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  1. #1

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    I had that much fun doing up the old 459 Hofner that I got another wreck to do up This had a crack in the top , a bent neck which had some bad dings in it, tuners were trashed, insect damage to the side and the varnish was coming off all over the place and I went through the very thin Veneer on the back, The bridge adjustment was seized.

    Steam bent the neck back into shape and steamed the dings out of the fretboard as best one could. looks ok. Then applied an ultra thin drying oil to the fretboard. This is a gun stock checkering sealing product that penetrates the wood , seals up all the pores and locks up the fibre. It sets very hard so assists in preventing wear.

    The entire guitar was sanded down to bare wood to 2000 grit and the neck painted. with wattle etch primer which was coated with tru-oil. This gives the finished product a slightly aged look.

    The side was cleaned up and all the dust and loose material cleaned from the insect holes. When all glued up the side was again solid but looked ugly so this is when I decided to use images burnt into Cedar wood to cover and strengthen the side.

    I then did the same on the back to hide where I had gone through the veneer.

    Did the same for the front to balance the artwork up a bit and to strengthen the repaired crack by the F hole in the top.

    The neck settled to having just a hint of a bow so I leveled the frets.

    There was no way this could have been restored to anything like original condition so decided to just do my own thing on it and customise it.

    When all done she sounds pretty darned good. I had re-tuned the top by cutting more re-curve into it as the sweet spot from a tap tone was about 3 inches below the bridge and from the bridge up it was dead. When finished the sweet spot was right under the bridge and the whole top was responsive to a tap test.

    There was no indication as to what brand this was but from a bit of research I think it is an Antoria from around 1950.

    If any of you know for sure what this is can you let me know please Rescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-001-copy-jpgRescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-003-jpgRescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-003-copy-jpgRescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-004-copy-jpgRescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-008-copy-jpgRescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-007-copy-jpgRescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-012-copy-jpg


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  3. #2

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    appreciate the time and effort...good solid work...but shame you sanded through laminate...the red fireglo top & back looked pretty vintage good. and in not terrible shape

    if it were me (and nobody asked, but) i woulda kept vintage lookin top and pics of sides so can't comment...

    great work nevertheless, just lookin for different results i suppose


  4. #3

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    It looks like an old carved-top Fasan to me.
    These can be very nice acoustic archtop guitars.

  5. #4

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    Nice work!

  6. #5

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    I looked long and hard as to keeping the original finish or not but decided that with the bad and ugly insect damage in the side that covered quite a large area along with a lot of the varnish gone from one side along with the state of the front and back it wasn't really an option.

    I came close to tossing the whole thing in the bin but decided to use it as a practice piece. Glad I did keep it as she sounds great. The photos don't really don't show quite how bad the finish had deteriorated. It was pretty much crumbling to the touch. Have seen photos of these where the varnish had just peeled off the sides. The top layer of the veneer on the back was getting to the point where quite a few areas of cracking were showing up. These areas I had filled with tightbond glue which should hold it all together for a good few years. I'm hoping refinishing it with the tru oil will help to bind the wood fibres up and extend the life of the old girl.

    Understand where you are coming from but saving it wasn't a viable option. We live in a fairly humid environment and I had a hofner that had a finish just about as bad that the mould had got into that neede to be fixed as well have a look at 459 Hofner on the site.


  7. #6

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    Hi Stephen
    I did a lot of internet searching to try to find a match fot this and found the Antoria to be an exact match though with your knowledge of these old guitars it is quite possible that the one I was looking at was wrongly named as they are few and far between.

    This one sweet sounding old guitar she has a good crisp clear sound with a good ballance over the bass middle and treble and a note sustains for quite a while. Thought it was a bit dead to start with but the thing has just come alive with some playing. The 459 has a richer more full bodied tone but this while sounding a bit brighter and crisper is very very nice addition to the guitar stable. I find the steep curve of the neck radius a bit difficult to cope with but I like the sound of it so much I might consider sanding it down to a 14 inch radius which suits my slightly arthritic hands a bit better. It is not original so not a biggie to change that.

    Can you drop me an email some time please as I've have somehow lost a few email addresses. Thanks Buddy.
    Last edited by Glenn Jennings; 05-22-2020 at 11:02 PM.

  8. #7

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    Antoria is a UK guitar brand dating back to the 1950s. Due to governmental economic import restrictions (Anglo-American Loan Agreement) between 1945 and the late 1950s, British musicians had quite limited access to US made musical instruments, so the British and Commonwealth wholesalers kept importing European made musical equipment.

    Antoria branded archtop guitars (usually stamped 'Foreign' on the back of the headstock) were made by the Franz Sandner (FASAN) Company in Nauheim/Germany. Before WWII, Fasan in Schönbach was mainly a maker of bowed stringed instruments, similar to Höfner and Klira. After the war, these plants, in the wake of the economical market leader Framus in Bubenreuth, hooked up with the European archtop guitar boom of the 1950s. Most of these guitars were mass products, with only a very small amount of carved guitars. Fasan and Klira by far exported the major part of their guitar production, and Framus and Höfner didn't much stay back.
    The smaller German market got flooded with cheap guitar boxes as well, not so much for serving the (then again) unbanned delicate little plant named jazz, than performing general dance music and early Rock'n'Roll. The finer, fully carved archtop guitars by smaller makers like Arnold Hoyer, Wenzel Rossmeisl, Heinz Seifert and Artur Lang were in demand by professionals, semipros and dedicated amateurs.

