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The page where other people's Hofners are featured.


HOFNER ARCHTOPS AND SEMI-ACOUSTICS
EUROPEAN & US MARKET MODELS: 1949 to 2000

 

Two Beautiful Hofner Archtops: a 1957 Hofner 456/S and a 1956 Hofner 456/S/E2, courtesy of Guy Audoux.

The following picture-sets of Hofner archtop and semi-acoustic guitars have been sent to me over the years by their owners. This has allowed me to present a much greater range of models and vintages than encompassed by my own collection, and maybe this will help other visitors to the site to identify and date their own Hofner.

Click on the underlined heading for each guitar to view photographs of that particular example.




1. "CLUB" TYPE SMALL-BODIED THINLINES:


HOFNER MODELS 125, 126, 127, & 128 "CLUB-STYLE"

Often called "Cluib-Style" or simply "Club" guitars as that was the name given by Selmer to the UK equivalent instruments. Small hollow-bodied archtops (17" x 13" x 2") with no sound-holes. Fitted with either one (Model 125 & 127) or two (Model 126 & 128) pickups. The 125 & 126 were the budget Clubs The 127 and 128 was the deluxe versions. Made between 1954 and 1970.


HOFNER MODEL 1260 "CLUB-STYLE" GUITAR WITH BUILT IN AMPLIFIER AND LOUDSPEAKER

This guitar can really only be considered as barely more than an experimental model. It did actually appear in the "New Guitars" supplementary price list of Spring 1960 together with the Fledermaus guitar, but not in the main Hofner price list. I haven't been able to find any reference to it in any Hofner catalogue. Very few are in existence, and the controls and electrical circuitry seem to vary between examples. Walter Hofner was very interested in guitar circuitry, and this was no doubt just one of his projects.

The 1260 was basically a 126 Club-Style guitar fitted with a transistorised amplifier circuit, a battery, and a small loudspeaker. This all leads to a heavy guitar with limited sound quality and battery endurance. It would seem that they were not a success and hence, just as with the Fledermausguitarre, the model had disappeared within months.

 

 

 

HOFNER "THINLINE CLUB" MODEL 

This particular version of the Club guitar model is rather a mystery. When I first saw an example, I assumed that it was either a prototype or some sort of special order. Now that I have seen several more identical examples, it is becoming obvious that this was in fact a production guitar. It differs from the conventional "Club" in that it has a 1.25" deep body instead of 2". It also has a totally different type of neck, which seems very similar to that used on the early 1960's Hofner solids and which is bolted to the body instead of using a glued joint as is usual with the Club guitars. In addition, the headstock is of the 6-a-side type. I can find no reference to this model in any of the old Hofner catalogues that are available to me.

My guess is that it was a model produced by Hofner for a large retailer (such as Sears in the US) to be sold under the retailer's brand-name. Evidence of this is provided by the fact that there is no Hofner logo anywhere on the guitar, apart from on the pickup (Type 510) casings. Another item of evidence is that all examples that have surfaced to date have been in the US.

By the way, the name "Thinline Club" is my own designation, as I have no idea as to the correct model name under which they were retailed.


 

HOFNER MODEL 4579(i) - SEMI ACOUSTIC

A very rare guitar that does seem to be an attempt at recreating the "Club" style of a small single cutaway semi-acoustic. This model had a body depth of 1.75" (42mm), which was a little thinner than the earlier Clubs. Introduced in early 1970, just as the earlier Club-style models were being phased out, it only seems to have been offered for a year or so, with or without a Hofner vibrato tailpiece. It was then transfigured into the second version of the 4579, which was a solid body guitar, based even more on the G...on Les Paul concept. (See Solid Guitars Gallery) 

 

 

 


2. FULL DEPTH BODY ARCHTOPS:



HOFNER MODEL 449

Bottom of the range archtop made between the mid-1950's and the early 1980's. Small body with 15" lower bout dimension and binding only around the body top. Predominantly made as a fully-acoustic version, (although some electric versions do exist), and always without a cutaway. The Hofner Congress is the UK/Selmer equivalent.



HOFNER MODEL 450

Budget full-size (16" lower bout) archtop, with minimum binding/purfling to body. Manufactured between around 1953 and the 1980's, over which time Hofner produced many variations on the theme. Majority finished in brown tobacco sunburst, but also some in wine red sunburst. Some versions in the late 50's/early 60's were characterized by the celluloid rhomboid shape on the headstock. Early ones just had a plain varnished headstock without fascia. Most had no binding to the soundholes and body back, but this did eventually changed in later models, with binding appearing on the back of the body at the end of the 1960's.




HOFNER MODEL 455

Traditional archtop styling, but with laminated maple tops and (slightly) flamed maple top and sides. The 455 was finished in a brown tobacco sunburst finish, but this was changed to a red shaded fish for a time during the 1960's. Binding to back and sides of body, but earlier guitars did not have neck binding. Initially the rhomboid headstock fascia design was used, but this was changed on later guitars to the three pearloid/tortoishell strip design. Made both with and without cutaway. Produced between 1949 & 1970. Acoustic & Electric (one, two, or three pickup) versions available.


HOFNER MODEL 4550

A large-bodied archtop guitar, very similar to the Hofner 456 below, but with a 17" lower bout dimension. Fully bound, all maple laminate body. A light mottled pickguard was usually fitted. Produced between 1955 and c1970.


