Burns Jazz Split Sound Solid Body Electric Guitar (1964)

Burns  Jazz Split Sound Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1964)

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Item # 6718
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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 tolex hard shell case.

The most popular 1960's 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 March 1965- 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 red-black finish was standard for this model, this one does not exhibit the heavy checking often seen on these UK-made guitars and has a very 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 an extremely nice, original Burns-logo example. The finish has very strong color (hardly faded at all-most have lost their red hue) and shows none of the common Burns finish checking. There is light scuffingto the finish overall and a small chip to the headstock finish on the rear top edge, and some light corrosion to a few metal parts. The crucual oft-missing parts like the original trem arm and bridge cover are intact, and the elaborate vibrato system works perfectly. This is a nice playing and great sounding example of Burns' most popular guitar. Includes an appropriate but Baldwin-branded HSC. Excellent - Condition.