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
Click on the underlined heading for each guitar to view photographs of
that particular example.
THE HOFNER "FOUR SQUARE"
The Four Square was one of the first pre-war Hofner guitars
distributed by Selmer, appearing only in the Selmer 1952-53 Catalogue. It has
all the features of the Square Dance below, including the flat body top and
back, but it has a 20 fret neck as opposed to the 18 fret of the Square Dance,
plus a slightly smaller body at 19.5" body length x 14.5" lower bout. Because of
the earlier body label style and lower Serial Number, I think that it is safe to assume that the Four Square pre-dated
Dance, which replaced it about a year later.
c1952 HOFNER FOUR SQUARE Is this the earliest Selmer-distributed Hofner guitar on the website? Owned by Robert Cox
in the UK, who found it in a car-boot sale, and now plays it daily.
Serial No 556.
c1952 HOFNER FOUR SQUARE With the Serial No 618, it is slightly younger
than the one above, but not by very much! Owned by Alan Tomlins in the West
FOUR SQUARE Serial No. 621,
and in remarkable condition for its age.
THE HOFNER "SQUARE DANCE"
This guitar seems to have been the
predecessor of the Congress. Small 19.5" x
14.5" x 3" body, with an 18 fret neck joining the body at the 12th fret. (Rather
strangely, the illustration in the Selmer 1953 catalogue shows the guitar having
21 frets!) It had a flat top and back, rather than arched, and the body depth
was slightly tapered. Single dot
fret markers, and very plain headstock. Presumably
replaced in the Selmer catalogue by the Congress in 1954/55.
SQUARE DANCE And the only other Square Dance that I have come across. Owned by Paul
Thompson in Scotland, who's father bought the guitar new. Serial No.
SQUARE DANCE This one still has its
original case after 50 years. Owned by Mike Hopkinson in the UK. Serial
c1954 HOFNER SQUARE DANCE
A Square Dance recently restored by Guy Audoux in France. Still with its
original case. Serial No. 2224.
HOFNER SQUARE DANCE Serial No.2225, so from the same batch as the one
above. This one was supplied with a vinyl fabric guitar
bag though. Owned by a Hofner collector in Germany.
THE HOFNER CONGRESS
The budget guitar, made only as a
non-cutaway acoustic archtop, and only in "brunette". (Early guitars
were finished in a non-sunburst brown stain, that is sometimes mistaken
for a "blonde" finish.) Produced between
about 1955 and the early 1970's, this guitar has a smaller body than
other Hofner archtops at 19.5" x 15" x 3".
(Early Congress guitars have a 14.5" lower bout dimension.) The
equivalent European market Hofner archtop was the Model 449. The
Congress was the guitar that started Hank Marvin on his way to fame.
HOFNER CONGRESS This guitar is Serial No 2238, and hence now holds the
honour of being the oldest Congress on the website! The neck meets the
body at the 12th fret, which seems the norm until about 1957. Owned by
James Gordon in Hampshire, England.
CONGRESS Serial No. 2499, owned by Dave Taylor, Dorset, England. The neck still
meets the body at the 12th fret.
CONGRESS A nice example, Serial No 3465, owned by Angus
Ironside of Yorkshire, England. The finish on the guitar has now
changed by this period from the overall brown stain of the early
Congress guitars to a more definite sunburst
HOFNER CONGRESS And another Congress from the same period as above. Serial No 3543.
However, note that the neck
now meets the body at the 14th fret. Owned by Dave Strange in North
c1957 HOFNER CONGRESS Serial No. 4424, and probably one of the last to be fitted with the
trapezium tailpiece. Owned by Dave Taylor in Dorset, England.
1957 HOFNER CONGRESS This guitar, Serial No 4939, was owned by the late Malcolm Lockyer up to his
death in 1976. As well a writing the scores for several famous films, Malcolm was
the conductor of the BBC Revue Orchestra and principal conductor of the BBC
Radio Orchestra and BBC Big Band in the 1960's and 1970's. The guitar is
now owned by Stewart Morton in Lancashire, England.
1957 HOFNER CONGRESS
In the last few months of 1957, Hofner used a very simple black headstock
fascia with a single large Hofner decal-type logo instead of he previous
mother of pearl inlaid fascia. This was presumably a cost cutting exercise.
This guitar, owned by Max Junger of Pyramid Strings, Bubenreuth, Germany,
has this feature.
CONGRESS This guitar demonstrates the revised plastic headstock fascia
that was introduced at the start of 1958 and replaced the short-lived simple
black fascia. Serial No 7726, owned by Clive Gilchrist in the
1958 HOFNER CONGRESS This Congress Serial No 7627 is particularly interesting because of the
very unusual type of tuners fitted from new. Owned by Craig Moores in
1962 HOFNER CONGRESS As time went on, the Congress headstock became plainer, but the guitar
acquired a neck truss-rod. This example is owned by Victor Oesterling in London,
CONGRESS Summer Days at Hardwick Heath, beautifully photographed by Juan Ponte
1964 HOFNER CONGRESS This guitar is rather special...........it has been signed by Rosanne
Cash. Her father, Johnny Cash, had a similar guitar and a Congress is
featured in the film "I Walk the Line". Paul Thompson in Scotland is
the lucky owner.
1965 HOFNER CONGRESS By1965, the Congress was sporting a raised plastic headstock logo. This
guitar is owned by Bob Bullock in the UK.
HOFNER CONGRESS It would appear that from around 1966 onwards, some
Congress examples were given single dot fret-markers instead of the usual
double-dots. At around the same time, the Hofner 449 model was changed to
single dot markers, and so Hofner's luthiers seem to have interchanged the
fingerboards, the 449 and the Congress being otherwise identical models.
This guitar is owned by Tim Howard in West Yorkshire, England.
THE HOFNER SENATOR
Produced in acoustic archtop, electric archtop, and thinline electric versions, all in either blonde or brunette
finishes. A single pickup was fitted to electric versions. The acoustic
was produced from about 1953 onwards, with an electric version
about 1957 onwards. The Senator Thinline appeared towards the end
of 1959. The
electric archtop and semi received a Venetian cutaway in 1965/66, with
the acoustic being likewise equipped in 1966/67. The Thinline Senator
was still in the Bell's Catalogue in 1971, but disappeared soon after.
