c1966 HOFNER PRESIDENT ACOUSTIC ARCHTOP GUITAR

CONVERSION TO ELECTRIC

SERIAL No:

 

COURTESY OF OLAF POETER, GERMANY:

 

This guitar was originally one of the acoustic versions of the President 66 model. Olaf has a similar Hofner acoustic archtop - a 455 model - which sounded much better than this President. He therefore decided to convert the President to electric, using a circuit that would incorporate two volume controls and no selector switch, but wished to maintain its appearance as near to original as possible to that of other Hofner electric archtops of the period. I think that he has definitely succeeded.

 

 

 

The un-lacquered headstock fascia - see Olaf's comments below

 

 

 

DETAILS OF OLAF'S ELECTRICAL CONVERSION:

 

 

In Olaf's Own Words....

"Un-avertedly, I found a set of Hofner Diamond Pickups on Ebay (new ones, split-able), which I mounted onto the guitar. It was not easy to decide on the wiring and control setup. As you see, I made it very different from the original, vintage President, which has 1 x Volume and 2 x Tone, controlled by a toggle switch. Mine has 2 x Volume (independent from each other) and a master tone (with a 33 nF Cap). I never liked the original toggle with the ugly cutout in the pickguard!

By the way - the wiring was not that simple! When I pulled up both volumes first, I got a weak out-of-phase sound. So I changes the polarity of the bridge pickup. That might be different on other pickups, which may have a different magnetic polarity. It is important that the copper shielding should remain on ground. (If you put it to the center soldering spot of the pot, you get a noise when you touch the pickup housing.

Also, I positioned the bridge pickup a little further away from the bridge. This leads to a better sound; not as harsh and aggressive as on the vintage model. Surprisingly, the 33 nF capacitor matches very well with a good jazzy tone! The treble bleed works very smooth and evenly over the pots range.

The pickguard is the original one, I just cut out the pickup areas and filed the cutout contours to a 45 degree angle, so that the white line gets visible.

I learned also something about the headstock fascia treatment. After 2 failed clear coating trials, I sanded the lacquer down and I polished the plastic surface with the MOP inlays. The result is a very clean surface without any paint cracks - even with some gloss to it (see above pictures).

Remarkably is the fact that the tuning machines look like new after polishing. This guitar was never really played, so the frets needed a polishing job only. I did not even have to adjust the neck's curvature!

As a summary, this guitar will stay in my collection, because it sounds amazing, and is very versatile too. In my opinion, it looks as a President should look like. The control set up is simple, but more useful than the Toggle / 1 x Volume / 2 x tone original."

 

 




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