The story of Burns Of London guitars begins in 1925 with the birth of the “British Leo Fender,” James Ormston Burns. An avid guitar player beginning in his early teens, at 18 he joined the Royal Air Force and learned metalworking. In 1946 he returned to playing guitar professionally and by ’52 was playing in Felix Mendelson’s Hawaiian Serenaders. He held jobs as a waiter and painter, played guitar by night, and built his first guitars.
Burns’ reputation grew and in 1960 he had founded Ormston-Burns, which manufactured the Burns guitar to the tune of more than 150 units per week until 1965, when it was purchased by the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company. After the sale, Jim Burns twice attempted to revive the line, and though he wasn’t successful, a number of his designs survived, including the Steer Cutaway.
This model is a Marquee “S” (Special). The Marquee series was introduced in 1999. The “S” model has a bound body and neck, Burns sealed-back locking tuners, the headstock is colour matched to the body instead of natural on plain Marquees, and the alder body has a lovely translucent red finish over a very flamey striped maple top.
Burns designed machine heads
43mm nut width
Bolt-on hard rock maple neck
Scale length 25.5″
Burns gearbox truss rod
Three Burns Rez-O-Matik pickups
Classic polyester finish
Tremolo unit Five-way selector switch
One master volume
Two tone controls
Gold plated Deluxe Tremolo Bridge
These Burns Rez-O-Matiks are great sounding single coil pickups and offer a vast palette of sounds.
It features a standard 5 way switch – neck, neck middle, middle, middle bridge and bridge. But they differ a little because the neck middle and middle bridge are out of phase. There is also a push pull tone knob – if the knob is pulled out in the bridge position, the neck kicks in, and if the knob is pulled out in middle position or either of the neck middle or middle bridge, then all 3 pickups are selected.
This Marquee S is in excellent original condition. It has no wear showing apart from some very light pick marks on the guard. There are no dings or dents, scratches or blemishes anywhere. The maple neck with rosewood fingerboard is fast and clean, frets show no wear, truss rod works fine and the tuners are solid. No changes or modifications – just straight up as originally created.
Don’t you just love it when a brand like “Burns Of London” are not made in the UK ??? While the original Burns guitars were certainly built in London, later era Burns were initially made in Korea and the quality control on these guitars is generally regarded in very positive terms. Burns guitars after 2006 were made in China.
This is a very well built instrument with some very useable sonic options emanating from three very good sounding Burns Rez-O-Matik pickups. Should definitely be of appeal to Strat guys who want something a little different in terms of style, but with a familiar sound and feel.
Weight is 8.7 lbs
This guitar has only been played at home so it was bought new without a case. And that’s the way it’s being offered for sale – as is, in all its bare naked glory.