The comparable European market Hofner archtop was the Model 455.
HOFNER SENATOR ACOUSTIC Serial No 528: the present holder of the "earliest
known" title! This guitar, owned by Chris Parkin, has a Compensator
tailpiece with the Straten logo, and a flared-top headstock with
three-piece tortoiseshell fascia and three inlaid dots.
HOFNER SENATOR ACOUSTIC Serial No 1235.
This has a three-piece dark brown tortoiseshell headstock fascia with three
inlaid central dots, but this one is symetrically shaped, being a
little later than the example above. It still has the early "Straten"
logo tailpiece though. These early Senators (and for that matter Presidents)
have a slender-shaped heel, smaller than those of later examples. Owned by Clive Brown in the
1956 HOFNER SENATOR
ACOUSTIC Another early Senator, but with the small inlaid mother of pearl cross
on a plain black ebony veneered headstock. Owned by Bob Bullock of the
1956/57 HOFNER SENATOR
ELECTRIC An early Senator electric, Serial No 2888, fitted with a single
rosewood Black-Bar pickup. A lovely blonde example owned by John Hall in
Berkshire, England. This
guitar has the larger inlaid mother-of-pearl cross motiff on the
headstock, compared to the earlier guitars.
1957 HOFNER SENATOR
ACOUSTIC No 3340, fitted with a Hofner "floating" pickup as an
after-purchase accessory in order to be able to amplify the guitar. This
form of "electrification" was widespread amongst owners of
acoustic archtop guitars during the late 1950's. Kemm Dalley, the guitar's
owner from new, has used this guitar to play Skiffle, Rock, and Jazz through
the years. See the photo of him in the 1958 Barnstormers Skiffle Group on
the linked photo page!
1958 HOFNER SENATOR ACOUSTIC A blonde, just like the one that John Lennon used to own. JL's was an
early 1958 guitar with Serial # 4697. This one, numbered 7502 and owned
by Richard, was produced around the end of 1958.
1958 HOFNER SENATOR
ACOUSTIC Another blonde acoustic version, with more detailed photos
this time. Owned by Graham Small of Pennsylvania, USA.
1959 HOFNER SENATOR
ELECTRIC Full-depth body electric Senator, with single black-bar pickup. Now owned by
Clive Brown in the West Midlands, England.
1959 HOFNER SENATOR
ELECTRIC A blonde finished version of the guitar above, and from the
same period. This one has a black lacquered neck, which Hofner tended to do
occasionally, possibly on those guitars that had a minor cosmetic defect on
the neck timbers. Owned by Graham Small in Pennsylvania, USA.
1959 HOFNER SENATOR
ELECTRIC THINLINE The thinline body version of the Senator electric
was introduced in 1959, and this one is an excellent early brunette example.
The body width is 2" instead of the standard 3¼". Part of the
Pyramid Strings collection
in Bubenreuth, Bavaria, Germany.
1960 HOFNER SENATOR ACOUSTIC A blonde acoustic version, recently restored by Harry Sibum of the
House. This is typical for the period, with the Treble Clef
plus Selmer distributorship logo headstock, and a truss rod in the
1960 HOFNER SENATOR
ELECTRIC THINLINE A thinline electric version, fitted with a single "toaster" pickup
and a Selmer made-under-licence Bigsby vibrato tailpiece which was probably
fitted by a previous owner. Being a 1960 Senator, it has a
"Selmer" Treble Clef headstock fascia and an adjustable truss rod.
Owned by Mark Banwell-Clode in Swansea, Wales.
1962 HOFNER SENATOR
ACOUSTIC, FITTED WITH HOFNER DOUBLE SLIDING PICKUP/PICKGUARD UNIT This guitar is special as it has had a double sliding pickup unit
fitted by a previous owner. These units, together with simpler single
pickup versions, were made by Hofner/Fuma and sold by Selmer in order
that owners of acoustic archtops could have to opportunity of amplifying
their instrument. Thanks are due to Angus Ironside of Yorkshire,
England for sharing this piece of 1950's/60's guitar history with us.
1962 HOFNER SENATOR
ELECTRIC THINLINE An immaculate blonde "thinline", a little later than the one above, and
with the "dagger" inlay on the black wood veneer headstock facia. Owned
by Kevin Benson in Yorkshire, England.
c1962 HOFNER SENATOR ELECTRIC THINLINE - MAKER'S
SAMPLE This interesting guitar was purchased from Selmer's Denmark Street shop in
the early-mid 1960's. The salesman explained that it was a "sample" guitar,
and indeed it looks like no other Senator. This very attractive guitar has a red finish and also a
body cutaway. One can only come to the conclusion that Hofner had made
up this special guitar in order to convince Selmer that a cutaway version of
the Senator Thinline could be offered. It took Selmer until 1965 to actually
take up this suggestion with the Senator "66" models. The possibility of
red finishes on the Senator, and maybe other archtop models, may have been
prompted by the success of the red-finished Verithin model that had
been introduced in 1960. In the event, Selmer must have rejected this
suggestion, as the only Hofner archtop production model supplied to Selmer
with a red finish still remained the Verithin.
1964 HOFNER SENATOR
ACOUSTIC Serial # 12731 indicates that this guitar was shipped to Selmer London in
early 1964, but it still has a Treble Clef headstock design, albeit without
the Selmer London logo. This serves to indicate the long transition periods
sometimes employed by Hofner when introducing new details such as headstock
designs. Owned by Trevor Croucher in North Yorkshire, England.
SENATOR "66" ELECTRIC THINLINE One of the very first "66" models made - the Serial No. of this guitar
is No.6. This is the Senator version that had a single body cutaway.
Owned by Alan Rakes in Somerset, England.
1966/67 HOFNER SENATOR "66"
ELECTRIC THINLINE - LEFT HANDED An unusual guitar, as it has been fitted with Type 510 "Diamond Logo"
pickups and three-on-a-plate tuners. This is the specification that was
used on the European/US market 4500 and 4560 of the period, so
would appear that Hofner were starting to rationalise their models at
this stage. The fact that this particular example is a left-handed,
makes it a rare guitar. Owned by Marc Moris in Belgium.
