Fernandes is the parent company that made most of the company's Fender replica guitars under its own Fernandes name.
Burny is the brand name or division that focused on the making of Gibson replica guitars. Fernandes/Burny first started
cloning Fender and Gibson guitars in the 1970s and continued thorugh the mid-1980’s, up until Fender and Gibson
threatened to sue them for copyright/trademark infringement. At that point, Burny/Fernandes changed their truss rod
cover shape and other small details to appease both Fender and Gibson. For their Fender copies, they were forced
to change their headstock shape completely.
The rare old Fender and Gibson "lawsuit" replicas that can be found are extremely accurate in their attention to detail that
the original Fender and Gibsons had. The guitars were called the “Revival” series, as they were essentially reviving the old
classic Fenders and Gibsons. The headstock logos were dead ringers from 15 feet away. On the Revival Stratocaster,
the saddles were stamped like Fenders, except bore the F.S.R.G. stamp (Fernandes Sound and Research Group) instead
of the FENDER stamp. Other details were uncanny, too, in their replication of the Fender Strat. The Tele was just as
meticulously cloned as well.
As for the Burny’s, the Les Paul models were given the name “Super Grade” instead of “Les Paul.” These models began
with RLG and then a number, designating the price at which it was to list at, similar to other Japanese brands from the
same era . Most Japanese guitar manufacturers used the model number to reflect the list price of the guitar. The Burny
Super Grade Les Pauls have been reported by many recording and gigging professionals as “the best” clone of the
original 50’s and 60’s Les Pauls. They say the feel of the neck is identical and especially enjoy the tone of the pickups.
They were looking for stage replacements for their $30,000 Les Paul, and the Burny’s seemed to be the answer.
The pickups Burny and Fernandes made for their Fender and Gibson clones are highly-regarded as some of the best
vintage replica pickups. Fernandes used L-5000, L-5000 Vintage II, and L-5001 single coil pickups in their Fender-style
guitars, while the Burny models were fitted with the now famous VH-1 pickups that have extraordinary tone.
The older Fernandes guitars do have serial numbers on occasion, and can be found on the neck plates of the Revival
series Stratocasters and Telecasters, bbut otherwise, Burny and Fernandes didn’t often use serial numbers. Dating a
Burny or Fernandes can be loosely done by looking at the truss rod cover. The Gibson bell-shaped covers are found on
1970’s to early 1980’s models. The bell-shape cover with a thin white band and ridges sticking out from the side are found
on mid-1980s to early 1990’s models. These old “lawsuit” style models are very rare to find nowadays, and are highly
collectible. Prices even in Japan are triple what they were 5 years ago due to collector interest not only from abroad,
but also from within Japan.
Currently, Burny/Fernandes is still making high-end Gibson and Fender replica guitars in Japan, but has also opened up a
factory in China that initially made cheaper models that weren't up to par with the Japanese-made guitars, but apparently are
now finding their groove and are turning out decent guitars. I also saw a handful of Burny Les Paul style guitars with "Made in
Korea" stickers, which leads me to believe that at one point in the early 2000s, Fernandes tried to set up shop in South Korea.
In any case, and in my opinion, there is really no comparison between the Japanese and Chinese or Korean models - the
Japanese just have higher standards of work and materials while the same standards are not always upheld elsewhere, even
under Japanese direction. That's why Burnys are still made in Japan and in China... domestic models have a certain pride of
quality and materials, while the Chinese models typically don't. The Korean models I saw were built using wood that was not
properly dried and these guitars can warp over time. Don't get me wrong, there are many well-made Chinese/Korean guitars
out there, but out of 10, maybe 5 or 6 will be made correctly, in my experience. The Japanese models are nearly perfect 9
out of 10 times. You'll pay more for a Japanese model, but you're going to get better wood and craftsmanship in most cases.
How can you tell the difference between a modern Japanese-made Burny and a Chinese-made or Korean-made Burny?
You really need to trust a seller and ask lots of questions about the craftsmanship (ask to see a photo of the neck pickup
well and also ask what the model number of the guitar is)... all Burny/Fernandes guitars have model numbers, but sellers
often intentionally or unknowingly misrepresent the model numbers to get higher prices. Most guitars look good from the
outside... have a look under the hood before you buy one. I am still gathering information about how to determine
Japanese-made vs. Chinese-made & Korean-made and will update my site as soon as more accurate information is located.