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THE GOLDEN HOFNER - FACT FILE

 

Golden Hofner No 67


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The Golden Hofner is for collectors the ultimate Hofner. Glamorous and rare, the values of Goldens on the vintage guitar market have rapidly increased over the last twenty years. So what is so special about these Hofners?

The Golden Hofner was in the Selmer catalogues between 1959 and 1962, although shipping doesn't seem to have commenced until 1960 and continued for a year or two after 1962. Less than one hundred were produced, of which approximately seventy were a mixture of acoustic and electric standard body guitars, and up to twenty five or so were electric Thinline bodies. 

Only a blonde finish was available of course, and all metalwork was gold plated. The guitars were a cocktail of exotic timbers, mother of pearl inlays, pearloid and veneer binding and purfling. The body size is the largest of any Hofner, with the lower bout measuring 18" across. Flame maple was used for the back and sides of the body, with the top usually (but not always!) being carved from solid spruce. The finger board was made from Grenadilla ebony, and this was seated upon an eleven piece (yes, 11 piece!) laminated neck. Although at first glance, the Golden looks similar to the Committee, the Committees at that time only had a 17.5" wide body, and the back and sides are almost always birdseye maple. Of course, the Committee doesn't boast gold plating, the eleven piece neck, and the massive amount of purfling of the Golden either! Generally white pearloid binding/purfling was used on the Golden, but occasional examples (such as Acoustic No 16) were fitted with a beautiful dark grey/brown pearloid and black binding/purfling. 

All electric Goldens had two pickups, the type of which was dependent on when each particular guitar was assembled. The earliest Goldens had the Type 1 "Black Bar" single coil pickup", and the last ones made had the twin coil "Super" Type 511 units. Examples fitted with Type 2 "Toaster" pickups also exist. The Hofner rectangular control consul was fitted in all cases.



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Production of the Golden was commenced in late 1959, but despite this early date, all Goldens have truss rods fitted. The pickups fitted to the two electric guitar versions span four eras: the black bar pickups, the "toaster" type, the Diamond-Logo Type 510s, and finally the "Super" Type 511 twin-coil units. The "Escutcheon" type tailpiece is ornately engraved and gold plated of course. (At the time of Golden Hofner production, the Committee was fitted with the "Lyre" tailpiece, though in about 1963/64, this was changed to a chrome "Escutcheon" type.) The machine heads of the Golden were a top quality enclosed type throughout the whole production period. Finely detailed buttons were fitted, but these are fragile and there is a tendency for the extremities of the button to break off.

THE GOLDEN HOFNER GALLERY:

(Note: It would appear that two separate Serial Number Series were adopted for the Golden Hofner - one for standard body acoustic and electrics and one for Thinline body electrics. This is in keeping with the policy adopted for other Hofner models such as the President and Senator. It has not yet been ascertained whether the Thinline number series commenced at 1 or 10.........or somewhere in between!)

 

A: STANDARD BODY

 

 

B: THINLINE BODY

 

 

 

Golden Hofners Nos 6 & 7. The last time they met must have been back in 1960 at the Hofner Bubenreuth workshops!

 

For more detailed information on Golden Hofner constructional details related to Serial Numbers, click HERE

 


 

 

THE HOFNER DELUXE MODEL

 

1958 Selmer Catalogue Scan, supplied by Peter Kane.


The fore-runner to the Golden was the Hofner Committee Deluxe guitar, which seems to be even rarer than the Golden! I believe that this was produced around 1958-59. The 11-piece neck and the additional purfling on the rear of the guitar are all very similar to the Golden, although the Deluxe does seem to have wider purfling on the bodytop. The only real differences between the Deluxe and the Golden is that the body width is 17.5" on the Deluxe and 18" on the Golden. The Deluxe does not of course have a truss rod, being produced pre-1960. 

My guess is that Hofner started off the serial numbers for the Deluxe at 100. The highest number that I have found so far is in the 140's. If my guess is correct, that would make the Deluxe a very rare and desirable guitar !



Hofner Deluxe No 117

 


 

There is a mystery guitar that is associated with the British Rock-n-Roll star of the 1950's, Tommy Steele. Tommy was often pictured with what at first glance appears to be a Hofner Committee, but with an Escutcheon type tailpiece, and....a single black bar pickup in the bridge position which is almost certainly factory fitted. I can only assume that this guitar is a Deluxe with E1 type electrics. If anyone has further information about the guitar, I should be grateful if they would make contact with me..

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For more detailed information on Hofner Deluxe constructional details related to Serial Numbers, click HERE.

 

 


 

THE HOFNER MODEL 470

Hofner supplied the Golden only to Selmer, and hence these guitars were made available only on the UK market and, I suppose, the old British Commonwealth countries, which were also within the Selmer sales area. For the rest of the world, Hofner produced the Model 470 as their top-of-the-range guitar. The 470 is basically a Golden, but with a Committee-sized body, a post 1963 headstock shape with a President style mother of pearl inlay design, and Club 60 design fret markers. All rather a hotch-potch! However, the eleven-piece neck is there, together with the gold plating and the Golden style body binding & purfling.
This model had a very much longer production run than the Golden, being available from the late 1950's (i.e the time when the Golden was conceived) through to the 1980's. Hence the Hofner 470 is considerably more available on the present day vintage guitar market. Not quite in the same class as the Golden or Deluxe though!!




As a final postscript to the story, a guitar has now appeared which has a Golden Hofner Thinline body, mated with a 4680 model neck and fitted with hardware appropriate to the Golden and 470/4700 models. After some degree of research into the Hofner Company archived catalogues, it seems most likely that this was a guitar produced in 1966 as the prototype for the 4700 model, and used for the photographs taken for introducing and initially marketing the 4700 model.

Photos of this guitar, together with further details can be found on the following link:

 

 

It is highly likely that this guitar is the bizarre combination of the last Golden model and the first 4700 model to be produced by Hofner.

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