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anybody know where burst came from?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dunamis, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    Maybe a strange question, but I've always wondered where the burst finish idea originated and why. Perhaps to hide some imperfection in the edges of an otherwise perfect body? I've always suspected that's how bodies get selected for burst.

    Anybody know the story?
  2. SoLongJake

    SoLongJake Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2007
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Its great for hiding those nasty plywood edges on cheap imports. hehe
  3. It dates back to at least the 1930's on acoustic instruments, and I suspect that it dates back much, much earlier than that on orchestral instruments. If I were to guess, I'd think it was inspired a couple hundred years ago by the wood staining and wear characteristics that appear on instruments as they age. If they're well cared-for, the edges may get darker from handling and the accumulation of oil from the owner's hands. A 'burst would be a way to interpret that look and make the instrument more attractive. Of course, now it's done purposely in various colors.
  4. Widdershins


    Aug 28, 2007

    I had always assumed it was to simulate the wear on arched toped stringed instruments (high parts light, low parts dark).
    Kind of a stylized "insta-relic" inspired look for its time I guess.:meh:

    I'd like to know more too.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Long Live Greenburst !!!!!!!! :bassist::bassist::bassist::bassist:
  6. id just like to give you credit for gassing the hell out of me with your greenburst babies...
  7. very interesting!!
  8. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I assumed it was to make a body look more "arched" and less flat from the front.
  9. EddieG


    Jan 19, 2005
    I thought Jaco invented it?:bag:
  10. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    The original sunburst was called "Cremona" finish. It was supposed to imitate the violins made in Cremona (Stradivarius, Amati, Guariani). The varnish, often tinted, would build up around the purfling so the top looked as though it had a lighter top and darker edges. The effect became more pronounced over the years, no doubt due to exposure to sunlight and other wear.

    When Gibson started producing Orville Gibson's archtops, they adopted the "Cremona" sunburst instead of the solid finishes (often black) Orville himself used. Probably it was easier to get a consistent appearance (using the varnish of the day) than would be the case for black, which is easily contaminated.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Nah..now if you had said :

  12. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Wow. Nice info. ;)

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