    I don't know anything about the early British Antoria guitar company, but it would be plausible that Fasan just supplied them with archtop guitars. It seems that most of the Fasan archtop guitar line was based on one early archetypal model, with multiple minor (blingbling) variations over the years; see the b/w catalog illustration of such a 1960's Fasan below.

    Like with many other guitar brands competing in this class, the necks didn't feature any reinforcements. Unlike the mentioned makers of master guitars they didn't have the time nor the will to make steel string guitars that would outlast their first buyers without subsequently necessary larger restoring work.

    The restoration here may look a bit "New Zealand" style to Old Europe's eyes. It also may contradict the Renaissance clarity of thought or the more modern Japanese "shibui", but I consider this to be completely legitimate with such a guitar and its given original condition. No need at all for justification.
    Some small points may be addressed:
    - Old guitar (nitro) finishs are actually removed by scraping, not sanding - sanding can be dangerous to the guitar.
    - The original combination of a blonde guitar body with a black lacquered neck is very hard to find on German vintage guitars. Ok, I've seen it on a few Neubauer archtops, where the sides were also blackened or contrasted with black stripes.
    - Early Fasan guitars often show an extreme fretboard radius of < 7 inches. It's ok to change it to 10" or even 12". If you prefer a 14" radius, from a medical POV, this certainly doesn't relate to arthritic hand or finger problems, but more to playing habit.
    - Your approach "to free" that dead upper portion of the soundboard is one of a kind … just let me say that I'm a convinced follower of having a sufficient recurve on the belly (carved, not just solid pressed) of an acoustic archtop guitar.

    On Youtube you'll find several restoration clips and thoughts by one guy about exported Fasan archtop guitar under the keywords 'Antoria archtop'.

    A seller claims that these guitars were still made in the late 1950s (he's very likely correct): Fasan solid top archtop guitar ~1959 - natural - rare German | Reverb

    Another offer from the past shows the Fasan brand name on the slightly "modernized" newer headstock shapes:
    Fasan Archtop 1950s Carved Spruce Top Flamed Maple Case For Sale in Churchtown, Dublin from Advanceguitars

    Rescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-fasan-solid-top-noncut-blonde-jpg

    Rescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-fasan-catalog-saiten-instrumente-1960s-13c-jpg
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 05-23-2020 at 03:40 PM.

  9. #8

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    Hi Ol'Fret,
    Many thanks for taking the time to make such an informative and extensive reply. Very much appreciated. I am going to print this out so that I can keep it in the guitar case with the piece as a record of her history.

    Interestingly I don't think the finish was nitro as it came off so easy with the scraper. It only took an hour to clean off the whole thing and it came off like powdered shellac. When I did the 459 Hofner it took me 6 hours to get the mouldy stained finish off the top. The rest of the body I left original as it was pretty good. Take a look on the site under 459 Hofner.

    This old beast was a bit of a test case for me as I had never done pyrography before so this was a first attempt and I approached the project by throwing tradition out the window as the mission was to try and make it useable and look reasonably good. The carved top wood was quite unususal in that the colour was not even but had blotchy patches. I had thought to shade stain it but decided I liked the natural finish and the blotches added a touch of character to it. No amout of sanding totally removed it and it would darken after a couple of days so I left it that way.

    I liked the look of the black Hofner 459 neck so copied that for this one. I kind of like the contrast with the natural wood body.

    Again, many thanks for all the information!!!!


  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn Jennings
    Hi Ol'Fret,
    Many thanks for taking the time to make such an informative and extensive reply. Very much appreciated. I am going to print this out so that I can keep it in the guitar case with the piece as a record of her history.

    Oh my, Glenn, definitely not worth of getting printed out, but if you do … well, I am always a fan of fun and good jokes!

    Your "owl" pyrography is really amazing, the more for a first attempt; if I were you I'd stick to it. Maybe a time will come when pyrography art on guitars is seen more often. Wood relief carving on guitars has always been done; the last example I've seen was this one: . Ok, meanwhile it's generally accepted that Franz Hirsch was one of the key figures of European archtop guitar making.

    Nearly all West German archtop guitar makers used nitrocellulose lacquer after the war; the Schönbach makers, like Franz Hirsch for Roger, used it before 1939. The finish you removed was very brittle nitro lacquer that flakes and chips like crazy when you touch it with a scraper. It can be quite different with a moulded or otherwise affected nitro finish ...
    Some of the old violin making guys, especially in former East Germany, who were 'forced' to offer some guitars after the war, just to make a living at all, didn't get used to what they considered to be inferior for musical instruments. They may still have used shellac, or what they called "Swedish lacquer", or what I call "beer lacquer", a water-based beer solution tinted with a pigment. The latter art technique, called "graining" was not uncommon and could result in visually astonishing furniture or instruments:, .
    Nitro lacquer has been much easier and faster to use and swept the old artists away. And beer is too good to paint, isn't it? ... FASAN in Nauheim also used nitro.

