The Byrdland just happened to be handy when Clapton left to go to the concert. He grabbed it, but when he got on stage, he regretted his choice. That probably has something to do with it’s absence in live situations, except for those times mentioned. Let’s just say it’s never been his go to after Bangladesh.

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