The Forgotten Continent – How Framus is Changing the Common Conceptions of Guitar Building.

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The Forgotten Continent

How Framus is Changing the Common Conceptions of Guitar Building.

TTK w/ H.P. Wilfer & Phil X

 

Imagine a pop quiz, handed out to your average joe guitar and bass players walking down the street, hanging out at a music store, or whatever scenario you wish to devise, that asks one question: in one word, where are the best instruments made?

I think most of us would expect the answer to be the U.S. That answer is debatable of course, depending on how one defines “best” and weighs all kinds of different factors. But, given the history of guitar manufacturing and the number of iconic electric, acoustic, and bass builders in the U.S. that have long track records of building desirable and groundbreaking instruments, the U.S. probably occupies prime real estate in the minds of many asked to contemplate the question. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see Japan pop up a few times, or perhaps even Korea.

We here at TheToneKing.com are not going to try to definitively answer that question here. Instead, we’re going to offer that one place is mistakenly left out of the conversation. In fact, we believe they’re starting to change the conversation. That country is Germany, and the primary reason for its inclusion in the discussion is Framus and Warwick guitars and basses. Not only can Framus and Warwick claim a laudable history of instrument manufacturing, their state-of-the-are facility in Markneukirchen, a region for centuries renowned for producing world-class musical instruments, is raising the bar for guitar and bass production.

The first iteration of the Framus company emerged in 1946 and primarily focused on building violins until the rock n’ roll arrived from across the pond in America and an interest in guitars and basses skyrocketed on the continent and in the U.K. Paul McCartney, like many other budding rockers, got his start on Framus (the Zenith acoustic model), and by the swingin’ Sixties Framus was supplying instruments to many of the hottest groups in Europe. Notably, Bill Wyman, bassist for the Rolling Stones, endorsed the Framus Star bass model and a 12-string Framus Hootenany owned by John Lennon was put to use on a number of tracks in the mid-sixties all the way through to 1969.

Framus experienced hard times in the 1970s and was eventually forced into bankruptcy (which has never, EVER happened to a U.S. guitar manufac…oh, never mind), but it had left an indelible mark on the early days of rock ‘n roll, much like its U.S. counterparts. In 1995, Framus re-entered the gear world as part of Warwick GmbH and Co, through the tireless efforts of Hans-Peter Wilfer, son of original founder Fred Wilfer.

Today, Framus and Warwick instruments are produced in a revolutionary, self-sustaining facility powered by a combination of solar energy, its own natural gas power plant, and fuel provided by excess materials (scrap wood, etc) captured from the manufacturing process. You can check out the Tone King’s visit to this marvel of modern production here.

As we can see, the innovative spirit and contribution to the creation of groundbreaking music are among some of the strongest characteristics that define iconic instrument builders, and Framus clearly has credibility in these areas. But all of that is for naught if the instruments aren’t right. Of this there is no doubt; Framus delivers.

Line 6

We here at TheToneKing.com have seen the evidence up close. With features like Invisible Fretwork Technology,factory installed Evertune bridges, stunning LED adornments, and access to the finest woods and materials all of the ingredients to make world class instruments are there. Choose Framus’ Masterbuilt line to realize the instrument of your dreams with the help of Framus’ world-class builders, or choose from a line of features and work with those very same luthiers to create a Teambuilt instrument that will provides years of great tone and exacting performance. Talents such as Devin Townsend, William DuVall from Alice in Chains, and the incomparable Phil X have lent their names to some of the finest creations to come out of the Framus factory.

As we consider Framus’ past and present, it’s crystal clear to us at TheToneKing.com that Framus has more than earned its place in the pantheon of great builders, and thus put Germany on the guitar-building map. It has a pedigree that stretches all the way back to the early days of popular music and produced instruments that propelled some of the most innovative, Earth-shaking music of the era. The brand was reignited and brought with it a forward-looking perspective of production and design, combining practical design and performance with stunning aesthetics. In other words, it fulfills every major parameter any of us could come up with when it comes to evaluating what makes a truly great builder.

While the question of where the best instruments come from will probably be infinitely debated, there’s no debate that Framus has earned the spotlight on the stage of iconic instrument builders. Do stay tuned to TheToneKing.com for future Framus coverage and let us know in the comments what you think makes a great builder!

Some videos for your viewing pleasure:

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