I’ve had a few electric customs built, but never an acoustic guitar. I commissioned Jim to build two guitars, an OM and an OO. I had lots of say about what all I wanted in the sound, neck size, bla bla bla . .Long story even shorter . . OMG!!
Both of these guitars speak, sing and even scream controllably. The sound is so much better than any other acoustics I’ve ever owned or played. The weight is unbelilevably light and its resonance and responsiveness is only what I've dreamt of. The attention to detail is something else; the quality of the build, finish, inlay, setup & action . . . amazing, not to mention the Feiten Tuning System - it’s in tune ANYWHERE on the neck!
I’m an electric (Telecaster) guy but have played plenty of acoustic guitars on recordings most of my life, having played some of the best brands known to man, the better ones owned by rich and famous folks that I’ve been lucky enough to record with, but these two guitars beat them all.
Jim is a great person and a gifted builder, but I believe I am the lucky one. The OO belongs to my beautiful bride Kathleen, and she is still speechless.
Thank you Jim!
Redd Volkaert, Austin, TX wannabe guitar player.
"Redd's doing pretty good for a 'wannabe guitar player' if you'll notice his Grammy sitting on the shelf behind him." ---- Jim
My J. Burton guitar, it has a strong, mid to high end sound. Sustain - on and on and on. Jim installed a K&K Sound pickup system. The look...just look at the pics. I forget how many coats a lacquer he puts on. I just grab it, put it under a light and “wow” the crowd. The wood and the craftsmanship...just beautiful! Playability- easiest playing acoustic guitar I’ve ever had. Certainly easier than my Martin, or any Martin I’ve played for that matter…which brings me back, finally, to intonation. To my ear the intonation is flawless. A few weeks ago I clamped a tuner on the headstock and played a bunch of random, single notes, all above the twelfth fret, and scattered over all six strings. EVERY note was right on pitch. After about twenty five or so I got bored and quit.
Greg Thelen, Austin, TX
"Looks great, plays easily, sounds big and wonderful. Built precisely to spec, pretty much flawless. If the house were burning, I'd grab it first before getting out. Comparable to custom instruments that cost much more. (been playing 50 years this year.)
Rusty Todd, Austin, TX
In a nutshell, Jimmy Burton has built the finest steel string guitar that I could have ever hoped to own........It is a unique experience being able to specify down to the millimeter critical dimensions such as string spacing and fret board width based on my hand size and playing style; this has resulted in a product that is a perfect fit for me.........I got to watch pieces of wood I had selected magically assemble, picture by picture on the website into a beautiful instrument via periodic “Construction Photos” that he would post.......As completion neared, I eagerly awaited the delivery of my new baby. I opened the case and found the guitar had arrived unharmed by the shipping process and even more visually stunning than the photos had portrayed. I tuned up and begin to get acquainted. I even put it to a blind fold listening test with my wife, who has a very discerning and knowledgeable musical ear, comparing it with a Martin guitar I had been playing. She chose the tone of the J. Burton guitar every time.
Rick Connell, Shrewsbury, MA
"Easily the most unique/ best sounding acoustic I have had the pleasure of playing. The personalized specifications and aesthetics make the guitar your own. When I went to Jim asking if he could put a stingray barb from a stingray I had caught in Galveston in the guitar somewhere, he said let's put it in the peg head! What a crazy but great idea. It looks fantastic! The superior knowledge and guidance Jim gives is on another level. Thank you Jimmy!"
Jake Castellano, San Antonio, TX
"My guitar plays like 'buttah', has tone to the bone, and is so beautiful it can bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for the wonderful instrument, and the fun and pleasure I had in following its design and construction."
Joe Dickie, Austin, TX
" ........Now that I have it in the same room where I play other guitars I can make individious comparisons: the volume of this one really stands out, the bass/mid/treble balance seems ideal, and best of all the richness of the tone is just amazing- the sound comes to life like no other guitar I've played.
The fact that it's also an EASY guitar to play seems to violate some law of guitar genetics, but I'll take it."
Scott Mitchell, San Antonio, TX
This is the guitar that changed my life. Before I had played any of Jim’s, a guitar was a guitar was a guitar, primarily a useful instrument for accompanying a singer. Some were more comfortable or easier to play than others, some louder, some softer, but they all sounded pretty much the same. I never knew a guitar could ring like a piano.
The first time I played one of Jim’s guitars I was hooked. All exquisitely crafted and easy to play with beautifully balanced tone, rich with complex harmonics and a “live” back you feel when you’re playing. For months I was haunted by the sound. When my wife told me that for my 60th birthday I was getting one of his guitars, I was blown away.
In April we picked out the woods. Port Orford cedar for the top, Khaya for the neck, back and sides. An Indian Rosewood fingerboard and an ebony bridge. I had a piece of highly figured cocobolo I’d been hoarding for 20 years that Jim used for the soundhole rosette and peghead, tailpiece and heel cap accents. He upgraded me from tortoise shell to cocobolo bindings with white and black purflings. Over the next months, Jim would post construction photos on his website and give me mini-lessons in audio physics as I watched that stack of wood turn into this amazing instrument.
