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Jimmy Byrd

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Jimmy Byrd
Birth nameJames Walker Byrd
Born (1937-11-20) November 20, 1937 (age 83)
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, United States
OriginMesa, Arizona, United States
Years active1965–1985
LabelsNone, Live Performer

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James Walker Byrd (born November 20, 1937) is an American country music musician known for his distinctive style of "Chicken Pickin" guitar playing


Early career[edit]

Byrd started his musical career playing at a local establishment in Phoenix, Arizona called JD's, his first band was with Alvis Cole, Dub Bryan, and Bobby Munari where Jimmy first met then local musician Waylon Jennings, later in his career Byrd would play guitar for live stage and TV appearances as a band member for Jennings, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and other well known country music artists.


In early 1970, Byrd was on the road playing for artists like, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash performing live shows in cities all across the U.S., Also Jimmy played for Waylon Jennings on several TV appearances including The Johnny Cash Show and Hee-Haw.

Jennings is said to have called Byrd, "Abe Lincoln" not only because of Byrd's resemblance to the former President but also because Jennings was notorious for forgetting names of his band members. Jennings also described Byrd as the only man other than himself who could play a particular style of "Chicken Pickin" guitar playing that helped to cement Jennings as a country music star.

It was also in this time that Byrd developed the original prototype design for the double neck guitar but did not patent the idea or the guitar itself so his invention was patented later by a major manufacturer.[1]

1980s and after[edit]

After returning from the road and live touring, Byrd reformed acquaintances in Mesa and started playing with Johnny Collier playing local events and festivals. Byrd officially retired in 1985 but continued to play occasional shows till 1991


  1. "East Valley Tribune Newspaper".

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