Almost every book on the topic of guitars deals with American guitars. Of course, there is a reason for this. The Americans have the right attitude to electric guitars, and their designs were often a guitarist’s dream during the 60s.
There is, however, also an exciting European guitar and bass tradition. English manifacturers like Burns, Vox, Wilson, Watkins, Shergold, Fenton-Weill and Hayman; German manifacturers like Höfner, Framus, Hoyer, Hopf and Dynacord; Swedish ones like Hagström, Levin and Bjärton; Italian like EKO, Wandre and Davoli; and even a whole array of odd manifacturers from other European countries who have left their mark in guitar history. Several of these have achieved recognition first and foremost on a local level, whereas others have had their products exported all over the world.
The manifacturer which holds the greatest fascination for me is Burns, with its combination of innovation, design, quality and playability. Burns made the finest electic guitars ever produced in England — and, in the 1960s, probably in all of Europe. Moreover, their production spans six decades, from the 1950s to 2010.
Burns philosophy is ‘mass-produced one-offs’, with high standards of craftsmanship and quality. Some of these guitars are wonderful to play, whereas on others, the design is more important. In several cases, Burns was also the true source of origin for innovations later claimed by other producers as their own.
“Pearls and Crazy Diamonds” contains contributions by Les Andrews, Cees Bakker, Eddie Cross, Paul Day, Mark Davies, Barry Gibson, Norman Houlder, Dag Johnsen, Stanley W Kreuger, Steve Kreuger, Alfons Lahaye and Bob Pearson.
Published 1/1 2002, in a limited exclusive hardback edition.
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