Thanks for visiting The Guitar Collection!
If you would like to leave a comment for the Guestbook contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I read the interview with you in Collectors Club from 2008 regarding your collection and would like to introduce myself. My name is Errol, and I’m a musician and guitar collector in the U.S.
I’m also contacting you because I’ve been searching for a Burns Mirage for quite a while and saw that you have one in your collection. I believe you had said in the interview that it was the most expensive guitar you had purchased.
I’m very interested in purchasing the Mirage from you, and even if you had not considered selling it, I would be pleased to make it worthwhile for you to consider.
I would greatly appreciate your emailing back to me. I have over 200 guitars in my collection – including a Burns Flyte and a Burns Artist – and would like to “talk guitars” with you.
Thank you for your message. You are absolutely right, I really don’t want to sell my Mirage and, in fact, I’m a collector and none of my guitars are for sale!
I’d be interested to know what guitars are in your collection and, I must admit, one of the guitars I’d still like to add to my collection is a Flyte although I wouldn’t of course trade my Mirage for one!
More information from Errol:
Hello Guy –
Thank you so much for getting back to me – greatly appreciated.
I completely understand your collecting philosophy. That being said, I’ve like purchased and sold over 500 guitars to end up with the 200 I have now, and even at this point my collection continues to evolve depending upon my evolving tastes, market values, and opportunities that may arise.
The other Burns guitars I own are a combination of original and reissues. I have the Flyte and an Artist prototype, then some reissues of the Bison, Red Special (including a gold prototype), an Aero, a Marquee and a Steer.
Look forward to hearing back from you soon!
A couple of examples from Errol’s collection:
Hello again –
I wanted to mention a few more guitars I own so that you will get an even better sense of why I would like so much to purchase your Mirage.
I’ve attached two photos of some of the oddest shaped guitars in existence, and which I believe may be unique, or close to unique examples. One is a Kay Solo King, which has been called both the Map of Ohio Guitar and The Ugliest Guitar Ever Made, and the other is a Berke, which was the very first aluminum neck guitar produced.
While beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, I’ve come to appreciate these guitars for their challenge to the accepted shapes of guitars that existed before and since. Hence, my love of Burns guitars as well!
Thanks for sending on the pictures of the Kay … I’ve actually bid for one on international ebay but didn’t win it! But the Berke is a new one to me and really interesting too … what a great shape.
Re; the Mirage. As I said, I really don’t want to sell it but, if I did, where would I get another and one in almost unplayed condition too? There were so very few of them made … I don’t know how many but surely no more than a dozen or two as the Burns Co. went out of business at the time.
Best wishes and please keep in contact and I’m always interested in seeing pictures of unusual guitars,
I noticed the purple plated guitar in the earlier post, and I think it may be a stripped Apache model. There has been a bit of confusion online about the various (admittedly similar) Hohner guitars that emerged during the early 60s.
With experience working on, or playing all of these (I own two genuine examples) Id like to shed a bit of light on the subject.
Starting with the Hohner Holborn…
This guitar was presumably made by G plan or an associated company. It featured a bolt on neck, Fenton Weill pick-ups, a fixed Telecaster style hardtail bridge and a mahogany body with a “maple” top. It had a see through pearloid scratchplate, with the “Holborn” legend engraved into it.
This guitar has no connection with Fenton Weill, apart from the pickups Fenton Weill also built similar designs for Hohner, releasing three models, using the same shape, although making considerable differences to each one.
Firstly, the “Apache”.
Solid mahogany construction, set neck and finished in an unusual beige nitro finish. Two Weill bar magnet pickups fitted onto a dark purple scratchplate. No mini scratchplate.
Typical Weill electrics and trem. Also open backed van ghent tuners.
Second in line was the “Zambezi”.
Solid mahogany construction, set neck and finished in a clear nitro finish. The finish showed off a “maple” top,(basically a very thin veneer) very much like the previously mentioned Holborn. Two bar magnet Weill pickups fitted onto a black scratchplate. The mini scratchplate was white with “Zambezi” engraved into it.
Typical Weill electrics and trem. Also open backed van ghent tuners.
The third and final guitar in this line was the luxurious “Amazon”.
The same type of body, however it was sculpted and sanded with a blended in heel-less neck. Finished in a clear nitro finish. Two powerful separate magnet Weill pickups fitted onto a red or sometimes black scratchplate. Mini scratchplate was either black or white (depending on main plate colour) with the “Amazon” legend engraved in.
