Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars


Todt / Unknown - Natural

Recently I got the fine archtop made by Herbert Todt from Former East Germany. I don't know so much about the Herbert Todt though I want to make a indivisual page of Todt. Anyway, Here's the fancy and well-designed archtop. The radialy stripe design (on the headstock and pickguard) is one of the characters of Herbert Todt's archtop (see also 2 Todt's archtops below). The dark-brown Headstock and pickguard (made by rosewood materials) have their multi edge bindings. Fingerboard have the fancy decorative characteristic inlayworks (each has different design). The soundholes on the topboard incline at a strange angle (also The pickguard has a strange shape for the purpuse of not abstructing the soundhole, right?)

Top is made with Solid Spruce. Sides and backboard are made with highly framed maple woods. Neck was multi-laminated with the maple and mahogany. The Bridge parts and the tailpiece are the usual design of east-germany archtop. Rosewood fingerboard. Originally installing the secret-pickup on the end of the fingerboard that not seen from the picture, but you'll guess it from the 2 control pots. Output jack was the old-fashioned socket style, so I have to change it to the normal phone style. Scale is 640mm, Body depth is 80mm, Body width is 410mm. There was some repair traces on the side wood of treble side. The acousticaly, not rich but good. Electrically, it sounds sweet vintage jazzical sounds.

Todt / Unknown - Brown Sunburst photo courtesy of Banjoworld

Also from the Banjoworld collection. But look with best attentions! incredible soundholes available on the topboard! I don't know much about details of this guitar, but I could guess the luthier would be Mr. Herbert Todt. I had found some archtop guitar by him on internet, but the luthier-name was only on the MUSSIKELLER website. Every Todt archtop has the "multi-striped-design" on its headstock or pickguard (like this guitar has on its character). The Idea of multi-soundhole archtop is also available from the Arnold Hoyer (click here to see) called VOLLATA. But it's great idea to make hybrid design with German-curve and multiple soundholes!! amazing.

MIGMA Jazzgitarre - Natural photo courtesy of Banjoworld

Again, a Fancy archtop made by Herbert Todt. But this guitar has its manufacturer logo of MIGMA. MIGMA is one of the familier company of music instrument manufacturer in East Germany in the 60s era. Some reasonable (means cheap model) guitar were released by MIGMA brand. Therefore, this guitar seems to be made by Herbert Tods as a kind of (or as a SAMPLE of) their top-of-the-line archtop model. You can see the same multi-striped characters on its headstock and pickguard. This guitar also featured the fancy inlaywork on the backboard. and very characterized streamliner catseye soundholes on the topboard. The Electric secret pickup installed on the neckend that covered with the decorative design. Output jack available at the heel of the neckend (banana sockets).

WOLFRUM unknown - Black finish

I don't know much about this brand / company called WOLFRUM, but before (last year) the Musikkeller Dorsten sold the same guitar and then Norbert wrote the discription fotr the guitar, he said "a handcrafted archtop, acousticly with a full and warm sound, in combination with its SHADOW-neck-pickup you get a a fine jazzguitar feeling. This guitar has a solid spruce top. The neck is strong, but good to play. Built: mid 50's". I guess the one that I own is absolutely the same one that he sold before, but not sure.

Also the one I had have the shadow / Attila Zoller neck-mounting humbacker pickup (maybe the logo was stripped out, but Good PU!). I surprized about its bracing - you'll see the bracing of the top board through the catseye holes, they kills the acoustical sound..... right?) The top and back board is near flat.... but just a little bit arched. Fingerboard is rosewood (but painted black, for simulate the ebony wood). The fancy headstock and pickguard is the way I like. Body width: 17inch. works fine, but sounds feel cheap in acoustic...

unknown archtop - Red Perloid Finish

No detail information available. But sure that this one was manufactured in East Germany in late 50s - Early 60s era. Killer looking (HYPE!) with the perloid red finished coloring (also on the backside of the neck) that was as like as the red-purple-perloid guitar made by Musima. The Machinehead parts were pretty but not steady for playing. 16Inch body (400mm) but the depth of it was thin (50mm), has full-hollow manufacturing. Fingerboard was made by ebony (or ebonized rosewood, but not sure). The bridge (5 laminated bridge is one of the cahractaristic parts that on the East Germany guitar) and the tailpiece parts were original. Recently I sod this one with cheap price.

unknown archtop - Red Perloid Finish The Norbert Schnepel Collection

I guess this one is the same model by the same manufacturer with above one. This guitar is from the Norbert Schnepel Photo-CD collection. The difference with above one are: The catseye soundholes were replaced with the normal F holes. The Bar-type position mark inlays were missed (no Position Marks on the fingerboard), the wood used to the fingerboard would be brown-rosewood. That's all I think. The Machineheads parts were replaced to newer Gotoh (or some like that) one.

