Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 10:41 UK

Rare guitars found after 50 years

Collection of Supersound guitars
The guitars were made during 1958-9 by Jim Burns and Alan Wootton

A collection of rare British-made electric guitars has been discovered in the basement of a house in Cheltenham.

The Supersound instruments came out of a brief partnership between Jim Burns and Alan Wootton during 1958 and 1959.

Guy Mackenzie from West Cornwall, who bought the guitars, described them as "the holy grail" of his collection.

"I don't actually play," he said "but I just love them in the same way that people collect old paintings even though they can't paint."

Mr Mackenzie heard about the find from a friend who knew he collected "weird and unusual" guitars.

"As soon as I tracked down these ultra-rare instruments - apparently some of the very first made by UK legend Jim Burns - I just had to meet the owner," he said.

They comprise an important, but hitherto virtually unknown chapter in UK guitar-making history
Guitar expert Paul Day

"I discovered he'd bought them from Alan Wootton's son several years ago and had kept them virtually untouched ever since."

Jim Burns' guitars have been played by pop groups and stars including The Shadows, The Searchers, Slade and Queen's Brian May.

"Musicians who play them now include Andy Bell of Oasis, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and The Kooks," said Mr Mackenzie.

Paul Day, guitar expert and author of "The Burns Book" on Jim Burns and his guitars said: "In nearly 50 years of playing, working on and writing about the electric guitar, this is the first time I have actually seen one Supersound instrument, let alone 12.

"These are among the earliest electric guitars and basses from any British builder and therefore comprise an important, but hitherto virtually unknown chapter in UK guitar-making history."



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