Rare guitar found in Bognor Regis

The Burns Black Bison guitar when it was bought by Harry Ellis
The Burns Black Bison guitar when it was bought by Harry Ellis

A music fan is seeking information about the history of a rare guitar found in Bognor Regis.

Collector Harry Ellis bought the remains of the distinctive 1961 Burns Black Bison on the internet four years ago.

He said: “The seller was unable to give me much information other than to tell me the guitar had been the plaything of children on a local housing estate before being thrown away and subsequently recovered from a refuse tip in Bognor.

“It was then stored in an attic with the broken neck before the mutilated remains were sold to me without the neck.”

Mr Ellis said only 49 of the Burns Black Bison were made in the USA. Though a fine instrument, it had a limited commercial success because it was hand-made and so expensive.

It cost 157 guineas, or £164.85, to make it out of reach of most individuals 60 years ago.

American guitars were also a rarity because import restrictions on them had only just been lifted.

“As a consequence, it is likely any guitar would have been purchased by a professional musician, or a very keen amateur with a deep pocket, and so it is possible it could have an interesting history,” said Mr Ellis, 65, of South West London.

He has restored the guitar with the help of fellow enthusiasts. His efforts to find out more about the instrument led him to buy Mike Read’s book, The South Coast Beat Scene of the 1960s.

Anyone with information should email Mr Ellis on harry@hjellis.plus.com