BALDWIN
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BALDWIN
Instruments previously produced between 1965 and 1970. Baldwin guitars and basses were initially built in England by Burns; later models were shipped by components and assembled in Booneville, AR. Distributed by the Baldwin Piano Company of Cinncinnati, OH.
In 1962, as Leo Fender's health was faltering, he discussed the idea of selling Fender Electric Instruments company to Don Randall (head of Fender Sales). While Randall toyed with the idea even as late as the summer of 1963, they eventually concluded to sell to a third party who had money. Negotiations began with the Baldwin Piano Company in April of 1964, who offered $5 million (minus Fender's liabilities). When talks bogged down over acoustic guitar and electric piano operations, Randall met with representatives of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). An agreement with CBS was signed in October 1964, for $13 million that took effect in January of 1965.
Baldwin, outbid by CBS but still looking to diversify its product lines, then bought the Burns manufacturing facilities from Jim Burns (regarded as "the British Leo Fender") in September 1965. U.S. distributed models bore the Baldwin trademark. During Baldwin´s first year of ownership, only the logos were changed on the imported guitars. In 1966, the Burns-style scroll headstock was redesigned; and in 1967 the 700 series was debuted. The Baldwin company then began assembling the imported Burns parts in Booneville, AR.
Baldwin acquired the Gretsch trademark when Fred Gretsch, Jr. sold the company in 1967. As part of a business consolidation, the New York Gretsch operation was moved to the Arkansas facility in 1970. Baldwin then concentrated its corporate interests in the Gretsch product line, discontinuing further Baldwin/Burns models. However, it is interesting to note that many Burns-style features (like the bridge vibrato) began to turn up on Gretsch models after 1967. For further Baldwin/Gretsch history, see Gretsch. Source: Paul Day, The Burns Book, and Michael Wright, Vintage Guitar Magazine.

From Blue Book Publications:


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