1959 HOFNER PRESIDENT ELECTRIC/ACOUSTIC GUITAR
Serial No. 5588
What I would describe as the classical Selmer Period
Hofner; the deep bodied archtop with the black consul type controls and
the early bar pick-ups. Available in two finishes - "brunette" as this
example (tobacco sunburst to the rest of the world!), or "blonde"
(natural finish). The blonde versions, certainly in the 60's, were
generally a few guineas more expensive than the brunettes, presumably
due to slightly better veneers being required under the transparent
Beautiful flamed maple veneers are evident on the back
and sides of the guitar in the above photographs, but yes, possible
those on the blonde 1953 President
are nicer. Also, the spruce top of the 1959 guitar is a laminate,
rather than a solid top on the 1953 model - maybe because we are now
dealing with a semi-acoustic, or more likely that in the intervening
six years, Hofner had decided that they could get away with a laminate
despite the fact that the Selmer brochure still implied a carved top.
The top and bottom of the body are bound (w/b/w/b/w), as are the sound
holes (single white) and the neck and headstock (single white).
The neck is a five piece comprising of maple with two
reinforcing strips of mahogany and one of beech. No truss rod is
fitted, these only being introduced in 1960(ish). The triple finger
board marker dots are made of a plainer material than the rather nice
mother of pearl on the 1953 model, and are now of all the same size;
again different to the 53.
The floral/vine leaf inlay in mother of pearl on the headstock is set
into an ebony veneer. Individual, but not enclosed, machines of a good
quality are fitted.
The clipped off top corners of the headstock was deleted on later Presidents and these look much more
The black pickups on this guitar were Hofner's first
attempt at producing a built-in unit and were fitted to their guitars
from c1957 to c1960. The very earliest units had wooden covers, but
bakelite has been used here. Note the small horizontal circular
adjusters for height fitted. These are similar to the pick-ups on the 1959 Club 60 also described on this site.
The classic Hofner control console is of course fitted, this having
replaced a circular black bakelite consul containing two volume and two
tone rotary controls supplemented by two adjacent pickup toggle
switches in c1959. Models after 1962 were fitted with independent (not
on a consul) volume and tone white rotary controls in a similar sort of
arrangement to Gibsons. The consul on this guitar has a rotary volume
control and on-off slide switch for each pick-up, plus a solo/rhythm
slide switch. The volumes interact with each other and do not
correspond in location with the individual pickup switches. All in all
a most impractical means of controlling, the electrics on the guitar!
However, this eccentricity seems to match the overall charm of Hofner
guitars, and I personally consider this type of consul to be the most
desirable of all, just for that reason.
The standard ebony(?) Hofner archtop bridge is fitted, with no
intonation adjustment. However, at some stage a Hofner "Lyre" type
tailpiece has been substituted for the "Compensator" fan type (as
fitted to the Congress and Senator
also described on this site) which would have been originally fitted.
The Lyre was fitted on Presidents, but only from around 1964ish. There
is no doubt that the Lyre does look well on the President, and matches
the guitar's high quality status in the range.