HOFNER MODEL 456


When Hofner re-commenced production in Moehrendorf, Bavaria after WW2 in 1949, the 456 was one of the archtop models offered. A very similar archtop had been produced with that model designation before the onset of the war when Hofner were based at Schoenbach in Bohemia.
The 456 was intended to be Hofner's mid-range archtop, utilising nicely flamed maple for the body back & sides, with a maple top. A good standard of ornamentation was used on the guitar, with binding/multi-purfling around body top & back edges and soundholes, with the rosewood neck also bound. Pearloid strips were used for the fretmarkers, and on all but the very earliest guitars, a pearloid/tortoishell/pearloid celluloid fascia covered the front of the headstock.
There can be problems differentiating between the 455, 456, and 457 models, particularly as Hofner seems to have continually revised the detail cosmetics of these models over the years. The main basic difference between the 456 and the slightly later 457 is that the 456 had a maple body top and the 457 had a spruce top. Both the 455 and the 456 had maple tops, but the ornamentation on the 456 was of a higher standard than the 455. For example, the 455 was not provided with binding to the neck initially, though later examples (after the demise of the 456) did gain this feature.</p>
Initially the 456 was only supplied in brown sunburst finish. Later, a natural blonde finish was available, and some examples even have a red-burst finish.
As with the rest of the Hofner range, the 456 was available from c1954 with the option of factory fitted electrics.
The 456 disappeared from the range in 1962, by which stage the 457 model would seem to have taken over as Hofner's principle mid-range archtop.



HOFNER MODEL 457

Hofner's mid-range archtop. Similar in appearance to the 456 model, but with spruce top (solid carved spruce into the 60's). Nicely flamed maple back and sides. Available with or without cutaway, and electric (one, two, and even three pickups with or without active circuits) or acoustic. Produced from 1952 onwards, and still in the price lists in the 1990's.

 

HOFNER MODEL 458

A "Black Beauty". Conventional Hofner archtop with a laminated maple (or sometimes sapele!) body top, back, and sides, but with a high gloss black lacquer finish which is very attractive. Basically, the 458 was a deluxe version of the 456 model. Produced from 1954 to 1966.

HOFNER MODEL 459 (FIRST SERIES)

Very similar to the Model 457, but with "sickle" shaped soundholes and usually (but not always!) a twin trapeze tailpiece, similar to the one used on old Epiphones. Solid spruce top and generally a birds-eye maple sides & back. Introduced in 1952, the 459 remained in the Hofner price lists until 1960, although strangely at least one or two seem to have been made in the early/mid 1960s.



HOFNER MODEL 459 (SECOND SERIES)

The model number was resurrected for use with a totally different guitar to the 1950's Model 459. This was a violin shaped guitar with six strings, based on the 500/1 bass guitar. Bolt-on neck. Bar type fret markers and vine-style mother of pearl headstock inlays. Two pickups fitted, with or without active electronics. A deluxe version called the 459VTZ-Super was made in very small numbers. The 459(ii) models were produced from 1967 through to the very early 1970's.



HOFNER MODEL 460

This model appears to have been produced only between 1949 and 1954, and hence there are not many examples about. It seems to have been the deluxe version of the Model 456. Finished in glossy black lacquer, and with the "up-market" Lyre tailpiece. The headstock has a "rocket" inscribed in the usual pearloid and tortoiseshell headstock fascia. The black-finish, but lower spec Model 458 took over from the 460 in 1954.



HOFNER MODEL 461

The one with two "Seal" soundholes and a third oval one adjacent to the neck. Many were finished in beautiful black lacquer, but Hofner seem also to have used the full colour palette on this model...see below! Good quality guitars, made between 1951 and 1964.



HOFNER MODEL 462

The two soundholes are usually described as "cats-eye" type. Spruce body top (carved solid spruce on earlier guitars) and flame maple back and sides. General fitted with "two-prong" trapeze tailpiece. Made between 1951 and 1970. Acoustic and electric models available.



HOFNER MODEL 463

The one with the mahogany back and sides. Solid carved spruce top, plus very ornate binding/purfling around the body sides. Produced over a very long period from 1949 into the 1980/90's.



HOFNER MODEL 464

The soundholes get cooler! Two "sickle" shaped soundholes plus a single ornamented rhomboid hole adjacent to the neck. Usually deep red lacquer sunburst finish. My guess is that Hofner originally intended this model to be an acoustic only, due to the rhomboid sound hole causing problems with the fitting of a neck pickup. However, 464's do exist which have been factory fitted with a single pickup located mid way between the neck and bridge. Made between 1954 to 1968.



HOFNER MODEL 465

The 465 was the "Master Class" model of the five archtop models offered by Hofner when they first re-commenced production in 1949 after WWII. A high quality archtop guitar, usually with a carved spruce top and, offered with either rosewood or birds-eye maple back and sides. Very classy herring-bone body purfling, and ebony fretboard plus mother of pearl headstock & fingerboard inlays. In the price list between 1949 and 1970, although most seem to have been made in the 1950's.


HOFNER MODEL 468

Cousin to the Committee model. Top quality flame (but occasional birds-eye) maple back and sides, and heavy mother-of-pearl inlays to neck and headstock. Introduced at Frankfurt in 1953 and produced through to 1968 in both acoustic and electric versions. It appears to have been replaced by the Model 471 which appeared in 1969.

The main differences between the UK distributed Committee and the European/US market 468 are: the Committee invariably had a birds-eye maple back and sides; the 468 never had the large "frondose" headstock; the inlays on the 468 are the "bell-flowers" for the headstock, and "bow-tie" on the fingerboard. The Committee has "rose" and "rose & leaf" inlays.



HOFNER MODEL 470

Top-of-the-range archtop with large body (Committee size - 21" x 17"/17.5" x 3"). Almost in the same league as the Golden Hofner, which had an 18" body..........but not quite! Fitted with a smaller headstock inlaid with "lilies of the valley" rather than the Golden's frondose headstock and more delicate "rose" style inlay. Also "bow tie" fret position markers instead of the Golden/Committee's "rose and leaf". Nothing like as rare as the Golden, possibly because it was produced over a much longer period - late 1950's into the early 1990's, but a very classy and beautiful guitar nonetheless. 