Typical Weill electrics, trem and teardrop shaped van ghent tuners.
Obviously Fenton Weills vary a lot, and there have been the odd unbranded and unusual Fenton Weill branded anomalies crop up. The list above are the pretty much “official” designations for these particular guitars.
Piotr, the Weill lord!
Thank you for your email – I’d like to include it my guestbook, if that’s OK with you. Of course I’ll leave out your personal contact details.
Just a note to say the guitar recently added to your guestbook is a Hohner Apache, not an Amazon.
They are pretty similar, but the Apache has no contouring to the body, undrilled pickup covers and was originally offered in the unusual ‘beige with maroon plate’ colour scheme. Amazons as you know had the red plate, black engraved mini plate, plus heavily contoured bodies in a natural mahogany or sycamore finish.
The ‘Fenton Weill Amazon’ is not something that ever existed – this range (including the Zambesi which is essentially an Apache with a sycamore veneer on the top and bottom of the body) were only ever sold as Hohner here in the UK (although I’ve seen a Swedish advert that has them branded as FWs, but with different names … Tuxmaster maybe?).
While we are on the subject, my feeling is that the other Hohners made to this shape – the “Holborn” are NOT the work of Fenton Weill. I’ve owned an Apache, Amazon and Holborn in the past, and the Holborn has none of the signifiers of early Fenton Weill manufacture (set neck, little red switch), but is almost identical to several Vox models, which shared the beech with sycamore veneer with bolt on neck construction. Possibly made by g-plan?
Hand Of Glory Records
Thank you for your message and info. I’d like to post your email in full on my guestbook if that’s ok with you.
All the best,
RARE Fleishman Bassic 3 Octave Bass Guitar
Good morning and greetings from the U.S.,
I would like to interest you in a very rare, but used Fleishman Bassic guitar … Authenticity has been confirmed as I emailed Harry Fleishman himself as I researched this piece. He’s considered by many as the finest Luthierist of our time and is perhaps best-known for designing Dave Pomeroy’s bass “the beast”. This baby will be a wonderful addition to a collector’s repertoire; with it’s 3 octaves and 36 frets!
Thanks for sending on the picture. I’d like to add your message to my Guestbook as its such a rare and unusual instrument.
Fenton Weill Amazon or Hohner Apache???
About 5 years ago, I purchased what I think it an Amazon or Apache from a car boot sale for £20.
The guitar is pretty shot to bits, it plays however the wiring could be re-done, the person who owned it in the past, drilled the input jack into the base of the body rather than up front on the scratch plate and obviously the Fenton Weill labels and brand name have all but gone.
The scratch plate is purple?? Having seen the red variety online, I was wondering if this purple version was stock, it seems to look as though it came with the guitar.
I would love to get this guitar back to some sort of authenticity, despite the drilled input jack at the bottom of the guitar….. do you know where I can start??
Further information from Paul:
Please see to the right a picture of said guitar.
The thing that bugs me the most, is the fact the name section is missing, it’s mostly an annoyance as we don’t know which model this guitar is, but also, I bet its impossible to find one of those things.
The wiring is a bit ropey, and I think the pick-ups could do with some new soldering… it does play though.
Obviously it’d also need to be professionally set-up.
I do have two of the three original tone/volume switches, however replaced them with these three switches which were originally from my Vox bass.
I’ve picked up some true bargains living in Sussex, believe it or not, had more “beat” bands than Liverpool, sadly however the Bognor Beat didn’t seem to have the same ring to it as Mersey Beat and most of the bands didn’t really get anywhere with the exception of say five groups who actually managed to get a record deal, the truth is however there were hundreds of beat and instrumental groups in the south coast and thus, cool guitars used to be easy to find at car-boot sales and guitar shops which just wanted to get rid of the things, its probably much different now, however, I have a keen eye for old guitars and thankfully managed to get a few before people became aware in the mid 2000s.
I got a Hagstrom Futurama 2 in really good nick for £70, I love that guitar, I’d love to find a bass version however know I’d never get it for anywhere near £70.
I’ve managed to discuss your guitar at length with Paul Day who is, as you probably, know the recognised expert on UK built guitars.
Here are our conclusions:-
It is an Amazon 444 and dates from 1962 and it retailed then at £54, which was quite a lot of money at that time!
Do you think its been refinished? They were built in natural, by the way.
You could leave the jack socket where it is because it does look period. But the original jack socket was a mini jack socket which is why it was changed.
