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Thread: Framus

  1. #1

    Default Framus


    Should I "rescue" a nice old (60's) Framus mandolin from a local antique shop for a couple hundred dollars? It seems to be a-ok, Strings ancient -possibly original . There is a slice gone from the middle of the nut, but doesn't seem to have any other flaws. I don't really need it....and it would be just as well for me to concentrate on improving my guitar playing............ Should I offer less $$? Thanks anyone!

  2. #2
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Framus

    If you have the extra cash on hand (you can try and wheel and deal with them) and you dig the cool vibe of the Framus look, go for it.

    Jamie
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    Default Re: Framus

    Is it the style with the single tear-drop f-hole?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Framus

    It has double teardrop F-holes.

    ( I have it home here for the weekend to try it out).

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Framus

    Yea haggle them down the German brand didn't last long in the US .. since you got to try it ,
    a list of the playability deficits, would be a bargaining point.

    as they are [probably] not an antique musical instrument shop, you may have more expertise

    Some web surfing for information on the brand will help add to your knowledge and bargaining advantage.

    Likely, furniture styles may be their the stores area of study.

    they probably bought entire estate , many do, gotta get up really early to beat those shopkeepers to estate sales ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Framus

    Over here we´ve got the proverb: "You´ll never get famus with a Framus". I´ve heard that relates to banjos mostly. A mandolin from the 1960ies ought to be quite inexpensive. If it´s in the "wallhanger" category due to necessary repairs it ought not to be more than 100,- USD. On the Grisman-Rice colaboration the Framus mandolin sounds ok, being the weakest sounding one on the CD though.

    On the other hand, if it´s fun, go for it.
    Olaf

  7. #7
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Framus

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    Over here we've got the proverb: "You'll never get famus with a Framus".
    Heh heh. Do you say this auf Deutsch, or do you really rhyme it like that in English?

    I never saw a Framus instrument of any persuasion that did more than look cool.
    .
    ph

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  8. #8

    Default Re: Framus

    Framus did make some very good banjos, Finbar Fury plays or played a Framus 5 string and English tenor banjo wizard Tony Wilson plays a Framus tenor, reputed to be the worlds loudest banjo.

    Dave H
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  9. #9
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Framus

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hostetter View Post
    Heh heh. Do you say this auf Deutsch, or do you really rhyme it like that in English?

    I never saw a Framus instrument of any persuasion that did more than look cool.
    I first heard it in English (in Germany though). Express it in German and it will not rhyme (famous = berühmt). Do German´s know about this expression? Not generally, so the whole thing sounds Greek to most of them. "It sounds Greek to me" translates into German as "es sind alles Böhmische Dörfer". Translate this back to English and it means "they are all villages in Bohemia". Bohemia as you know is part of the Czech Republic. The Czech express the same idea as "villages in Germany".

    So talk about language confusion.

    Dave Hanson Re: Framus

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Framus did make some very good banjos, Finbar Fury plays or played a Framus 5 string and English tenor banjo wizard Tony Wilson plays a Framus tenor, reputed to be the worlds loudest banjo.

    Dave H
    I have yet to see a good Framus banjo. The only ones I´ve seen and heard had aluminum tonerings (or hoops). And loud not necessarily translates to a good sound. On the other hand I don´t blame anyone for playing a Framus having once had a cheap German Höfner banjo (not good either). You play what you can afford and/or get. And Framus archtop guitars are not all that bad.
    Olaf

  10. #10
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Framus

    Framus banjos stand out as some of the most butt-ugly fretted instruments ever made, in my book. They're a neck on a pot, they can be made to play, they're so bad they're almost good. Cross a Kay with a lower-line Iida, add a dash of the absurdly inexplicable = Framus.



    Loud? You can make any banjo loud with a mylar head, especially the real thin ones Framus used. The real attraction in the old days in Ireland was the price (low) and availability (high). Even decent American-made banjos were simply out of reach, and the German ones filled the bill.



    The sellers of the above banjo say "Framus Tenor Wedding Cake style banjo. This is a 19 Fret banjo . Made by the son of the previous owner of the Framus Company after they closed in 1976. He continued manufacturing under the Contessa brand name until about 1978.We would look at a trade in against this banjo. Irish Musical Instruments are able to source top quality American made banjos made for the Jazz era between1920-1933. the makers include Paramount, Gibson, Epiphone pre-war, Bacon & Day, Vega, Weymann, Slingerland (Maybell), Ludwig, Kay pre-war, Lange."

