1958 HOFNER SENATOR ACOUSTIC GUITAR
Serial No. 4550
The Hofner Senator was on the second rung of the quality ladder in the Selmer catalogue, placed between the bottom-of-range Congress and the mid-upper range President. As opposed to the Congress, both acoustic and single pickup electric versions were available, together with the option of finishes in either blonde (natural) or brunette (sunburst as this example). The Senator combined the body timbers, i.e. all maple laminates of the Congress with the larger size of the President; 20.25" (length) x 16.5" (lower bout width). The Senator body was bound top and bottom with a white/black/white/black multiple binding, and the sound holes were also bound similar to the President. To maintain the status quo however, the neck and headstock were left unbound like the Congress.
The veneers used on the body are again mid way between Congress and President quality, with a very presentable flame being evident on the sides and two piece back. The top is one piece plain maple laminate. There is no small gold Hofner transfer on the upper bout of this guitar, and from inspection of photographs in brochures, it seems that the tendency was not to put these onto Senators. Very strange, as these transfers are the norm on the Congress and President models of this period!
Just as the Congress, a celluloid/plastic headstock facing is fitted, and during 1958 what I can only describe as a "sword" design with vertical Hofner logo (similar to that on Paul McCartney's first Violin Bass) was used as on this guitar. On later Senators, triple dot, treble clef, and plain black with raised white Hofner logo motifs were used, just as for the Congress. Always a plastic type facing to the headstock however, as opposed to the ebony facing/mother of pearl inlays of the President.
The machine heads are single, open units; lesser quality to the President however, and without ferrules to the tuner barrels- just like the Congress.
Rosewood is used for the fingerboard, with the triple dot markers as used on the President, but less of them - possibly because Hofner considered that fingering above the 14th fret would be impracticable without the facility of the President's cutaway? As always with Selmer period Hofners, a zero fret is fitted adjacent to the nut.
Hofner's simple "ebony" (probably dyed maple) bridge with only vertical adjustment is fitted, together with the classical Compensator tailpiece. Just the same here as the Congress and President of that period.
The guitar is significantly louder than the Congress, and has more treble than the President. Due to the neck angle/bridge geometry of this particular guitar the Compensator tailpiece rests on the soundboard, with rather unfortunate vibrations resulting. This has been overcome by simply placing small pieces of felt beneath each string grip of the tailpiece. Despite this, the guitar is still a pleasure to play, with a reasonably low action and powerful tone.