RLC-55 review by Burny

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (2 votes)
Burny: RLC-55

Price paid: £ 399

Purchased from: RST Music (Newark, UK)

Features — 9
For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the brand, Burny guitars are a Japanese company and are a subsidiary of Fernandes guitar whom specialize in Gibson replicas. Fernandes traditionally made Fender replicas before it branched out in the 1980s. As Fernandes guitars do not have their own factories they are dependent on smaller, independent guitar manufacturing companies. Previously they have been linked with the famous FujiGen plant (Ibanez) in their native Japan and Tokai. Today Burny guitars are made in Japan, Korea and China. For the interest of musicologists and gearheads amongst you; the Burny is played by a variety of famous musicians. These include; Hideto Matsumoto from X Japan, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Mike Clark of Suicidal Tendencies, Robert Fripp of King Crimson, Steve Hackett of Genesis, Andy Latimer of Camel and Duff McKagan with Loaded.

This great looking model was built at the Yako plant in Taiwan and is crafted in the image of a classic Gibson Les Paul Custom, only with a few differences. Features include classic Les Paul shape, mahogany body with maple top, set 22 fret mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard and block inlays. The guitar is equipped with Burny’s own FVH-2002 PAF style humbucker pickups, 2 volume knobs, 2 tone knobs, single-ply pickguard and a 3-way toggle switch. Tulip machine heads, Tune-O-Matic bridge and Stop Tailpiece. Gloss black finish with gold hardware.

Sound — 9
The guitar is equipped with Burny's own FVH-2002 Humbuckers and it does not disappoint, packing the right amount of punch you would expect from a Les Paul-style guitar. This guitar is perfectly suited for rock and metal- plugged straight into my Marshall MG100DFX with the overdrive/distortion turned on I was able to recreate that lovely classic rock sound. By adding an Ibanez TS9 TubeScreamer I was able to achieve a convincing, hard-hitting sound and accompanied by the Digitech Death Metal distortion pedal, the guitar was more than capable of a metal sound.

The only abnormality about my particular instrument is that the neck position humbucker has been installed backwards. This really is not an issue for me as it actually helps me achieve that lovely out-of-phase sound associated with Peter Green and later Gary Moore of whom I am a huge fan and regularly play their music.

The only criticism I have is that I am unable to use the middle switch position without getting the out-of-phase sound, so it does reduce tonal flexibility a little but generally I am really quite happy with this (I imagine) unintentional feature.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I have read a number of reviews online that regularly praise the quality of Burny guitars, and this instrument is no exception. The guitar came with a comfortable action and free of any fret buzz. The frets feel well finished allowing for smooth playability up and down the neck and I have not had any issues with choking during string bends. On purchase the guitar was a little dusty, the strings needed to be replaced and the gold hardware looked a little tarnished in the shop but a good clean and a fresh set of strings made all the difference - now the gold hardware shines beautifully! These things cannot be blamed on the manufacturer and is common when a guitar has been hung up on display. The only abnormality about my particular instrument is that the neck position humbucker had been installed backwards. As mentioned in the above section, this was not an issue and gives the guitar its own character.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Reliability plays a huge factor for me as I both teach and perform on a regular basis. The Burny may be lighter in regard to the weight of my Gibson Les Paul Classic/Studios but it is solid in construction and is likely to withstand the rigours of regular use. Any serious guitarist knows that you should always carry a back-up guitar when performing as one can never predict when a string is going to break, however having said that, I feel confident that I could rely on this guitar without the need for a back-up. The build quality is of a very high standard and it easily rivals the similarly priced Epiphone model. I have heard that the top-of-the-range, Japanese made Burny's are good enough to rival a Gibson original! I haven't used the guitar in a performance setting yet but have plans to take it with me the next time a performance opportunity reveals itself.

Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing the guitar for 20+ years in a variety of styles; Classical, Rock, Jazz, Blues, Metal and other contemporary formats and have been teaching the instrument for half of that. During that time I have experimented with a large number of different guitars and I have to confess that I was very impressed by the quality of the Burny. I will be honest, the Burny is NOT in the same league as my Gibson Les Pauls, but I never expected it to be! Instead I have based my scores in comparison with my old Epiphone Les Paul Custom (that I allowed a friend to talk me into selling to them when their Fender Strat gave up the ghost during the last rehearsal before a tour of Europe) and on the guitar's own merit!

The fact that the Burny is lighter than that of a regular Gibson Les Paul makes it a perfect low-budget guitar for teaching or rehearsals, especially when travelling via motorcycle. My only criticism of the guitar's design is the lack of the diamond-shaped inlay on the headstock, which has been replaced by an original inlay of Burny's own design. I appreciate that this is due to avoid legal-based issues with Gibson and this is purely a personal preference. If you must have the diamond-shaped inlay then I would recommend looking at the Epiphone model instead.

If the guitar was either lost or stolen then I would definitely consider looking for another one as I must confess that the Burny is quickly becoming something of a personal favourite! For someone looking for a Les Paul style guitar on a budget, the Burny would make the perfect alternative to the Epiphone for those wanting a little more individuality. I would also recommend Edwards guitars, another Japanese company making quality Gibson replicas and a subsidiary of ESP, however unless you are willing to pay for one to be imported, Burny guitars are much more accessible in the UK. My overall impression... the Burny is a fantastic instrument and I would highly recommend it!

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