Electric Guitars made by Czechs - pretty fast
by Dusan Palka, www.palka.com
(I'd like to scan some of pictures I made during the years but sorry, I have
nearly no time
for it so could be that once I'll do it)
There were some electrified archtops in the beggining which led to
production of Marina guitars made by Jolana. They had one
patented invention. The neck was bolt-on with one very long screw which
was through the body and it was ended in the strap button which held
vibrato too. :-)
Czech electric guitars were buildt from 1954 in factory (manufacture)
Hradec Kralove under different labels.
The first solidbody electric was something looking like Jazzmasterized
Stratocaster the name was Gracioso and was selling in Europe under
name Futurama, you can see photos of young George Harrison playing
during first Hamburg 'tour'. That guitar had three pickups wound to work
with mike input of amp, there were four keyboard-like switches, volume
tone controle and jack output which you can see on Stratocasters but it
was probably invented on both sides of ocean in the same time! Body was
made out of beech and it had maple neck with skunk stripe and tuners 3+3.
Later they started to produce this guitar with rosewood fingerboard too.
There were three color options as I know: two tone sunburst, white and
red. Great! Great! was the tremelo mechanism, it was top mounted kinda
Floyd Rose system.
Those guitars are terribly rare and if someone have one one of these in
his collection it's never for sale, prices could be between $200 to
$2000. Manufacture shipped totaly for about 500 pieces. Super rare is
which was harmonica kind of looking solidbody guitar similar to Gracioso.
I think that could be that they made totally 15 of these.
Later they started to produce Futurama II, III, IV, V, which were
to F I but was only with rosewood fingerboard, and tuners were on one
(upper one) You can get one if succesfull between $200 - $500 as it is not
Then the factory switched to cheaper models Star 1, 2, 3, 4 and
version and 6 string bass named 'Pedro', guitars are cheap for about
but six string bass is pretty rare so those are between $200 and $500
In the beggining of sixties factory decided to join the world of
semi-hollow-body guitars too, so they introduced four models
Alexandra in six and twelve string version, and Graciolla.
Alexandra six string is the only one which is collectors item, it has
neck with rosewood bound fingerboard three-ply-body bound on both sides with
two f-holes and three single-coil pickups, two volume and two tone controls
master controle and rotating pickup selector. The only color was
so as I saw couple of those stripped to wood and nice refinished to
true is somewhere else ;-). I saw only two in original condition for last
fifteen years, the were priced for about $700 and they were both gone
before the end of the next hour the add was published.
Tornado and Graciolla had both nearly the same body with
necks with rosewood or ebony fingerboards. Tornado had three sg.coils and
Graciolla had one or two. Twelve string Alexandra had two pickups and
on neck too. Tornado had usualy bigsby-like tremolo system.
There was semihollow 4 string bass too, which looked like guitars above.
In the beggining of seventies nearly all the manufacture moved to town
Horovice and this step led in a short time to fall of quality down to
the bottom. They introduced some new models which were all Fender and
clones in a terrible quality, the only one which was good enough to play
after weeks of luthiers work was Diamant - Les Paul body shape guitar
bolt-on-neck and similar Les Paul controles etc. Diamant had two very
humbuckings which were ready to be replaced ,
bodies were from different woods, the maple neck with amoniaed beech
fingerboard was ugly too. Diamand was the last remarkable electric made in
Czech Republic, from the eighties there were some Stratozoids and
Jazzbassoids but nothing to be played if not looking for altarnative sound
and having well injured hands.
Well, just little reminder : Czech Republic was from 1948 to 1989 under the
government which wasn't happy when someone even mentioned those two words
'electric guitars'. ;-)
All this is my humble opinion and everyone is welcome to tell his own
opinion on this. email me at email@example.com
This email address is not functioning anymore, since the author currently lives in USA.
|This text is originally located at voskovec.radio.cz
The text hasn't been modified. Used by author's permission.
You can check out some Czech guitars at our site:
||Jolana Diamant: one of the most popular Jolanas|
||Jolana Diamant bass: LP bass copy|
||Jolana Disco bass: 80's Jolana model|
||Jolana Iris: Telecaster bass|
||Jolana Diskant: early semi-acoustic|
The article was written by Dusan Palka, who currently lives in USA - you can visit his website and see some of his guitars there - www.palka.com