Sunday, 23 October 2011

Burke, USA-made, aluminium-necked electric guitar, design patented in 1961
Apologies for the sub-standard photo, but this was the only one that showed the entire length of the guitar in question face on.

The eBay seller claims that this 1960s Burke electric guitar in metallic burgundy finish was the very first electric guitar to feature an aluminium neck and was thus the forerunner to Wandre, Veleno, Travis Bean, et al. Apparently Glen F. Burke patented the design in 1961. Whether the patent was for the concept of an aluminium neck or if it was for the entire design of the guitar, we are not told; I suspect the latter.

The aluminium neck runs all the way through the body to the end strap button, so it's actually an aluminium neck and centre block with pickups and bridge sitting upon it. The fingerboard is rosewood and the body itself is maple and is hollow, no doubt contributing to the instruments allged "acoustic tone". The body shape is most peculiar, looking as if a symmertical design had been sawn down the middle and one half flipped over. (In fact, I am reminded of this).

The pickguard is odd in that it has no screws mounting it to the body, but instead is kept in place by the pots for the controls, which are comprised of a volume and tone for each pickup, and a 3-way pickup selector.

This guitar is currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $10,000.

Thanks to Jeffrey Jones and to Dirk Lubbe who both emailed me about this guitar.

G L Wilson

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