 

HOFNER MODEL 471

Introduced in 1969, this model seems on the face of it to have been the replacement for the Hofner 468 which was phased-out at about that time. However, it was of a higher quality than the 468, and in fact was a more expensive guitar than the 470. It would seem that Hofner were trying to produce a more modern top-of-the-range guitar than the old models. The 471 had a large body (17" lower bout, 3.5" deep) and was available in acoustic or electric formats. One difference to the 468 & 470 models was that the 471 had a Florentine body cutaway. Other distinctive features were the one-piece very slim and flat maple neck, the slender elongated F-holes, the large mother of pearl block fret markers set in the ebony fingerboard, and the double fleur-de-lys headstock inlay. It was in the catalogue up to 1977, and a thinline version with similar features, designated the 4710, was also produced over the same period.    

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 477

Very similar to the Selmer distributed President, but with elongated F-holes and a wider (17") body. Produced in both fully acoustic or electric-acoustic versions and all with a Florentine cutaway. Generally red/yellow sunburst, but also in natural finish as can be seen below. The bodies were very deep compared to other archtops. Hofner's mid-range archtop for the 1970's. Made between 1969 and 1994.

  • 1970's HOFNER MODEL 477 ACOUSTIC
    An immaculate blonde finish example of the 477 acoustic version. The deep body and shallow neck heel is well illustrated by the photos. Pictures taken courtesy of Music Ground, Leeds, England


  • c1970 HOFNER MODEL 477 ACOUSTIC
    A really lovely acoustic model that has been given a "floating" neck pickup at some stage. The guitar still has the triple dot fretmarkers, but also has the later silver script Hofner headstock logo. Owned by Klaas van der Ploeg in Holland.

  • 1980's HOFNER MODEL 477 ELECTRIC
    This particular blonde finish guitar is one of the latter ones with the Schaller pickups and the single fingerboard marker dots, as opposed to the triple dots on the earlier guitars. Owned by Guy Audoux in France.

  • c1980 HOFNER MODEL 477 ELECTRIC
    This near-mint example has the more usual red/yellow sunburst finish. It is slightly different in detail to the one above. Hofner tended to make many changes to their archtop specs throughout this period. Owned by Ron Melotte in The Netherlands.

HOFNER MODEL 478

A large bodied guitar (17¼" lower bout), only made for a short period around 1977, in both fully acoustic and electric versions and aimed presumably at the Jazz market. The electric version was fitted with a single floating pickup mounted on the end of the fingerboard.


HOFNER A2L MODEL

This lovely archtop was presumably intended to take over as Hofner's top-of-the-range archtop from the 470 model, who's retail price was very similar. However, the 470 continued in the catalogue after the A2L had been introduced in 1978......and was still there well into the 1990's, nearly ten years after production of the A2L ceased in 1985/86!

The A2L was a little different to the 470 however, in that it was fitted with a single "floating pickup" mounted on the end of the fingerboard, as opposed to the pickups of the 470 being fitted directly onto the body top. Also, the A2L didn't have the gold plated hardware of the 470, although the beautiful flame maple, mother of pearl, and rich purflings were still there. It was intended to be more of a guitar for the purist jazz player. A thinline version called the A2HL (see below in the Semi's & Thinline Section) was also produced during the same period.



HOFNER ATTILA ZOLLER MODELS

Designed in conjunction with the late Attila Zoller, possibly to take over the role of the A2L, this small range of guitars was very much Hofner's pinnacle of archtop construction, overshadowing even the 470 model. (In fact the price of the AZ "Award" version was 50% higher than that of the 470!) The Standard model (later supplemented by the AZ Special) was pretty luxurious, with solid spruce top, flamed maple back and sides, rosewood fingerboard, and large ornate mother of pearl block fret-markers. The Award model was blonde finished, had gold-plated metalwork, ebony fingerboard, and was of strictly limited production. The "AZ" was produced between 1982 and 1991.

The AZ Special seems to have been produced in small numbers in parallel with the Standard model from 1989. This was fitted with a "lyre" tailpiece instead of the Standard's special AZ unit. 

In 1989, Hofner introduced a higher-spec AZ model called the AZ Collection. This had a Bordeaux Red finish and gold-plated hardware. This is a very rare model indeed, as only one or two were actually produced. A high quality thin-line semi-acoustic called the AZ Fusion was also produced between 1989 and 1991.

 

HOFNER JAZZICA

One of the great designs which resulted from the employment of Klaus Schöller in the Hofner factory from 1986 onwards. (Herr Schöller is now Chief Executive of the Hofner Company.) This guitar was a revolution in archtop design when it first appeared in 1989. A highly tapered body width provided ease of playing the guitar, the joining of the neck to the body at the 16th fret aided access to the fingerboard, and the "slash" type soundholes and stunning finishes on offer certainly caught the eye! A laminated spruce top was used and this, together with the mounting of the Shadow Attila Zoller pickup off the body top by attaching it to the end of the fingerboard (floating pickup), provided the correct acoustic properties for a Jazz guitar. The Jazzica, later called the Jazzica Standard, remained in the catalogue up to 1998.

A year or so later, in 1991, a Jazzica Special model was introduced which, being a blonde finish, was provided with binding around the rear body edge. (The original Jazzica had no binding on the body back, presumably as this would not have fitted in aesthetically with the dark gloss finishes chosen for it and the overall style of the guitar.) The earlier versions of the Special still had a laminated body top, but by 1997 this had been changed to solid carved spruce.

The final and longest lasting version, called the Jazzica Custom model, appeared in 2000 and was a development of the Jazzica Special, with rear body binding, floating Hofner pickup, ornate headstock design, and blonde, occasionally brown sunburst, and violin varnish finishes on offer. The Jazzica disappeared from the Hofner Catalogue at the end of 2008.


  • c1990 HOFNER JAZZICA CATALOGUE SCAN
    This scan shows two of the gorgeous finish options available when the Jazzica was first introduced, and also the tapering body.

