VINTAGE 1964 or 1965 BURNS BALDWIN
SPLIT SOUND JAZZ BASS IN BLACK/RED SUNBURST FINISH
You want rare? Check out this exceptionally clean 1964 or 1965 Burns Split Sound Jazz electric base guitar with three original Burns Tri-Sonic pickups. For those of you familiar with the Burns line of guitars, it's a true joy to see a vintage piece like this in such exceptional condition. For those of you not familiar with the Burns legacy, sit back and read on. You're about to get a small dose of "English Guitar History 101."
James O. Burns is often referred to as England’s Leo Fender, and this beautiful Split Sound Jazz is an excellent example of the fine workmanship and detail that emerged from the Burns company during the early 1960s.
According to legend, Burns showed a prototype guitar with curved horns (similar to this one) to a musician named Ike Isaacs, who was one of Britain's foremost guitarists of the day. Upon seeing it, Ike exclaimed, “It looks like a bloody bison!” Burns, who hadn't thought of a name yet for his guitar, thought it was perfect and christened it exactly that. Burns went on to make the more famous and highly desired Black Bison series of electrics, including the four pickup model from 1960 to 1961, that to this day it is considered by many to be the finest British guitar ever made. It also proved to be the breakthrough for Burns in terms of quality design. Only 49 guitars of that four-pickup model were made, which unofficially made it the Holy Grail among many collectors of British (or any other) guitars.
The Split Sound series was an off-shoot of the Burns Black Bison series, and were manufactured at the Burns London factory in the early 1960s until the division was sold to the Baldwin company in the mid-to-late 1960s. All Burns-produced guitars stayed mainly in the United Kingdom, while the Baldwin models were exported outside of the U.K., most to the lucrative American market. All of the models, however, are considered quite desirable, and were widely used by such notable players as the Doobie Brothers' Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Mark Knopfler, and even Elvis Presley. These guitars are a very welcome addition to any serious guitar collection.
This exceptional example of a circa 1964-1965 Burns Baldwin Split Sound Jazz bass guitar comes from the collection of a well-established and now retired studio/traveling musician. His main instrument was the bass, but he also played the guitar and had several very nice models in his collection - including quite a few Burns guitars and basses. He took meticulous care of all his equipment, and when you see this guitar you will see just how well he cared for them.
This Split Sound Jazz bass model (serial number 13061) is in EXCELLENT condition, and comes with what we believe is the original Baldwin black hardshell case. Every aspect of this incredibly beautiful guitar was designed by James O. Burns ... from the unique headstock design to the single coil "Tri-Sonic" pickups to the very functional and varied control knobs, which can produce just about any desired bass tone imaginable. The bass has been played - as all GREAT basses are - but this one shows only minor signs of use, with some very minor lacquer checking throughout. However, there is absolutely NOTHING that takes away from the beauty of this wonderful and very fine guitar. We believe everything on the guitar is original, though we simply cannot be sure because there isn't much reference information on these wonderful guitars.
The only issue with this beautiful bass are the tuners. When we attempted to tune the bass down for shipping back to our home office in Nashville, the plastic ends literally broke off in our hands. We are in the process of looking for an identical set, but we don't know how successful we'll be in our search. Either way, we will include a set of new tuners with the purchase of this bass ... and hopefully we can find a set that matches good enough so no new holes have to be opened in the back of the headstock. Check back periodically, as we will update the listing when we find the set we want.
Please check out the 38 hi-res photos below, and don't hesitate to contact us at 615-613-1389 with any questions or corrections to the information provided above. We like to get it right, and are not offended in the least by people offering their opinions and thoughts.