Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Vintage 1960s Futurama 3 solidbody electric guitar  
Before the Stratocaster hit the shores of the United Kingdom, there was another three pickup solidbody guitar with a tremolo arm that was popular with British guitarists of late 1950s/early 1960s. This was the Futurama 3 which was indeed very futuristic for its time (even if by today's standards it does look quite bizarre and rather "chunky"). Fast forward just over a decade into the 1970s, and a whole other generation of budding guitarists who couldn't afford Fenders, Gibsons or even their cheaper Japanese knock-offs, started out playing Futurama guitars, I guess as hand-me-downs from their fathers, uncles or older brothers, or else as cheap 2nd-hand shop finds.

Futurama guitars were imported into the UK by Selmer as an alternative to German-made Hofner guitars. Early examples were manufactured in Czechoslovakia under the trade name of Resonet by the huge Drevokov Co-operative, which was also known for furniture manufacture. The proper name for this guitar model is "Grazioso" - they were re-branded as Futurama for the UK market. The guitar had been designed by Resonet's Mr Ruzicka (who must have caught a glimpse of a Stratocaster at some point) and had been in production since 1955 before Selmer started importing them into the UK in 1958.

From 1959 production switched to a company called C.S.H.N. (which simply means Czechoslovakian Music Instruments) and produced these guitars under the brandname "Neoton", later to be re-named "Jolana" (which apparently was the name of Mr Ruzicka's daughter - no coincidence, surely?). The headstock design also changed from 3 tuners on each side to 6 in a line.

The Futurama 3 pictured here is one of the later Jolana-made examples, probably from 1962-63. It is currently being offered for sale on eBay UK with a starting price of £450.

For more information, please see this page.

G L Wilson

© 2012, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!


  1. The molded pickguard is fantastic. Easier to keep clean than Strat 8 or 11 hole. The manner in which they sculpted the extended nut/not a truss rod cover is perfect. The triangular access plate, love it. Even if I'd be the only one that ever saw it.

    If this is 'chunky' send all those chunky gals at the pub that have been bothering you MY way!

  2. Electric guitars were originally designed by guitar makers and instrument manufacturers. Guitar innovator Les Paul experimented with microphones attached to guitars. Some of the earliest electric guitars adapted hollow bodied acoustic instruments and used tungsten pickups. The first electrically amplified guitar was designed in 1931 by George Beauchamp,

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  3. If you're looking for proof of the Fender inspiration behind this guitar, how about the skunk stripe on the back of the neck?



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