The story of Warwick and Framus began on 1st January 1946 when the “Fränkische Musikinstrumentenerzeugung Fred Wilfer KG” was founded in Erlangen/Bavaria.
FRAMUS was one of the most important manufacturers of electric guitars in Europe between 1946 and the end of the 1970s. The company was created by Fred Wilfer, the father of Hans-Peter Wilfer, who would create Warwick some years later…
Fred Wilfer was born in Schönbach in 1917. In 1945, when he heard about the expulsion plans of the allied forces, which were going to affect his homeland in south Germany as well, he decided to build up a new basis for his countryman and the music industry in the west.
The Bavarian government welcomed his plans and asked him to create all conditions needed for the settlement to Bavaria. The US military government in Bavaria gave him the permission in 1946 to found his company. Thus the “Franconian Music Production Fred Wilfer Investment Trust” was founded on January 1st, 1946, in Erlangen, which became the central location of instrument makers, who were displaced from Schönbach.
A factory was set up in a former barracks camp in Moehrendorf in autumn 1946. At the end of 1948 the factory was moved to the near town Baiersdorf. However, Framus soon out-grew that space. Since the end of 1949 Bubenreuth became the center settlement of Schoenbach violin makers.
Fred Wilfer built up one of the most modern factories of this time. In the summer of 1954 Framus moved into the new factory. About 170 employees started to work, having 2200 square meters at their disposal to produce more than 2000 instruments per month.
But the sky above the Schoenbach violin makers was soon not that full of violins anymore. The guitar and especially its electronic sister became the new bestsellers. The numbers increased enormously due to the Beatles Boom at the end of the 1950s. Because of this development a second factory had to be built in Pretzfeld, 25 km north of Bubenreuth in the Franconian Switzerland, in 1966. It was at that time that Framus became the biggest guitar manufacturer in Europe employing about 300 workers in the late 1960s.
One of the most interesting chapters of the firm history is the relationship between Framus to its stars. The oldest and longest relation between Framus and an outstanding guitar artist is the one with Billy Lorento (alias Bill Lawrence) which was established in 1953. A very fruitful cooperation emerged soon afterwards with Attila Zoller, perhaps the most famous Jazz guitar player in those days. For the idol of German Rock’n’Roll music, Peter Kraus, a new 4-string-guitar, especially for pop songs, was constructed by Framus in 1957 – the “Peter-Kraus-pop-song-guitar”. Besides Framus collaborated with John Lennon and Bill Wyman, bassist of the Rolling Stones who signed a 3-year endorsement contract.
After the company’s bankruptcy at the end of the 1970s, Framus was vanished into thin air. But Hans-Peter Wilfer, who spent his childhood in the company of his father, soon founded his own company. When he was 24 years old he founded Warwick on 13th September 1982 in Pretzfeld/Bavaria.
The company has grown continuously and so they moved the production to Markneukirchen in Saxony – where they also revived FRAMUS.
As a result, Warwick can count on a level of skill and craftsmanship from its workforce that few other firms can match. The construction of the new plant provided an opportunity to install state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, giving Warwick a technological edge to go along with its well-deserved reputation for fine hand craftsmanship. Today Warwick produces a staggering array of instruments with a quality level and consistency that is matched by few instrument makers worldwide.
Starting with three model ranges in the first years, Warwick offers now several product lines with more than forty different bass guitars and a huge offering of bass amplifiers, Speaker Cabs and accessories. And they added the production of the high-quality Framus guitars as well.
This success is based on the more than 50 years lasting tradition of instrument making in the Wilfer family, and also on one secret of the company Framus & Warwick: Satisfy the growing needs of the modern musicians with the diligence, endurance, and perfection of all employees.
In the future Framus & Warwick will dedicate itself and every product leaving the company to this commitment as well. Furthermore the company will advocate for consistent innovation and further developments in instrument making.
Environmental protection and environmental acting conscious acting is most important for the company. Since December 2012, Framus &Warwick is the first carbon-neutral company in the music industry. So the company sets standards worldwide.