Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars


HERRNSDORF - Electro Artist (Black Finish) photo courtesy of knupss

This is not my collection. Recently I found this on eBay. Then I realized that the Purity guitar (see below) must had been made by the Herrnsdorf factory. You know this black archtop is absolutely same model with the Purity.

Herrnsdorf was a company of the East Germany (DDR). I don't know much about this company, but Mr Mikael Jansson (from Sweden, who is a player and a music critics. see his electric upright collections below) gave me some informations of it. Here it is.
Apparently, Herrnsdorf also built archtop, solidbody and lap steel guitars in the late 50s-to-early 60s era. Herrnsdorf was founded in1865 as a musical instrument trader company. In 1927 recorder production began, and in the 1950s electric string instrument production commenced. Herrnsdorf was incorporated with Musima in 1972.

You can find the "Electro Artist" logo on the top of the body, but exactry, the name "Electro--" means the "Electric instrument made by Herrnsdorf". For the example, Herrnsdorf Electric Archtop has the same name, and the Herrnsdorf lap-steel guitar also has this same logo.

PURITY - No Name (Red Sunburst Finish)

No informations about the company whenI got this. But sure this must be the East Germany-made (in late 50s) archtop. The headstock was white-black-white multi-layered with plastic material with the logo PURITY.

Also the pickguard has multi-layered with white-black-white. The neck (fongerboard is rosewood) has the built-in pickup on the end of it (not seen on the picture, but the volume pot is seen on the pickguard and the 2 output holes seen on the heel of the neck). It sounds warm and lylical jazzy sound! Faburous! Top was solid spruce with German-carve. Back was solid bookmatched maple, with german-carve, too. Sides were made with maple but it has multi-striped inlay(with placstic material). You can find the devided soundholes and shape of the inlay on the fingerboard were the copy of the Artur Lang guitar. The laminated (ebony-plastic-ebony) bridge is the original parts. Engraved tailpiece (it imagine the Maccaferri - Gypsy guitar). the square-rench screw-joint-systen (seen on the place of body-neck joints of this guitar) was taking onto the most guitars made in DDR. it's not poted up with any adhesives! Body width 405mm, depth 85mm. Scale length 645mm. nut width 43mm. The 2 output jacks are hot and ground. Many guitars made in Germany uses this connection.

As the above example show, This Purity archtop must have been made in the Herrnsdorf Factory.

- relational guitar - Unknown / DDR Archtop
from Norbert Schnepel collection

This is not sure about its manufacturer, but everybody could find some similar points with the above 2 archtop. Made in East Germany probably in the 60s era. the devided soundholes on the top board has the same shape with above Purity.

Also the top and back board has the legendary German Curve. And this guitar also has the "Secret" Pickup in the end of the neckboard. The output can be seen on the backheel (2 holes for the Banana-socket).

The beautiful finish was recently refinishing work. the Glover Imperial machine heads were also replacing parts. Handcrafted archtop, with the solid hand-carved top and solid maple back. Rosewood fingerboard.

I don't know the correct size of this guitar, but I guess the width at the lower bout seems to be smaller than the Purity.

HERRNSDORF Jazzgitarre - Brown Sunburst The Norbert Schnepel Collection

This one is also from the Norbert Schnepel collection. Made by Herrensdorf (I'm not sure about the company name, Because the Herrensdorf is the name of city in East germany). The Catseye soundholes have very Strange shape. This guitar has the built-in pickup (Probably the single coiled) on the neckend (the place that missed the frets on the fingerboard). It connect to the output jack on the heel of the neck. The multi-ply white-black-white pickguard is a character of Herrnsdorf, right? The Back board has tiger-flames, but it seems to be some kind of IMMITATION just like the HARMONY (of USA) archtop has.

- relational pictures -
Herrnsdorf / secret pickup assenbly

As I mentioned on any places of this site, The "Secret" pickup is a characteristic specifications of the DDR made archtops. Sometime you'll find the Non-pickup archtops but they have a volume pot (or the output jack) in anywhere, the secret picup manufacturing is kind of hard-to-find nowadays. (In recentry, the word of "Secret pickup" have been meaning a piezo-transducer pickup since the Ampeg company calld it so when the released the baby-bass or the scroll-bass in 60s era). This is not a transducer system, just the magnetic one.

You can see the magnet Pickup (made by Rellog, the Rellog company made many pickups for many company / Factory in the East Germany. see the perlgold page). The neckboard has engraved for the PU. the PU settled just under the Fingerboard.

The electric cable goes to the neck block, and it appears at the BANANA sockets on the neck-heel. When they had a volume pot, then the circuit detours to the pickguard and it returns to the neck-block.

And the last pic show the neck-joint of the DDR archtop. the neck is not pasted up with the body, just only setted with a bolt. I guess the luthier in DDR thought it made for EASY-RESETTING. But unfortunately this manufacturing is easy to loose. (In fact, I have to reset with pasting 2 of my DDR archtops for play)

- relational basses -
Herrnsdorf / Electric Upright Bass

photo courtesy of Mikael Jansson

The 3 pictures of the electric upright basses is from the Mikael from Sweden. You can see the gorgeous perloid (Gold, Silver and Red) coloring!! The Herrnsdorf Company made EUB since late 50s but also you'll find the absolutely same EUB on the Perlgold page. I guess the Perlgold releases their EUB manufactured in Herrnsdorf factory. it has only a magnetic pickup on its end of the fingerboard.

And the right CD sleeve is of the Uralsky all-stars from Russia. the bassist has a Herrnsdorf EUB in his hands.

HERRNSDORF (?) - No Name (Brown Sunburst)

Not Sure if this was indeed made by Herrnsdorf Company, But you also will be able to find that the similer ponits between them. And I'd like to say this guitar is just same model with the above UNKNOW DDR ARCHTOP of Norbert Collection (except the Pickup System and design of Headstock). This is the Fantastic archtop guitar by former East Germany Luthier with great acoustic sounds.

Very light weight guitar. Top was made from solid spruce. Sides and back were from highly flamy maple woods. The neck was 5-pieces Maple and mahogany laminates. Fingerboard is rosewood with triangle thum-inlays. On the end of the neckboard, The RELLOG secret-pickup was installed, but unfortunately the coil was dead. (I tried to check and reborn it but it was impossible.) Tuners are Schaller kluson-type model (recent replaced?). There's a curious outputjack on the cutaway-side of the neck - it's very old pin-jack that imposible to find the input socket. Former owner make a new output jack on the side of the body. I wish the PU was able to use.

The neck already bend, hard to play (just a little bit), so I have to go to Repair. But acoustically still sounds Bright and Open. Just GREAT. Lower width of the body is 442mm, Upper is 310mm, Scale 645mm, 75mm depth.


Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars

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