THE HOFNER PRESIDENT - FACT FILE

 

1959/60 President Thinline Electric (Transition Model) - Courtesy of Bob Bullock

 

Register your own Hofner President on this website HERE.

 

The President was the main "middle-of-the-range" archtop in the Selmer catalogue between about 1953 and 1972/73 when it finally disappeared. It was really a deluxe version of the Hofner Model 457, which was also introduced around 1954.

The main features of the President, carried across all variants, were:

A spruce body top (solid carved spruce until the early 1960's), and the use of fine flame maple veneers for body back and sides.

Blonde and Brunette finish options.

A single body cutaway (initially Venetian; later Florentine).

Beautiful vine/flower headstock inlay using mother of pearl.

Triple dot fret markers.

The European/US Market equivalent guitars were the Hofner 457 (full-depth body) and the 4570 (Thinline body). These were finished in a more basic format than the President however, without the headstock inlay work and compensator tailpiece.

There are several examples of this model in the Archtops Section of the Visitors' Gallery. In this Fact File, I have therefore attempted only to describe the features of the President at the various stages in its evolution. The headstock and body cutaway type changes are perhaps the most positive method of illustrating the various stages, and hence these are illustrated below. 

Please note that the evolution described below should only be taken as a guide, and not as 100% gospel. Hofner being Hofner, there was a degree of overlap between the various stages, and not every President falls exactly into the pattern. This can be seen from the 1959/60 "transition" example above. 



1953-54:

pres18.jpg

 

  • Carved solid spruce body top, and flame maple back and sides.

  • Single purfling strip covering centre joint in veneers on back. 

  • Lower Bout width: 16.25"

  • Flared-top headstock

  • Plain white binding, with multiple black/white purfling to body.

  • Tortoiseshell scratchplate. 

  • Five piece slightly flamed maple/mahogany laminated neck.

  • Plain white binding to neck.

  • Six fret markers on fingerboard.

  • No truss rod.

  • Elongated "Gibson-style"  headstock without HOFNER name.

  • Machine heads are 3-on-a-plate classical guitar type, with plastic surrounds on barrel. Plastic buttons

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Compensator" style tailpiece. Earliest have Straten logo rather than Hofner.

  • Two piece "ebony" single plastic saddle bridge with only vertical adjustment.

  • Hofner logo stamped into body top just below, and to treble side of, bridge.

  • Only an acoustic version offered.

1954 - 1956:

 

  • Carved solid spruce body top, and flame maple back and sides.

  • Single purfling strip covering centre joint in veneers on back. 

  • Lower Bout width: 16.25"

  • Symetrical-top headstock

  • Plain white binding, with multiple black/white purfling to body.

  • Tortoiseshell scratchplate. 

  • Five piece slightly flamed maple/mahogany laminated neck.

  • Plain white binding to neck.

  • Six fret markers on fingerboard.

  • No truss rod.

  • Elongated "Gibson-style"  headstock without HOFNER name.

  • Machine heads are 3-on-a-plate classical guitar type, with plastic surrounds on barrel. Plastic buttons

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Compensator" style tailpiece, with Hofner logo stamped in.

  • Two piece "ebony" single plastic saddle bridge with only vertical adjustment.

  • Hofner logo stamped into body top just below, and to treble side of, bridge.

  • Only an acoustic version offered.

1956 - 1957:

  • Carved solid spruce body top, and flamed maple back and sides.

  • Single purfling strip covering centre joint in veneers on back now disappeared.

  • Lower Bout Width: 16.25" on both acoustic and electric versions.

  • Plain white binding, with multiple black/white purfling to body.

  • Tortoiseshell scratchplate

  • Five piece slightly flamed maple/mahogany laminated neck.

  • Eight fret markers on fingerboard.

  • No truss rod.

  • Elongated "Gibson-style"  headstock without HOFNER name.

  • Machine heads are single, open units, with solid brass barrels. 

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Compensator" style tailpiece.

  • Two piece "ebony" single plastic saddle bridge with only vertical adjustment.

  • Hofner logo stamped into body top just below, and to treble side of, bridge.

  • Acoustic initially and then full-bodied electric versions offered later.

  • Oval shaped control consul on electric versions.

  • Two Black-Bar pickups on electric versions.


1957 - 1959:

 

  • Carved solid spruce body top, and flamed maple back and sides.

  • Lower Bout Width: 16.25" on both acoustic and electric versions.

  • Plain white binding, with multiple black/white purfling to body.

  • Tortoiseshell scratchplate

  • Five piece slightly flamed maple/mahogany laminated neck.

  • Eight fret markers on fingerboard.

  • No truss rod.

  • "Splayed corners" headstock with HOFNER name inlayed in capitals.

  • Machine heads are single, open units, with solid brass barrels. 

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Compensator" style tailpiece.

  • Two piece "ebony" single plastic saddle bridge with only vertical adjustment.

  • Hofner logo decal on bass side of body top bout.

  • Acoustic and full-bodied electric versions offered. Thinline version introduce in later half of 1959. (2" Deep body)

  • Initially Oval and then Rectangular shaped control consuls on electric versions.

  • Two "Black-Bar" pickups on electric versions.

 

1960 - 61:

  • Carved solid spruce body top, and flamed maple back and sides generally on acoustic versions. Laminated tops generally on electric versions. (But not always!)