    A blotchy appearance of colored or tinted guitar plates can have several causes: the used woods themselves or the applying of the colors and stains directly onto the bare wood without a ground or filler. Many commonly used grounds and fillers (not to talk about lacquers) impair the acoustic properties of the wood, so it's your turn of choice: use an elaborate ground/filler (not absolutely necessary on violin woods like spruce and maple due to their smooth surface and small pore size - some subtle details like remaining 'texture' have been allowed or are even desired), or accept some blotchiness.

    A good way for finishing guitars is evident though work-intensive: use good woods, prepare the wood surface as smooth as you can (the modern abrasives are far superior compared to the old sandpaper), spray two layers of clear lacquer, intermediate sanding, color layer(s), multiple clear layers with intermediate sanding and final polishing. And all layers have to be a thin as possible; hard to achieve with the fast PU, 2K and similar 'modern' lacquers! And, no, I don't think that nitro lacquer is the philosophers' stone in guitar making!

    Here are pics of one of my Fasans, one of their old humble butter-and-bread models, a cheapo with laminated plates and no neck reinforcement. Maybe it's recognizable: it's a two-tone sunburst spray finish, not done too bad (the bigger companies had small spray booths quite early).
    The detail foto was shot with a 1960's Leica lens (which are, IMO, much less prone to color deviations, etc., found with new digital lenses): you see there's a slight blotchiness towards the brighter center of the plate. The finish itself is really thin and acoustically responding.
    I can easily understand why players are attracted to the sound of such old boxes, even the most cheap ones: they still have that bold acoustic voice that you won't find on modern guitars. Like many other archtop guitars made by ex-Schönbach makers in the 1950s, earlier Fasans, IMO, are also exemplary of what I call the specific Schönbach archtop guitar sound.

    Rescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-dscf4885a-jpg

    Rescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-dscf4878a-jpg

    Rescued what I think is an old Antoria archtop from around 1950-dscf4880b-jpg

    Apropos, for enthusiasts there's a newer book about Bohemian (Schönbach) jazz guitars on the market that I can recommend: great guitar compilation and photography, nice acoustic clips on the enclosed CD. It's ok, if I find some of my own former research results word for word in my own poor English in this book, yeah, Franz Hirsch was the key figure ... Some mistakes, contradictions and omissions are also implemented - I can only hope these were not mine years ago! - understandable with the abundance of the topic and working on new territory from a mainly Czech point of view:

  11. #10

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    Well that is one really nice example, truly nice piece. Thank you so much for all the information i shall have a good look at it all. Awesome!! many thanks !!!


  12. #11

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    Hi, I am searching for my partners old guitar like this one that was unfortunately stolen from our property, had a rose sticker on its head, I was wondering if you would consider parting with it?

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay1999
    Hi, I am searching for my partners old guitar like this one that was unfortunately stolen from our property, had a rose sticker on its head, I was wondering if you would consider parting with it?

  14. #13

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    Hi Kay
    Very sorry to hear of your guitar being stolen. I kind of like the old girl I have, now that she is all done up so I don't really want to part with her at this time. Might have to part with her when it comes time to downsize and go into a retirement village. That is about 10 years away I guess.

    In the event I change my mind I will give you the first option to purchase it. I can contact you through the forum should I have a change of heart.

    Keep an eye out on the ebay and reverb sites as they crop up there from time to time. Nothing there at the moment but they do turn up. Best of luck in tracking one down.

    Kindest regards
    Glenn Jennings

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay1999
    Hi, I am searching for my partners old guitar like this one that was unfortunately stolen from our property, had a rose sticker on its head, I was wondering if you would consider parting with it?
    Old Fasan archtops, even with carved tops, sell for idiotically low prices. Where are you located?

  16. #15

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    Hi Kay
    Get in touch with Hammertone as he is an archtop guru with outstanding knowledge and he can probably find you one if you ask nicely.

    He was fantastic in helping me with restoring an old Hofner 459 and he found me a set of original tuners to fit on it.

    You couldn't be in better hands than Hammertone when it comes to archtops. very best of luck finding one!!!!

    Kindest regards
    Glenn Jennings

    Hey Hammertone. I just finished building a D28. Turned out awesome. I think it sounds better than my Martin EC model. Taylor T5 copy is next I think. Hope you are well and enjoying life.

  17. #16

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    Sheesh, I gotta swing by New Zealand next time I go out for milk and eggs.

  18. #17

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    Hey Stephen,
    Milk and eggs we got plenty of and we are pretty much covid free. So what flight will you be on. I'm only 20 minuts from the airport. Jay wood (Jehu) would love to catch up with you as well I think hehehehe.