HOFNER 12 STRING FLATTOPS - FACT FILE
Hofner flattop guitars are not at all well documented. This fact file
has therefore been compiled with the help of old catalogues, and with a
little intuition gained from half noticing many old Hofner flattops
knocking about over the years. The information provided below should
therefore not be treated as gospel so as usual, if you can supply
further or more accurate information, please
get in touch.
Generally, it is the archtops that Hofner are most noted for - I am
afraid that the six and twelve string flattops seem to be very much the
unloved runt of the litter. However, lets see what we can do to
generate some interest in them!
UNITED KINGDOM GUITARS DISTRIBUTED BY SELMER
I am aware of only two basic models supplied to the UK, although these
appeared to have many detail changes over the years, particularly with
regard to scratchplate shape and headstock ornamentation.
Hofner Country and Western 12 String - Selmer Model No. 5156 (Acoustic) and No. 5157 (Electro-Acoustic)
These guitars were introduced into the Selmer catalogue around 1964,
and stayed there until the end of Selmer's Hofner dealership. They
continued to be sold in acoustic format in the UK right into the
1980's, and hence many examples are still to be found.
- Body Size: 20.5" long x 16.25" lower bout x 4.75 depth"
- Solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides
- Single white binding to top and bottom of body
- Rosewood fingerboard, unbound, set with single dot fret markers
- Some headstocks fitted with raised white plastic Hofner logo and
"dagger" motif on black plastic facia; others are plain black without
motif and with Hofner transfer/decal logo.
- Early guitars have open six-on-a-plate tuners; later guitars fitted with individual enclosed tuners.
- Electro-acoustic version fitted with single volume and tone
control. Early models had pickup built into 21st fret. Later guitars
had pickup clamped across soundhole.
Selmer List Price in 1965:
Acoustic Model - 38gns
Electro-Acoustic Model - 48gns
Selmer List Price in 1972:
Click HERE to view the Hofner Western Guitar in the Selmer 1966 Catalogue
Hofner Arizona 12 String - Selmer Model No. 5153
This was the budget 12 string offered as an alternative to the C &
W above. Maybe introduced a year or so after the C&W, it was still
in the Selmer 1972 catalogue, but not in the Bell's 1974/75 catalogue.
- Body Size: 18.25 long x 15" lower bout x 4 deep"
- Laminated(?) spruce top and laminated maple back and sides
- No binding to body and neck
- Rosewood fingerboard, set with single dot fret markers
- Plain black plastic headstock facia with Hofner transfer/decal logo
- No electric version offered
Selmer List Price in 1966: 37gns
Selmer List Price in 1972: £42.00
Click HERE to view Hofner Arizona featured in the 1966 Selmer Catalogue
HOFNER MAIN CATALOGUE GUITARS
It would appear that Hofner offered the rest of the world a line of
four models of 12 string flattop guitars over a period spanning the
1960's. 70's and 80's. These ranged from the budget Model 490, through
the mid-range 4900 and 492 models, up to the lavish Model 499.
Electro-acoustic versions of each model were available. As with the
Selmer distributed instruments, such details as scratch plate shapes
and soundhole decoration changed on individual models throughout the
Hofner Model 490 (Acoustic) and Model 490E (Electro-Acoustic)
The HA series of Flattop steel-strung guitars seem to have been superseded by
the Hofner Fargo range. These were produced in Asia, and were consequently much
cheaper in price than the HA guitars.
The present (2003) range of Hofner flattops is the Sierra HAS range,
which are produced in China. This range includes the Sierra HAS07-12ET
twelve-string electro-acoustic guitar. Details of these current guitars can be
found by clicking HERE.
Click HERE to view pictures of details such as types of pickups fitted to Electro-Acoustic models, neck adjustment, bridges, etc.
The HOFNER SPANISH-MADE 12-STRING GUITAR:
Some time ago, I had my attention drawn to a strange Hofner 12-String model, not
featured above, by
both Ron Mellor of Cheshire and by Timothy Burgess in the USA. This had a
slotted headstock. Click HERE to view pictures and details of this
guitar. There has recently been a similar 12-string to the ones above
auctioned on Ebay. This was in excellent condition, and had a label on
the rear body whoich stated that it had been made in Spain. (See Hofner
Guitars Made in Spain Factfile) So.......now we know!
Also click HERE
to view Armand Valeta's c1966 Slotted-Head Electric 12-String Guitar, and HERE
to view Juanjo Llopiz Joga's acoustic version.
As far as dating this model is concerned, because Ron's guitar is fitted with a pickup built into the
fingerboard, I can only assume that the model was produced in the 1960's - the
soundhole type pickup apparently being introduced in the early 1970's.
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