Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars


I know so many GUITAR CRAZY guys love the vintage HOYER / BIANKA (see Hoyer Page for details). And, SURE I love her so much. The graceful and hype design really killed me! Most of you know the original Bianka is almost impossible to find (I got so many inquires from all over the world about its availability). Then I thought I'd like to Re-born the BIANKA in Today with contemporary specs.

A First Chance (to progress that plan) was brought from the acquainting a Japanese Professional Guitar Luthier : Toru Fujii. He had big interests about Old European Guitars (His main work is making Top Quarity copies of Selmer / Maccafferi acoustic guitars), but also the German Archtops. He visited me and met my collection, then we discussed, and we decided to work the plan out!!

And later, A Big Boss German Guitar Collecter : Randy Bachman (legendary Canadian guitarist, Guess Who, BTO etc..... Do I have to write more about him??) also had been interested in the project. Then we started to make the 4 copies of BIANKA. Below 4 guitars are the results of the project : The Jazzgitarren custom made Bianka, made in Japan, 2005. I believe this project was a kind of happy marriage of Vintage German guitar craftmanships and Contemporary Jazz Guitar innovations. How do you feel?

Every pictures on this page can be seen with double size at new windows. Click the pictures to enlarge.

Jazzgitarren - BIANKA 2005 (#005) Mahogany Acoustic Model

I thought I wanted to make 2 new Biankas, Acoustic and Electric, and I also wanted to own a all Mahogany archtop. So I decided to make this. The neck and body were made from All Solid Honduras Mahogany (today it became a kind of RARE wood material, you know). I love the woodface of Mahogany, so the finish was done with CLEAR Laquering, simply.

The Purfling is White Perloid (original Hoyer Bianka has the brown Perloid purflings), and I selected the White Perloid Fingerboard!! This idea was from the Hoyer Special SL, that I never found and get. Probably Guitar lovers may remind the old Gibson acoustic guitar : L-Century from this design.... Right? Everybody who look this guitar said to me "looks like a Chocorale Cake".....

The Top and back board has a white maple linings at the top of the curbings (as like Original Hoyer Bianka has). The machine heads are Grover-Tuners with white perloid Imperial knobs. And I added a FISHMAN archtop Piezo pickup Bridge (made from Ebonywood).

All dimentions of this guitar is same with the original Bianka (Luthier Tory Fujii did measure my original Bianka for this project). He could re-born the legendary German Curve today in JAPAN. We wanted to make the same TAILPIECE with originals, so we used the CAD system (...so expensive!) and made a modeling block to press the metalplate. and We could work it out....

I did customize my old stock of Dearmond 1100 Rhythm chief (with monkey-stick) Pickup for Electric Playing (not pictured, sorry). It can balanced with the Fishman Piezo PU at the Control box and out the mixed sound. So I can play this as Electric guitar with no drilling. Simply, only plugging the fishman output to the control box, Smooth to change!

The sounds is totally bright and open, probably the Bronze strings may fits best with this guitar.

Jazzgitarren - BIANKA 2005 (#004) Thinline Electric Model

__ The Electric version of New Bianka was made from same wood material with original Bianka, Solid Spruce top, Flamed Maple sides, back and neck. And Ebony fingerboard. But this is the THINLINE! This idea was from the Gibson Byrdland archtop guitar. The Depth of the body (at side) is only 55mm! (close to the LP's depth!). To show the High Flames of the maple woods, The Brown perloid purfling was done with slimer width.

I decided to put the 2 humbacking Pickups (I could change PUs with a lot of variations!). Now I installed the Seymour Duncan 59 PUs at both of Neck and Bridge positions. The PUs could choose the SERIAL / PARALLEL output each (with pushing the volume pots switch). And, I also installed the Fishman Powerbridge Piezo Pickup at the Bridge. So ManyTone choices (little bit like Jimmy Page's Circuit......?? Ha Ha ). The Pickup mounting rings were dressed with brown perloid m,aterial (matched with Purflings).