  • Lower Bout Width: 16.25" on both acoustic and electric versions.

  • Plain white binding, with multiple black/white purfling to body.

  • Tortoiseshell scratchplate

  • Five piece slightly flamed maple/mahogany laminated neck.

  • Eight fret markers on fingerboard.

  • Truss rod fitted to neck.

  • "Splayed corners" headstock with HOFNER name inlayed in capitals.

  • Machine heads are single, open units, with solid brass barrels. 

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Compensator" style tailpiece.

  • Two piece "ebony" single plastic saddle bridge with only vertical adjustment.

  • Hofner logo decal on bass side of body top bout.

  • Acoustic, Full-bodied electric, and Thinline electric versions offered. 

  • Rectangular shaped control consuls on electric versions.

  • Two "Toaster" pickups on electric versions.

 

 

1961 - 1963

 

  • Carved solid spruce body top, and flamed maple back and sides generally on acoustic versions. Laminated tops generally on electric versions. (But not always!)

  • Lower Bout Width: 16.25" on both acoustic and electric versions.

  • Plain white binding, with multiple black/white purfling to body.

  • Tortoiseshell scratchplate

  • Five piece slightly flamed maple/mahogany laminated neck.

  • Eight fret markers on fingerboard.

  • Truss rod fitted to neck.

  • Non-splayed corners headstock with HOFNER name inlayed in capitals.

  • Machine heads are single, open units, with solid steel barrels. 

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Compensator" style tailpiece.

  • Two piece "ebony" single plastic saddle bridge with only vertical adjustment.

  • Hofner logo decal on bass side of body top bout.

  • Acoustic, Full-bodied electric, and Thinline electric versions offered. 

  • Rectangular shaped control consuls on electric versions.

  • Two "Toaster" pickups (1960-61) and "Diamond Logo" (1961-63) pickups on electric versions.

 

1963 - 1965:

 

  •  Laminated tops on most electric versions and many acoustic versions, with flamed maple back and sides.

  • Lower Bout Width: 16.25" on both acoustic and electric versions.

  • Plain white binding, with multiple black/white purfling to body.

  • Tortoiseshell scratchplate

  • Five piece slightly flamed maple/mahogany laminated neck.

  • Eight fret markers on fingerboard.

  • Truss rod fitted to neck.

  • Non-splayed corners headstock with HOFNER name inlayed in capitals.

  • Machine heads are single, open units, with solid steel barrels. 

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Lyre" style tailpiece.

  • Hofner "Micro-matic" bridge fitted on electric versions. Two piece "ebony" single plastic saddle bridge with only vertical adjustment on acoustic version.

  • Hofner logo decal on bass side of body top bout generally now disappeared.

  • Acoustic, Full-bodied electric, and Thinline electric versions offered. 

  • Four rotary controls (2 x Volume ; 2 x Tone) fitted to electric versions.

  • Two "Staple" type pickups fitted on electric versions.

 

 

1965 - c1971:

 

  • Predominantly laminated spruce body tops, with flamed maple back and sides..

  • Single Florentine cutaway on electrics. The acoustics seem to have stayed with Venetian cutaways until about 1967.

  • Lower Bout Width: 16.25" on both acoustic and electric versions.

  • Plain white binding, with multiple black/white purfling to body.

  • Black/white laminated scratchplate

  • Five piece slightly flamed maple/mahogany laminated neck.

  • Eight fret markers on fingerboard. Later Presidents (from about 1968) seem to have reverted back to six triple markers.

  • Truss rod fitted to neck.

  • Non-splayed corners headstock with HOFNER name inlayed in capitals.

  • Machine heads are single, open units, with solid steel barrels. 

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Lyre" style tailpiece.

  • Hofner "Micro-matic" bridge fitted to electric versions. Two piece "ebony" single plastic saddle bridge with only vertical adjustment to acoustic versions.

  • Hofner logo decal on bass side of body top bout now disappeared.

  • Acoustic, Full-bodied electric, and Thinline electric versions offered. 

  • Three rotary controls (1 x Volume ; 2 x Tone) plus three-way pickup selector switch on treble side of upper bout fitted to electric versions.

  • Two "Staple" type pickups fitted on electric versions up to 1967. Then "Bar Magnet" type fitted. Large plastic surrounds to pickups.

 

 

PRESIDENT 12-STRING GUITAR c 1967:

 

  • Laminated spruce body top, with flamed maple back and sides..

  • Single Venetian cutaway. 

  • Lower Bout Width: 16.25" on both acoustic and electric versions.

  • Plain white binding, with multiple black/white purfling to body.

  • Black/white laminated scratchplate

  • Five piece maple/mahogany laminated neck.

  • Eight fret double-dot markers on fingerboard. 

  • Truss rod fitted to neck.

  • Elongated "Gibson-style" headstock with "glued-on" plastic Hofner script logo, and mop "dagger" inlay.

  • Machine heads are single, open units.

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Club" style trapeze tailpiece.

  • Hofner ebony two piece bridge, with individual string saddles made of fret wire (adjustable in slots.)

  • Only Thinline electric version offered. 

  • Three rotary controls (1 x Volume ; 2 x Tone) plus three-way pickup selector switch on bass side of upper bout fitted to electric versions.

  • Either two "Staple" type or "Bar Magnet" type pickups fitted.

 
 

Register your own Hofner President on this website HERE.

 




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