Framus 5/156-50 Strato Star Bass, 1966
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- Order number: 669
After the Hollywood model, which was based on a semi-solid construction, the Strato Star Bass was the first solid body bass from Framus designed for this purpose from the start. The first models were still called Apollo, but quickly changed to the then many years used name Strato. Our model has the punch 66F, so it dates back to June 1966 and is probably one of the very last model 156 basses made. It is, as usual at that time, a typical bass for accompaniment in the band and less a solo instrument.
The body is made of alder, the neck is made of beech multilayer wood, which is complex to produce and indestructible. It has a truss rod and a rosewood fingerboard with pearloid dot inlays in six frets. The beige finish, of course, imitates the " butterscotch blonde", which was popular with US instruments at the time. The extrovertly drawn pearloid pickguard is an excellent match. Solid, nickel-plated hardware, open, large bass tuners with transparent celluloid handles.
The basis is the omnipresent, thousandfold used and legendary Schaller P90 pickup. In addition, a volume and tone control and a pickup on and off switch. It is plugged in via a standard jack socket.
The bass was purchased new in 1967 by an American Army member in Friedberg. But: Curiously, only a few days later the soldier traveled back to the USA for good, whether planned or not, is unknown to us. Along with most of his belongings, he simply left the bass behind. Until the end of the Army's presence in Friedberg, the bass remained in storage there unused for 40 years - its present condition suggests dark, dry and climatically favorable storage. In the course of the sale of the Ray Barracks in 2006, a German hobby musician bought it at a bargain price. But only because it was so cheap, not because he wanted/could play it. So the Strato spent another 15 years unplayed until we were offered it due to a location closure this year (2022) and of course bought it immediately.
Actually, there was nothing to be done on the immaculate instrument. We cleaned it completely, polished all the lacquer surfaces, oiled the fingerboard and polished the frets. The slightly resinated controls were cleaned and are now working properly again. We also disassembled, cleaned, re-oiled and reassembled the tuners, which were also gummed up. We replaced the foam inlay of the string damper, which was crumbling badly after 56 years, with a matching original part from our inventory. Instead of the completely black tarnished 56 year old original strings, new Pyramid roundwounds were mounted.
This bass looks like it just stepped out of a time machine. This is exactly how it must have stood in the music store back then and thrilled the US soldier. There are no signs of play, two or three tiny dents and abrasions are more likely due to improper storage over five decades than serious use. There are no plectrum marks on the pickguard, fingerboard and frets are unused and spotless. Even the tiny screws are like new and completely rust free. In a nutshell: It doesn't get any better than this! The bass plays like a breeze, everything works perfectly. Equipped with neck pickup and bridge mute, it is the typical accompaniment instrument of the time. Crisp and poisonous slapping sounds and solo interludes can only be realized to a limited extent without a bridge pickup, but the Framus is still surprisingly versatile. A great player, but above all else a collector's item no longer available in this condition. If you are looking for a Strato Star Bass, don't wait, there will never be a better one.
Overall length 111 cm/43.7”; body length 46 cm/18.1”; lower bout width 33 cm/13”; waist width 18,5 cm/7.3”; upper bout width 25 cm/9.8”; body depth 3,5 cm/1.4”; scale length 76,5 cm/30.1” (zero fret to saddle); fingerboard width 3,5 cm/1.4” at zero fret, 4,5 cm/1.8” at 12th fret; overall weight 3.300 g; string action on 12th fret 2 mm/0.08” (adjustable).
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