GOLDON - Non Cutaway Archtop (Sunburst) The Norbert Schnepel Collection

Only with just looking the picture, it's enough to know this guitar must be the one of the suparb manufacturing model made in East Germany. Manufacturer is the GOLDON. No Name and Non-cutaway jazz guitar. This is also from the Norbert Schnepel collection. At first, We can find the additional stange soundhole on the body-top's upper-bass side, even the body has normal f-holes! And you'll find the square shaped screw on the neck-body-jointing place. the screw-jointing is one of the characteristic manufacturing of the East-German made guitar, too. The (Ideal?) Pickup on the bridgeside would be placed by someone later. Beautiful wood pickguard, Beautiful sunburst finish.

relational bass

photo courtesy of Mikael Jansson (Sweden)

Mr. Jansson (A musician and a musical critics from Sweden) gave me some interesting photos of Electric Upright Basses. This one is one of them. The Contrabass made by Goldon. You'll find this bass has very similer shaped body with above archtop! Incredible!!

Not only the white bounded body, also the streamliner soundhole on top of the bassside of the body... This bass also have the steel tailpiece and the slotted headstock. I don't have any informations about the scales and sounds, but I know this would be very hard to find item.

relational guitar GOLDON / archtop guitar
photo courtesy of banjoworld

From The Banjoworld (http://www.banjoworld.de/) collection. He said already he sold it, but he accept me to use this photo on my website. A decorative Acoustic Archtop guitar by GOLDON. You can see the elbow-pat on the edge of the bass-side on the top of the guitar. Also the pickguard made with SAME materials with the elbow-pat. The additional sound hole on the upper bass-side also available. The f-shaped soundholes shaped more SHARP than above model, This soundhole shape seems to be similer with some guitars made by OTWIN archtops. The relationship between the DDR manufacturer??

unknown Jazzgitarre - Brown Sunburst photo courtesy of Banjoworld

Also an incredible archtop! The truly acoustic archtop from the Banjoworld collection. The manufacturer (or the luthier) information is unknown. But looks like a kind of decorative show-guitar. The spruce top and maple back looks as using the selected woods. Every edges of this guitar have the fancy inlaywork on its binding. Also the position marks has inlayworks. I could find that the tailpiece part was used a normal (mediocre) parts from East Germany. But there's some engraving on the tailpiece (coud not read it). If it was readable, would be some good help for find its identify. want to hear the sound of it.......

Bets - Non Cutaway Archtop (Brown Sunburst) The Norbert Schnepel Collection

No model name made by Bets (Sorry not sure because there's no more informations about it except the picture, The Scropt logo is hard to read...) Small bodied jazz-blues acoustic guitar made in East Germany. The fancy Headstock design is as like Gibson archtops in pre-war era (seen on the L-7 custon ond so on...). That's all I know about this one. Very Charming guitar.

HESS Schrammelgitarre - 15 strings

I have also the interesting in the European Harp-guitars. You know This is not the archtop, but Made in East Germany in 1930s-40s era. From 19th century, Many guitar builders in Germany and Austria made the double-necked harp-guitars. Because the famous musician, Schrammel Brothers Had been using the harp-guitars. From the fame of the brothers, this kind of guitars called "Schrammelgitarre" in German (also the kind of the old traditional music in 19th style called the Schrammel-music). Sometime called the "Kontragitarre (contra-guitar)" or "Doppelhasgitarre (double-neck-guitar)"

This Schrammelgitarre was made by the company called HESS (Ernst Hess Nachf.) in Klingenthal (near of the border of German and Czecho). Klingenthal is wellknown as a city of manufacturer of music instruments (mainly Accordion and harp - Still this city opens the festival of the accordion music even now), The Hess campany was established in 1872 and the company is wellknown with the Accordion manufacturing.

OK let's go to the guitar. This Schrammelgitarre has the normal 6 string (Nylon string, but some schrammelgitarre uses the steel string) and the 9 string harp-section that tuned the chromatically (From G to D#) just like as the famous Gibson Style-U setted so (But you know the Style U has the 10 or 12 strings for the harp section). This Hess Harp-guitar has the short-scale (610mm) but narrow neck (width 42mm at nut).

On the headstock of harp-section, this schrammelgitarre has the metal-plate that engraved the psychedelic pattern just like as the Artur Lang archtop guitar has. The bridge parts seems to be similar with the acient LUTE guitars. Solid Spruce top, Solid Palisander side and back (round back!). But you will be able to gess, the 15 strings bring the very hard tention to the guitar. Some Schrammelgitarre was having the Steel pole into the body for keeping the body straight. But this Hess schrammelgitarre doesn't have it, so the topboard is starting to curve... I have to delete the height of the bridge to play...


Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars

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