10/24/2010

c.1965 Framus Longneck 5-String Banjo


Any Pete Seeger fans out there? This is what folks could buy if they couldn't afford a Gibson or Vega longneck model banjo "back in the day."

This West-German-made Framus longneck, like other longnecks, is three frets "longer" than a normal 5-string, making the scale length at just about 30" and bringing the "open" tuning down from G -- gDGBD -- down to E -- eBEG#B. By using a capo on the third fret and retuning the drone string (or, in this case, using a "railroad spike") you could play in a number of keys not usually accessible to the average 5-string player and often used in "folk music" by wandering minstrels of the capo-happy variety... sound familiar to you? Then you know how practical one of these can be!

This particular Framus is missing its resonator back and also has replacement 4-1 planetary tuners, but is otherwise original. It has the typical super-strong, warp-resistant multi-lam neck, a rosewood fretboard, several-ply (maple?) pot, big old tonering for good volume and bigger tone, and some seriously heavy-duty hardware including an ingenious neck-angle adjuster.


My work included a fret dress, some cleaning, and setup. Note the bit of white color at the end of the fretboard... that's a little holly shim I used to secure the neck at a better angle with a stiffer "hold."


Funky but fun headstock. Note that this has a zero-fret and a fully-functional truss rod (but I barely EVER have to touch a truss rod on a Framus... the necks are so very strong). Action is now perfect and effortless.


Inlaid dots.



Rim has a top-tension design and adjusts with allen wrenches. Very sturdy construction.



Fast multi-lam neck.


Allen-wrench adjustable neck angle setter.



Simple but effective tensioning assembly.





Check out that heaaaavy tailpiece -- it's adjustable for different tension on the strings -- it seriously adds some nice tone to the instrument and with just tiny adjustments to the down-pressure you can get a whole palette of different tone color. I like to keep it just a little bit under tension -- cuts the overtones -- but still fairly loose because I love the depth you can get with the tension backed off. A lot of folks apply far too much down-pressure behind the bridge which makes for a piercing, thin sound.


Fun stamped "engraved" armrest.



Adjustable tailpiece.

2 comments:

W├Ârner said...

nice german Instrument, best regards from Germany

mark costello said...

How much?