1960s Framus Caravelle Thinline Semihollow Electric Guitar

This cherry-colored delight is built like a bolt-on-neck ES-335 but sounds and handles more like a Casino. It seems to be a Framus Caravelle from the late '60s, but the pickups look 1968-ish at the latest and it has the odd distinction of being the only Caravelle I've seen with no f-holes and black/dark binding. It may in fact be a '69-'71 Sorento model because of that, but those seem to have painted f-holes and no whammy unit when they pop-up on the market. The non-cut top helps with feedback, of course, but also gives it more of a '60s Gretsch vibe compared to a Gibson vibe.

A customer brought this in for trade or consignment and it was actually in pretty decent shape as-is. There were alterations -- someone has glued the neck to the joint and added a truss-rod cover to the tailpiece as decoration -- but it seems to have escaped the cruelty of time without anything major mucked-up. The wiring harness even appears intact and unmolested.

The pickups are single coils with adjustable poles and they sound somewhere between a P90 and something like a DeArmond in tone when mixed with the body type. They're relaxed but full of mids and with a nice snarl to them when driven a bit.

It has a nice, Bigsby-style whammy on it and a Mustang-like adjustable bridge. It keeps in tune so long as one doesn't wail on it forcefully -- rather like actual Bigsby units. Other features include a zero fret and super-multi-ply maple neck (like Stratabond) with a truss-rod working perfectly. Overall the guitar is as comfortable as any ES-335 I've held, balances the same, and is perhaps just a little bit more lightweight -- probably because it uses pine blocking on the inside.

Work included: a fret level/dress, seam repairs to the back/side seams, repair of the 3-way switch, cleaning, one replacement knob, and a setup with 46w-10 gauges. The neck is straight and it plays on-the-dot with 1/16" overall action at the 12th fret.

Scale length: 24 3/4"
Nut width: 1 5/8"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at saddle: 2"
Body length: 18"
Lower bout width: 16"
Upper bout width: 11 3/8"
Side depth at endpin: 1 5/8" to ~2" overall
Body wood: ply maple
Neck wood: super-ply maple
Fretboard: rosewood
Neck shape: 12" radius board on slim, modern C-shaped rear
Bridge: adjustable, Mustang/ABR-mix style
Nut: original metal

Condition notes: it has one replacement knob for the neck volume pot. The bridge (and, probably, the adjuster shafts) is not original but is period to the instrument. The decorative truss-rod cover add-on to the tailpiece is not original. Someone in the past has also added a separate Framus label (on plastic) to the headstock. Presumably that's because the foil headstock logos tend to fall off.

The frets are smaller vintage stock but have plenty of life left in them.

Controls are volume/tone/volume...

There's a lot of wear-and-tear and skritchy-scratchy to the back and sides. The binding on the instrument seems to be stained maple with a bit of paint on it.

I'm not sure if the black paint at the back/sides of the neck near the joint is original or not, though I'm guessing not.


Hello friend,
Yes it's a Caravella. I have mine since 1969.
Some pieces have changed. The "V" volume knob isn't original.
The two pickups are not the original.
Good sound as mine !
AH (France).
Jake Wildwood said…
These pickups are original -- you can see them on scads of other Caravella/Caravelles -- but the pickup type changed twice, I think, over the production run. Thanks for the comment!
Unknown said…
I have mine Framus Caravelle from 1991, i founded in a pawn shop in Bariloche, Argentina,and paid 25 USD it has scratchs and crack body on the bottom side, it has a Stamp inside with the mark 1966, the f its painted and the pickups looks like p90. The sound its very, very similar to the sample on de video. Regards