I picked her up in November, the day before Thanksgiving. The first thing I noticed was the meticulous craftsmanship, from the mitered purflings to the mother of pearl fret markers inlaid in the border of the fingerboard and the characteristic BURTON sound. Robust resonant bass, a beautiful sweet midrange and ringing high notes with loads of chiming harmonics. Reminds me of a big juicy cabernet. Friends who play it are amazed that a guitar this size can have such a big bass sound and be so balanced overall. It’s a great guitar for fingerpicking.
I’ve named her Dulcinea after Don Quixote’s muse. She inspires me in my windmill-tilting quest of becoming a musician worthy of such an instrument. Since I got her, I’ve been learning to read music and correlating that to the guitar fingerboard and am struggling to make sense of the circle of fifths, chord formation and guitar theory and practicing. All I want to do is wrap myself around this guitar and let that music go right through me. Not enough hours in the day. Everytime I hang her back on the wall I just think “How…amazing!”
Russell Smith, Smithville, TX
After playing my BURTON, OM guitar,Dulci,for about a year I became obsessed
with the idea of having Jim build me a guitar for playing blues. In
order to justify spending the money, I needed it to be a guitar that
sounded very different from the OM. When Jim showed me the Adirondack
spruce and bookmatched ebony he had just acquired I knew those were
the woods for my next guitar. Then we had to figure out the shape. I
really liked the shapes of Robert Johnson's Gibson L1, but it was
small, just a 12-fret, and the Gibson J200, but I didn't want a
jumbo-sized guitar, either. What I really liked was the big round
lower bouts of those guitars. When Jim showed me the ELLA shape I
thought it was the most elegant guitar shape I'd ever seen. Still, I
knew he was skeptical about how it would sound, and I was, frankly, a
little surprised when he said he'd be willing to take it on. He had to
build all new bending forms for the sides and had to figure out all
the engineering nuances involved with soundhole location, fingerboard
length, bridge placement and bracing pattern. What he came up with is
a 14-fret guitar the same overall length as the OM with a slightly
higher waist and soundhole putting the bridge closer to the center of
the lower bout. The fingerboard has one less fret than the OM between
the neck join and soundhole.
Before I describe the sound I have to give some background info. Jim
always likes to build two guitars at the same time so while the glue
is drying on one he can be working on the other. While he was making
my ELLA he also made one for himself. Mine is Adirondack spruce and
ebony with a Port Orford cedar neck and a bloodwood strip that runs
the length of the guitar. His is Sitka spruce with khaya back,sides
and neck. Both guitars share those characteristic BURTON qualities of
easy play, beautifully balanced tones from the low to high ends and
In my first testimonial I compared the sound of my OM to the flavor of
a big juicy Cabernet wine. The notes from both of these ELLA guitars,
though full of harmonics, seem somehow cleaner, crisper, more direct
than the OM. So to continue the analogy I would compare the sound of
Jim's ELLA to an excellent unoaked Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. You
can really taste the grape and it's delicious!
My ELLA hits you like Rye Whiskey on ice. The bass and mid-range are
so quick, almost aggressive. The high end can be sweet, but it can
wail. When you strum it everything works together like a great gospel
choir projecting strength and grace. Even when you strum muted strings
it has a fine resonant tone and sustain. Sometimes when I'm playing a
strong rhythm it almost sounds like a 12 string there's so much good
sound. It's great for both rhythm and lead, a really versatile guitar.
All-in-all I'd have to say that Jim engineered this guitar to be
exactly what I was looking for. I'm more impressed with it every time
I play it.
Russell Smith, Smithville, TX
I am absolutely in love with my new Burton Guitar. Having come from playing and performing with other great brands of guitars (Takamine and Martin), nothing compares to the comfortability and timbre of my Burton guitar. I have been performing around Austin with the Burton guitar for 6+ months now and it is such a joy to play. It is obvious that Jimmy Burton knows his craft and is talented at what he does. He puts a great amount of care, expertise and love into crafting amazing guitars that not only look amazing but sound the part. Since I was able to select the size, shape, woods, and all features to this guitar, it is difficult to put the instrument down. My family loves Burton guitars (we have a total of four guitars in the family). Each guitar is unique and beautiful in sound and look. I highly recommend Burton guitars to any musician who appreciates beautifully crafted acoustic guitars!
Erin Thelen, Austin, TX
Jim is a skilled craftsman who is passionate about building guitars. All of his guitars are beautiful with a great sound and mine is no exception - it's gorgeous, easy to play and has a wonderful tone! I only have about a year's experience playing guitar but I'm so glad I got this one rather than something 'off the shelf'. I am confident that it will take me as far as I want to go in refining my skills.
Beth Alley, Elgin, TX
" Two days before my J Burton guitar arrived, I was in a local guitar shop and I played a couple custom shop Gibson/Martin guitars. They sounded fine- until Jim's guitar arrived, and I played it. How can a guitar sound twice as good, at half the price? I could go on and on about the attention to detail, and excellent customer service, but what matters is the sound. It's incredible. You owe it to yourself to buy a guitar from this fine craftsman."
Vic Richard, Minneapolis, Minnesota