“Various factors all came together in 1959 to produce what I, and many others, consider to be the ultimate electric guitar, the 1959 Burst. I have spent 38 years studying genuine 1950’s Bursts and reproducing their sound. I have found that there are five main factors responsible for creating the 1959 Burst sound”


“The Honduras mahogany used in the 1950’s to build guitars was cut from trees that were hundreds of years old. This wood is often referred to as ‘old growth’. It is a very excellent carving wood. Due to its popularity with furniture makers, boat builders and guitar makers, it is now gone. Used up. The mahogany available now is grown on plantations. For whatever reasons it is very different from old growth mahogany. It might as well be considered a completely different type of wood. I have experimented with it and found it to be very unsatisfactory for reproducing a true 59 Burst tone compared to ‘old growth’ Honduras mahogany”

“Since about 80% of the wood used to build a Burst is Honduras mahogany, this is obviously the most important wood contributing to the tone. I used only old growth Honduras mahogany from the 1950’s just like the 1950’s Bursts were built from. I used old growth Brazilian rosewood for my fretboards and Eastern hard maple for the tops”


“There are four basic pieces of wood that make a Burst style guitar. The fretboard, the neck, the body and the maple top. Obviously then there are three basic glue joints between the nut and bridge. One is between the fretboard and the neck, another between the neck and body and the third is between the body and the maple top. In order to produce good tone these four pieces must resonate as one”

“For hundreds of years musical instrument builders used ‘hide glue’ to build guitars. Hide glue was still used in the 1950’s. This type of glue soaks into the wood and hardens to a glass like consistency. It leaves a minimal film between the two surfaces being joined. Since it dries to a glass like consistency it resonates with the vibrations in the guitar”

‘If you hold up a piece of glass and tap it lightly with a hard object it will ring. If you do the same with a sheet of plastic, the plastic will not ring, instead it absorbs the vibrations. The same principle is in effect with hide glue, brittle and glasslike, versus modern glues that are not”

“Modern glues do not penetrate the wood as well as hide glue. They leave a film between each piece of wood. Thus the four basic pieces of the guitar are insulated from each other. The vibrations traveling through the guitar between the nut and the bridge are muffled at all three glue joints. Modern glues kill the tone of the guitar. I used hide glue in the construction of these guitars”


“In the 1950’s guitar manufacturers used nitrocellulose lacquer. This lacquer dries very hard and brittle. It becomes a resonant part of the guitar. Unfortunately it also chips and cracks more easily; therefore modern manufacturers don’t use it”

“Modern lacquers use plasticizers that keep the finish soft and flexible. The same principle of the resonance of glass versus plastic applies here. It would be the same as wrapping large rubber bands around an acoustic guitar. The rubber bands would absorb the vibrations of the guitar and deaden the sound. I used old style nitrocellulose lacquer (without plasticizers) on these guitars”


“During my 30 years experience repairing and restoring musical instruments, I had the opportunity to closely inspect many vintage guitars. Gibson, Fender, Martin, Rickenbacker, Gretsch, etc. Many were damaged beyond repair and consequently I was able to completely dismantle them and blueprint them. It is from this valuable resource of data that I am able to build guitars today”

“All specifications, dimensions, materials and construction procedures that contribute to the sound of an original 1950’s Burst are exactly duplicated in my guitars. Headstock angle, neck angle, scale length, neck profile, cavity sizes, etc., are all identical to an original 1950’s Burst”


“The original 1950’s PAF pickup is definitely a very important factor in creating the ‘59 Burst tone. These can still be acquired from vintage parts dealers and are highly recommended. Presently I am using Lindy Fralins as I have found them to be very satisfactory compared to my reference set of original 1959 Double White PAFs that I have had since 1974”


“A true ’59 Burst tone can only be acquired in one of the following ways. Buy an original 1950’s Burst for $200,000 – $300,000, buy a ‘57 or ‘58 PAF Goldtop for $100,000 – $200,000, buy a 1950’s Goldtop Conversion or buy one of my guitars”

“I think these guitars come the closest to reproducing a true ’59 Burst sound than any other”. – MAX BARANET