Tuners are Grover old-style with white perloid Imperial knobs. The 4 control knobs on the body is: Duncan 59 (front) Vol. with S/P switch / Duncan 59 (bridge) Vol. with S/P switch / Fishman Piezo PU Vol. with on/off switch / Master Tone control. I put the Cornel Dubler Black Cat cap at Mster Tone Pot. Duncan 59 is wellknown with its Trebly and smooth tone, But I felt it's not so WARM, Should I change it Alnico2? 57classics? Benedetto? Fralin? or other......

To take a best weight balance when playing, the body has a block at the end of the body inside. So this guitar is not so light even though the Thinline model. Neck was made from absolutely ONE piece flame maple (Luthier Fujii said tha he is a FETISH of woodface! It felt Crazy for him to split the beautiful wood.....) Mr. Fujii also said to me, "It was so hard work to polish this guitar...." Sure I know.....

The Thinline body is so beautiful spec for electrical using at the stage cause of free from trouble of howling, you know.

Jazzgitarren - BIANKA 2005 (#003) Sunburst Electric Model
Owner : Randy Bachman (Canada)

This was made by the order from Mr. Randy Bachman. He want to own the "Same speck and shape with Hoyer Bianka as shown on the Book - Great Guitars". The book is showing the Scott Chinerly's electric Hoyer Bianka. But you know it was absolutely impossible to not only find but also remake the Parallelogram Pickups and the engraved tuners...... Then Randy did send me the original Pickups, Electric circuit panel, Tuners and Bridge parts taken from the other original Hoyer guitar. WOW.

Then all troubles were cleared. The guitar has New Bodies with Vintage parts. The Original 3-pin Din plug is unconvinience for PLAY, so we add the normal 1/4 phone output jack at the end of the body.

The 2 New Bianka that Randy ordered to me were colord Vintage Yellowed Sunburst and Vintage Yellowed Natural. Randy want a Old-Looking Bianka. Indeed the Original Bianka shown in the Book Great Guitars looks so yellowed. The Luthier Fujii colord them with refering the Great Guitar Book. (The old Bianka I own were not so yellowed....).

The Purfling was done with Brown Perloid material. We know, In Japan, There's no stock of Brown Perloid materials (now only available the white and grey), Fortunately, Mr. Fujii could find only 2 pieces of old stock of them. but now we know that we couldn't make a new Bianka with brown perloid purfling. The Perloid materials were prohibited to import into Japan cause of its Combustions.

Jazzgitarren - BIANKA 2005 (#002) Acoustic Model
Owner : Randy Bachman (Canada)

(Sorry for bad quarity of pictures of this guitar) And One more new Bianka for Randy Bachman. This was made as an acoustic model. The most closed guitar to the Original Hoyer Bianka Specks. This was the first completed and finished Bianka, When I play it soon the work was finished, I'm surprised and satisfied with it Open and Deep acoustic sounds. (How about you, Randy?)

This guitar also has the vintage hoyer parts (Tuners, Bridges) that brought by Randy to me. The Pickguard and Tailpiece was made in Japan newly (The Pickguard stew was the usual parts for replacements for Gibson Archtop). This guitar also made from the highly flamed maple material, but recently, in Japan, the Highly Flamed, or Quilted maple wood materials become so expensive.....

And we also had to make a custom hard shell cases for ship. The Jazzgitaren Bianka Logo was designed by me with illustrator software. All the New Bianka has their serial number s that stamped at the obal label inside the body with credits of Jazzgitaren and the luthier, Toru Fujii.

Recently Randy Bachman gave me the comments officialy about his 2 Jazzgitarren Biankas showing above. He already had an original acoustic Bianka so He must be the one who could compare the original and the new project except me......

I am amazed at the depth of workmanship and the quality of construction of my 2 Biankas from Jazzgitarren.

