The Supersound Story
by Trevor Midgley and The Guitar Collection

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Ike Isaacs Short Scale Model (1958)

This is the only known photograph of the “Ike Isaacs Short Scale guitar”, with electrics built by Alan Wootton. This was intended to be the first commercially-available British-built electric guitar, however it now appears that only one body was finished as a Supersound as, by the date the advertisement appeared in Melody Maker, both Jim Burns and Ike Isaacs had parted company with Supersound.

The scale-length was probably twenty-three inches. Although I haven't been able to check one of these guitars myself, Alan Wootton used the short twenty-three inch scale on a later Supersound model.

Ike Isaacs (1919-1996) was a well-known jazz and session player in the UK in the 1950s and ’60s. Between 1975 and 1977, he toured with the Stephane Grappelli Quartet, and in 1987 moved to Sydney, Australia, where he taught at the Australian Institute of Guitar.

So far as I have been able to establish, though he lent his name to the Supersound instrument, Ike Isaacs never actually used the guitar in his work, preferring the more traditional jazz-style hollow-bodied instruments.

The proof copy at the foot of this page is for the advert which appeared in Melody Maker in December 1958 indicating the promise of a “Standard scale and Bass Guitar available shortly”.

However, in a recorded interview many years later with guitar journalist Paul Day, Jim Burns confirmed that he had built around 20 Supersound Ike isaacs guitar bodies. Following his departure from the Supersound Company, Jim Burns, initially completed them himself using Besson Electrone pick-ups (see Burns short scale Deluxe 1958 information at The Guitar Collection). But, after the commencement of his partnership with Henry Weill in February 1959, the remainder were completed using Henry Weill's pick-ups and were the first guitars marketed under the Burns Weill brandname. Colin Green was an early user of one of these (Burns) instruments as was Alan Klein (see the archive at The Guitar Collection). And a Burns Weill unrestored example forms part of the Rory Gallagher collection!