1958 Resonet Grazioso Futurama

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In late 1959, George Harrison went into Liverpool’s Hessy’s Music Shop in search of a much-coveted Fender Stratocaster guitar, like the one used by Buddy Holly. Instead, Harrison walked out with a 1958 Resonet Grazioso Futurama.
In the 1950’s, due to the effects of the U.S. embargo, American instruments were extremely rare to find in Britain. Meanwhile, Rock and Roll created the need for affordable copies of the highly sought after American guitars.
After World War II, Czechoslovakia became a communist state and all companies were eventually nationalized. The Ministry of Industry of the Czechoslovak Republic established one big national instrument manufacturing company, called CSHN (Ceskoslovenske Hudebni Nastroje, meaning Czechoslovak Musical Instruments), and set a guitar production plan.
There was really no such thing as a Resonet guitar company. The Resonet brand was simply a label used on certain guitars, under the umbrella of one Mother Company. Various brand names were usually employed to differentiate between guitars produced by factories in different cities.
The first Czech electric guitar was made in 1953, in the city of Blatna by the Drevokov Cooperative. "Drevokov" meant "Woodcraft" ("drevo" is "wood" in Czech). The Drevokov Cooperative was actually a nationalized furniture company specializing in wall paneling and other wood products. In 1953, the company had a new manager, Josef Ruzicka.
It was Ruzicka's decision to experiment with electric guitars, and by 1954 Ruzicka and the designer Vlcek produced the company's first electric instrument. It was a Hawaiian-style lap steel guitar, with slotted headstock and classical-style guitar tuners. It was the first guitar to carry the Resonet brand.
Resonet was a name that Drevokov used on all the guitars produced at their location. Resonet referred to electronics and electric sound, and its name was usually found on pickups and pick guard assemblies, but not on an instrument's headstock. In Eastern European countries, it was common to have a guitar’s model name on the headstock, while the manufacturer’s name was marked somewhere else, or not at all.
The Resonet “Akord” lap steel guitars proved to be very popular, and the following year Drevokov decided to build a solid body electric guitar. The prototype for this project was a brand new 1955 Fender Stratocaster, brought in specially from the USA. The Strat was carefully examined and then completely redesigned. The Strat's shortcomings were actually improved upon in several respects.
In late 1957, Drevokov signed an agreement with British distributor, Selmer, to export the Resonet Grazioso (which meant “graceful”) to Great Britain. For marketing reasons, Selmer renamed the Resonet Grazioso guitar to Futurama in their catalogue.
The new Futurama sold for 55 guineas, including a felt-lined shoulder strap. A case cost 6 guineas extra. This made the early Futurama’s expensive, high-end instruments at a time when a Höfner Club 40 cost 32 guineas and a Rosetti Solid 7 about 18 guineas.
Some early Futurama’s had Grazioso written on the headstock and had a Resonet decal on the upper part of the pick guard. This was the model Harrison purchased. His guitar also featured: a natural finished maple or beech neck and fingerboard, top-mounted jack input socket, three-on-a-plate tuners, large white pick guard with Resonet decal, three pickups with individual "piano" style toggle switches for every conceivable combination of pickup selection, and a tremolo.
Harrison’s Futurama did not have Grazioso written on the headstock. The compact squared off guitar body was also made of either beech or maple and painted a nice two-tone sunburst color.
The Futurama immediately became Harrison’s main guitar and he played it at the Larry Parnes audition and during the band’s Scotland tour in early 1960. Later that year, he would take it along on the Beatles first trip to Hamburg. During the Beatles second Hamburg visit, in 1961, Harrison would use the Futurama on the group’s first proper recording session (with Tony Sheridan). The guitar’s distinctive tone can be heard on the lead for a Lennon/Harrison original song, "Cry For a Shadow."
A month later, the Beatles were back in Liverpool, and Harrison would acquire his next guitar, a 1957 Gretsch PX6128 Duo Jet.
No longer using the Futurama, Harrison gave the guitar to Beat Instrumental magazine in 1964 as a raffle prize. However, the winner decided he'd rather have the money, so publisher Sean O'Mahoney paid the winner and kept the Futurama. Apparently, O’Mahoney still has this historic guitar.
The rare 1958 Resonet Grazioso Futurama in our collection is identical to Harrison’s guitar in every way.57_club_40.htmlrosetti.htmlrosetti.htmlduo_jet.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0shapeimage_4_link_1shapeimage_4_link_2shapeimage_4_link_3
George Harrison on stage with his 1958 Resonet Grazioso Futurama

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