Manfred Pletz Jazz Cutaway, 1956

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Instrument: Almost unjustly forgotten today, the master guitar maker Manfred Pletz, who lived... more
Manfred Pletz Jazz Cutaway, 1956

Almost unjustly forgotten today, the master guitar maker Manfred Pletz, who lived in Taunusstein-Bleidenstadt in the immediate vicinity of Hopf, was one of the most innovative and independent spirits of the German post-war era. For example, he was the master teacher of Lakewood founder Martin Seeliger. And he developed the legendary Saturn and Explorer models for Hopf in their extremely individual construction and also built most of them himself by hand. As an independent spirit, he helped himself stylistically to all the guitar builders of his time and did not shy away from unusual solutions, such as the fastening of screwed necks with furniture thread screws, which was typical for him. Here we have a typical jazz guitar of the fifties, which can be identified as a genuine Pletz by several details: headstock shape and inlay, shape of sound holes and neck heel. "Genuine Pletz" is also that he uses Neubauer tuner bushings, Klira pickguard and compensated Höfner bridge. All very tastefully put together. Inside the guitar there is an almost faded and only partially legible stamp with the year 1956. Pletz never labelled his guitars with his own name, not even this one.

The blonde guitar is made entirely of maple, and only the top and back have been given a subtle brown varnish finish around the edges. The neck, including the headstock, is glued from three strips of wood throughout, again maple on the outside, beech on the inside. The rosewood fingerboard has three pearloid inlays at the 5th, 7th and 12th frets. The black lacquered sides of the headstock also have a beautiful pearloid wedge. Open brass tuners with Neubauer plastic bushings. A brown marbled perloid pickguard in reverse shape with white trim on the sides. The bridge is made of rosewood, the massive tailpiece is by ABM-Müller and was used by almost all brands at that time.

Instruments history:
Unknown. The guitar comes from a household liquidation, the cleaner, with whom we have been working for a long time, offered it to us. The almost flawless condition suggests that it has not been played often and has always been treated with care. However, old screw holes on the tailpiece, pickguard and neck foot remain mysterious, as if other parts had been mounted there at times. Maybe a pick-up plate? We will probably never find out...

Restoration work:
Complete cleaning, body blown out, tuners disassembled, cleaned and re-oiled, original nitro varnish refurbished with bale polish in several passes, fingerboard and frets lightly sanded, fingerboard oiled, frets polished. Fitted new 11 gauge Pyramid strings and did a setup. All in all, this was very little work, the guitar was and is in an almost unique top condition.

Current condition:
This beautiful, blonde Pletz convinces with its very tasteful look in different shades of brown. Unusual for the time, when black and black rose were the fashionable colours. In addition, the easy playability, about 1.5 mm string action at the 12th fret is extremely little and 4.3 mm fretboard width at the zero fret is a lot for an archtop of that time. Fretboard and frets are like new, the neck is straight as a die. There are practically no traces of use on the guitar. Considering the age of 67 years, this is really remarkable. Of course, there are no breaks, cracks or other damages in the wood, all glue joints are bombproof. The guitar is 100% odourless and clean. The sound is mid-range and typical for a jazz guitar, but not at all thin and tinny, but full, loud, very harmonic and with a lot of wood in the sound. Very nice and clearly above what you would normally expect from a laminated guitar. Sound-wise, the Pletz plays at least one league above its destiny. In this condition a wonderfully playable instrument, advanced players will be surprised, but also for archtop beginners the Pletz is ideal: Very much performance for little money!

Overall length 41,7”/106 cm, body length 20,5”/52 cm, lower bout width 16.3”/41,5 cm, waist width 9.8”/25 cm, upper bout width 12”/30,5 cm; body depth 3”/7,5 cm, scale length 25,2”/64 cm (zero fret to saddle), fingerboard width 1,7”/4,3 cm at nut, 2.1”/5,3 cm at 12th fret; overall weight 1.990 g, string action on 12th fret 0,06”/1,5 mm (adjustable).

Purchase and payment:
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