Ted Nugent Deeply Regrets Donating His Byrdland To Hard Rock

Ted Nugent expressed profound regret over donating his Byrdland guitar to the Hard Rock Café in a new interview with Guitar World, reminiscing about a decision that continues to haunt him.

In the fashion of the mid-eighties, when rock stars frequently donated their guitars to the Hard Rock Café, Nugent followed suit. On April 8, 1986, he gave away his original Byrdland during a ceremony in New York City, a decision he now bitterly regrets. The singer discussed:

“Only because I am a very strong individual am I able to even discuss this very painful, royal clusterf*ck! Being the ultimate dumba**, having no clue of the potential value of a Ted Nugent original Byrdland, and since she would never make music with me again, I foolishly donated her to the Hard Rock.”

The Attempt To Reclaim A Legacy

He continued, sharing whether his efforts to reclaim it paid off:

“Somebody, please shoot me! We did try to get her back over the years but to no avail. Thank God I can improvise, adapt, and overcome tragedies because that asinine decision could really haunt me if I were to let it.”

After its donation, the guitar, famous for its use by Nugent, was meticulously photographed for Guitar World and the Hard Rock’s archives. It eventually found a prominent display in the Hard Rock Café in Detroit, where it was celebrated until the venue’s closure in 2019. Despite efforts to preserve and honor the guitar, it bears the marks of its history, with visible damage that speaks to its extensive use and significance.

The Byrdland’s Influence On Nugent

Nugent’s affinity for the Gibson Byrdland, a model introduced in 1955, was influenced by his admiration for guitarist Jim McCarty of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. Nugent recalled the profound impact McCarty and the Byrdland’s unique sound had on his musical development, noting during a 2019 appearance on Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon:

“I mean, I was making these feedback outrages in ’64 and ’65 with the Amboy Dukes, and it has such a big, fat spread. It’s a 3/4-scale neck; it’s really ergonomic and playable, it was made by the greatest wood craftsmen luthiers at the Gibson guitar plant back in the ’50s and ’60s.”

The rocker’s musical arsenal has been diverse, from the treasured Byrdland to his ventures with Les Pauls and PRS guitars, each contributing to his creative output in different ways. Despite his vast success, marked by over 40 million records sold, Nugent credits a significant part of his musical identity to the Byrdland.