When was and who made the very first commercially available sunburst finish?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by rze99, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,271
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    South London UK
    I’m no guitar historian. I wonder who did it and when?

    I’ll kick us of with a quick suggestion based on not much research at all and a light flick through a couple of books over a glass or three of nice red wine.

    My starter for ten for the earliest available to buy ‘burst is a Gibson Lloyd Loar L4 or L5 from about 1923.

    What say you.
    26552AB2-A5BF-49D1-8FF7-64FF37841337.jpeg
    Pic L5 from ‘23
     
    RodeoTex likes this.
  2. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    50,403
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC, Canuckistan
    I'm no historian, but you should check early Washburns, like the Lakeside Jumbo.
     
  3. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    2,737
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Location:
    Wales
    Do violins count... cos we may have to go back before photography!
     
  4. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,517
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    stradivarius? Maybe not, they might just be patina making some reverse burst. I think Burst was the "go-to" finish way back though on stringed instruments.
     
    RodeoTex likes this.
  5. Apache Snow

    Apache Snow TDPRI Member

    Age:
    75
    Posts:
    75
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2019
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    I wonder who made the first electric with a sunburst finish.
     
  6. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,842
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Location:
    Nueces Strip
    I really always loved those old Gibsons that had the dark burst so large that it only left a little pear shape of amber in the middle.
    I have no idea who did a burst first, sorry.
     
  7. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    50,403
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC, Canuckistan
    There's an old guitar smell and I can just look at pics of those old bursts and have that smell in my head.
     
  8. suave eddie

    suave eddie Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,330
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Location:
    Great White North
    Beat me to it. I was gonna mention old violins and cellos.
     
  9. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    50,403
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC, Canuckistan
    I assume the OP meant on a guitar.
     
  10. dented

    dented Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,736
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Location:
    I-10 East onramp
    Beats me. I have a dark burst Kay parlor acoustic from the 30s somewhere around here.
     
  11. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    19,652
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    I know Larry Stradivari and he maintains that it was play wear and rubbing on the original dark finish of fiddles causing lighter spot(s) toward the center.

    He’s usually pretty smart/reliable/mildly baked so...
     
    Seasicksailor and rze99 like this.
  12. PlainAllman

    PlainAllman Tele-Holic

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    663
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Location:
    Van Zandt Co, Texas
    Found this on Reverb. Its says 1921 Gibson L-3.
    B7DB53C4-7600-42D9-946A-5378E1D34123.jpeg
     
    rze99 and Obsessed like this.
  13. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    19,652
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    Oh - purposely done, production instruments ?

    No idea.
     
  14. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    21,638
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Location:
    Montana
    Slingerland May Belle. 1920s to 1930s looks like a good candidate. I few of these on Reverb, but overall it looks like it happened on quite a few different brands in the early 30s. IMG_4113.JPG
     
    rze99 likes this.
  15. Luthi3rz

    Luthi3rz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    241
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2018
    Location:
    AZ
    I read that the reason they did the burst finish was
    1. To mimic old Violins patina
    2. Cover up wood with ugly looking grain.

    History
    https://chasingguitars.com/gibson-history/

    Vintage Brands and Manufacturers
    http://www.oldfrets.com/Brands.html

    It's looking like it became popular in the 1910's -1920's on mandolins and then on archtops.

    1918 Gibson Style O Acoustic Archtop has a burst finish.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
    rze99 likes this.
  16. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,577
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2014
    Location:
    Albany NY
    My '49 Gibson has that smell! None of my others do. I've had a cedar-top Guild classical since '74 that still smells sweet. Nice, but not the vintage-acoustic smell.

    IMG_20170516_125450.jpg
     
    rze99 and EllroyJames like this.
  17. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,271
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    South London UK
    OP here. Top marks. I couldn’t see anything before 1923. Nice one. And what a truly beautiful instrument.
     
    Luthi3rz likes this.
  18. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    19,652
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    late 40’s/early 50’s LG-2’s are soooo great. They are desert island acoustics. That one is beautiful.
     
    rze99 likes this.
  19. POS Guitars

    POS Guitars Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    148
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    05/28/1958 - the first cherry burst Les Paul left Gibson factory. Were there other manufacturers doing burst on electrics though?
     
  20. Luthi3rz

    Luthi3rz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    241
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2018
    Location:
    AZ
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.