Ca. 1960 Framus 0/12 Bali

Framus was one of the most successful European guitar builders of the 1950s and 1960s. The company was founded in 1946 and built its reputation on guitars, mandolins, and other traditional European instruments. Many of their early guitars were quite similar to those of their compatriots Hofner, employing a similarly Germanic sense of style. By the 1960s, Framus was beginning to pursue its own designs, including a number of lap steel models with triangular bodies.

This model, the 0/12 Bali, is the exception. It’s rocket ship-shaped body bears a strong resemblance to various National steels, particularly the 8-string model 1010. This is accentuated by the chrome pickguards and control layout, though the pearloid fret markers are strong reminders that this is a German-built instrument. The gold finish was occasionally found on Framus guitars, but this is the only case where it was used on a lap steel model.

The single-coil pickup, concealed under the chrome hand rest, has adjustable poles and relatively low output. It has a mellow sound not far removed from contemporary Magnatone steels. The entire instrument is remarkably light, making it easy on the player’s knees. Documentation of Framus steels is sparse, and the date of manufacture can only be narrowed down to the late 1950s or early 1960s.