I have a real Hoyer Bianka acoustic from the late 50's and in trying to compare it to the Jazzguitarren Bianka, the feel of playing and sound of the guitar when side by side are unnoticable. They are the same. The 2 pickup model also sounds identical to my Hoyer Special SL's as Tats had the maker put the same electronics and pickups in the new model. I am totally and completely satisfied with these two models. They are each "one of a kind" and I feel will soon be acknowledged as world class pieces. Their tone, sound and playability are identical to my originals. Kudos to Tats and Toru Fujii for making my dream of owning a Bianka a reality. I have over 2 dozen archtop Hoyers which soon can be viewed on my new website: archtop.ca

Randy Bachman

Jazzgitarren - BIANKA 2005 (#006) Thinline Electric Model
Owner : Paul Gerlach (USA)

in fall of 2006, We worked up for the new, and the last order of jazzgitarrem Bianka. Paul wanted to make a thinline Bianka and he ordered me to color it with Red-Sunburst, but as you see, the sides should be natural. The 2 humbacker pickups are Benedetto B6, most of you know it would be the one of the best pickup for Jazz playing. The Electric curcuit were setted just like as the Les Paul guitar. 2 Volumes and 2 tone controls, with the pickup select swich on the shoulder iof the topboard. tuners are Global imperial (chrome). The tailpiece were reinforced with 3 screws for the heavy-tensioned string.

As I mentioned above, it was impossible to get the Brown perloid material, so this guitar is decorated with the tortoise-shell celloid material for its purfling. The Wood materials was same as the serial 004 (mine); Solid spruce toop, AAA flamed maple on sides and back, AAA maple on neck, ebony fiingerboard. The guitar shipped to Paul in Jan 2007, and he mail me his impressions for this guitar. here's the new orner's impression:

My New Bianka arrived Thursday and I must say that the pictures do not do justice to the true beauty of this instrument. The color is what I would call a translucent Burnt Orange Burst. It blends very fluidly with the red and orange tints in the tortious shell purfling. The flame maple sides, with natural finish, give the guitar a very elegant visual relief. It is one of many things about this guitar that set it apart from the average archtop, and this Bianka is truly not your average archtop. The craftsmanship of this instrument is top notch and would be the envy of any custom shop on the planet.

Now to the important part. How does it sound? The large lower bout gives it a sweet and loud acoustic tone unplugged. Much more than expected for a thin body guitar. I played it at the office, with no amp, to a small crowd of impressed onlookers. Plugged in! Wow! The Benedetto B-2 pickups capture the natural acoustic qualities of this Bianka and translate them into a beautifully deep and rich set of tones, suitable for any jazz or blues application. BB King's "Lucille" had better look out, baby!

Paul Gerlach

The Bianka 2005 project was started in Spring of 2005, finished in end of the early 2007. Why the serial 001 was missed?? Because the First Bianka made as a prototype (shown at right) but could not satisfy both the luthier and me just a little. Then we decided the 001 Bianka should be crashed and burned soon!

The Luthier Toru Fujii Profile
Born in Gifu, Japan. Joined a big instruments company in 1990. Move to the K.YAIRI guitar craft company in 1992. Left K.YAIRI in 1997 and make his own guitar brand called FG-Guitar Garage. Now mainly making a top quarity selmer/Maccaferri type acoustic guitar. Toru Fujii's website : http://www2.odn.ne.jp/fg-craftgarage (Japanese Language only)

UPDATE Mar. 2007 : The Bianka 2005 project was ended in this winter. Thanks for all the people who have any interests in this project. There were a lot of asking about the order and price, but we decide the project should be ended. The Luthier Toru Fujii will not to make the Archtop anymore, but only the Ukes and flattop guitars.

In closing of this project, I'd like to say special thanks to ; Norbert Schnepel, Manuel Ortiz, Igor Maury, Michael Compernass of AMC, Paul Gerlach for sharing the fun of this unique project, Bannatyne Matson for your great helping, always welcome your correcton of my bad english! Randy Bachman for accompanying in this project, cheers for your energy on German Archtops, and Toru Fujii, congrats for your success of the Sympast - Harp guitar.


Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars

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