  • 1991 HOFNER JAZZICA
    A very special example, as this one has been signed-off on the body label by Klaus Schöller himself. It was made to special order for Toni Denjer in Germany, and this again is recorded on the body label. The finish is turquoise sunburst, which really does suit the original flamboyant Jazzica design concept. Another design feature evident on the first Jazzica version is the heavily rounded neck heel, which is demonstrated on this particular guitar. I have to say that the early Jazzica design is a great personal favourite of mine! Owned by Alan Cramp in England.


  • 1993 HOFNER JAZZICA
    The same version of Jazzica as the one above, but this particular guitar has the red sunburst finish. Other one from Alan Cramp's collection, and it is currently for sale!

  • c1994 HOFNER JAZZICA SPECIAL
    The differences between the Special and the original Jazzica are pretty obvious with regard to the body and neck heel treatment. However, the Special still retains the nice gold plated tailpiece and the Shadow pickup.

  • 2003 HOFNER JAZZICA CUSTOM
    The current version of the Jazzica, by way of comparison with the early versions above. This one has the less common sunburst finish, and is owned by Les Piggin in Yorkshire, England.

  • c2002 HOFNER JAZZICA CUSTOM CATALOGUE SCAN
    This scan shows the blonde finish version of the Jazzica, together with that tapering body again.


3: THINLINE ARCHTOPS & SEMI'S:


THE HOFNER MODEL 4500


Bottom of the range Hofner Thinline Archtop, produced between 1965 and 1984. Based on the 450 archtop, but always with cutaway to body. Brown sunburst finish usually, but there are red sunburst examples. Fitted with either one or two pickups.

  • c1966 HOFNER MODEL 4500
    This example, with slightly modified electrics, is owned by Soren Koch of Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • LATE 1960's HOFNER 4500/E2/V
    Hofner retained the rectangular control consul and Type 510 pickups on the 4500 until into the early 1970's. This fine example, owned by Giorgio Richiardi from Italy, is also equipped with the factory-option vibrato tailpiece.

  • c1967HOFNER MODEL 4500/E2/V 
    A fine example of a later 4500, with its triple dot fret-markers and plastic Hofner headstock logo. This guitar has a body date that is four years earlier than its assembly date! Now owned by Denis Kuhl in Australia.

  • LATE 1960'S 4500/E2
    Another nice example of the late 1960's 4500. The plastic headstock logo had been superceeded by a gold decal type. This one is owned by Desmond Abbott of Essex, England, and has been signed by Martin Taylor.


  • Early 1970's HOFNER MODEL 4500/E2
    This 4500 has a mother of pearl dagger inlaid into the headstock. It also has the Type 511(iii) pickups that were fitted to some of Hofner's lower-priced semis during the 1970's.

  • Mid 1970's HOFNER MODEL 4500
    The 4500 was made between 1965 and 1984, which was a very long production period by Hofner's standards. Features on the model, such as headstock fascias, fret markers, and electric controls seem to have been frequently changed over the period. This guitar, owned by Heike of Germany, has the single pole Type 511(iii) pickups, double dot markers as on the 449 model, and three rotary controls.


HOFNER MODEL 4560


Thinline (2" body depth) version of the Hofner 456, produced between 1961 and 1970. Maple top and moderately flamed maple back and sides. One or two pickups. A vibrato tailpiece was fitted to many of the 4560s made.

  • Mid 1960's HOFNER MODEL 4560
    A nice example of a typical 4560, previously owned by Graham Forsaith in Australia, who supplied the pictures.

  • Mid 1960's HOFNER MODEL 4560
    A slightly later example to the one above, with the "wide" control panel, and also fitted with the Hofner vibrato tailpiece. Owned by Huub Jansz.

  • 1960's HOFNER MODEL 4560
    And one with a conventional tailpiece, owned by Jonas Williamsson from Sweden.

  • 1966 HOFNER MODEL 4560
    Finished in Hofner's beautiful "redburst". This guitar has a vibrato tailpiece and, being originally sold in Holland, a Van Wouw serial number. Owned by Mr Job de Vries in The Netherlands.


  • Late 1960's HOFNER MODEL 4560/E2
    One of the later 4560 thinlines, with the "wide" pickup surrounds and the plastic bridge with white plastic saddles. Interesting to see that this particular guitar has been fitted with a 5-piece neck instead of the usual 3-piece. Owned by Pavel Nepivoda of
    The Boom Beatles Revival Band & Orchestra in the Czech Republic


HOFNER MODEL 4570


The thinline (2" body sides) version of the Hofner 457, produced from 1960 into the early 90's. Mid-quality guitars, with spruce tops and nicely flamed back and sides. There was a similar guitar called the 4572, with 1.25" body sides, which is generally finished in red.

 

HOFNER MODEL 457-12 TWELVE-STRING

This 12-string version of the 4570 thinline archtop was introduced in 1966 and produced for around four years up to 1970. With its 2" deep body, it followed the 4570 in style and development. The very first examples made appear to have had a vertical Hofner logo on the headstock. This was soon followed by an inlaid "dagger" design with a conventional horizontally orientated logo. A Gagliano version of the 457-12 was produced which allowed importation into the US without contravening the Hofner trade-name registered with US customs by the Wm. Gratz Company.

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 4571

This model seems to have been produced for a short period in 1965, 1966, and apparently on in to 1967. It was a twin cutaway semi, with a 2" deep body...........really a twin cutaway Hofner 4570, (or a 2" deep bodies Hofner 4574). It is rather a mystery model, as there is virtually no marketing documentation for the 4571.

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 4572(i)


This is another variation on the Verithin/Model 4574. It is basically a single cutaway Verithin, i.e. it has the 1.25" body depth, usually the beautiful rich red finish, but only one Venetian cutaway. Generally fitted with a very stylish tailpiece by ABM called the "Jazz" model. Produced between 1960 and 1965. Early models have pearloid body and neck binding rather than plain white as with the Verithin, together with twin gold stripes around the body sides. There was actually a Model 4572(ii) produced in the 1970's and 80's with two "Micky Mouse" cutaways, but that was a totally different guitar - see below.



