Guitarist - - Feature -

“The more I find out, the less I know,” Johnny Nash once sung. At times, try­ing to pin down the essence of that much-ad­mired gui­tar, the ’Burst, we were re­minded of that line. From the per­for­mance of the pick­ups to the weight to the thick­ness of the maple top, orig­i­nal ex­am­ples vary so much that one might rea­son­ably ask: is there re­ally such a thing as a quin­tes­sen­tial ’Burst? Well, first, the vari­abil­ity you find among ’Bursts is a prod­uct of the fact that they were, to a fair de­gree, hand-made. This alone makes the best of them even more spe­cial and also lends the wall-hang­ers that never sounded good a cer­tain dig­nity. So if you value per­son­al­ity in an in­stru­ment but can’t af­ford a ’Burst, con­sider hav­ing a good luthier build you a gui­tar – for some of the soul we as­so­ciate with ’Bursts de­rives from their essen­tial in­di­vid­u­al­ity and the hu­man touch that formed them. Se­condly, it was not rar­ity that made ’Bursts sought af­ter – but sound. That raw bite com­bined with a cer­tain sweet, vo­cal qual­ity is why ’Bursts came into their own in the era when gui­tarists wanted to push their amps into over­drive warmly and nat­u­rally. We still do. Yet ’Bursts don’t have a patent on that. The bet­ter reis­sues get very close – and in­creas­ingly you can find highly evolved takes on that maple/ ma­hogany singlecut her­itage by other mak­ers – just turn the page to ex­plore where the ’Burst tra­di­tion has taken us in the present day…

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