Photo Gallery: The 10 Most Iconic Framus Guitars
As the photo gallery below clearly illustrates, Framus — the Germany-based manufacturer of guitars, basses, banjos, amps and more — has made some very distinctive and cool-looking instruments over the years.
Although Beatles fans might automatically associate the brand with John Lennon (He's playing a 12-string Framus Hootenanny acoustic in The Beatles' movie Help!) or Paul McCartney (His first guitar was a Framus Zenith No. 17), the company actually dates back to 1946, when Fred A. Wilfer founded Franconian Musical Instruments in Erlangen, Germany.
Electric Framus models really took off in the 1950s, due to the success of rock 'n' roll. By 1966, Framus was one of the biggest guitar producers in Europe, employing about 300 workers. Eventually, competition with Japanese manufacturers and other factors led to the company going bankrupt in the late '70s.
Framus returned in 1995 as part of Warwick GmbH & Co Music Equipment KG, picking up where they left off, producing cool, creative and cutting-edge guitars; for some visual proof, check out Paul Riario's recent review of the Framus Earl Slick Signature Series Guitar, something I'd love to own ... .
Of course, Framus has been associated with other artists besides The Beatles and Earl Slick. There's Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones (a major fan of the Star Bass), of course, plus Jan Akkerman, Blackbyrd McKnight, Uli Jon Roth, Rik Emmett, Bruce Palmer, Jet Harris and many others.
Be sure to check out the 10 most iconic Framus instruments, below. Note that the name of each guitar contains a link to that guitar's page at the Framus Vintage Archive.
Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World.
04. Billy Lorento 5/120
INFO: Finishes: black, natural, brown/golden shaded, black rose, two-tone; arched body, solid spruce top, bottom and sides maple, single rounded cutaway; rosewood fingerboard with inlays; headstock with three-star inlay; built since 1953 until early '60s. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: Circa 1958.
07. AZ 10
INFO: Brown shaded, sunburst, natural or black finish; maple body, arched and laminated; massive spruce tops partly, single sharp cutaway; ebony fingerboard with inlays; single-ply binding; one or two oval pickups; model built from early '60s to early '80s. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: 1978.
06. Triumph Bass INFO: Gold, black finish; solid body with set neck; rosewood or ebony fingerboard; available as 4- and 5-string; sometimes called "Triumphbass," "Triumph Electro-Bass" or "Beanpole"; built from 1953 to the early '80s. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: 1960.
05. 10950 Jan Akkerman
INFO: Cherry red shaded finish; semi-solid sandwich construction; arched spruce or maple top; ebony fingerboard with inlays; binding; gold hardware; six-way switch; two pickups, Nashville type; model built in mid-'70s. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: 1976.
10. Television (5/118, 5/119)
INFO: Natural, sunburst finish; body arched and laminated, TV-type; ebony fingerboard with inlays; binding; tremolo; two or three pickups, oval, gold; model built during the 1960s. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: 1965.
09. Hollywood 5/131
INFO: Black rose, white, gold, red / black / white-gold finish; solid body, semi-solid, single rounded cutaway (broad version) or double rounded cutaway (flat version); rosewood fingerboard; partly with tremolo; three pickups and tone control; model built from late '50s until mid-'60s. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: Circa 1962.
08. Nashville Super De Luxe
INFO: Red gold sunset finish; solidbody; sandwich construction, arched top; ebony fingerboard with inlays; solid maple neck, set neck; binding; gold hardware; 6-way switch; model built until the mid '70s. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: 1975.
03. Zenith No. 17
INFO: Natural or brown-shaded finish; laminated arched body; single-ply binding; rosewood fingerboard; model built from mid-1950s until early '60s. Paul McCartney´s first guitar was a Zenith No. 17. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: 1957
INFO: Spruce top, mahogany sides and back; maple neck; rosewood fretboard; model built from early 1960s through mid-'60s. John Lennon owned a 12-string model 5/024 Hootenanny. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: 1965.
01. Star Bass
INFO: As used by Bill Wyman; brown-shaded, black rose, red, black, New Line (with wooden stripes) finish; body arched and laminated, single sharp or rounded cutaway; rosewood fretboard; single-ply binding; model built from early '60s till the late '60s. INSTRUMENT SHOWN: Early '60s.