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- Order number: 660
Astro, founded in 1906 by August Strohmer, is a still existing pick and string instrument maker's workshop in Nuremberg, Germany, and today already in its fourth generation. Following the trend of the time, many jazz guitars were built by hand in the fifties and sixties, but Astro was always one of the smaller German manufacturers. All guitars come from master craftsmen, they were proud of this and documented it in the logo: "Astro Meistergitarre". Today, these guitars with excellent craftsmanship are very rare to find. Our guitar shows very typical German construction and design features of that time and is, as expected, very high quality hand built. A special feature are the beautiful cats eye sound holes, here Strohmer probably had an eye in the direction of legendary Gustav Glassl...
The guitar has a massive spruce top, and laminated maple sides and back. The neck is five-fold glued incl. fingerboard: Maple inside and out, with two narrow mahogany strips in between. The whole thing including the headstock is made of one piece. It carries an ebony fingerboard with five white and one red pearloid stripes. The red stripe at the 12th fret is seen on several German makers of the time. The headstock has three pieces of black and white pearloid, matched by the gorgeous pearloid pickguard. Open tuners, an engraved ABM-Müller lyre-shaped tailpiece and the ebony bridge complete the fittings.
Unknown. The guitar was supposedly hanging on a wall for decades as a decoration and when we were offered it, we did not ask twice. Because an Astro belongs restored and played! The pickguard was missing when we received the guitar.
We cleaned the guitar and blew out the body. All lacquer surfaces were extensively bale polished. Fretsticks and fingerboard were slightly sanded and oiled or polished. The tuners were disassembled, cleaned and re-oiled, all other hardware was polished. A matching pickguard from about 1960, never mounted, from our stock, was fitted and installed. The loose headstock overlays are re-glued and tight. In the end, the guitar got a set of new 11" Pyramid bronze strings and a setup. All in all, not much work for a 60 year old guitar.
Two things immediately stand out here: First, the beautiful, contemporary cognac-colored look, very tasteful and equal to an old Höfner. Second, the sensational sound: soft, warm, woody, yet really loud, balanced and assertive. You can hear the high quality material and the handwork. Even though the guitar shows hardly any wear, it seems to have been very well played in. At the same time, it is rock solid, everything is firm and stable, and everything works flawlessly. There are some tiny scratches and dings, the varnish has no cracks but nice craquelure. Overall it's barely noticeable, very little for 60 years of guitar life and of course completely harmless. Just some nice and authentic patina. The string action is very low for an old jazz guitar, accordingly the guitar plays as easy as pie up to the highest frets. If you are looking for a typical, but above average sounding German archtop guitar from the best time, this rare Astro is the ideal choice.
Overall length 106 cm/41.7”; body length 53 cm/20.9”; lower bout width 42 cm/16.5”; waist width 25,5 cm/10”; upper bout width 30,5 cm/12”; body depth 8 cm/3.1”; scale length 63 cm/24.8” (zero fret to saddle); fingerboard width 4,2 cm/1.6” at zero fret, 5,2 cm/2” at 12th fret; overall weight 2.110 g; string action on 12th fret 2 mm/0.08” (adjustable).
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