SENATOR "66" ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC GUITAR Now this is an interesting guitar! As well as being one of only about
700 Senators made with cutaways between 1965 and the early 1970's, this
particular brunette example has also been factory-fitted with the Hofner Type
515 "recording" pickup. With a Serial # of 515, it is one of the last
Senators made. Owned by Bob Mason in Yorkshire, England.
1971 HOFNER SENATOR
"66" THINLINE ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC GUITAR Similar to the above,
but this time a blonde thinline. It also has a rare Type 515 twin-coil
pickup. The serial # of this guitar is 192. The last Senator Thinline ever
recorded in the shipping records was 193, also in 1971. Owned by Mick
THE HOFNER COLOURAMA
The Hofner Colourama (not
to be confused with the Hofner Colorama)
was a very short-lived version of the Senator model. A very small number were
produced only for Selmer London for a few months in late 1956, early 1957 and I
have seen it in only one catalogue - the Selmer 1957 Season Trade Brochure which
was actually printed in September 1956. I have ever seen only one example in
real life. It has to be said that this guitar did not take off with the British
guitar players of the time!
This guitar was "flash" in the Italian style, with a glitter body finish
offered in red, gold or silver. The pickguard was white pearloid and the
headstock matched this also in pearloid, but with a glitter diamond/dagger inlay
to match the body finish. Pearloid strip fret-markers, again inlaid to match the
body finish, were provided. Other than that, apart from having a bound neck, it was really a
The Hofner "Clubs" were small hollow-bodied archtop
guitars, and this version is the basic Club model with one pickup and
very little decoration. Produced between about 1956 and 1962, and
available in either blonde or brunette finishes. Very early models have
the simple circular control panel with just volume and tone rotary
controls. From 1958/59, to the end of production, the rectangular
Hofner control consul was fitted with one rotary volume control and
three slide switches.
c1957 HOFNER CLUB 40 An early Club, and therefore fitted with a circular
consul plate. Owned by Michael Guthrie of Athens, GA, USA.
CLUB 40 A slightly later example, fitted with the Hofner rectangular control
panel. It also has a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece.
(John Lennon's Club 40 was the 1959 version with the vertical "Hofner"
headstock logo.) Owned by Hugh in the UK.
CLUB 40 This one is just like the Club used by JL! Thanks
for the picture of your guitar, Bob Keenan of the USA.
1959 HOFNER CLUB 40 And yet another JL Club ! Owned by Mike Guthrie in Athens GA, USA, and
pictured with a nice old Selmer "Rotary Selectortone" amp.
HOFNER CLUB 40 One of the first to be produced with a truss-rod and "toaster pickups."
The rounded back on this brunette example can be clearly seen. Owned by
Alan Rowlands of Liverpool, England.
1960 HOFNER CLUB 40 A blonde version in superb original condition. It even still has its
original Selmer tweed case. Owned by John Snell in California, USA.
1960 HOFNER CLUB 40
Another immaculate blonde example, owned by Terry O'Riley
in Adelaide, Australia.
HOFNER CLUB 40 One of the last Club 40's made. Fitted with a single Type 510 "diamond
logo" pickup that has been uprated to the Super 510 spec - i.e. twin
coils. Owned by Kris Hagen in Minneapolis, USA.
THE HOFNER CLUB 50
Two pickups fitted, together with either a
four rotary control oval control console on very early guitars, or more
usually the rectangular Hofner console with two rotary volumes and three
sliders; otherwise very similar to the Club 40.
c1956/57 HOFNER CLUB 50
The very first Clubs had a three-piece tortoiseshell/pearloid headstock
facia. It would appear that the Selmer serial numbers on the first
Clubs were stamped into the side of the body adjacent to the tailpiece,
rather than into the rear of the headstock as with later Clubs. This one is
Serial # 304, and it is owned by Mike Jeffs in Sussex, England.
HOFNER CLUB 50 Another example, serial # 328, from the same very early period. It is owned by Robert Harness in the UK.
CLUB 50 Another early Club 50 with the oval-shaped control console and
pickup switches. It has the triple-dot headstock facia, so it must be a
slightly later example than the one above. Owned by Nigel Paterson in
East London, England.
CLUB 50 This must be one of the last fitted with the oval-shaped control
console. In superb condition, and owned by Frank Allen of the Searchers.
1958 HOFNER CLUB 50 Just a little later than the one above, and now fitted with a
rectangular console. As nice a 1958 Club as you would find anywhere! A
blonde guitar owned by Dave Donnelly in the UK.
1959/1960 HOFNER CLUB 50 A transition guitar, featuring the black bar pickups and no truss rod,
typical of the 1958/59 Clubs, but with the Selmer Treble Clef headstock
facia. Owned by Paul Johnson of Hampshire, England. The picture also
features Paul's lovely croc-skin Selmer Concorde 8 amplifier.
1960 HOFNER CLUB 50 The next stage of the Club's development - a truss rod in the neck and
"Toaster" pickups. This lovely blonde example is owned by Guy
Audoux in France.
1962 HOFNER CLUB 50
of the later Clubs, fitted with the Type 510 "diamond logo"
pickups. Owned by Tas in Adelaide, Australia.
1963 HOFNER CLUB 50 -
CATALOGUE SCAN A Club 50 with four rotary controls instead of the
usual Hofner rectangular console or earlier oval console? No, I had never
seen one before either, but that's how the Club 50 was shown in the May 1963 Selmer
Catalogue. A similar guitar has now appeared in the form of a Hofner 126 -
HERE. It would appear that Selmer decided not to continue stocking
the Club range soon after the 1963 catalogue went to press, and so Hofner
presumably sold their previously prepared stock in Europe.
THE HOFNER CLUB 60
The deluxe specification model in the Club
range. Produced between 1958 and 1962. Better quality flame maple
veneers to back and sides, an ebony fingerboard, more complex body
binding/purfling, ornate mother of pearl fret markers and headstock
1959 HOFNER CLUB 60 This particular guitar has an original black laquered neck and rear
headstock. A small minority of all the models of Clubs were finished
with this feature, but this particular guitar has also had its body
logo applied in a rather unusual location. Owned by Paul Reynolds in
1960 HOFNER CLUB 60 A later version of the Club 60, fitted with "toaster" pickups. This
guitar has the brown sunburst finish to both body and neck,
and is in superb condition. Owned by Alan Cramp in England.
