A COMPARISON BETWEEN TWO HOFNER MODEL 4576 THINLINE GUITARS
BY OLAF POETER, GERMANY:
TWO HOFNERS - TYPE 4576 (FLORENTINE CUTAWAYS) - WITH AND WITHOUT Tremolo
PRIVATE COMPARISON TEST REVIEW
On the pictures, you see two Hofner 4576 models with their specifically pointed cutaways.
At first glance, they look almost the same, but if you look more precisely, you will detect many differences!
First of all, let me explain a few details about the history of these two beauties. The
guitar with tremolo has belonged to me since 1967. The other one with the harp style tail piece is the property of an old band mate of mine, with whom I used to play from 1968 - 1969 in a German band named “The Tea Time Assorted”. In May 2009, I met him again (after 40 years!) and he still owns his Hofner in near mint condition, even though it needed some
repair work. The neck pickup had to be re-wound and to be set slightly deeper into the top of the guitar. All pots were defective (like on mine), so I replaced them using the original cables. Also, the nut
had a poor string spacing, so I built a new one.
Interestingly, both guitars had pots with the same date numbering, between week 39 and 42 in 1965! This
could indicates that both guitars may have been built at around the same time . On top of this, both are strung with Elixir strings, .011 - .049,
a fact which allows a very objective sound comparison!
Acoustically, the sound difference is pretty distinctive! The non-tremolo example sounds louder, more resonant, and has fresh overtones. Its weight is 2030
g only. The other one, due to the weight of the tremolo (+ 500 g), sounds not quite as
loud; in a way compressed and with a slightly shorter sustain, obviously caused by the flatter string angle on the bridge. The bridge construction may have an influence, too. The tremolo model has the bridge with needle bearings and plastic saddles, the other one is fitted with a
Micromatic type with a rosewood base.
Played through a 30 Watt all-tube Class A amplifier, the above mentioned sound
characteristic can be found again. The non-tremolo Hofner has a full, rich jazzy tone, whereas the other one sounds more like
60's Beat and Rock ’n Roll. In other words - both are sounding great! When it comes to the various pickup combinations, you hear one more peculiarity:
if one selects both pickups, the tremolo type Hofner provides the typical “bell-like” sound, unlike the sister guitar, which does not sound as expected. The reason why is
I suppose the following one: the fretboard of the non-tremolo is longer behind the 22nd fret which leads to a
shorter distance (-10 mm) between the two pickups. Also, one guitar is equipped with the 513 type single coils,
and the other one with the 511 staple humbuckers! This fact contributes probably to the general tonal difference, too.
One more visual difference is the construction of the pickguard. The tremolo
Hofner has a 3-ply (b/w/b) one, square cut at the bridge pickup. The other one has a 5-ply pickguard (b/w/b/w/b) with a big radius around the bridge pup. Furthermore, the
tuners differ as well. There are covered, solid steel tuners on the tremolo model and open ones with plastic buttons on the other one. It is unbelievable, that this pair of guitars was built
at around the same time, isn’t it? Anyway - they sound and feel excellent, and they are in great condition! Mine is still on stage once in a while and my friend’s Hofner will be also played a lot
more in the future, now that it was repaired!
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