The scratchplate was, we now consider, a replacement and the original colour would have been either red with a black sub scratchplate or black with a cream mini. A new one could easily be made by Alan Exeley (see my links page).
The bass of the bridge seems correct but the top isn’t. Once again Alan could help with this and also with a correct knob to match the 2 original ones you have.
I hope this helps and please do let me know how you get on and also with any photos of the guitar completed. I’d also like to add part of your email and some pics to my Archive page but I will, of course, leave out your contact info.
Also Paul and I met Betty Weill a few years ago and she still lives in the same house the she and Henry Weill owned when they were building Fenton Weill guitars and, for that matter, Burns Weill. I’ve done a write up of our visit on my Archive page which you may find interesting.
All the best,
My latest creation!
Hi Guy, this is my latest creation, it’s great for slide, and has a lot going on. (The arty bits are from the first time Superman appeared in a comic!)
I am very happy with it, should make a nice present for someone.
Let me know what you think.
Thank you for sending me photos of your latest creation! It looks great and with more than a hint of Bo Diddley about it!
I’m sure it will be appreciated by someone as much as the wonderful guitar you very generously built for my Charlie Gracie Concert which sold for £400 with Charlie’s signature on it. And helped raise over £2,000 for the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust – which is entirely funded by donations!
Best wishes and please keep in touch. I’d also be like to see photographs of any others guitars you build.
Hello Mr McKenzie,
During one of many scourings of the web, looking for information about guitars which I used to own, or currently own, I came across your very interesting site. It did not actually supply me with the information about Kay guitars for which I was searching BUT, I spotted a picture of a very unusual guitar, and read the accompanying text.
The guitar in question was made by Dallas, back in the early 60s, and I recognised it instantly.
For your reference, the picture and text was dated 18th July 2012, and was supplied by John, and your reference number was 217. I recognised it because, if as you say it was a “One Of”, then I used to own it, and I have an old black and white photograph which was taken in 1964, (or maybe 1965), of me holding it, just before going on to play a gig in the NAAFI at RAF Ballykelly, in Northern Ireland.
I purchased it from Frank Hessy’s in Liverpool sometime in late 1961
The photo is in pretty fair condition considering how long ago it was taken, and the Rangemaster plate and Dallas logo can be seen clearly, as can the location of the tremolo arm.
The arm was very basic, being just a length of of chrome plated rod, threaded at one end,(don’t ask what the thread was, certainly not metric), with a black plastic cap on the other end. It was bent as shown in the photo. As far as I can recall it worked quite well and did not effect the tuning too much.
I somehow doubt that the guitar was a one of, but it is a possibility I suppose. I traded it in, part-ex, when I purchased a semi-acoustic Kay (Trutone, I think) in 1964 (or maybe early ’65) from a music shop in the Diamond in the centre of Londonderry. I often used to wish that I had not made the trade, as the Rangemaster was a much better guitar than the Kay, although the guy to whom I eventually sold the Kay, absolutely loved it. I have photo of that one somewhere too.
Anyway, if you or John are interested in this info, and would like to see the pic just get back to me as and when.
Thank you so much for your interesting email. And of course you are correct, yours was not a one off because someone else has written to me with a similar story to yours so there were at least three!
However it was an instrument that escaped my knowledge and, more significantly, the attention of the Guitar Guru…Paul Day! Of course we have no idea how many were built but most likely only a handful. Now if only a twin neck turn up (see my later post)….It was also interesting to hear your impression of the guitar and to know more about it too.
I’d really appreciate seeing any pictures you have including one of the Kay as I’d like to add them and your email to my guestbook.
With best wishes,
Many thanks for your speedy response,……. I just love guitars, I only wish I could play better!
The best shot I have of the Dallas Rangemaster is attached. As I said, in my earlier message, the photo was taken just prior to a gig, in 1964 (or maybe 65), in the NAAFI at RAF Ballykelly.
I have several shots of myself with the Kay guitar, but they are all at obscure angles and reveal little detail. Oddly enough, the best shot I have, was taken after I had sold it to a mate. The attached pic shows my musical mate, Malcolm, with the Kay, and that’s me with the daft hat and the 12 string Framus in the background. Happy days. The photo was taken during a performance on Gibraltar TV, sometime in 1967. Fame indeed.
As far as I can remember the guitar had a single pick up and just the two controls, one for tone and the other for volume. It was purchased, when I traded in the Dallas, in Londonderry in 64/5, but I never really enjoyed playing it when performing our rock group at RAF Ballykelly.