1960 HOFNER CLUB 60 Around 1960, Hofner appear to produced quite a few Club 60s with a lovely
red-burst body finish. This was complimented with black lacquer body sides
and neck. These are my personal favourite Clubs! This example is owned by
Guy Audoux in France.
1960HOFNER CLUB 60 A lovely blonde finished example. owned by Peter Rickaby of Wiltshire,
England. Peter has owned this guitar from new, and the linked page provides
old photos of him playing the guitar on stage back in the early 1960's.
1960 HOFNER CLUB 60
A brunette Club 60 fitted with a Bigsby unit. This guitar looks fantastic
after receiving a very professional-looking re-finish. Owned by Stephen
Kelly in the UK.
1961 HOFNER CLUB 60 An
almost mint example, complete with its original Selmer tweed case and all
the other accessories that were supplied when the guitar was new! This is a
blonde, and has the Type 510 "Diamond Logo" pickups. A really
beautiful guitar, owned by Martin Graham in Pennsylvania, USA.
1963 HOFNER CLUB 60 -
CATALOGUE SCAN Just as with the Club 50 above, the Selmer Catalogue
for May 1963 showed the Club 60 with four white rotary controls. I have not yet come across such a guitar. If anyone else has done however, I
should love to hear from them!
THE HOFNER CLUB 70
Made presumably as a replacement for the
original Club 40/50/60's which had been discontinued, somewhat
prematurely, some years before. It was introduced into the Selmer range
at the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair of September 1967. The
Club 70 was only in the catalogue for a year or so, and therefore
examples are fairly rare, with less than 200 being made. Equipped with
two "Blade" Type 512 pickups, it was the only Club to have two volume and
two rotary controls not fitted to a console, plus a separate three-way
pickup selector switch in the same locations as a Les Paul.
Ornamentation on the guitar was fairly austere, in the same tradition
of the Club 40/50.
1967 HOFNER CLUB 70 Having
just had the body top restored to as-new condition, this guitar is a
stunner. Owned by Roger Silcox in the UK.
1967 HOFNER CLUB 70 A very nice example, once owned by the late Willie McPhee, and now owned by
Mama Paula in Spain. This guitar has only eight fret markers instead of the
nine of the guitar above and the catalogue illustration.
1967 HOFNER CLUB 70
Another nicely restored example, owned by John Grayson in County Durham,
c1968 HOFNER CLUB 70 This
guitar was purchased new by its owner Ralf Pishors in Germany during 1978. I
can only assume that because of disappointing sales in the UK, Hofner were
left with a few Club 70's after Selmer discontinued them from their
catalogue around 1969, and eventually moved these onto dealers in Germany.
Maybe it is significant that no serial number is stamped into the rear of
the headstock on this particular guitar.
THE HOFNER VIOLIN GUITAR
Introduced by Selmer into the UK in
September 1966, presumably in an attempt to capitalise on the success
of Paul McCartney's 500/1 bass. It used the same body as the 500/1, and
a bolt-on neck with similar ornamentation to the Verithin - i.e. bar
fret markers and vine leaf headstock inlay. Sunburst appears to have
been the standard finish. All Selmer-distributed examples were fitted with twin pickups,
and with three simple
rotary controls and a three way pickup selector - most of its European/US market cousin, the Hofner
Model 459, had active electrics fitted. As with the Club 70, the Violin was not a great success,
with only 100 to 200 being sold during its production period in 1966 and 1967. The Brits at that time aspired after
The standard Hofner middle-of-the-range
archtop throughout the 50's, 60's, and into the 70's. Introduced in
acoustic format around 1953 as the upgraded version of the Model 457
for the UK market, the President was equipped with solid carved spruce
top. This was dropped in favour of a laminated top, initially on
electric models during the early 1960's and finally on acoustics as the
1960's progressed. The electric version appears to have been introduced
in 1955. All versions of the President had a single body
cutaway, Venetian style up to 1966, when this was changed to a
Florentine cutaway. Triple dot fret markers, neck/F-hole binding, and
vine leaf mother of pearl inlays to the headstock facia, provided a
suitable level of ornamentation for this classy guitar. Blonde and
brunette finishes were available. A thinline electric President was
introduced during late 1959, although a full depth body version had
been available from about 1957. Twin pickups were fitted, with controls
following the usual Hofner pattern for the various periods - i.e. Oval console up to 1958, rectangular
console up to 1962, four rotary controls
up to 1966/67, and finally three rotary controls plus three-way
selector switch up to about 1972/3 when the President disappeared from
the Selmer catalogue.
HOFNER PRESIDENT ACOUSTIC No 1508, the earliest President that I have encountered
date, and in excellent original condition. It even still has its
original Selmer case! I am guessing that the President serial numbers
probably started at #1500, and if that is true, then this one would be
the 8th one made. Interesting features are the the lack of binding (but
plenty of purfling!) around the body, and the flared-top headstock
which is typical of the first Hofner archtops made at Bubenreuth.
Further credibility is given to this being one of the first Presidents
made by the Straten logo'd Compensator
It could well be that Selmer, who supplied the Compensator units to
Hofner, had not had chance to produce any with a Hofner logo at that
time, and therefore shipped un-used Straten parts out to Germany. (See
Fact-File elsewhere on this website.)
HOFNER PRESIDENT ACOUSTIC Nev Jones picked this beauty up
from an estate sale after it had been discovered in the attic storeroom of a
pub in Liverpool that was about to be demolished. It
is in lovely hardly-played condition and still has its original brown
1956 HOFNER PRESIDENT
ACOUSTIC A President with a history! It was played in the mid/late
1950's by John Daly, a member of the then successful Merseyside group "The
Crescents", and also Tommy Steele was photographed playing it at Blackpool
in August 1958. John passed the guitar onto his nephew Lawrence Nolan in
1965 when he up-graded to a Hofner Committee, and Lawrence has looked after
it ever since.
1956 HOFNER PRESIDENT ELECTRIC One of the first President electrics. Fitted with rosewood pickups and
Hofner's oval control panel. The headstock without the Hofner logo is
still there, and also the plastic-barrel classical-type tuners. Owned
by John Hall in Berkshire, England.
