HOFNER FACT FILES - 

SELMER GUITAR CASES IN THE 1960's

 

 

 

 Selmer tended to import guitars from the overseas manufacturers into the UK without cases, and then offer their own range of hard cases to the retailer/final customer. This seems to have applied to all the major guitar lines that they dealt in; i.e. Hofner, Futurama, Fender, and even Gibson. Presumably the thinking was that Selmer could buy-in these more cheaply direct from the case manufacturers rather than buying them through the guitar manufacturers, hence avoiding middle-man costs. It is believed that Hofner obtained many of the cases that they subsequently offered for Hofner guitars from the Jakob Witter Company who were closely involved with and had their factory in same area of Bavaria as Hofner themselves.

 (Even Bigsby vibrato units were produced under licence in the UK for Selmer, who imported all Hofner semi-acoustics into the country with fixed tailpieces. These were then removed and replaced with a UK Bigsby if an order for a vibrato-equipped guitar was received from a retailer.)

The Selmer cases were generally of excellent quality, as well as being very attractive. The value of an old Hofner is substantially increased if it still retains its original Selmer case. Values of the cases themselves, if in good condition, are increasing steadily.

Selmer also offered various "Soft" Cases and Guitar Bags for the cheaper guitars in their catalogue, and generally for those guitar buyers working to a budget, but it is unlikely that any of these will have survived to the present day. They have therefore not been dealt with below.

SOLID GUITARS:

Solid guitars such as the Hofner V3 / Super Solids, and the Futurama 3, (not forgetting the L-Series Fender Strats of course!), were supplied up to about 1964/65 with rectangular "Slimline" cases covered in a beautiful light grey imitation crocodile skin material. Heavy brass corner protectors were fitted, and the inside of the case was plush lined. These did not come cheap - 8 guineas (£8 8s 0p in old money or £8.40 in new decimal money) in 1963, which equated to about 20% of the price of the actual Hofner or Futurama guitar.

 

   

The Selmer "Slimline" Case.

 

From about 1963 onwards, Selmer moved away from the rectangular case to a shaped type, probably made by the Winter Company, for the Hofner and Futurama solid guitars. This was covered in a fawn "tweed-type" material, lacked the brass corner protectors, and was lined with only green felt. Definitely a "duming-down", but really, this quality of case was much more appropriate for the cheaper guitars. The plush-lined rectangular cases stayed in the catalogue for a few years further however, possibly to cater for the Fender customer.  

 

A Hofner Super Solid 2 In its Felt-Lined Shaped Case.

 

The Colorama purchaser was generally offered a "Lightweight" hard case, which was less substantial than the above but shaped to the dimensions of the guitar. The price of these was 3gns. An example of the type supplied by Selmer around 1962/63 is shown below:

 

 

1962/63 Selmer case for the Hofner Colorama 

 

 

ARCHTOP & SEMI ACOUSTIC:

Throughout the 1950's, 60's, and 70's, Selmer offered substantial shaped cases as accessories not included in the base price of the guitar. These were made in several sizes to suit the various guitars in the Hofner and Gibson range. For instance, the same size of case was offered in the 1968 catalogue for both the Gibson 335 and for the Hofner Verithin. The Hofner Country and Western was offered the same case as for the Gibson Jumbos, although a soft case was also on offer for the Hofner.

Initially these cases were covered in a black "tolex-type" material, but from the early 1960's this became a fawn "tweed". Linings were either "plush" material, or felt options. In the 1965 Selmer catalogue, plush lined cases were offered against the Hofner Committee, Committee Bass, Verithin Bass, President Bass, and Senator Bass at 14 guineas. Interestingly enough, the Verithin, President, and Senator guitars, together with the Ambassador, had only 10 guinea felt lined cases against their catalogue entries. The Congress had to make do with a "Soft Shaped Case" for 3 gns. All the Gibsons were offered plush lined, shaped cases, with the exception of the Gibson ES335/355 range, for which the felt-lined Verithin case was suggested. Rather strange, bearing in mind that a Gibson 345 in those days was listed at three times the price of a Hofner Committee Electric.

The Golden Hofner guitar, together with the most expensive Gibson models, were the one exceptions that already had cases included in their base prices. Presumably the Goldens had been shipped from the Bubenreuth workshops by Hofner in their Josef Winter cases..

 

A Selmer Shaped Hard Case 

 

A Hofner Ambassador in its Felt-Lined Hard case.

 

A Hofner Committee with its Plush-Lined Hard Case.

 

A Golden Hofner with its plush-lined hard case, made by Jacob Winter and shipped to Selmers with each Golden by Hofner. Many of the Golden Hofner cases had a dark brown top.

 

 



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