1959 Fu­tu­rama III

Pho­to­graphs by Joseph Branston

Guitarist - - Classic Gear -

Made in for­mer Cze­choslo­vakia and im­ported into the UK by Selmer, the Fu­tu­rama was the guitar to as­pire to for prac­ti­cally ev­ery young hope­ful in Bri­tish beat groups of the late 50s and very early 60s. The pro­hib­i­tive price of im­ported Fend­ers and Gib­sons at the time meant that the Fu­tu­rama’s com­par­a­tively mod­est price tag of 55 Guineas (£57.75) was just about reach­able for the more se­ri­ous player. This was cer­tainly the case for Ge­orge Har­ri­son – who took a Fu­tu­rama to Frank­furt with The Bea­tles – and fel­low Liver­pudlian Gerry Mars­den from Gerry And The Pacemakers. Even Jimmy Page had a Fu­tu­rama at one point dur­ing the dawn of his ca­reer.

Early Fu­tu­ra­mas were built in Blatna at the Dre­vokov Co­op­er­a­tive in Cze­choslo­vakia and fea­tured a faux-maple fingerboard and a sur­face-mounted jack socket. Later mod­els – such as the one fea­tured here – were man­u­fac­tured in Hradec Králové by CSHN, the ma­jor hard­ware change be­ing the jack socket, which was now edge-mounted.

When Fender switched to rose­wood ’boards at the close of the 50s, Fu­tu­rama fol­lowed suit, dye­ing a cheaper hard­wood (quite pos­si­bly beech) ac­cord­ingly. “They fol­lowed Fender and went for a darker wood,” Phil Car­war­dine of Vin­tage And Mod­ern Gui­tars tells us .“But it’s a cool thing in that a Fender Strat was some­thing to dream about in ’58/’59 in the UK, so loads of peo­ple had these and, ac­tu­ally, when you look at them, they’re not that bad – there’s quite a bit in them. It’s quite en­gi­neered, re­ally. You can get Hank out of it, which is what ev­ery­one was do­ing, I guess, wasn’t it?” Gui­tarist would like to thank Vin­tage And Mod­ern Gui­tars in Thame for al­low­ing us ac­cess to this piece of guitar his­tory. www.vin­tage­and­mod­ern­gui­tars.co.uk

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