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Burns Jazz Split Sound Solid Body Electric Guitar (1964)

Burns  Jazz Split Sound Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1964)

Burns Jazz Split Sound Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1964), made in London, England, red/black sunburst finish, sycamore body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

The most popular 1960s design from the always-eccentric James Ormston Burns, the Jazz Split Sound is a relatively unsung Beat-Group era classic and a very stylish guitar. This model was available in the US labeled both Ampeg (1963-4) and Baldwin (after late 1965) but this "true Burns" example, dated internally to November 1964, is something of a rarity on these shores. Burns instruments were sold worldwide under the company's name, but very few made it to the US due to the English firm's lack of a distributor in this market. The Jazz Split Sound was Burns' mid-price instrument; professional class but less expensive than the more dramatically styled Black Bison and Hank Marvin guitars at the top of the line.

Obviously owing a lot to the Stratocaster, the JSS has three "Split Sound" Tri-sonic pickups with a rotary control giving four tone selections including the snarlingly out-of-phase "Wild Dog" and the patented "Split Sound" which combines different half-coils to accentuate bass and treble registers. The lavish Burns "Series II" vibrato system incorporates a floating bridge cradle that moves laterally and individual saddles and must rate as one of the best systems of its kind.

The sunburst-finished 23 1/2 inch-scale neck is slim and comfortable with a slightly less round feel than a Fender and a sunburst single sided headstock, later changed by Baldwin to a natural finish double-sided design. The sunburst finish was standard for this model; this one has faded quite a bit, but does not exhibit the heavy checking often seen on these UK-made guitars and has a bit of nice grain to the sycamore on the back. All the instruments from the Burns London period (1961-65) are extremely well-made, and this rates as a fine-playing guitar with tons of character and a very distinctive sound.
Overall length is 40 in. (101.6 cm.), 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 23 1/2 in. (597 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a nice, clean example of this guitar overall with only some light wear and no alterations. The sunburst finish has faded quite a bit on the top, giving it sort of a 1950s Fender two-tone hue, while the back retains more of the original red color. The finish has small dings, scuffs, and a few chips, but none of the heavy checking often present on English polyester from this period.

The guitar is complete and all original except the trem arm is a perfect replacement from the modern Burns of London company, made to the exact original spec. An excellent playing and sounding example of this rare-in-America version of Jim Burns' most popular instrument, in a period but not original shaped HSC. Excellent Condition.

Item # 8446
This item has been sold.

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