Old German archtops

WillieWillie HamburgNew
edited May 2023 in Archtop Eddy's Corner Posts: 843

Isana, probably De Luxe Model, seen on the flea market at St. Pauli today.

According to the seller it was built in 1956; tailpiece/damping system is Framus, pickup is Roger brand. She wanted 400 €; I did not buy it (enough archtop guitars for the moment). The neck is quite straight, the strings are very old. The guitar does not not sound good, which might be related to the strange plastic bridge.

The seller wanted 400 €; I did not buy it (enough archtop guitars for the moment).The neck is quite straight. The guitar does not not sound good, which migth be related to the very old strings and mainlyto the strange plastic bridge.

Specialised on old german archtops is Stefan Lob , this is his Isana corner:

This is what Reverb says about Isana (Franz Sander):

The Isana Black Pearl that was played by Elvis Presley has been reissued in 2018, slightly modernized.

More Isana instruments, pictures found in the internet:




  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,344

    What am I missing with those filled in holes on the back of the neck? I can't imagine what they would have been for.

    As for old german archtops, Sven Jungbeck has an old Höfner he plays in some of his videos. Here's one.Similar aesthetic to the Isana you posted. Mother of pearl pickguard and headstock veneer. Same script font for the company name written on the top of the guiter

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    Posts: 843

    Musima, probably Melodie model from 1954.

    I bought this instrument recently at George Music-Shop in Hamburg, one of the small but important local dealers and repairmen for decades.

    Musima (VEB Musima Markneukirchen) was one of the instrument making companies in the GDR, founded in 1952.

    As the neck has some little humps in the upper region (like many old guitars), I decided to convert the instrument to lap steel.

    Here is a little demo of it's sound. I did not play lap steel for decades, and open D tuning is completely new to me, but maybe you get an idea of why I like it:

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited May 2023 Posts: 843

    Höfner 456.

    Still the best source for information about vintage Höfners:

    As this guitar too cannot be set up properly, I wanted to sell it although I like it's sound. But luthier Karsten Schnoor showed me how to sand the upper frets, and I am very hopeful this will work and make the guitar a little gem again.

    Here are two examples of it's sound, with an Oscar Klein intro for comping and an old Klezmer tune for single note playing:

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    Posts: 843

    @billyshakes Very similar to my 456, but with cutaway. I think he played lead in his jingle with that guitar.

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited May 2023 Posts: 843

    More Musima guitars:


    "Record 17"

    Maybe custum made "Record"

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 473

    Those last ones are some of the weirdest guitars I've ever seen!

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    Posts: 843

    I think Musima designers were inspired by Roger guitars:

    Wenzel and his son Roger Rossmeisl had produced the first electric guitars in Germany. In 1953 Roiger closed his workshop and went to the United States, where he was working for Gibson, Rickenbacker and Fender. His guitar tops like the above were known as "German carve":.

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    edited May 2023 Posts: 843

    @Jangle_Jamie Would you mind sharing a picture of your Höfner President?

    By the way: there are more Höfners (and other vintage German archtops) hidden in this forum as far as I know ...

  • Posts: 4,833

    I love the look of that guitar within a guitar top and back.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Posts: 4,833

    That old klezmer tune is very much sevdah like. Which doesn't surprise me, I see Bosnian sevdah as a cross mainly between Turkish Ottoman and Sephardic Jews musical traditions.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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