1956 HOFNER PRESIDENT
ACOUSTIC A "near mint" example which still has its original case, and was
purchased by its second owner, Bob Bullock, in March 2002. The
headstock has now changed to the splayed-corner type with the Hofner
1957 HOFNER PRESIDENT ELECTRIC A slightly later electric President, still fitted with rosewood pickups
and the oval control
consul, but now with the splayed-corner headstock which has an inlaid
Hofner logo. A blonde version owned by John Hall of Berkshire, England.
HOFNER PRESIDENT ELECTRIC During the course of 1958, the oval control panel was changed
to the classic Hofner rectangular console, and the rosewood bar pickups
were replaced by similar shaped ones with a full plastic case. This
lovely old guitar has the earlier rosewood pickups with the later console. A
brunette finished guitar, owned
by John Hall.
1959 HOFNER PRESIDENT ELECTRIC Now
fitted with the all-plastic black bar pickups, this particular guitar has a
one-piece back which is unusual but not unique for the President model. It
also has a beautiful blonde finish and is owned by
Cartwright in Worcestershire, England.
1959 HOFNER PRESIDENT
THINLINE The production of President Thinlines commenced in mid-1959,
and this is an example which was produced towards the end of that year. Note
that it does not have an adjustable truss rod, in common with all pre-1960
Hofners. Owned by Victor Oesterling in London.
1959 HOFNER PRESIDENT THINLINE One
of the very last Thinline Presidents without a truss rod fitted. These
photos supplied by
Pierre Castonguay of Guitares Torvisse
show many of the details of the President, including the various dating
features as well as a photo which clearly demonstrates that this particular
guitar has a solid carved spruce body top.
HOFNER PRESIDENT THINLINE A slightly later President Thinline, it has both 1959 and 1960
features - the black bar pickups which were phased out very early in 1960 and a truss rod in the
neck which was introduced at the beginning of 1960. A nice all
original example also owned by John Hall in the UK.
1960 HOFNER PRESIDENT
ACOUSTIC This guitar has been fitted at an early stage in its life with a De Armond
Model 1000 "Rhythm Chief" pickup unit. These were introduced into
the UK by Selmer in 1963, shortly after the British Government restrictions
on imports from the US had been lifted. At a price back then of 15gns
however (about �400 in present day money), one doesn't see many old Hofners
so equipped! Mike Jeffs in Sussex England owns this classy combination.
1960 HOFNER PRESIDENT
ACOUSTIC A similar one to above, but this time fitted with a contemporary period
Schaller combined pickups/pickguard unit. This guitar also displays an
unusually wide-grained spruce body top. Owned by Harry Baldwin in
PRESIDENT THINLINE A blonde one with "toaster" pickups. Just like the one that I owned
myself back in 1963/64 !! This beautiful Thinline is owned by Marc
Sabatier in France.
PRESIDENT THINLINE The one with the four rotary controls, but still with a Venetian body
cutaway. This example is fitted with the Type 510 single coil pickups,
and it still has its original case! Owned by Graham Stockley in the UK.
1965 HOFNER PRESIDENT ELECTRIC A superb example of the full-bodied President, just prior to the body
being changed from the Venetian to Florentine cutaway style. Owned by
Steve Kelly in Merseyside, England.
Appeared in the Selmer London catalogue of 1960, at around the
same time as Hofner introduced the same basic guitar with the 4574 model
designation in the general European market price list.
The Verithin featured a hollow, twin cutaway body with a depth
of only 30mm. Laminated flame maple was used for the body back & sides, with
a laminated spruce top. The body cutaways were the rounded "Venetian"
type through to 1965, during which year these were changed to
"Florentine" pointed cutaways. The Florentine guitars were given
various marketing names, such as "Deluxe" and "66".
A three-piece maple/beech glued-in neck was usually fitted,
but sometimes this was two-piece maple. Pearloid/tortoishell strip fret-markers
were inlaid into the rosewood fingerboard, and a "President-style"
bell-flower design was inlaid into the ebony fascia of the headstock. For the
first year or so, the guitar was finished in "russet-mahogany", but
this then changed to the brighter "Cherry Red" finish that is
synonymous with the Verithin. Some of the very last guitars were finished in
A "Lyre" style tailpiece was the standard fitting
throughout the production life of the Verithin, but a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece
was offered from late 1961. In the actual event, the majority of Verithins left
the Hofner (or Selmer workshops in th early years) fitted with Bigsby units.
The slotted "ebony" bridge with fretwire saddles as
fitted for the first two or three years was later replaced by Hofner's "Micromatic"
bridge. The usual floating pickguard, in black celluloid with white edging, was
fitted to the body by means of panel pins and a single chrome bracket.
A twin pickup arrangement was the norm on the Verithin,
although a small number of three pickup Verithin "65-3" models were
produced in 1965-66. This model was basically the same as the European/US market
Hofner 4575 model.
A stereo version of the two-pickup guitar was available
between 1963 and 1965.
Pickups on the first Verithins were of the "Toaster"
type, but these changed to keep up with the latest Hofner pickup development,
with the very last Verithins being fitted with the Type 513 "Blade"
units. Likewise, the electrical controls changed over the years in order to keep
up with the latest Hofner policy. The first guitars had the Hofner rectangular
control console, but this changed to four rotary controls, and later three
rotary controls + pickup selector.
A bass version of the Verithin was introduced in 1963, at
Selmer's instigation, in order to capitalise on the success of the Verithin in
A superb example of the first version of the Verithin,
"russet-mahogany finish, the rectangular control console, and "toaster"
pickups. (In my opinion, the nicest version of Verithin!) The optional
Bigsby vibrato tailpiece has also been fitted. This lovely guitar is
owned by Mike Durrant.
c1960 HOFNER VERITHIN An example of the first version of the Verithin with the
standard "lyre" tailpiece. Owned by Oliver Jones of Lancaster
1961 HOFNER VERITHIN By 1961, the Verithin's finish had been changed to cherry red, as with
this example, complete with "toaster" pickups and Selmer-fitted Bigsby
tailpiece. Owned by Martin Roberts in Yorkshire, England.