HOFNER MODEL 4572(ii)


The second Hofner model to carry the 4572 number, produced between about 1968/69 to 1988. This guitar emulated the Gibson 330 in configuration, electrics, and in body size - the body depth of the 4572 was 2". However a bolt-on neck was used. Finished in sunburst as standard, early versions of the 4572 had two new style Type 511(iii) single coil pickups and the usual two volumes/two tones/three way pickup selector switch. Later versions seem to have reverted back to 513 pickups. It is easily recognised because of its two pronounced "Micky Mouse" body cutaways.

It would seem that Hofner supplied completed 4572 bodies to the US Ovation company from 1966 through to 1969 for use on the Ovation "Storm" and "Hurricane" semi-acoustic models. That being the case, the Model 4572(ii) took its roots from the Ovation Storm design, but appears to have lasted in production for much longer than the Ovation product.


HOFNER MODEL 4573


Body outline shape the same as the 4574/Verithin, but with a deeper 40mm body (compared to the Verithin's 30mm body depth) and also a bolt-on neck. White binding was provided to the body top and F-holes, but not to the back. Produced in 1967 &
1968, it is a comparatively rare guitar. The 4573 seems to have been developed on similar principles as the thinner-bodied 4600, i.e. as a cheaper version of the highly successful 4574 guitar.

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 4574


This guitar is often called the "Verithin" in error, as strictly speaking, that name was only applied to the 4574's Selmer distributed twin-brother. (The only difference between the two models was the model/serial # label inside the body of the Selmer guitars!) Thin body depth of 1.25" (30mm) and twin Venetian (rounded) cutaways. Initially a "russett-red" finish was offered, which was quickly replaced by cherry red and brown sunburst finishes. Generally two pickups, but very occasionally three. Many 4574's had Hofner's own vibrato tailpiece factory fitted. A stereo version was available. Produced between 1960 and 1976. A Florentine (pointed) cutaway similar guitar called the 4576 was produced between 1967 and 1970.



HOFNER MODEL 4575


A 4574 with three pickups and more complex passive electronics, including a solo/rhythm switch with adjustable level difference. Some 4575's were also produced with active electronics (including fuzz or treble boost circuits) in the 1970's, and the vast majority seem to have had the Hofner factory fitted vibrato tailpiece. Those 4575's fitted with active electronics have a slightly deeper 1½" body. The 4575 was produced from the mid 1960's to the mid 1970's.


HOFNER MODEL 4576


This model was identical to the Model 4574, with the 3cm deep "Verithin" body, but had Florentine cutaways instead of Venetian as on the 4574. Produced for only three years or so between 1967 and c1970 or 1971, it seems to have been fitted with every different combination of electrics!

To read a comparison between the two guitars immediately above, written by Olaf Poeter, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 4577(i)

A thin-bodied archtop with all the features of the Selmer-distributed Hofner President Florentine Thinline. This model appeared in the catalogue in 1967, at a time when the President's sales were in steep decline in the UK. It is likely therefore that this model was Hofner's attempt to sell off stock Presidents to the rest of the world. As with the President version, the 4577 had a 16" wide and 50mm deep body with brown sunburst finish. The guitar was supplied with a conventional Lyre-style tailpiece (4577) or with Hofner's own vibrato tailpiece (4577V). It only seems to have been available for a couple of years or so, when it was then replaced by the larger bodied version below.

 

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 4577(ii)

The thin-bodied version of the Hofner 477 archtop, with a 17" wide and 60mm deep body with a single Florentine cutaway. The standard finish appears to be red/yellow sunburst. Some examples are fitted with Hofner's own patented neck-rake adjuster. Produced from c1969 at around the same time as its 477 cousin appeared, and then on into the early 1990's.

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 4578


Twin Florentine cutaways, and a thinline 2" thick body. Triple dot fretboard markers and "vine" headstock inlays. Full glued joint construction between body and neck. This guitar is very similar to the Hofner Ambassador. Two pickups and often active electronics, including fuzz and treble boost. The 4578 was made between 1967 and 1981.

  • 1966 HOFNER MODEL 4578 V / AMBASSADOR
    This guitar would appear to be actually an Ambassador, even though it was supplied by Hofner to the Dutch Van Wouw company rather than to Selmer London. Being sold within Europe rather than in the UK, it must therefore be considered as a 4578 model, particularly as it does not have a Selmer body label. It is fitted with a Hofner vibrato tailpiece rather than a Bigsby unit as it would have had if it were to be supplied to Selmer.
    My guess is that it may have been supplied to Van Wouw in order to obtain their feedback on the new 4578 model which was actually introduced in Spring 1967.
    This very interesting guitar is owned by Gerard Buter in The Netherlands.

  • 1967 HOFNER MODEL 4578 VTZ - POSSIBLE PROTOTYPE
    This guitar has strip fret-position markers instead of the triple-dot markers usually fitted to the 4578. I have only seen a photo of one other 4578 that has strip-markers, and that is the one shown in Hofner's pre-show publicity for the guitars to be introduced at the Spring 1967 Frankfurt Trade Show. There is therefore a good chance that this is either that actual guitar, or another pre-production prototype. It has been owned since 1968 by George Smith of West Sussex, England.

  • 1967 HOFNER MODEL 4578 WZM
    Now this is a rare bird - a 4578 fitted with a Wah-wah, Fuzz, and sound mix controls! Apparently the wah circuits were only fitted to special order, and hence this type of active electronics is rarely seen on a Hofner. An immaculate guitar owned by Walter Padley of New Jersey, USA.

  • c1968 HOFNER MODEL 4578 VTZ
    And a 4578 with the more usual active electrics - i.e. the Treble Boost and Fuzz Tone. The small pickup selector switch dates this as a late 1960's guitar. Owned by Graham Forsaith in Australia.