    Why do you suppose they added that last bit?
    .
    ph

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  11. #11
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Framus

    All those plys stacked together that Framus made into necks , I imagine are much less subject to warping,
    but add the resonance of a sheet of plywood.

    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  12. #12

    Default Re: Framus

    Follow up:
    Unbelievable this happened 10 years ago.!!!
    So...I offered... and bought that mandolin for $150.
    But it was so painfully unplayable I decided to sell it to a local music shop owner. (At that time I didn’t understand about action, nor that could be made playable!).
    She had never seen anything like it & bought it immediately ...saying she’d electrify it. (At the time I didn’t understand that either!)
    I can presume she lowered the action too.!
    However, playing a Mandolin was apparently a mysterious irresistible urge that I had, and that was where it all started. I am nowadays happily playing a nice Loar...& I wish I had simply hung that Framus on the wall.
    I don’t know if she made it into something more playable or not...- maybe better to not know...but it was the mandolin that sparked an unknown interest I had. I’m crazy exited about playing the mandolin.

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  14. #13

    Default Re: Framus

    Every Framus mandolin I've played has been awful. So many things wrong in the design although I appreciate at that time, the same could be said for so many guitars. There was little choice then in the UK anyway. Just a mile away from being as good as a cheap modern Savannah SA-120 which you'd find was really good for the money. I wouldn't go near the Framus mandolin.

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    Default Re: Framus

    Quote Originally Posted by Sass View Post
    It has double teardrop F-holes.

    ( I have it home here for the weekend to try it out).

    Thanks.
    You should be able to answer you question by next week then.

    Is it the set neck (Hofner style) or bolt on? I assume 'teardrop', not guitar shaped body..?

  16. #15
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Framus

    OK guys, check [a] the original date of this thread, and [b] Post #12, which summarizes the history of Sass and the Framus since 2009. Sass doesn't own it any more, its whereabouts are unknown, and Sass has gone on to greater mandolin glory..

    With your best intentions and well-meant advice notwithstanding, the ship has sailed, and is long over the horizon...
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  17. #16

    Default Re: Framus

    Just for future explorers' info, thought I'd document another Framus ship's sailing in over the horizon-with full appreciative knowledge of all the above comments, I purchased this eidelweiss-adorned bowl back Framus last week, even if only wall art. The eidelweiss design, intact gold Framus insignia, stamped serial number, clean, apparently original gears and tuning pegs (Bakelite?) , and the original case make me smile. The neck is slightly detached from the bowl and I'll probably pass it by a luthier for cost estimate, just out of curiosity if it might do more than hang on the wall, being partial to Neapolitan songs. The Framus vintage archive ( https://forum.framus-vintage.de/forum/other-instruments ) has photos of some related models, but this one's not pictured.
    For actual music-making, I've got a nice Breedlove Quartz.Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #17
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Framus

    Quote Originally Posted by Entropium View Post
    ...I purchased this eidelweiss-adorned bowl back Framus last week, even if only wall art... For actual music-making, I've got a nice Breedlove Quartz.
    My first classical guitar was a dreadful Framus. Jim Hall used to endorse their jazz guitars, but I don't think anyone ever saw him actually playing one. So good luck with the Framus— but keep the Breedlove.

    In any case thanks for reviving this great old thread. It's especially nice to be reminded of Paul Hostetter's Cafe contributions.

  20. #18

    Default Re: Framus

    Been playing a Framus cutaway as my outdoor bass since I bought it out of an old house in a ghost town west of us (it had been collecting dust there with a broken neck for 30 years) for $150 40 years ago. I'll never be famous, but talking El Vez may be the most photographed ever, even tho I replaced the toe tapping hinged hiking boot endpin long ago, and rarely bring the defibrillator paddles.....
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  22. #19

    Default Re: Framus

    The last time I saw that bass, there was a cupholder where the defibrillator paddles are, and Elvis had an oxygen tube (for Telluride elevation) instead of a joint.
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  23. #20

    Default Re: Framus

    Update for future explorers ... I reached out to the Framus Vintage Archive ( https://www.framus-vintage.de/ ) via their contact link and received a most gracious and quick response from Hans-Peter Wilfer, son of founder Fred Wilfer, identifying my mandolin as Model 6/27 Manuela, November 1964! It's clearly been well cared for over the years. I'm inclined to re-string with ultra-lights, tensioning up only briefly, to not risk further neck strain, if only to let it sing once more.

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