Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars


In Japan (where I'm living), the "Vintage German guitars" are absolutely missed in the Japanese music instrument market --- except only the one example --- the well-known Hofner Beatle-bass. Not only the informations about, but also the actual instruments of Vintage German craftmanship are something kind of IMPOSSIBLE to find here. Even though you know TOKYO is the city overflowing huge kinds and huge numbers of goods from all over the world, but I have to say No old german guitars is available here.

I could find a book "Elektro-gitarren: made in Germany" in a import book shop few years ago. I got it (even it had a crazy price given by the bookshop). And the book changed my world!! Soon I sold some of my old guitars (like Gretschs, Gibsons, etc...) and I started an odyssey of the Vintage German guitars (Mainly I got from e-bay, and some guitar shops in Germany).

I like and play Jazz music, so I love the German archtops especially. At first I got the Roger (Wenzel Rossmeisl) archtop (still I like this one). But later Norbert Schnepel, who wrote the book "Elektro-Gitarren", adviced me that the LANG would be one of the best and ultimate choice. Then I searched and bought a LANG archtop ---that has a cutaway like the French Gypsy style giutar, narrow neck. This archtop let me know about the graceful archtop sound. Warm and rich tone. Since then, I've been loving the Artur Lang guitars and the other Vintage German Archtops.

Acoustically, I play with Wegen pick (a fat one, made for gypsy jazz playing) or Fingerpicking. Electricaly, I play it through with the Walter Woods amplifer.

Historically, people says Japan is the country made with Idea of ancient eastern virtue and American cultures that given by the lost of WW2. Most Japanese musicians have been loving the American guitars since Western musics were imported here (but Recently also the European Jazz music become familier especialy in young generations).

As I mentioned, Unfortunately the European-made guitars are not familier in Japan now, But Italian old bizarre guitars (like EKO, Vox-Italian made) are familier in the guitar collector here for long time. I guess this come from the influence of American guitar collector like Teisco Del-Ray. Aditionally, French Gypsy guitars ---this means selmer/Maccaferri copy guitar like Dell'arte or Dupont--- are also famous in here. I hope German archtop guitars as like we interested in would be also well-known in Japan, some day, near future...

But, at the view of the world guitar instrument market, the German archtops would be familier than in Japan generaly, you know. In Europe, the hohner and the history of the German archtop Guitars have been lasting and glowing even now. Also the Vintage German guitars are familier for the collectors and the value of them are become higher with its age. The next, I guess Canada and Australia are also the familier countries with the German old guitars.

There are some of the charactors with the old German archtop guitars. The German curve (it found and constructured by the legendary luthier Wenzel Rossmeissl: see Roger page), Metalplate pickup assembly (made by Schaller, Framus, Hofner, Hopf, Melo, Aristone and more company. see Framus or Hoyer page), Multiple binding on the body-side (Especially seen on the top of the line model like Artur Lang, Hopf/Glassl etc...). These are not seen on the American standard archtop models.
See the each pages of manufacturers for details of the model.

the legendary jazz guitarist using the German archtops
PIC Left above : ATTILER ZOLLER, who is one of the most well known guitarist in Europe Jazz scene. Born In Hungary, plays in Germany and other Europe countries. He made his own signature models at the FRAMUS (model AZ10 in 60s: seen on the pic) and HOFNER (ATTILER ZOLLER, in 70s). He also made signature pickup (floating humbucker pickup from SHADOW company).
PIC Left below : the back of the LP cover of ATTILLER ZOLLER / GYPSY CRY (Warner/Reprise), shows the head and neck of Framus guitar.
PIC Right above : FOLKER KRIEGEL using the Framus sei-acoustic guitar. He recorded for the MPS/SABA label in the Germany.
PIC Right below : RUNE GUSTAVSON plays Framus AZ10. He was born in Sweden, Later moved to Germany and recorded for several record company. plays pop-acoustic jazz sounds just like Gabor Szabo.


W This is the legendary shot about the German vintage archtops. taken in 1958, when the KING elvis presly stationed in the Germany. Every German jazzgitarren lover want to know what is the guitar manufacturer he playing. A man tell me some rumour. Here's Mr. Kraus-Dieter's discription about this shot.
Which German guitar was Elvis Presley playing 1958 in Bad Nauheim/Germany? I can't identify it. I have the information from a friend, that his brother, who was working for HOYER, brought the guitar to Elvis. Another information was, that Elvis himself was in Bubenreuth and visited SANDNER. I just spoke with Helmut Sandner (Son of the late Alois Sandner=ALOSA). He said, that Is not true and he cannot identify it as a ALOSA.

Now I have found a new information about this German archtop.


The news said Now This guitar come back to Memphis after the displaying in several years on the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. The news identified this guitar as TSANA made archtop. I have to say it was the misspelling by the newssource, The correct is ISANA. Isana was founded by a Luthier IGNAS SANDNER and I heard Ignas is one of the family of Alois Sandner. It sounds smooth If Alois had Ignas' guitar at his factory, right?

And the top of the right, the famous Bert Weedon (one of the earliest guitar hero in England) with Hofner Committee thinline archtop. He endose the Hofner Company and We can see some pics of him with Hofners on his LP / Compact Disc sleeve. He also appears the advertise of the Hofner Committee in 50-60s era. You can look the other pictures that he played Golden Hofner at the TV show in 1959 at his official website.

His Thinline Committee is the 1960-style (with Truss rod, toaster pickups), but has the bigsby vibrato unit and the brown pickguard.

The Below left is the jacket sleeve of Nick Haywords' solo debut album "North Of A Miracle". The artwork have some HOFNER Club 60 pictures. I'm not sure if he played it or not, but (especially in Japan) this album is deified between the neo-acoustic guitar pop fans.

And, finnaly, Paul McCartny with Hofner Beatle bass and John Lennon with Framus 12 string flattop acoustic guitars, taken from the video of "You've Got to hide your love away". The Framus company is well-known for the Beatlemania in the world, you know.



Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars

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