Old German archtops



  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited January 3 Posts: 835

    Anton Neubauer, born 1906 and his brother (twin?) August, born 1906, were luthiers in Czechoslovakia. After being expelled in 1946 they worked in the Hoyer factory in Tennenlohe, Germany (a lot of luthiers were given a chace here after WW II); in 1955 they started their own workshop at Bubenreuth. Anton's son Helmut, born 1932, took his master's examination in 1966. They built classical and contraguitars, lutes, theorbes, baroque guitars, and archtops.

    Neubauer was a German instrument maker who primarily built archtop guitars during the golden age of German guitar making between the 1950s and 1980s. The special thing about Neubauer's pieces was that they were not divided into models, of which there were hundreds or thousands of each. Almost all guitars were one-of-a-kind and custom-made with no compromises in quality. Neubauer always built with solid wood, never locked or laminated. He is known for the high quality that went into the instruments and the high level of handwork he relied on.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,317

    Opulent, yes. Tasteful? Not always so! 😂 Thanks for the info, Willie.

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    Posts: 835

    @billyshakes You're welcome. It's a lot of fun to wander (and wonder) around the www and look at all those instruments, from beautiful to bizarre.

  • BillDaCostaWilliamsBillDaCostaWilliams Barreiro, Portugal✭✭✭ Mateos, Altamira M01F, Huttl
    edited January 2 Posts: 636

    Willie have you discovered any more about Huttl?

    Some of these recent ones you've posted are quite similar to mine.

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited January 3 Posts: 835


    Wolfgang Hüttl, 1921 - 1995, came to Bubenreuth in Western Germany after having been expelled from Czechoslovakia. He there started his own workshop, having up to 50 employees, building mainly guitars and basses until 1983. Hüttl had family relationships to the luthier families Sandner and Klier (private and professional alliances between the protagonists of the "Golden Era" of German lutherie seem to be a complex subject of research, many of them coming from Erlbach or Schönbach and working in Markneukirchen and Bubenreuth for Musima/Höfner/... ). Stefan Lob writes that Hüttl tended to expressive and unusual design.

  • BillDaCostaWilliamsBillDaCostaWilliams Barreiro, Portugal✭✭✭ Mateos, Altamira M01F, Huttl
    edited January 3 Posts: 636

    Great - thanks @Willie

    Bubenreuth along with Mirecourt in France seem to have been hugely creative in the luthier world in the mid 20th century.

    I hope to visit the Mirecourt Museum one day and see the Gerome Brothers workshop they have preserved there (recently acquired a René Gerome mandolin). Anything similar in Bubenreuth?

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited January 3 Posts: 835


    That's the English Wikipedia article about Bubenreuth: There is much more information about the lutherie in this region in the German version, so here is a part of it, translated by some machine:

    "Center for string and plucked instrument making after 1945
    The settlement of the violin and guitar makers who had been expelled from Schönbach in the Bohemian music corner brought a major turning point. When the local council unanimously decided to take in 2,000 Schönbach residents in the fall of 1949, the agricultural town of Bubenreuth only had 415 residents.[8] Between 1949 and 1957, around 500 apartments were built in five construction phases. The quarter was given the name Violin Makers' Settlement. At the same time, Bubenreuth developed into a European center for string and plucked instrument making, with large companies such as Framus, Höfner and Klira as international market leaders. More than 1,500 residents were temporarily employed in making musical instruments before the industrial production of mass-produced stringed instruments shifted to the Far East (Japan and China) at the end of the 1970s. This development marked the end of the large production facilities in Bubenreuth, which meant an enormous structural change.
    High-quality guitars and string instruments were and continue to be manufactured in Bubenreuth using master craftsmanship, such as the guitar maker Gerold Karl Hannabach and the violin maker Günter H. Lobe. The Pyramid company (founded in Schönbach in 1850), run by Max Junger in the sixth generation, specializes in the production of strings for musical instruments and offers the world's widest production range.
    Bubenreuth had a technical school for instrument making between 1951 and 1964 and still has the first music kindergarten in Europe. Instruments from Bubenreuth were played by, among others: Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Yehudi Menuhin.
    The history of music and successful integration can be found in an exhibition in the town hall cellar. The exhibition is organized by the Bubenreutheum e. V. looked after."

    The Framus boss, Fred Wilfer, was one of the driving forces behind the settlement of the expelled luthiers:

    "The company founder Alfred Andreas “Fred” Wilfer (1917–1996) was born in Waltersgrün near the music town of Schönbach (today: Luby) in the Bohemian music corner. After the Second World War, Wilfer heard about the Allies' settlement plans, whereupon he contacted the Bavarian state government and negotiated the settlement of the Schönbach instrument makers who had been expelled from Czechoslovakia in the Erlangen area."