HOFNER VERITHIN Another nice example of a Verithin fitted with a rectangular control
consul, but this slightly later guitar has been equipped with the Type
510 pickups, and also finished in cherry-red. Owned by Bryan Hackett in
West Yorkshire, England.
1963 HOFNER VERITHIN This immaculate Verithin is equipped with a factory fitted Bigsby Vibrato Unit. It was
one of the last to be equipped with the Type 510 single coil pickups. Jean-Pierre Legendre from France is the the owner.
1963 HOFNER VERITHIN A similar guitar to the one above, but is fitted with the standard
"Lyre" tailpiece instead of the optional Bigsby unit. Both the
guitar and its Selmer tweed case are in superb condition. Guy Audoux in
France is the owner.
1964 HOFNER VERITHIN A typical 1964 /65 Verithin, fitted with the Type 511 "Staple"
pickups and in this case a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. Owned by Jim Neall in
1964 HOFNER VERITHIN
STEREO LEFT-HANDED There are not many Stereo versions of the Verithin in existence, and
even fewer left-handed ones. This has to be one rare guitar! Now owned
by James Stelly in Surrey, England.
VERITHIN STEREO BIGSBY This Verithin was probably one of the last Stereo versions made. They
disappeared with the introduction of the Deluxe/"66" model during 1965.
A Bigsby has been factory fitted to this guitar, and hence the model
label inside the guitar refers to "Sterio Bigsby". Owned by Dave Drury
in the UK.
HOFNER VERITHIN "MODEL 65-3" This is actually a Hofner 4575 three pickup guitar, but it has the
Selmer style body label on which is typed the model name "Model 65-3"
and the serial # 172. It would therefore appear that Selmer sold a
small number of three pickup Verithins in 1965/1966. This fairly rare guitar is now owned by
Geoff Walton in Australia.
1965/66 HOFNER VERITHIN
"MODEL 65-3" Another "65-3", this time fitted with a white/silver topped
control knob on the Rhythm/Solo balance pot rather than the screw-driver
adjustable pot found on most other guitars of this type. A guitar in lovely
condition, owned by Dan Brown of Berkshire, England.
1965 HOFNER VERITHIN DELUXE At the end of 1965, Selmer asked Hofner to change the UK Verithin from
double Venetian cutaways to Florentine. This is an immaculate example
of this variant, owned by Bob Cocozza in the USA.
HOFNER VERITHIN "66" Rather than the "Deluxe" title on the body label, this guitar has the
Model Name Verithin 5137. (No 5137 was the Selmer catalogue number for
the Verithin "66" as it was now known as in the catalogue.) Owned by
Aidan Cranny in the UK.
VERITHIN "66" In 1967, the Verithin's electrics were changed. As well
being given two of the new Type 512 "Blade" pickups, a single volume and two
tone controls were fitted together with a three way selector switch.
Enclosed spring-loaded tuners also replaced the open-gear "Hydrant" tuners
previously used. This nice example of this version is owned by Steve Kelly
in Merseyside, England.
1972 HOFNER VERITHIN
"66" With a serial # of 1415, this must be one of the very
last Verithins produced for Selmer. It is finished in the rare red
three-tone sunburst, and of course has two Type 513 "Blade"
pickups as well as the three rotary control/3-way pickup selector electrics.
Enclosed tuners with metal buttons are fitted, together with the chrome Type
72-25 bridge that Hofner started using on many of their semis during the
1970's. A very interesting and extremely good looking guitar, owned by Ian
Lehmann in South Australia.
THE HOFNER AMBASSADOR
Introduced in 1965, this thinline archtop had
twin Type 511 "Staple" pickups, and two Florentine cutaways on it's 2"
deep body. Finish was tobacco sunburst, and with its fully inset neck
joint, as opposed to Hofner's usual cantilever violin style joint, it
was much more in the style of a Gibson. The Ambassador was available to
Selmer customers only, up to about 1968. It's European/US equivalent
was the Hofner Model 4578. The option of having factory fitted De
Armond pickups at extra cost was offered in the Selmer catalogue.
AMBASSADOR This particular example is fitted with the optional De Armond pickups.
Owned by Peter Simpson of London, England.
HOFNER AMBASSADOR ..........and one fitted with the standard Hofner Type 511 twin coil
pickups. Also, a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece which was offered as an
option for most Selmer distributed electric archtop and thinline archtop guitars. Owned by Desmond Abbott in Essex, England.
HOFNER AMBASSADOR One of the last ones made (Serial No 472). Fitted with
Type 513 pickups, the later micromatic bridge, and enclosed machine heads
with metal buttons. This guitar is fitted with a spruce sustain block,
unlike earlier Ambassadors and other Hofner thinline archtops of the period.
It is therefore of true "semi-acoustic" construction. Owned and restored by
James Payze, Suffolk, England.
THE HOFNER COMMITTEE
Top of the regular range of Hofner
archtops, the Committee was designed to impress. It was introduced as a
UK-only model around 1953/54. The Committee sported the
over-large "frondose" headstock up to 1963, when this was replaced by a
President size headstock, but still retaining the the impressive
"tulip" style mother of pearl inlays in the facia. Birds eye maple
veneer was almost exclusively used for the body back and sides, with
carved solid spruce body tops, although these seem to have been
replaced with laminated tops during the 1960's, particularly on the
electric version. As with the President, a full depth body electric
version was available from about 1957, with a thinline model appearing
in late 1959. Twin pickups were fitted on these, with four rotary
controls plus a large three-way selector switch taking over from the
Hofner consul in 1963. This arrangement changed to three rotary
selector switch in 1967. The Committee retained its single Venetian
(rounded) body cutaway throughout its production span, which ended
around about 1969.
1953 HOFNER COMMITTEE ACOUSTIC
Serial # 2000. Yes, this must be the first production-made Hofner Committee.
Take a look at the beauty of that birds eye maple back! Owned by Stephen Walsh
in the UK.
1953 HOFNER COMMITTEE ACOUSTIC
Serial # 2008. Unusually this very early Committee is fitted with individual tuners
which seem to be the originals, instead of the 3-on-plate classical
type that is the norm on early examples. Also, it is now becoming
apparent that the first few (less than 20 ?) Committees were
fitted with bound tortoiseshell pickguards rather than the
usual clear perspex type. Owned by Paul Smith in
1954 HOFNER COMMITTEE ACOUSTIC Another very early Committee, with the old style frondose headstock
without the Hofner lettering, and the plastic barrel tuning pegs.
