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Framus Rosita - it needs a bit of work

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  • Framus Rosita - it needs a bit of work

    Hi all, new member here from The Netherlands. I found this forum through the website. My friend gifted me this Framus Rosita - at least I think that is what it is (there remains only a very small piece of the label inside the body). I was wondering if anyone knows if Framus guitars from this era (1950s) have a steel reinforcement in the neck. Also, I'm curious to know if anyone has experience with adding a truss rod to this old thing. Not sure if it's possible because of how the end of the fretboard sits above the top plate.

    This old archtop has been a wall hanger since my friend bought it in 1999. The frets are low and done for, they have been crudely leveled but not crowned. File marks all over the fretboard. Some frets aren't properly seated. The tuners are worn and slipping. The bridge is most likely ebonized pearwood (birnenholz) with a plastic insert. It has been sanded in such a way that it leans towards the tailpiece and the treble side is higher than the bass side). It has a zero fret with a matchstick fix. The wooden nut has two broken ends (it seems to be an integral, wood nut that is part of the fretboard--could be wrong though).

    But it's light, sounds okay and resonates. It has parallel bracing, no sound post and is finished in black nitro which now has lovely checking. It has no kerfling but rather a strip of wood. There was a pickguard on it at some point in history as evidenced by two screw holes. The chrome pickguard with Schaller electrics is a period correct addition, I believe.

    No cracks in the top, back and sides. No gaps between them, it's still in one piece. I had it strung up for a week and the neck seems to be stable. My biggest concern was that it needs a neck reset. I showed it to a local luthier who refretted my 1981 Les Paul Custom 4 years ago (and who als builds double basses) to get his opinion. He said the neck does not need to be reset. The bridge does need to be sanded so it sits lower.

    Anyway, this winter I'd like to try my hand at refretting the old thing (and perhaps even install a truss rod). Always wanted to that, this seems like a low-risk candidate. I'll also replace the tuners and bridge with something period correct. There are two pretty cool period 'sliding saddle bridge' designs by Hofner I'd like to try.

  • #2
    So I decided to install a truss rod after all. The neck has an upbow without string tension and I really really like having low action and intonation as good as possible. I concluded that only refretting it would be a waste of time and effort.

    Removing the fretboard - nailed it!

    Using a flat iron, a sharp knife and putty knives, the fretboard didn't come off in one piece. It came off in 20+ pieces. It is lightweight and very brittle. Not sure what sort of wood it is. There were several cracks down the length of the board (as you can see below). I did first remove the inlays to reuse them in a replacement fretboard. I think they're really cool.

    To my surprise there was piece of aluminum installed (off centre). It has a u-channel shape and looks like something from the hardware store, not from the 1950's (when solid bars or hollow tubing was used). This plus the cracks in the board and the badly filled damaged seam between the board and the neck, suggests someone was here before me. On the other hand, the slot is obviously machine made and the aluminum profile fitted snugly, so perhaps it is original. What do you think?

    Without string tension the neck had an upbow in it. There was a big high spot at the end of the board and a smaller one at the nut. I sanded it flat.

    Now I need to fill the slot where the piece of aluminum was installed & make a new (on centre) slot for a double action Martin style truss rod (for a 12 fret flattop). I don't have a router so I'm going to use chisels.

    Surprisingly the fretboard had a Gibson scale length and a 12" radius. I'm ordering a same scale length fretboard, pre-slotted and radiused (10") with a set of pre-cut and pre-radiused Jescar fret wire.

    Ebony or rosewood - not sure yet. I'm open to suggestions.
    Zuletzt geändert von 1981 LPC; 28.12.2021, 10:10.


    • #3
      Made some more progress yesterday evening. I cleaned up the U-shaped slot with a chisel and filled it with a piece of 13x13mm wood.


      • #4
        The truss rod is in - tightly. Took a bit of doing. The new fretboard and fretwire arrived.


        • #5
          Not having a jig I had to freehand drill into to the headstock with a 6mm drill bit, towards the slot for the truss rod. Butt clenching. I was perfectly on center, 1mm too high. But as I had to enlarge the hole a bit (to be able to get at the hex-nut if the truss rod is under tension) that problem solved itself. I then reglued the plastic coverplate to the headstock and bound it with elastic band (taking inspiration from Gibson way of installing binding material).
          Attached Images


          • #6
            I used regular wood glue on the cover plate and it worked. It looks untouched - save for the new access hole I had to make. It would be cool to make a truss rod cover out of inlay or pickguard material that looks like the original inlays (which I will reuse in the new ebony board).

            Klicke auf die Grafik für eine vergrößerte Ansicht

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            • #7
              Well I ended up fretting the board before gluing it on the neck, because I noticed the board barely moved after the first 6 or 7 frets were installed. I left out two frets in order to use locating pins while gluing down the board. After gluing down the board I installed the old inlays, using a scalpel and a small chisel, filling in with ebony dust and super glue.

              Next step is bevelling and levelling the frets but I think I'm going to let the guitar sit for a week first so it can do what it wants to do.


              • #8
                I had to remove and reglue the fretboard...

                I somehow managed to glue the neck into into a down bow, even while using a clamping caull, and could not get enough relief into the neck with the truss rod (well I could but it took way too much force). I think the weight of the glue clamps was the cause. Also the neck seems very stiff.

                But I had the board off and cleaned up within the hour, without damage. I reglued it into a small upbow, so I would be sure to have relief. In order to do so I added a 3mm paint stick between the headstock and the wooden block after getting everything straight and tight.

                Klicke auf die Grafik für eine vergrößerte Ansicht

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                It worked out well, I now have a dual truss rod that works properly, without needing the strength of a maternally enraged gorilla.