  • 1969 HOFNER POHLERT MODEL 4578 TZ
    In 1969, Hofner carried out a marketing exercise using the name of a then well known German jazz guitarist and music teacher called Werner Pohlert. Hofner had produced several special orders for this musician, for the use of himself and by some of his pupils. As an extension to this, three standard model guitars, the Hofner 497 Classical Concert Guitar, the Hofner 4578 Thinline Electric, and the Hofner 500/8 Bass Guitar, were selected for endorsement by Herr Pohlert. Special "Lyre" tailpieces were ordered for the 4578 with the name "Pohlert" engraved on, and the three guitars were marketed by means of an individual advertising "flyer".   
    The guitar shown here is such a guitar, owned by Joe Clark in Wisconsin, USA.
    It would seem that this endorsement arrangement was very short lived, maybe a year or even less, which makes these Pohlert guitars fairly rare. Individual Pohlert tailpieces do occasionally turn up for sale as accessories, indicating that Hofner purchased more tailpieces than they actually used on the guitars.


  • Late 1960's HOFNER MODEL 4578
    This example is fitted with the standard non-active electrics. It has the original three black rotary controls and "Les-Paul" type pickup selector switch that Hofner fitted to some of their electric archtops and semi's for a short period in the late 1960's. This 4578 is a little unusual, being fitted with a simple trapeze tailpiece instead of the more usual "Lyre" style. Owned by Andrew Gorringe in Wiltshire, England.


  • Late 1960's/Early 1970's HOFNER MODEL 4578 TZ
    Finished in an unusual (for a 4578) cherry red, and without a vibrato tailpiece being fitted, this guitar is owned by Bob Cocozza in Florida, USA. It had a very interesting life with its previous original owner, who worked as a professional roadie back in the 1970's. Hence, the guitar has been played by many famous guitarists back in those wild days.


  • 1971/72 HOFNER MODEL 4578 V
    Another 4578, this time from the early 1970's, fitted with the standard passive electrics. Owned by Guy Audoux in France.


  • 1970's HOFNER MODEL 4578 VTZ
    This guitar, owned by Malcolm Birse in Dubai, is fitted with the active electrics providing a treble boost and fuzz effect.

  • 1970's HOFNER MODEL 4578/T
    Another 4578 with active electronics, but this one is fitted with Treble-Boost only. It has the fairly rare Hofner treble-boost control consul, together with vibrato tailpiece and Type 513 twin-coil pickups. Owned by Johan van Wallenburg in France. 

  • c1974 HOFNER 4578V/E3
    A very rare guitar - a 4578 fitted with three pickup and those electronics usually only found on the Hofner 4575 model. Owned from new by Luiz Ribeiro in Brazil.


  • Mid to Late 1970's HOFNER 4578V/E3
    Another three pickup version, and probably one of  the last 4578's made. By this stage, the model had single fret-board dot markers and the simple "dagger" inlay on the headstock. Owned by Max Junger of Pyramid Strings in Bubenreuth, Germany.

HOFNER MODEL 4579(i) SEMI-ACOUSTIC (See also "Club" Section above.)

 A very rare guitar that does seem to be an attempt at recreating the "Club" style of a small single cutaway semi-acoustic. This model had a body depth of 1.75" (42mm), which was a little thinner than the earlier Clubs. Introduced in early 1970, it only seems to have been offered for a year or so, before being transfigured into the second version of the 4579 - a solid-body version which looked and sounded even closer to the G...on Les Paul. Offered with or without a Hofner vibrato tailpiece.

 


HOFNER MODEL 4580

This model seems to have been a development from the 4572(ii) model, with the 2" deep body, twin "Mickey Mouse" body cutaways, and a bolt on neck. However, it was initially fitted with the Type 515 "Studio" pickups but later seems to have had the 513 and 516 units. The 4580 had a dark brown finished laminated spruce top with walnut finish maple back and sides. It was produced from 1971 to 1982.

 

  • HOFNER MODEL 4580
    A nice example of the 4580, complete with the factory-fitted Type 515 pickups. 

  • HOFNER MODEL 4580
    This particular example has been fitted for some unknown reason with the standard Hofner Type 513 pickups instead of the Type 515's generally fitted to the 4580. This particular guitar is owned by James Christie. 

  • c1972 HOFNER MODEL 4580 V
    A lovely example, this time fitted with the Hofner Type 516 pickups, which were introduced around 1972. Owned from new by Scott Calamar in Oregon, USA.

 

HOFNER MODEL 4581

This guitar seems to have been a development of the 4580 model above, in that it was fitted with full-size Type 516 humbucking pickups that had a provision for coil-tapping. As Hofner said at the time....."This makes it possible to switch the instrument from a hard, sharp sound to a soft, melodic sound. The new guitar practically combines two instruments into one". The conventional 2 x rotary volume; 2 x rotary tone; 3-way pickup selector controls were fitted to the guitar, plus a switch for controlling the coil-tap located on the treble-side upper bout. It was introduced at the Spring 1976 Frankfurt Show, but lasted for less than a year. It didn't even make it into the 1977 price list!

 

  • HOFNER MODEL 4581
    A very poor quality scan taken from a March 1976 magazine article.


 

HOFNER MODEL 4582

This semi-acoustic guitar was only produced over a very short period in 1977. It had the familiar Verithin-shaped body, but with a 1.5" (40mm) body depth. It's main claim to fame was the large rotary selector switch which allowed various combinations of single or twin-coil tapings on the Schaller-made pickups. 

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 4600


Very thin 1.25" body with twin Venetian cutaways. Rounded body sides (no body binding), and with a bolt-on neck. The 4600 was made for a short time between 1966 and 1970.

  • HOFNER MODEL 4600/E2/V
    The typical 4600, complete with Hofner vibrato tailpiece. Owned by Desmond Abbott in Essex, England.

  • HOFNER MODEL 4600/E2/V
    This example is owned by Gary Brown of New York, USA.

  • HOFNER MODEL 4600/E2
    The base model, without vibrato. This particular example has black control knobs fitted. These seem to have appeared on several Hofner semi's around about 1969. Owned by Asbjorn Bonvick in Norway.