Definitely one for the connoisseur! Owned by Neil Rostance of Cheshire,
1955 HOFNER COMMITTEE ELECTRIC
The earliest electric Committee that I have come across so far: Serial No
2245, and in superb original condition. Note the two small flower inlays at
the 15th and 17th fret positions, which look Hofner-inlaid to me,
Owned by Pete Bardsley in Manchester, England..
1957 HOFNER COMMITTEE
ACOUSTIC This brunette finish guitar still has the headstock fascia
with the "moustache" inlay and without the Hofner name. The headstock fascia
was changed later in 1957 to incorporate the Hofner name.
Owned by Chris Martin In New South Wales, Australia.
COMMITTEE ELECTRIC This lovely light-brown sunburst Committee is fitted with the oval control plate and individual pickup
selector switches that pre-dated the more common rectangular panel. It also has
the rosewood black-bar pickups. By mid-1957, the Hofner name has now appeared on the headstock.
Owned by John Hall of Berkshire, England.
COMMITTEE ELECTRIC From mid-1958, the oval control console was
superceded by the more well-known Hofner rectangular console. At around the
same time, the rosewood-bodied pickups were replaced by ones with an all
plastic case. This blonde example, owned by Guy Audoux in France, has the
new rectangular console but is probably one of the very last guitars to
retain the rosewood pickups.
1959 HOFNER COMMITTEE
ACOUSTIC Blonde and beautiful, even if she is over 40 years old! Compare the
inlays on the headstock of this guitar with those on the 1956 versions
above. Owned by Steve Tansley of Norfolk, England.
1959 HOFNER COMMITTEE ELECTRIC
THINLINE Steve Rowley from the UK has provided these pictures of a stunning
Committee that he sold to Gordon Giltrap, and which is featured in the
book on Hofners that Gordon wrote in conjunction with Neville Martin.
One of the first Hofner thinlines made. Adjustable truss rods were not fitted to
the necks of the small number of thinlines made before 1960.
1960 HOFNER COMMITTEE ELECTRIC A nice original brunette example fitted with toaster pickups, the classic
Hofner control consul, and the large headstock. Owned by Cameron Brown in
1960 HOFNER COMMITTEE
ELECTRIC ....and a beautiful blonde finished electric Committee from
the same period. Owned by John Robinson in North Yorkshire, England.
COMMITTEE ACOUSTIC This guitar is definitely a 1960 Committee but it
was initially sold by a German music store called Willibald Kreuzinger in
Schweinfurt, Bavaria. Schweinfurt is only 40 miles away from the old Hofner
workshops at Bubenreuth. A clue as to why this may have happened (instead of
the guitar being supplied to Selmer London) is that it has been fitted with
a pre-1960 neck without an adjustable truss rod. After making this mistake,
Hofner probably assumed that Selmer would not accept the guitar and so sold
it off to a local dealer. It does not have a body label and serial number of
course. Owned by Stefan Mueller in Germany.
1960 HOFNER COMMITTEE ELECTRIC
THINLINE A brunette thinline this time, and one that is fitted with a
truss rod and "Toaster" pickups, because it was made in 1960. A lovely
example, owned by Connor Roach in East Sussex, England.
COMMITTEE ELECTRIC GUITAR A very interesting guitar, who's pictures have been supplied by Ian
Cockerham in the UK. It has the large headstock and "diamond logo"
pickups of the pre 1963 Committee, but the electrics and tailpiece of
the post-1963 version. Is it a "transition" guitar, or could it even be
a prototype for the newer Committee model?
1962 HOFNER COMMITTEE
ELECTRIC ...........and now a Thinline with the large headstock of the earlier
Committees and the later style electrics. This transition guitar does
have serial number 1292, which indicates that it was shipped to Selmers
1962. It also has a Bigsby unit and the early "Super" Type 511 pickups.
Owned by Tom McGuiness in Co. Cork, Ireland.
1962 HOFNER COMMITTEE
THINLINE ELECTRIC Serial No 1304, so this is the earliest true "small headstock"
Committee that I have come across so far. Note the Hofner logo stamped into the back covers of the Van Ghent tuners, which was a feature used
on only the first few "small headstock" guitars. Owned by Richard
Sleeman in Monmouth, Wales.
COMMITTEE THINLINE ELECTRIC Another very unusual Committee. Serial No 1332 and another of the first
with the small headstock and larger 18" body. However, this one has the
pickup selector switch on the treble side of the body! Was this
a prototype for Selmer to decide if they preferred the selector switch
on that side? If so, Selmer obviously preferred the switch on
side of the body! Now owned by Jim Beeby in Norfolk, England.
1963 HOFNER COMMITTEE ELECTRIC One of the first true small headstock Committees to arrive in the UK.
It still has a couple of unusual features though, such as the Hofner
logos on the tuner covers and the Hofner logo on the body top. Owned by
Rolf Johansson in Sweden.
COMMITTEE THINLINE A mint condition brunette fitted with Bigsby unit, owned by Bruce
Taylor in Scotland. The photo also includes a beautiful JMI Vox AC30
Super Twin outfit.
COMMITTEE THINLINE This guitar still has its original Selmer case, and.....the original
sales receipt which provides an interesting insight into the popularity
(or lack of) of Hofner guitars in the UK at the end of the 1960's.
Owned by Bob Bullock.
COMMITTEE THINLINE Towards the end of 1965, Hofner changed the
electrical controls on the Committee slightly to a smaller three-way pickup
selector switch and three rotary control knobs (Volume + Tone + Tone), hence
getting rid of the previous rotary Solo-Rhythm switch. This guitar is
slightly later than the one above as although it is also fitted with Type
511 "Staple" pickups, these have the "wide" plastic surrounds. The photos have been supplied by Alan Cramp of the
"Just Jazz Guitars"
Website, and the guitar itself is now owned by Pertti Jokivuori in Finland.
