European Guitar Builders You Should Know- 500 Words with Adam P Hunt


500 Words European Guitar Builders You Should Know

We’re kind of spoiled in the US. What I mean by that is we have a lot of great guitars to choose from. We have Gibson, Fender, Guild, C.F. Martin, etc., etc., etc. It can be argued there are almost too many guitars!

What if, however, you live in Europe or the UK? Welcome to the world of European guitars. While there isn’t enough room to talk about every company I have narrowed things down to a few notables.


Framus; Started in Germany in 1946 and originally started as a violin manufacture but as rock ‘n’ roll became more popular they started making guitars. Today they are a division of Warwick GmbH & Co Music Equipment KG that also makes Warwick basses. Notable users have been Paul McCartney, Willi Stich (a.k.a. Bill Lawrence), Jan Akkerman, Earl Slick and Devin Townsend.

Vintage 1960's EKO 500-3V Electric Guitar

Eko; If Framus were the upper tear guitars Eko were decidedly more pedestrian. Perhaps more famous for being cheap and funky rather than “good” Eko guitars started in Italy in 1956 was more than happy to cash in on the rock ‘n’ roll craze. Eko were notable for making the teardrop Vox Phantom and Mark III guitars. Eko is still around but gone are the sparkly metaflake guitars of the past but in their place are high quality acoustics and electrics with a distinctly Euro vibe.


Vigier; Vigier are a relative unknown in the US market but are well respected in Europe and England. Based in France and started in 1980 Vigier are noted for their 90/10 design (90% wood, 10% carbon) and the use of stainless steel frets. Like Framus, Vigier has also have an impressive lineup of players including Geezer Bulter, Guthrie Govan, Stanley Jordan, and Gary Moore.

Hofner; You can’t talk about European guitars without mentioning Hofner. Besides making the infamous “Beatles bass” Hofner makes a wide range of stringed instruments and the Verythin 335 style electric. Starting in 1864 Hofner is still based in Germany.


Burns London; I don’t know any guitar that screams “swinging London” more than Burns London. Starting in 1959 Burns London were a cheap alternative to Gibson and Fender and found a ready champion with Hank Marvin. Granted, the Burns London guitars have their own sort of funky appeal. Think of them as the Vauxhall Velox of the guitar world.


Nik Huber; Perhaps one of the best known European guitar brands Nik Huber are known for their painstaking approach to guitar building, great sound and jewel colored finishes.

Fibenare; Stepping out and doing something different Fibenare not a yet another Gibson, Fender or PRS clone. Fibenare are unusual because they are based out of Budapest Hungary and have their own artistic flair. Despite their “arty” look these guitars are extremely well made and are amazingly comfortable to play.

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