|Jolana Resonet Graciozo|
The organization was run as a cooperative because after WWII, Czechoslavakia was under the heavy hand of Communist rule and all private enterprise was forbidden. So privately owned companies were forced to become nationalized.
The word Resonet seems to apply to many of the Czech-made electronic instruments. It is found on the pickups and scratch plates instead of the headstocks.
This first lap steel was followed the following year by another lap steel guitar known as the Arioso Resonet.
|Jolana Arco Bass|
It was definitely modeled after Fender’s Stratocaster. And this guitar became a big hit in Europe, due to the fact that the Selmer Company of Paris began selling these Czech made guitars.
|Selmer Futurama Bass ad|
Most British and European music stores stocked only European manufactured guitars. Britain had issued an embargo on US made goods that was not lifted until 1959.
So it was in 1957 when the Selmer Company of Paris had inked a deal with the Czechoslavakian manufacturer to sell their products throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. The first guitars to arrived were the Graciozo and the Arco bass. Both were advertised as the Futurama guitar and Futurama bass.
|Jimmy Page with a Futurama|
Guitarists such as George Harrison, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton got their start with one of these instruments. Harrison used his Futurama during much of the Beatles early career in Hamburg. It can be heard on their recording of My Bonnie.
By 1959 production in Blatne ceased and all guitar manufacturing. The new head of the company detested guitar manufacturing, so all guitar manufacturing was moved to the city of Hradec Kralove. However there was still much unsold stock that needed to be depleted before the company could resume its primary industry; furniture manufacturing. So guitars manufactured in Blatne continued to be sold up until around 1964.
Since all guitar production was nationalized, the cooperatives move was done by the Ministry of Industry under the auspices of the Ceskoslovenske Hudibni Nastroje or CSHN. Which translates to Czechoslovak Musical Instruments. There were similar factories in other cities that produced guitars. So in addition to Hradec Kralove, the other cities included Krnov and Horovice, and Cremona Luby, but because of the centralization by the CSHN, we likely know these instruments collectively under the Jolana logo.
|Jolana Star III|
|Star / Futurama Duo|
On the plus side, this competition prompted improvements to their guitars. 'sounds like Capitalism to me, but I digress.
In fact the Neoton was the first model produced under the Jolana name.
This tailpiece was similar to the finger tailpiece on some expensive Gibsons, but was not nearly as well made. The bridge/saddle was a wooden unit and had adjustable individual metal saddles, The neck is set in with two screws at the base of the body securing its attachment. A matching bass named the Jolana Basora was produce as well. Jolana seemed to always create a bass to go along with their guitar models.
|Jolana Basso IV|
|Jolana Basso IV|
By 1964 Selmer had discontinued importing the Futurama from Czechoslavakia. The Futurama name was applied to Norwegian instruments from the Hagstrom Musical Instrument Company.
|Jolana Diskant bass & guitar|
the words Jolana were emblazoned on the guitars body.
Perhaps the oddest guitar that Jolana had produced was The Big Beat. This guitar rivaled any Wandre instrument.
|Jolana Big Beat - built in amp|
But by far the strangest thing about this instrument was the battery powered amplifier that was attached to guitars wooden frame by two roller bolts. A large decal guaranteed this to be a Big Beat.
|Jolana Big Beat Amp/Radio|
On the lower bout were four rocker switches that control the pickup combinations. Furher down, below the bridge were two potentiometers, which we can assume are for volume and tone. The assembly also featured a standard input jack.
The neck guitars neck was bound with dot position markers. The neck on this instrument was attached to the body by four screws and a metal plate.
|Strap Button Screw Driver|
a gig bag that came in two pieces. One piece fit over the neck and the other covered the body. The could be attached together by zippers.
This bass had a metal adjustable bridge/saddle unit and the strings were secured by a trapeze tailpiece.
The bridge/saddle was more of a roller style arrangement and it had a flip up mute.
This guitar had a vibrato on a roller, that was in the style of a Bigsby. The instruments bolt-on and bound neck bore a rosewood fretboard with dot inlays. This guitar also came with the two-piece neck/body gig bag.
The basses bridge was metal and the trapeze tailpiece had a stylized “J” between the bars.
The simple electronics were on the lower bout on a metal plate and consisted of a volume and tone know and a selector switch. The upper bout had but one unbound “f” hole. The bridge saddle appears to be mahogany with plastic adjusts mounted on top. The tailpiece was of the finger style.
This is a guitar that Gibson considered too close to its ES-335 and it is rumored that there was the threat of a lawsuit.
This guitar certainly had the “335” body shape. And these were the infamous “copy” era.
However Gibson only filed one lawsuit against Elger Music, which was the US importer of Ibanez guitars, but that suit was enough to shake up the entire industry.
The Alexandra's pickguard was a gold MOT stylized design. And though it was a very lovely instrument, it was certainly not up to Gibson's ES-335 standard.
|Jolana Star IX|
The neck of the Star IX was made of maple with a rosewood fretboard. The headstock came to a point and had a 3 and 3 arrangement of the tuning keys.
|Jolana Star X|
This guitar came with a very unique offset body that looked like it was designed by NASA. The upper and lower horns came to a point and the butt end of the body was diagonal.
On the upper side of the guitar was a thumb wheel above the bridge and middle pickups..
Then on the upper horn was another four way switch that was the pickup selector. Once again the neck was maple with a rosewood fretboard that had dot position markers. The headstock on this instrument was pointy with three tuning keys on either side.
|Jolana Basso X|
|Jolana Diamant II|
|1983 Jolana Diamant II|
The Diamant was sold for almost 20 years, right up until the company shut its doors.
The Iris came with two angled single coil pickups, a metal bridge with a cover and what appeared to be a vibrato unit.
A bass version of this instrument was also available. Both the guitar and bass came with the end pin/screw driver, which I think was ingenious.
|1981 Jolana Galaxis|
By 1989 the communist regime ended and the national cooperative fell into disarray. The factories that kept workers busy stopped manufacturing or became privatized.
This meant the end of Jolana guitar.
|Cremona - Kasuga 12's|
The factory in Cremona Luby became privatized and was named Strunal and they continued manufacturing a budget line of acoustic guitars.
In these years of Perestroika they signed a deal with Kramer guitars and built the Gorky Park signature guitar that was shaped like a balalaika.
|Czech made Epiphone|
They restarted manufacturing electric guitars and basses under their own brand name.
And in the latter part of 2003, Delicia reintroduced the Jolana brand to the European market. These were updated versions of the old Jolana products that include the Tornado and the Diamant, however these instruments are totally modern and used sophisticated parts. Sadly the Jolana’s were discontinued in 2005.
|Update Version of the Jolana Gracioso|