Framus 5/010A Atlantik 12-string, 1966

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  • MK43
Instrument: In the sixties they were once very modern - the twelve-string electric guitars.... more
Framus 5/010A Atlantik 12-string, 1966

In the sixties they were once very modern - the twelve-string electric guitars. Beatles, Hollies, Led Zeppelin and many others all played their 12string Gretschs and Rickenbackers. Framus was also all the rage back then, and the Atlantik model is, in our opinion, one of the best 12string electric guitars ever made. The Atlantik/Television/New Sound shape is perhaps the finest independent design Framus built, in the softline version with rounded edges and no bindings it is years ahead of its time. Compared to an old Gretsch Electromatic or Rickenbacker 360, it may still be behind in image, but in quality and sound it is at least equal. We have tested it! An important argument for many musicians is of course the cost: A Framus Atlantik 12 is no longer cheap, but still easily five to eight times cheaper than one of the US models from that time. They are real lightweight thinlines without a center block and in the classic sunburst finish. Very trendy at the time, 12-string electric guitars are rare to find today. The soundhole stamp can only be seen in Photoshop, it reads 66B, so the guitar dates from February 1966.

The body of the Atlantik is made entirely of maple. As a softline version, the body edges are rounded and have no bindings, which is very comfortable to play. The neck is made of the complex to manufacture and indestructible beech multi-laminated wood, it is made of one piece including the headstock. The fingerboard is of course made of East Indian rosewood, it has pearloid dot inlays in six frets as well as side dots. The beautiful hardware is solid and nickel-plated, the open tuners have metal grips. The bridge is fully compensated and has a cover that can be removed with one handle if desired.

Here we have a thousand times proven Framus standard: Two Schaller single-coil pickups, each switched by an on-off switch and each controlled by its own volume and tone control. Plus a rhythm-solo switch and bass frequencies cut. Still simple enough to be intuitive and perfect for versatile sounds.

Instruments history:
Unknown. Since about 1980 it stood unplayed in a large Framus collection, we took it over in 2021 in quite sad condition. The body had suffered a lot, top and back were no longer fully glued, the edges were badly chipped. The neck was completely scratched, with deep marks of improper capo use, the upper headstock edges partly broken out with deep nicks. The string tree was missing. The electrics was a mess, completely butchered, mostly without function.

Restoration work:
First, a basic cleaning including blowing out the body. This was thoroughly re-glued all around, then the black edges were repainted. The neck had to be completely sanded, its surfaces were beyond repair. It was then only varnished clear, before a new logo was applied and varnished in. All lacquer surfaces were then polished in a very elaborate process. We replaced the missing string tree with an original Framus part from the sixties. The fingerboard and fretsticks were still in perfect condition, we sanded them, oiled the fingerboard and polished the frets. The tuner bushings were polished, and the rusty screws replaced with new-old-stock originals. We removed and re-soldered the completely screwed up electrics, replaced a couple of defective capacitors, cleaned and de-resinized all switches and regulators, and decorroded the contact surfaces. Both the pearloid switch plate and the beautiful pickguard were polished to a high gloss. Finally, of course, the Framus got new strings and a setup.

Current condition:
The first thing to mention here is the sound: Already after the first chords you can hear the old classics like Wish you were here (Pink Floyd), Hymn (Barclay James Harvest) or Stairway to heaven (Led Zeppelin). This is unique and to this day cannot be copied with any effect device. Here reigns lush sonority with silvery, clear trebles, harmonically complemented to the deepest basses, this range of sound is simply magnificent. The varnish shines with great depth, it is free of any notable playing marks and of course without damage, like the whole guitar. Neck, fretboard and fretsticks are in mint condition. The Atlantik is sparkling clean and odor free, down to the smallest screw head everything is near perfect. It plays light as butter, thanks to a new-ish neck profile and low string action - not common for a twelve-string guitar. You have to hunt for vintage 12-string guitars, but a Framus in this condition is unlikely to be found a second time. This makes it a rare collector's item with value appreciation potential, but also a wonderful player for unique sounds. If you are looking for a sixties 12-string, you should get it here, a better one will not come along.

Overall length 107 cm/42.1”; body length 50 cm/19.7”; lower bout width 38 cm/15”; waist width 24 cm/9.4”; upper bout width 32 cm/12.6”; body depth 5 cm/2”; scale length 63,5 cm/25” (zero fret to saddle); fingerboard width 4,3 cm/1.7” at zero fret, 5,2 cm/2” at 12th fret; overall weight 2.750 g; string action on 12th fret 2 mm/0.08” (adjustable).

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