A Burns UK LJ 24, 1977 guitar, one of 25 made
Estimate £3,000 - £4,000
to be offered for Sale in the Antiques and Interiors Auction
on the 10th of July
Born in County Durham, James Ormston Burns (1925-1998) learned to play the guitar in his teens. At 18 he joined the RAF ground crew as a fitter which gave him experience with metalworking. After leaving the RAF Jim Burns worked as a joiner during the day and in the evenings played a slide guitar appearing in an entertainment band until he set up his own business as a guitar builder from 1952.
He was an eccentric person whose forte was guitar design and technology rather than business and financial management and over the years he encountered difficulties with his business and at one stage sold the company to the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company with the condition that he must make no more guitars under his name for three years.
Jim Burns made a come back under his own name in May 1973 when he was employed by a Newcastle musical instrument retailer as designer and production controller for a new range of guitars marketed under the trademark of Burns UK Ltd.
A range of futuristic guitars more interested in terms of design than sound was launched including The Flyte, 1974-77, The Artist, 1976-1977, The Mirage Prototype, The Mirage, 1976-77, The LJ 24, 1977 and The Mark Griffiths Prototype, 1977.
The quality was high but uptake was slow and the guitars were not received with the enthusiasm expected. The problem with the guitars with the exception of the LJ 24, was that the design was too futuristic for the average guitar and that the tonal range was very conventional and rather limited. All fittings were of high quality and the play-ability was good but that was not enough to save the range and in 1977 the company folded due to poor management.
Although the LJ 24 was a budget model it had the best sound of all guitars in the Burns UK range between 1974-1977.
It is a short-scale guitar with 24-frets fingerboard, bolt on neck, economy type Schaller machineheads, unbound fingerboard, a simple three-saddle type bridge/tail piece unit and a simple nut/string guide, finished in red with maple fingerboard. Only 25 were produced before the collapse of Burns UK in 1977.