Brief History of Electric Guitars in Czechoslovakia

In the following paragraphs, we will briefly introduce you to the history of electric guitars in Czechoslovakia. Due to the lack of many documents and records, especially from the early stages of development and production of electric guitars in our country, this period is somewhat obscure, and information about it varies in different sources. However, the basic outline of the story remains the same. It all begins sometime in the second half of the 1940s when engineer Ferdinand Machalek created the first pickup for the piano. The patent for electromagnetic sound sensing was bought by Mr. Ladislav Koran, who then began manufacturing electro-acoustic instruments, primarily pianos, at the Resonet company in Blatna (later known as the cooperative Drevokov Blatna).

The creation of the first Czechoslovak electric guitar in 1955, the Resonet Grazioso, is primarily credited to designer Vladimír Vlcek, instrument maker Jan Horejs, and developer Josef Ruzicka. In 1958, instruments such as Arioso, Grazioso, and Arco, produced by Drevokov Blatna, were awarded the gold medal at the EXPO 58 exhibition in Brussels. Since 1959, electric guitars under the brand Neoton were produced in Hradec Kralove. In 1960, a guitar under the Jolana brand was introduced there for the first time. Another Jolana model, the electro-acoustic Tornado, was developed in 1962-1963. Serial production of the Tornado began in 1968 at Harmonika Horovice. From the mid-1960s, three factories in Czechoslovakia – CSHN in Hradec Kralove, Varhany Krnov, and Harmonika Horovice – were involved in the production of electric guitars. In 1975, another Jolana model, inspired by the Gibson Les Paul and called Diamant, began production in Horovice.

Production of Electric Guitars in Horovice

The tradition of manufacturing musical instruments in Horovice, which dates back to 1889 when Mr. Slavik started making accordions, has undergone various changes due to two world wars and other societal upheavals in the first half of the 20th century. After nationalization, it became a state-owned company named Harmonika Horovice, where the production of guitars under the AXA and Cavallero brands started in the early 1960s. The first models produced here were Tornado and Basora. Among other guitars produced by Harmonika Horovice were Diskant 2, Marina 2, Onyx, Jantar, Strat, Studio, and Studio Bass. Later, the company changed its name to Delicia Horovice. In 1988, Delicia began producing American guitars under the Kramer brand. Upon privatization in 1993, the company was acquired by Bohemia Musico s.r.o. (BM). The production then shifted to manufacturing licensed guitars for global brands such as Epiphone, Hohner, Spector, American Showster, MTD, and others.

In 2001, the Asian owner of Hohner, BM’s largest business partner, acquired the brand and moved accordion production to Asia. BM went bankrupt and was bought by Elpro-Delicia s.r.o. The company attempted to maintain and expand instrument production, but faced stiff competition, especially from Asian manufacturers. The profits from sales were insufficient to cover the operating costs of the large Horovice complex, leading to the demise of production shortly afterward. It might seem like the end of a more than century-old tradition of instrument manufacturing in Horovice.


However, later that year, Mr. Petr Vykydal, after leaving BM, founded NBE Corp. s.r.o. With financial and material support from business partners in the USA, he started producing electric stringed musical instruments in his family garage in Drozdov, near Horovice. A few months later, he moved to rented premises on the local farm. Technical preparation for production was handled by Mr. Milan Melichar and Mr. Antonin Vesely, both with extensive experience in this field. As production expanded, the facilities at the Drozdov farm became inadequate, prompting the company to purchase several buildings in the former Harmonika Horovice complex in 2006, where NBE Corp. continues to operate to this day.


NBE Corp., currently manufacturing Jolana guitars, is located in Horovice, a small town in central Bohemia, about halfway between Prague and Plzeň. We take pride in reviving the traditional Jolana brand. Our production team consists of experienced and creative employees with years of experience in electric stringed instrument manufacturing. We prioritize high quality and excellent sound for each instrument that leaves our employees’ hands. The instruments are manufactured in a modern and well-equipped facility, where traditional production methods are complemented by modern technologies, ensuring the highest quality standards. Our guitar factory’s products are exported to both international and domestic customers, who in turn provide us with high praise and recognition. At NBE, we consider each customer as part of our own investment in development and improvement.

Our modern Jolana guitars offer guitarists high technical quality, excellent sound possibilities, exceptional craftsmanship, and a touch of nostalgia.

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