  • c1969 HOFNER MODEL 4600/E3/V
    A very unusual guitar - a 4600 fitted with the Model 4575 electrics. I have never before seen a 4600 with three factory-fitted pickups. A rare guitar, owned by Matt Jakobfl in Alberta, Canada.



HOFNER MODEL 4680


The thin-line version of the Hofner 468 model. The 4680 had a 2" deep body (with a 17" width), as opposed to the 468's conventional 3" body depth. Produced between 1961 and 1968.

  • 1967/68 HOFNER MODEL 4680/V
    A stunning example of one of the last Hofner 4680 guitars to be produced. Owned by Dr Paul Janowitz in Germany. Beautiful !!!

  • c1967/68 HOFNER MODEL 4680/E2
    This example would appear to be actually a Committee Thinline that was supplied to the US for sale as a 4680. Contrary to the usual 4680 body width of 17", this guitar has the larger 18" lower bout dimension. Owned by Andy McBroom, Florida Keys, USA.


  • c1967/68 HOFNER MODEL 4680/E2
    A similar guitar to the one above that was made as a Hofner Committee but eventually sold as a 4680 model. The use of Hofner's own vibrato tailpiece instead of a Selmer made-under-license Bigsby unit provides a clue.


HOFNER MODEL 4700


The thinline semi-acoustic version of the Hofner 470, and sharing this top-line guitar's inlay work, flame maple, and multi-piece neck (although the neck did become one-piece during the 1980's and 90's.) Produced from 1966 into the early 1990's. Usually fitted with twin pickups and sometimes a Hofner vibrato tailpiece.

  • 1966 HOFNER GOLDEN/4700 PROTOTYPE
    This guitar is almost certainly the prototype put together by Hofner in order to be able to photograph it for the marketing of the new 4700 model in 1966. It has an 18" wide Golden Hofner Thinline body fitted with a Hofner 4680 model neck. Dieter Serowy in Germany owns a guitar that could be said to be the last of the Golden Hofners and the first of the Hofner 4700 models.


  • c1967 HOFNER MODEL 4700/E2/V
    A 1968 catalogue scan, showing the 4700 fitted with Type 511 "Staple" pickups and the Hofner vibrato tailpiece.


  • Late 1960's HOFNER MODEL 4700/E2
    A typical example of this stunning model, fitted with the Type 513 "Blade" pickups.  Photos supplied by Axe-Zactly Music in New Jersey, USA who are selling this guitar (Oct 2006).

  • Mid 1970's HOFNER MODEL 4700/E3/V
    A very rare guitar, having been factory fitted with three pickups. This beautiful instrument is owned by Rodrigo F. Saldanha in Brazil.

  • 1980s HOFNER MODEL 4700/E2
    One of the last 470/4700s made, and by this stage these superb guitars were fitted with a single-piece neck rather than the 11-piece used previously. Owned by Carlos Sousa in Portugal.


  • 1980's HOFNER MODEL 4700/E2
    The same version of 4700 as the one above. A very beautiful guitar now owned by Rainer Binder in Germany.

HOFNER MODEL 4710

This thinline (2" deep body) guitar was based on the 471 archtop, which seems to have been Hofner's replacement for the up-market 468/4680 models. The 468/4680 was discontinued in 1968 and the 471/4710 models appeared in 1969. Ornate Fleur de Lys headstock ornamentation in mother of pearl, together with split fret-marker blocks in the same material were used, together with ebony fingerboard and ornate body / neck binding. The Florentine cutaway (which seems to have been popular with Hofner in the late 1960's), the gold plated hardware, and the slender elongated F-holes help identify these models. The 4710 was produced up to 1977.

 

  • c1969/70 HOFNER MODEL 4710 VTZ
    A nice example, currently under restoration, and owned by Bob Cocozza in the USA.

  • c1969/70 HOFNER MODEL 4710 E2 WITH ACTIVE ELECTRICS
    Possibly an experimental guitar as it originates from the Benker family collection. It is a straightforward early 4710 E2 model, but has been fitted with an active circuit with battery and single rotary control located on the top body bout. this guitar is now part of Max Junger's Pyramid Strings guitar collection.


HOFNER "T" SERIES


Introduced in 1978, presumably to take over from the Verithin/4574 range as Hofner's twin cutaway semi. The "T" Series had the same body outline as the Verithin but came initially with a slightly deeper 40mm all-maple body. The T2N (passive electrics and trapeze tailpiece) and the T2S (multi coil-tapping and stop tailpiece) were offered with the 40mm deep body. These were quickly displaced in 1978/79 by the T4S and T4St models, both of which used active electronics of varying degrees of complexity. 

In 1980, a final version on the theme called the T6S was introduced. This had a 30mm "Verithin" body with central sustain  block, and was equipped with active electrics. Various combinations of pickup options were offered, including the option of a bridge piezzo unit. The "T" Series was phased out around 1985 to make way for the Nightingale model.

  • HOFNER MODEL T2S - ADVERTISEMENT SCAN
    An advertisement dating from September 1979 which was placed in the UK musical press by Barratts of Manchester Ltd. Barratts were the official distributor for Hofner in the UK at that time.


  • c1979 HOFNER MODEL T2S
    At last....photos of an actual T2S, courtesy of Tony Wilson who owns this fairly rare guitar. 


  • 1979 HOFNER MODEL T4ST
    Active 3-band equalisation and "built-in octave divider on the 5th and 6th strings for real bass incidental music" !! Unlike the T4S and the T6S, this guitar has soundholes. A fascinating and rare guitar which is owned by Alfred Ruhfass in Germany.

  • CONTROL FUNCTIONS FOR HOFNER T2S & T4ST GUITARS
    Hofner attached tags to these guitars at the factory which explained what the electrical controls on the guitar did. In many cases, these tags have now been lost. Hopefully the scans on this link will assist present day owners get the best out of their guitars!

