Burns guitar


1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom owned by John Burns and played on John Prine's Bruised Orange

Here are the contents of the letter that John Burns included in the recent sale of his guitar:

"This is a 1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom I am offering for sale. It was given to me by my father, Jethro Burns after my 67 Telecaster was stolen from a gig. He mentioned the incident to my uncle Chet Atkins who at the time was recording the 'Chester & Lester' album with Les Paul. After hearing the story, Chet and Les had this guitar pulled from production and delivered to me. (Hence the lack of serial numbers.)

I was asked to play guitar of John Prine's Bruised Orange album and replaced the tuners the night before. They worked out so well I never went back and filled the old holes. This guitar is also featured on Prine's 'Pink Cadillac' and 'Storm Windows.' It was also one of the three guitars I played in our Carnegie Hall concert in October of 81. The glow-in-the-dark star of the 'I' on the headstock was my point of reference when the stage was blacked out.

This is not a show guitar, I put many miles on it touring from 1977 through 1985. It has some scratches and dings and I can't remember what happened to the pick guard, but it is a really good playing Les Paul and if I were still invested in Gibson products I would hang onto it."  -John Burns


It's a sentimental present all the way from Saigon"  ~ John Prine & John Burns


Here is the technical information from John's guitar (then) tech, Bill Richardson:

There is no serial number or "Made in USA" stamp which corroborates John's information on the guitar being pulled straight out of the production line. Volume and tone controls are date coded to the 47th week of 1976 and are completely original. All hardware on the guitar is stock in chrome (not the more common gold hardware), except for the tuners (which are Grover upgrades - USA-made rotomatics).

The frets are the more desirable larger Gibson factory frets and still have years of playing left on them. The truss rod and electronics are all in excellent working order. John installed his own brass nut back in the '70s. It has Schaler strap locks. There are no breaks or major repairs. The included case is from the late '80s and early '90s and is much more roadworthy than the old cases. The guitar weighs about 9.5 lbs. The three-piece neck has a highly flamed maple that doesn't really translate in the pictures, but it's quite nice.


"Oh yes it's true It's happening to you"  ~ John Prine & John Burns


John Burns sold this guitar to a NY collector late April 18, 2006 to an avid collector who remains anonymous..