Skip to main content

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.

For more more about Framus, click here.

For more about the Framus Vintage Archive, click here.

Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.