1960's Burns AG hollowbody

No, not THAT Burns .....

Burns of Tokyo.

I've written about Burns of Tokyo before and I've had a few through my place over the years despite them being quite rare. The brand, which was set up to sell exclusively through a shop in Tokyo, only lasted from 1967 to mid '69 before disappearing like so many of it's contemporaries around this time due to a huge decline in guitar sales. 

 

They mainly used Teisco-Gen-Gakki (Maruyama Teisco factory) to make their guitars which means they were the same, or very similar to some other brands using this great factory. Brands like Firstman, Honey, Idol and Norma, Silvertone and even some Grecos all had guitars made by them. This particular model was almost identical to a Mosrite and Minister branded "Celebrity" version marketed by Firstman. Some of these had necks made by Kurokumo with the M headstock and Mosrite Avenger logo while others had necks like this by Teisco-Gen-Gakki with Mosrite or Minister on the headstock. Firstman also made very accurate Celebrity (and Dobro Californian) versions with the body based off an original Mosrite Celebrity. 

 

This guitar shows typical late 60's Teisco-Gen-Gakki manufacturing with well finished and nicely detailed laminated body with no centre block. The bolt on maple neck is well made with fully inlaid and bound rosewood fretboard with zero fret and nice little volute. It is squarely bolted into the neck pocket with the usual rectangular with a point metal plate with "Made in Japan" stamped in. 

These metal cover B-90 pickups are great and the same as the ones on my solid body Burns. They are essentially a humbucker sized P-90 using slug magnets which is one of my favourite pickups. 

The hardware is all good quality with the generic late 60's Japanese Bigbsy style vibrato and archtop floating roller bridge on a wooden base. Electronics are standard 3 way toggle on the bottom horn with volume and tone controls for each pickup.  

 

Burns branded guitars ranged in price dramatically depending on specs with student model acoustics starting at about 4,000 JY and hollow body electrics in this AG range going up to around 30,000 JY which was actually quite dear at the time which may be why there aren't that many around? They also had a Gretsch Country Gent copy similar to the Honey AG-9 (also made by Teisco-Gen-Gakki) at the high end of the price list.

While these Japanese brands didn't last long after the electric guitar boom of the mid 60's they made some great looking and playing guitars in amongst their sometimes overwhelming catalogues. For years these were considered "cheap Japanese guitars" and ignored by many but the interesting thing about these 60's Japanese made guitars is because most brands struggled to make guitars at every price point from absolute beginner to high end player, sometimes people write off the higher end models as "cheap Japanese guitars" which means you can still get a bargain if you know what you're looking for, although that's becoming less frequent with online sellers greedy to lap up all they can, even on lower end models.