Baldwin - Burns Shadows Bass Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1967)
Baldwin - Burns Shadows Bass Model Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1967), made in London, England, white polyester finish, Obeche body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black tolex hard shell case. Item # 5545
The striking looking Shadows Bass is one of the rarer of all Burns-made instruments, and also one of the most sought after. The four-string brother to the top-of-the line "Hank Marvin signature" guitar this imposing three-pickup bass was designed expressly for the group it is named for, and used by them through the 1960's. It is also one of the best playing and sounding instruments of this eccentric but always interesting line. The Marvin guitar is the most collected of all Burns instruments, due to the Shadows enduring worldwide popularity- the Shadows bass is actually even rarer and is a must to complete the set!
Introduced in the middle of 1964, this was the company's most prestigious bass to date and the formerly top-of-the line Bison Bass was immediately re-styled to match it. The original Shadows bass was built in fairly small numbers and Burns-logo'd examples are very scarce today; the situation didn't change much after September 1965, when the American Baldwin piano and organ company took over Burns' operation. The model remained in limited production until the late '60's, but many features were changed in mid-1966 when Baldwin 'standardized' the line.
This early 1967 Baldwin example uses the "flattened" scroll headstock introduced in mid-1966; it was easier to produce than the heavy carved scroll used before that. The tuners are metal-button VanGents with a streamlined cover, replacing the earlier plastic-button version. The three "Bar-O-Matik" pickups bearing a "James O. Burns Design" inscription are mated to a simple Strat-like wiring rig of a 3-way switch, master volume and 2 tone knobs. One serious oddity is the patented adjustable "Rezo-Tube" bridge, used without a vibrato on bass models. This floats over the body and each string terminates in a separate tube inside a hollow cavity. The 33 1/2" scale neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard is shared only with the Bison Bass, other Burns basses had a shorter 30" scale. The body is a variation on the fender Precision previously favored by the Shadows, with curvier cutaway horns typical of Jim Burns' designs.
Jim Burns himself was extremely proud of the instruments he designed for the Shadows, who were still among the UK's top acts in 1964. These models put his company firmly on the map as England's premier guitar maker, and despite the obvious Fender inspiration they were unlike most guitars in existence in 1965 both in look and sound. The Shadows bass is very light for its size, handles very well and is an excellent and versatile player's instrument. Baldwin had limited success with the entire burns line but generally better luck with the less expensive models like the Vibraslim and Jazz Split Sound. This most dramatic looking bass is a considerable rarity, especially in this condition.
Overall length is 47 in. (119.4 cm.), 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 33 1/2 in. (851 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.). This bass is in truly spectacular condition; this is a time capsule example and there can't be many Baldwin/Burns instruments left that have weathered the years since the 1960's this well! The finish has only a couple of check lines (many of these have checked very heavily) and has virtually no wear, only a couple of tiny chips near the bridge. The heavy celluloid pickguards have shrunk only very slightly and there is a small area of wear just to the surface of the plastic near the neck pickup. All hardware is original and complete with the plating still shiny; not a screw has been changed and all the usually missing arcane Burns esoterica is fully intact including the "cage" handrest and mute bar (with still functional rubber foam). The original factory black nylon strings are still fitted; the frets have no wear and the bass plays perfectly. Includes the original case and neck adjusting wrench in fine shape; this is a great example of one of the classic Burns instruments. Excellent + Condition.
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