I took the Kay with me to RAF North Front in Gibraltar, where I formed a new group, but seldom used it, preferring to use a borrowed Hofner Verithin. In most of my old group snapshots, both at Ballykelly and Gibraltar, the Kay can be seen languishing in the background, just in case a back-up might be required. It eventually came into its own after I sold it some time in early ’66, at which time I purchased a Gretsch Corvette.
When our RAF Gibraltar based R&B combo packed up in late ’66, with the demise of 224 Squadron, I was asked to join this, sort of, cabaret, comic outfit, to which my mate Malcolm (and the much maligned Kay) belonged.
They played all sorts of stuff, performed sketches and told a lot of jokes, a bit like an early day Grumbleweeds. They even enjoyed the benefit of having a banjo player. I stuck with this outfit for about 12 months until my tour in Gibraltar finished in December 1967.
Just as a matter of continuity, I sold the Corvette when our Rock group folded, in ’66, and I purchased the Framus 12 string which was a bit of a bugger to play, and keep in tune. I eventually got rid of the Framus, back in the UK, in late ’68 and bought an EKO Rio Bravo 6, which I still possess. It now hangs on the wall in my study, being no longer very playable. I also own a Breedlove Atlas, and a Washburn Festival. I used to own a Gretsch 5120 Electromatic, but sold it recently as I could not get to like it, as pretty as it looked. I ended up buying a Fender Precision bass with the proceeds.
Sadly I have a “house-rule” which means if I want to buy another guitar, then one that I already own has to go.
The first guitar I owned was one that I built myself, and a bit of a joke it was too, but it worked, for a while. I then moved on to a Lucky Seven, made by Rosetti (?) I have snap of that somewhere, then the Dallas, the Kay, the Corvette, the Framus and the EKO. After that there was a bit of an hiatus, when I left the RAF, and guitars and groups faded into the background. I still had the odd twiddle down the years, and my old, and now very battered, EKO came in handy at many a social gathering.
In later life I took up the interest again with gusto and in the late ‘90s I purchased the Washburn, then the Breedlove and the Gretsch, and as I say, a couple of weeks ago the Fender Bass.
Such is life!
Feel Free to publish the photos and any text extracts from my e-mails on your site.
Just refer to me as Geoff, …………… although some know me as Monty Zoomer – https://www.youtube.com/user/BravosUK/videos
Post 217 – Dallas Rangemaster
I was very interested in the post number 217 from 2012 regarding a Dallas Range master guitar.
I also have one of these. I believe that it was bought for me in 1960 by my Grandmother. She died shortly afterwards so, whilst the guitar was superseded by better and more expensive instruments, I have kept it all these years until just before Christmas my Son secretly took it Nigel’s guitar workshop in North Yorkshire and Nigel made it playable. (One of the best presents I’ve had.)
My one is a bit more battered and used than the one in the earlier post having been constantly gigged for over three years. It’s base colour is the same cherry red as the other but mine fades to gold sparkle in the middle around the pickups. It is my understanding that it was bought brand new from a small music shop in Bruce Grove, Tottenham, North London.
When I have a little more time I’ll take and send you a photo along with the serial number on the back of the head and any other info I can find. Like you and the other owner I believed this to be unique. Clearly not and I am now even more interested to find out more.
Hope you find this interesting.
All the best,
I’ve now had two messages concerning these guitars and clearly several were built!
We’d really appreciate seeing some pictures of yours when you get time.
Possible Framus Archtop Guitar
I’ve just bought this old guitar at an auction here in Scotland as it interested me. But I have no idea where or when it was made or, for that matter, who made it. Can you help?
I sent on pictures of your “new” guitar to Paul Brett who is an expert on vintage acoustic guitars (and has a large collection too) that I know and here is his reply. It’s certainly an interesting guitar and, as I said, I’d have probably have bought it if I’d seen it.
All the best,
German made. I don’t think the globe logo was originally on the guitar. I’m not an arch top expert but my gut is with Framus. Voss also used similar tailpieces in the 50s. Can’t be exact but I think it’s pretty close. Paul
A couple of example archtops can be seen here:
Hand Made Guitars
I don’t usually build guitar out of toilet seats, millenium falcons and guitar boxes – I’m a real luthier who prides himself on crafting instruments from raw wood! However novelty guitars like this one are just that…novelty and fun to build too! And they don’t cost as much as my hand crafted guitars either!
You have built some amazing guitars and I’d like to add this picture to my Guestbook as I think visitors to my site will be interested in your creations!
All the best,