8/03/2016

1960s Framus 5/195 "Western" 00-Size Guitar





I've worked on a lot of West German-made Framus guitars but haven't blogged much on them as the vast majority of the repairs on them have been while-you-wait setup work. This is one I picked-up from a customer of mine and it's essentially the same model, but made later-on, as one I bought for my Dad who lives out in New Mexico.

At the point this was made in mid 60s, Framus had more or less moved away from dovetailed neck joints in favor of bolted-on necks and most of their guitar tops were laminate rather than solid (though the back and sides were mostly laminate right from the get-go). The interesting bulked-up fan bracing I'm familiar with on late-50s Framus products also gave way to x-bracing which -- let's be honest -- is tonally more productive for the average guitarist.

With a 24 3/4" Gibson-style scale length and classical-sized 00, 14-fret body, and sunburst finish, this guitar was clearly going after the LG-2 or B-25 vibe (and in a way, it has a sound that's somewhere in the same family as a B-25). The Fender-style bolt-on neck and "lotsa-hardware" bridge, however, betrays its over-thinking German pedigree. These guitars are on the heavily-built side but that also makes them easy to adjust and setup on the fly as well as reliable and sturdy. I've seen a number of lower-profile bands slinging these on the road -- presumably because of this.


The body is all laminate but it sure looks good -- in a weird, retro, faux-cowboy way.


The guitar is also all-original save new tuner ferrules, a new bone nut, a replacement strap button at the heel, and modification to its adjustable saddle.

My work included a fret level/dress, neck angle adjustment (read: shim that joint!), the saddle mod, replacement of the zero fret area with a big bone nut, and general setup. It plays spot-on 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret with a set of strings just slightly lighter in the middle than a regular set of lights.

The truss works perfectly and it has a fast feel due to a slim soft-V neck shape.


The frets still have tons of life left and the board and bridge are both rosewood. The board has a light radius to it, too.


The oversize Framus "western" pickguard is a trip...


...and the mustache bridge is, too! The four screws are actually bolts that secure under the top of the guitar to aid in keeping that bridge on nice and tight.


Originally this adjustable brass saddle had a plastic insert in its middle, though the bridge was located incorrectly and the saddle was 1/16" too forward overall for proper intonation. I removed the insert, cut the front of the bridge down, and then reprofiled the rear of it into the actual saddle itself. Intonation is excellent and the tone gets an darker, "brassy" touch because of this mod.



The back and sides are laminate, figured maple. Like on Guilds, the back is press-arched into a shape that helps give the instrument some extra punch.


The original tuners are going strong.


The electric-feeling soft-V neck is one piece of mahogany -- which is interesting because Framus was quick to swap their neck production to multi-laminate (zillions of laminations of maple) construction in the mid/late-60s. I have to admit that I like the sound and feel of this mahogany neck better.


Note the chip-out at the neck's rear where it meets the heel. This is absolutely not an issue.








Like on Fender bolt-on acoustics, the neck block is a bit larger than the usual acoustic blocks.



The x-brace has an interesting crosspiece in front of it on this guitar. The braces are shaped very plainly but they do taper a bunch as they get towards the edges of the top. I'm guessing that, because of that, this guitar has much more bass response than I would generally expect from an average Framus.


A "carpet-lined" hard (plastic) case comes with the guitar -- and looks period to me!

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