Jim Burns's first commercial foray into electric guitar making came in 1958 when he designed and built the Ike Isaacs Short Scale Model for the Supersound Company. His Burns London name and company changed hands several times during the course of the '60s and '70s, all the while retaining the Burns London moniker. The period and name most fondly remembered is, of course, the original Burns London Ltd, established in 1960. The timing of the establishment of Burns London was perfect, with the British guitar market experiencing a huge boom, in part thanks to the popularity of British pop bands like the Beatles, and again thanks to the high tariffs on US-made goods. Even Ampeg, a relatively well-known brand, bought the license to manufacture guitars under the Burns moniker, most probably for the US market, though these were not a commercial success.
No more Burns guitars appeared on the market until 1992, when the company was restarted by Barry Gibson who employed Jim Burns as a consultant in the company. The original idea was to manufacture handmade replicas of famous Burns guitars from previous incarnations, such as the Marvin and the Nu-Sonic. The company enjoyed serious critical acclaim from many corners of the market, and manufactured many guitars for individuals, including Steve Howe of Yes and Gaz Coombes of Supergrass. later on, in 1999, the company began work on a budget line called the Club range, outsourcing production to Korea.
The Club range became the first Burns guitars ever to be manufactured outside of Britain, but the original Burns design ethics, construction and style didn't suffer as a result, with the range exploding in popularity throughout the following years. The Club range expanded quickly, with nearly every Jim Burns-designed guitar ever constructed from 1960 to 1983 receiving its own budget model, such as the Marquee, the Steer (most famously played by Billy Bragg, the London Steer being a copy of a Steer guitar built and given to Billy by Jim Burns many years ago), the Bison and even the Barracuda six-string bass/baritone model. Newer designs have begun to emerge in the last few years, usually building upon the designs of the '60s originals, such as the Batwing, a Marquee with a Bison-style headstock. Burns also worked with Queen guitarist Brian May to produced a copy of May's famous Red Special guitar.
Brian May Signature / Red Special
GB 66 Deluxe
GB 66 Deluxe Standard
Jazz Split Sound