    There is a museum in Bubenreuth:

    Concerning vintage archtops, there are two German centers of lutherie:

    • the Erlangen region of Middle Frankonia with, for example, Erlangen and Bubenreuth), BRD
    • the Vogtland in Saxonia with, for example, Markneukirchen and Erlbach), GDR
    • (and, historically and geographically very close to the latter, the Bohemian Music Angle with Schönbach/Luby, Czechoslovakia)

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited January 3 Posts: 835

    @BillDaCostaWilliams Don't forget Mattaincourt! (Patenotte) 😉

    Similar to Erlangen/Bubenreuth:

    and even Markneukirchen/Schönbach (Luby):

    By the way: in the upper right angle of the above map you can see Klingenthal (Saxonia) and Graslitz/Kraslice (Bohemia), two more centers of instrument making (nowadays mostly accordions in Klingenthal and wind instruments in Kraslice).

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited January 8 Posts: 835

    Astro, August Strohmer. The Nürnberg based family are building guitars since 1908.

    "August J. Strohmer 07.Januar 1888 - 07.April 1969

    Georg Strohmer 09. Februar 1911- 20. April 1986

    Hans (Johann) Strohmer 15. September 1926 - 27. Dezember 2001

    Max Strohmer 26. Dezember 1950

    Carolin Strohmer-Zoubek 29. Januar 1982

    Max and Carolin Strohmer

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited January 13 Posts: 835

    Violin maker Johannes Klier founded the company in 1887 in Schönbach (Luby) in the Czech republic, in 1914 his son Otto Josef took over. They went to Bubenreuth in West Germany in 1950, like many other luthiers from the "music corner", and focussed on guitars.

    English wikipedia:

    German version tells more, this is a machine translation:

    "The Klira company was a German manufacturer of stringed instruments from 1887 to around 1982. The company initially specialized in the construction of violins, violas and cellos, but from around the middle of the 20th century on acoustic and electric guitars. In the 1960s, Klira was one of the leading German guitar manufacturers alongside its competitors Höfner, Framus, Hoyer and Hopf.

    Klira was founded in 1887 by the German violin maker Johannes Klier in Schönbach (today Luby). The place belonged to the music corner in Egerland and had been a center for the making of plucked and stringed instruments since the 18th century. In 1914, Klier's son Otto Josef took over the company. In 1950, the company, like some of its competitors from Schönbach (including the instrument maker Höfner), relocated to Bubenreuth in Franconia as a result of the expulsion of the Germans from Czechoslovakia. There the production focus was shifted from string instruments to guitars. Initially acoustic guitars were produced, and from the 1960s onwards the range was expanded to include electrically amplified guitars. To a lesser extent, Klira also manufactured electric basses, mostly copies of the model 500/1, also known as the “Beatles bass”, designed by its competitor Höfner. Klira recorded its greatest sales successes in the 1960s, due to increased demand for electric guitars and expansion of the export business. In the following decade, however, sales fell so much due to increasing competition from musical instruments of Asian origin that the company had to cease operations in 1982 after almost a hundred years of existence. However, the Klira TG-58 Jazz-Tone model was still built by hand in the company until 1984. With only around 30 examples, the model is the rarest Klira guitar and also one of the last tenor guitar models manufactured.

    Spread and significance of the brand

    Klira has been popular on the musical instrument market since the 1950s as a provider of affordable, entry-level guitars. The company's best-known models, which are produced in the largest quantities, are probably the solid-body electric guitars, which were offered by the Quelle mail order company through its catalogs from 1962 to 1971 under the Triumphator Electric trademark. It is characterized by a white or red textured vinyl coating over the solid wooden body, as well as eye-catching electrical switches for the pickups as well as for treble and bass. In 1966, the new price of the Triumphator model at Quelle was 198 DM, which made the instrument affordable for its target group, mostly young guitar beginners. However, other Klira instruments were also available at the same time through regular music retailers.

    Today, used Klira brand guitars can be found in specialized music stores and occasionally at flea markets. Depending on the condition of the instruments, the prices charged are usually slightly higher than the new price of the entry-level guitars available on the market, but they can also be significantly higher for rarer or particularly well-preserved instruments (as of 2007).

    Klira electric guitars are valued by some guitarists and guitar lovers for their dry, slightly dull and low-sustain sound, for example for music in the style of beat music from the sixties."

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