  • Early 1980's HOFNER MODEL T4S
    Similar to the above without the soundholes, but fitted with conventional pickups instead of the "octave divider" bridge pickup on the T4St. The catalogue stated that this was "a semi acoustic built to the highest standard........with Multisound System, and 3 Band EQ". Owned by Anthony Gillott Smith in the UK.

  • c1981 HOFNER MODEL T4S
    Another lovely T4S, but with slightly different controls to the one above. Owned by
    Alan Patrick in Berlin, Germany

  • 1980's HOFNER MODEL T6S - CATALOGUE SCAN
    This scan shows the T6S with one single coil and one twin coil pickup, together with active electrics.


  •  1980/81 HOFNER MODEL T6S
    This particular version of the T6S is a little different to the CatScan above, being fitted with twin Di Marzio humbucking pickups, as well as the active electronics. Owned by Alan Cramp in England.

  • c1984 HOFNER MODEL T6S
    This version of the T6S is fitted with twin humbucking pickups, active electronics, and a bridge piezzo unit. Finished all in black, it really does look the business. Owned by Detlev Goldau in Germany.




HOFNER MODEL A2 HL

As with the "T" series above, the A2 HL was also introduced in 1978. However, this model was obviously intended to be the "luxury" semi in Hofner's range at that time. Being based on the A2 L full-bodied jazz guitar except for its 2" body depth, it featured superb timbers, expensive ornamentation. It was fitted with Hofner's "multi-Sound" coil tapping system, together with an acoustic filter on the tone control. Production continued to around 1984.

Another version of the A2 HL made a brief appearance at the 1981 Frankfurt Trade Show. This guitar had twin body cutaways, less ornamentation, and simpler electrics. It was presumably a one-off prototype as it never appeared in the Hofner catalogue or price list.


  • c1980 HOFNER MODEL A2HL
    A lovely example, owned by Antonio Ongarello in Italy. as a companion to his A2L which is featured above.


  • 1979 HOFNER MODEL A2 HL
    This guitar was purchased by its original owner direct from the factory, and in fact Herr Benker, Hofner's Company President at the time, handled the sale personally. It was actually one of the first prototypes made. (See the picture page for a short history of the guitar and an explanation of the electrics). Alan Cramp is now the owner of the guitar.



HOFNER NIGHTINGALE


One of the first "new-breed" Hofners. Produced from 1986 to c2000, these are a range of high-quality semi's modelled on the Gibson 335 shape.
Although two prototype guitars with what appear to be 40mm and 60mm deep bodies appeared at the Frankfurt Show in 1985, the standard production Nightingale was first introduced into the price list in 1986. It had a 40mm deep all-maple body with maple sustain block, and was a stereo guitar with complex passive electrics incorporating the Hofner "Clear Contour Control" as fitted to the current Verythin Classic model. It was finished in black lacquer with gold plated metal parts and its block fret markers were real mother of pearl. Various "custom" options were available, including abalone off-set dot fret markers and either chrome or black-chrome hardware for no additional cost. A Kahler or Floyd Rose vibrato unit and/or a master volume control, could be specified at extra cost, together with a selection of custom finishes.
The Nightingale Anniversary model was available in 1987 to mark the Hofner Company's 100 Year Anniversary. It featured a beautiful transparent red finish.
The Nightingale Special, introduced in 1990, was an even classier instrument, with birds eye maple body in antique sunburst and an ebony fingerboard. A master volume control was fitted as standard.

  • HOFNER NIGHTINGALE
    A black-finished example with optional factory-fitted Kahler "Stud Mount" vibrato unit. This beauty is owned by Bernhard Zubrägel in Germany.

  • TWO 1986 HOFNER NIGHTINGALES
    Two Nightingales shown at the 1986 Frankfurt Trade Fair. Both these guitars have the optional dot fret-markers and one has what was at that period a custom sunburst finish.


  • 11987 HOFNER NIGHTINGALE ANNIVERSARY MODEL
    Special version of the Nightingale to commemorate the Hofner Company's 100th Anniversary. Stunning red sunburst finish and all hardware gold plated, pre-dating the Nightingale Special by two or three years. Now owned by Bob Cocozza.


  • 1992 HOFNER NIGHTINGALE SPECIAL
    The Special version of the Nightingale was only offered in antique gold sunburst finish, but really that was just right for complimenting the gold plated hardware and the ebony fingerboard. A very classy guitar, owned by Guy Audoux in France.

  • 1994 HOFNER NIGHTINGALE SPECIAL
    A stunning guitar in mint condition, which is owned by Alan Wright of Lancashire, England.

  • 1998 HOFNER NIGHTINGALE SPECIAL
    Similar to the one above, but fitted with Hofner branded pickup units, which seem to have appeared on Hofner archtops and semis in the late 1990's/early 2000's. Owned by Bob Cocozza.


  • HOFNER NIGHTINGALE CUSTOM
    This guitar is apparently one of a very small number (approx 5No.) made in 1999/2000 as prototypes when Hofner were considering the format of their next semi-acoustic model. It has all the features of the Nightingale Special, but has the "slash" soundholes of the soon to-be-launched Verythin Classic model, instead of the usual F-holes used on previous Nightingales. Owned by Bobby Reddin in California, USA.



ATTILA ZOLLER FUSION

Introduced in 1989, shortly after the Nightingale, this guitar acted as a semi-acoustic version of Hofner's top-of-the-range AZ archtops. It had a 2" deep body with a centre sustain block and utilised two AZ pickups rather than the archtops' single unit. A more technically advanced AZ Midi Fusion was also offered,  which had Shadow 1500 MU pickups which could either be used conventionally or linked up to a Midi set-up. Finishes available were antique brown sunburst, Bordeaux red sunburst, and black. Both Fusion versions were discontinued around 1991/92 after only a handful - perhaps less than ten - had been made.

 

 

 

 



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