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David Bowie’s Beautiful Framus 12 String Guitar

David Bowie Framus 12-string

This Framus 12 string guitar has a unique combination of specs all of which makes it instantly recognizable. Even now as a vintage guitar, the Framus 12 string guitar can be found in great shape.

The guitar has many dents and bumps, like most vintage instruments. However, it still sounds as great as it did in the 70s when David Bowie played it. This guitar isn’t just a collector’s item; it can still rock out when played!

Don’t forget to check our blog about the best 12-string guitar in history.

Framus 12-String Guitar
Image by Heritage Auction

David Bowie’s Framus 12 String Guitar

Made InGermany
Model: Texan 5 296
Body: Mahogany
Top:Laminated Maple
Neck: Maple
Scale: 62.5cm
Nut Width: 1 5/8″
Weight: 5 lbs
Fretboard: Rosewood
Frets: 21 + Zero Fret
Tailpiece: N/A
Bridge: Bolt-on bull bar
Inlays:Pearl dot
Truss Rod:Adjustable
Case: Vintage Chipboard Case
Design: Framus Mustache Bridge

Texan 5 296 Body Type

The Framus Texan 5/296 has a mahogany body that simply needs no introduction. It has an appealing tone, and it is an environment-friendly wood. It is unknown why Bowie chose this guitar with mahogany, but it can be assumed that it was because of its rich tonality.

Mahoganies are typically sourced from the Belize River. Big Leaf mahogany logs were immersed there for a hundred years after sinking on their way to a wooden mill due to their varying density.


If you’re looking for the perfect wood for a fingerboard, rosewood is one of the best options.    Rosewood is a popular choice for guitar fingerboards due to its rich and warm tone. The David Bowie 12 string guitar features a rosewood fretboard, known for its softer feel and less reflective nature. 

The Framus Texan 5 296 has a rosewood fretboard with prominent pores and natural oils that contribute to its distinctive sound. Indian rosewood, commonly used in instrument-making, boasts a uniform appearance and is favored for its high quality, affordability, and easy availability.

With a rosewood fretboard, guitarists can enjoy more control over their sound and feel, particularly when using advanced playing techniques. 

A Rosewood fretboard may provide you more control over the sound and feel of your guitar strings if you choose to use more advanced techniques when playing.

12 string guitar
Image By Framus Guitars


The Framus Texan 5 296 has a bridge that is firmly in place, which is essential for acoustic guitars. The tonality of a guitar depends quite a bit on the action of a guitar, and it is evident that the movement has a lot to do with a stable and proper bridge.

If the bridge of a guitar is floating around or is unstable, then it can create all sorts of trouble for the player.

The four screws are bolts in thick ring guitar. What they do is firmly set in under the top of the guitar to aid in keeping that bridge on nice and tight. Many guitars have two bolts on screws, and some have six. But in this framus texan 5/296  guitar, four seems just enough for Starman to make history with it. Check out what makes a 12-string guitar bridge different.


The weight of a guitar plays a significant role in determining the tonality. If a guitar is heavy, like the Framus 12-string guitar, it produces a thicker and much fuller tone. It also provides excellent sustain. 

Heavier guitars have better sustain and a thicker, fuller tone. However, playing a heavier guitar is more challenging than playing a lighter one. Heavier guitars typically have more sustain and resonance than lighter guitars. 

This is frequently due to the type of wood and the body size. Thicker guitar bodies produce a fuller, warmer, and louder sound.

12 string guitar Texan 5 296

It’s also important to remember how your guitar’s body type affects your tone. Solid-body guitars are made from a thick piece of wood with no gaps inside. This improves the sustain while also reducing feedback issues.

What Makes This Guitar Unique?

The mustache bridge is an absolute work of art with this David Bowie 12 string guitar. It has so many unique attributes to it, and by unique, it means that such a bridge is not seen on any other guitar brand.

Ideal Genres

12-string guitars sound fantastic in songs with dominant rhythm sections. The parts can, of course, be played on 6-string guitars, but 12-string guitars sound so much better. The Framus Texan 5 296 12-string guitar is a perfect example of an instrument that can truly elevate the overall sound.

One of the best aspects of the 12-string guitar is its similarity to a 6-string. Anything written for a 6-string can instantly have its sound upgraded with that extra octave, and anything written for a 12-string can easily be played on a 6-string if you don’t have one lying around.

As a result, we often overlook dedicated 12-string guitar riffs and songs, preferring to pretend they are 6-string guitar parts in the first place.Don’t forget to check out the easy 12-string guitar songs here.

Framus 5 296

Pros And Cons of the Framus 12 String Guitar


Craftsmanship: Made in Germany, known for high-quality craftsmanship

Body: The mahogany body provides a warm and rich tone

Maple Top: Laminated Maple top enhances resonance and sustain


Electronics: Lack of electronics may limit connectivity options for certain performance settings

To read about more 12-string guitars click here.

David Bowie’s Musical Journey

Back in 1976, when David Bowie was in his late twenties, he presented an appearance that was remarkably slim and strikingly pale. Sporting two parts of a three-piece black suit and stylishly gelled hair, he embraced the persona of the Thin White Duke, almost resembling a rebellious scion of European aristocracy.

Bowie’s creative journey was enriched by the embodiment of diverse alter egos, including Ziggy Stardust and many other personas. The David Bowie 12 String guitars are quite famous and recognizable.


Tragically, on January 10, 2016, just days after releasing his final album “Blackstar,” the music world mourned the loss of a true visionary. Though Bowie’s physical presence is no longer with us, one element that often stood out was his love for the Framus 12-string guitar among his countless unique guitars and basses. 

It is assumed that Bowie found this Framus Texan 5 296  guitar in 1967 from the esteemed Manny’s Music Store in New York City. Its resonant and jangly tonality suited his sound, adding a signature touch to some of his most celebrated compositions, including “Space Oddity,” “The Man Who Sold the World,” etc.

Framus 12 String Guitar FAQs

Rafsan Ahmed

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