Baldwin - Burns Jazz Split Sound Solid Body Electric Guitar (1965)

Baldwin - Burns  Jazz Split Sound Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1965)
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Item # 7137
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Baldwin - Burns Jazz Split Sound Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1965), made in London, red/black sunburst Polyester finish, sycamore body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

Probably the most popular design from the always-eccentric James Ormston Burns, The Jazz Split Sound is a 1960's classic and a very stylish guitar. These instruments were built at the Burns Romford, UK factory, and were available in the US labeled Ampeg (1963-4) and Baldwin (which bought the company in September 1965). This is a very early Baldwin-marked example, identical in every way to Burns-labeled instruments except for the new "Baldwin" logo tag cut into the pickguard in place of the Burns name. A handwritten tag inside dates the electronics inspection to spring 1965, well before the Baldwin purchase. This guitar features the earlier pattern single-sided headstock and sunburst-finished, unbound neck, changed by Baldwin to a natural finish double-sided design by summer '66. The red-black sunburst finish overall is standard for this model, and this example has faded to a dark amber hue.

The Jazz Split Sound was Burns' midline instrument; professional class, but less expensive than the more dramatically styled Black Bison and Hank Marvin guitars at the top of the line. Obviously somewhat inspired by 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 unit with fully adjustable individual saddles and must rate as one of the best systems of its kind. The medium-scale neck is slim and comfortable with a slightly less round feel than a Fender. This rates as a fine-playing guitar with tons of character and a very distinctive sound, and an extremely good value in a professional caliber 1960's vintage guitar.
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 super nice, all original example. Apart from some fairly heavy fade to the finish on the face and headstock (the red has mostly gone to a subtle brown shade), this guitar is extremely well-preserved. There is some light corrosion to the screws and pickup covers and some small scuffs to the finish, but there is little of the common finish checking, and oft-missing parts like the trem arm and bridge cover are intact. This particular guitar has just had a fret clean-up and is a very fine player. Includes the original rectangular Baldwin HSC. Excellent + Condition.