1966 HOFNER COMMITTEE
ELECTRIC The full-depth body version of the previous thinline, again
with the "Staple" pickups with "wide" plastic surrounds. This guitar
is in near-mint condition and is owned by Richard Bourne in Adelaide,
HOFNER COMMITTEE ACOUSTIC And another from Bob Bullock's collection.
One of the last Committees made, and an acoustic at that. I suspect that
very few acoustic Committees were made after about 1965. It would seem that
the last Committees had the Van Ghent tuners replaced by the Hofner/Wuestel
button units, which were fitted to most Hofner high-end guitars from this period
HOFNER COMMITTEE ELECTRIC A nice example of a late 1960's full-bodied
electric Committee, courtesy of its owner, Jerome Karlovsky, Birmingham,
HOFNER COMMITTEE ACOUSTIC Another very
interesting Committee example from Stefan Mueller in Germany. This one has a
body finished in sunburst, but with a redddish tinge which is not usually
seen on the Selmer-distributed examples.
There is no body label and hence no serial number on this guitar, and so it
most likely that Hofner were using up already made Committee components
after the orders for that model dried up from Selmer in the UK, a similar
practice employed by Hofner for the last of the President and Ambassador
models. It was therefore probably sold in Germany as a "second" 468 model,
with this theory being reinforced by the two "2"s stamped into the rear of
the headstock. It is a very fine old guitar though.
THE HOFNER (COMMITTEE) DELUXE
The deluxe version of the Committee model,
and fore-runner to the
Golden Hofner. Made over a very short period in 1958 and into 1959, these Deluxes are
rare and beautiful! It would seem that they were part of the
development process leading up the Golden Hofner model, as they
incorporate quite a few features of the Golden, most notably the
11-piece neck construction. The 17.5" wide "body has a solid carved
spruce top, with heavily flamed maple back and sides. The effect of the
binding and purfling around the body top and back has been increased
dramatically by staining of the maple strips enclosed by the purfling.
1958 HOFNER DELUXE
ELECTRIC The Selmer catalogue only refers to an acoustic version of
the "Deluxe Committee" being available, but here is an electric
version: Serial No. 128. Perhaps this was a special order? Whatever, it is
an ultra-rare guitar. Owned by Richard Rose in Fife, Scotland.
DELUXE ACOUSTIC This beautiful example is Serial No. 130, with a
body date of February 1959, so it is one of the last ones made, if not the
last one. It is owned by David Durham in East Yorkshire.
THE GOLDEN HOFNER
The "Holy Grail" of Hofner collecting! For
a full description of the Golden's assets and history, visit the Golden
Hofner Factfile elsewhere on this website
1959/60 GOLDEN HOFNER ELECTRIC
Serial No. 1, the first production Golden Hofner. All Golden Hofners are
very special guitars, but this one is the ultimate! Owned by Andrea
Littlefair. who's father purchased it new back in 1960.
GOLDEN HOFNER ACOUSTIC Also one of the first at Serial No 5, and being an acoustic version, the
rarest of the Golden Hofner styles.
GOLDEN HOFNER ELECTRIC THINLINE Serial No 21. Pictures courtesy of Dieter Serowy, Germany. Now
includes photos supplied by #21's new owner, Mark Ford which provide a
comparison between the Golden and Committee models.
HOFNER ELECTRIC Serial No 67, and probably the very last Golden Hofner made, reputedly
for the 1962 Frankfurt Trade Show. This guitar is in near-mint
condition, and still has its original Selmer case. Owned by Mike, in
HOFNER GOLDEN/4700 PROTOTYPE Well, perhaps No.67 above wasn't the final Golden Hofner to leave the
Bubenreuth workshops after all. This 1966 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
SELMER BRAND-MARKED ARCHTOP GUITARS MADE BY HOFNER
For a year or so in 1966 and 1967, Selmer commissioned Hofner to produce a
series of archtop and flattop "Western" guitars with the "Selmer" brand-mark on
them. There was no reference to Hofner on these guitars, although they did tend
to be based rather loosely on Hofner's existing models. Their style and finish
was unmistakably Hofner, although the usual Hofner ornamentation such as inlaid
headstocks and neck binding was missing. This was made up for by the use of good
quality fittings, such as Schaller pickups and Hofner's own enclosed machine
heads. Any finish was available, providing that it was brown sunburst! These
were obviously intended to be very much "working guitars".
THE SELMER TRIUMPH
The Triumph model was based on the Hofner Senator and its European
equivalent, the Hofner 456. It had a laminated maple top, with laminated
flame-maple back and rims. A two-piece maple neck with rosewood un-bound
fingerboard was fitted. Moderate body edge binding and purfling was provided,
and generally the guitar lacked ornamentation. However, a very impressive
tailpiece was fitted in the shape of the then current Selmer "Harp" logo.
An acoustic and an electric model were available; the acoustic having a full
3" deep body. The electric had a 2" "thin-line" body, and was equipped with a
single Schaller-made twin-coil pickup. Both versions had a Venetian body
This model was up a level upon the Triumph, with a laminated spruce top, more
layers of purfling around the body edges, and a Florentine body cutaway. Other
than that, it had the same simplicity and workmanlike appearance of the Triumph.
Probably the nearest equivalent of the other Hofner models to the Diplomat
is the Hofner President Florentine.
Also as with the Triumph, both an acoustic and a thinline electric version
was available. However the electric model was treated to two Schaller-made
pickups instead of the Triumphs single unit, together with a three-way pickup
selector switch. (At that time, the Hofner-branded archtops were not fitted with
a selector switch but relied simply on juggling around with the two volume
Basically a less ornate version of the Hofner Verithin Florentine Deluxe and
Hofner 4576 models, this twin pickup electric model had a veri-thin 1¼"
deep body with a Florentine cutaway. A laminated spruce top and flame-maple back
& rims were used for the body, with a two-piece maple neck and un-bound rosewood
fingerboard. As with the other guitars, the main ornamentation was the Selmer
Continuing with the same formula, the Emperor was actually a disguised Hofner
Ambassador / Hofner 4578 model, but with the same Schaller pickups, three-way
selector, and other fittings as the above three models. As such, it sported a 2"
deep body. A three-piece maple/beech/maple un-bound neck was fitted instead of
the two-piece maple on the other models. This guitar was only available as a
twin-pickup electric model.