Guy Audoux's three beautiful Hofner Model 456 archtops:- a c1953 456, a 1957 Hofner 456/S, and a 1956 Hofner 456/S/E2.
This guitar can really only be considered as barely more than an experimental model. It did actually appear in the "New Guitars" supplementary price list of Spring 1960 together with the Fledermaus guitar, but not in the main Hofner price list. I haven't been able to find any reference to it in any Hofner catalogue. Very few are in existence, and the controls and electrical circuitry seem to vary between examples. Walter Hofner was very interested in guitar circuitry, and this was no doubt just one of his projects.
The 1260 was basically a 126 Club-Style guitar fitted with a transistorised amplifier circuit, a battery, and a small loudspeaker. This all leads to a heavy guitar with limited sound quality and battery endurance. It would seem that they were not a success and hence, just as with the Fledermausguitarre, the model had disappeared within months.
A very rare guitar that does seem to be an attempt at recreating the "Club" style of a small single cutaway semi-acoustic. This model had a body depth of 1.75" (42mm), which was a little thinner than the earlier Clubs. It also was fitted with double truss-rods, one of Walter Hofner's inovations which he put up for patent in 1969. The 4579(i) was introduced in early 1970, although it only seems to have been offered for a year or so before being transfigured into the second version of the 4579 - a solid-body version which looked and sounded even closer to the G...on Les Paul. Offered with or without a Hofner vibrato tailpiece.
mid-range archtop. Similar in
appearance to the 456 model, but with spruce top (solid carved spruce
into the 60's). Nicely flamed maple back and sides. Available with or
without cutaway, and electric (one, two, and even three pickups with or without
active circuits) or acoustic.
Produced from 1952 onwards, and still in the price lists in the 1990's.
main differences between the
UK distributed Committee and the European/US market 468 are: the
Committee invariably had a birds-eye maple back and sides, whereas most 468
guitars have a heavily flamed maple back and sides; the 468
never had the large "frondose" headstock; the inlays on the 468 are the "bell-flowers" for the headstock, and "bow-tie" on the
fingerboard. The Committee has "rose" and "rose & leaf" inlays.
Introduced in 1969, this model seems on the face of it to have been the
replacement for the Hofner 468 which was phased-out at about that time. However,
was of a higher quality than the 468, and in fact was a more expensive guitar
than the 470. It would seem that Hofner were trying to produce a more modern
top-of-the-range guitar than the old models. The 471 had a large body (17" lower bout,
3.5" deep) and was available
in acoustic or electric formats. One difference to the 468 & 470 models was
that the 471 had a Florentine body cutaway. Other distinctive features were the
one-piece very slim and flat maple neck, the
slender elongated F-holes, the large mother of pearl block fret markers set in
the ebony fingerboard, and the
double fleur-de-lys headstock inlay. It was in the catalogue up to 1977,
and a thinline version with similar features, designated the 4710, was also
produced over the same period.
In 1989, Hofner introduced a higher-spec AZ model called the
AZ Collection. This had a Bordeaux Red finish and gold-plated hardware. This is
a very rare model indeed, as only one or two were actually produced. A high quality thin-line semi-acoustic called the AZ Fusion was also
produced between 1989 and 1991.
This 12-string version of the 4570 thinline archtop was introduced in 1966 and produced for around four years up to 1970. With its 2" deep body, it followed the 4570 in style and development. The very first examples made appear to have had a vertical Hofner logo on the headstock. This was soon followed by an inlaid "dagger" design with a conventional horizontally orientated logo. A Gagliano version of the 457-12 was produced which allowed importation into the US without contravening the Hofner trade-name registered with US customs by the Wm. Gratz Company.
HOFNER MODEL 4571
This model seems to have been produced for a short period in 1965, 1966, and apparently on towards 1968. It was a twin cutaway semi, with a 2" deep body...........really a twin cutaway Hofner 4570, (or a 2" deep bodies Hofner 4574). It is rather a mystery model, as there is virtually no marketing documentation for the 4571.
It would seem that Hofner supplied completed 4572 bodies to
the US Ovation company from 1966 through to 1969 for use on the Ovation
"Storm" and "Hurricane" semi-acoustic models. That being the
case, the Model 4572(ii) took its roots from the Ovation Storm design, but
appears to have lasted in production for much longer than the Ovation product.
To read a comparison between the two guitars immediately above, written by Olaf Poeter, CLICK HERE.
The thin-bodied version of the Hofner 477 archtop, with a 17" wide and 60mm deep body with a single Florentine cutaway. The standard finish appears to be red/yellow sunburst. Some examples are fitted with Hofner's own patented neck-rake adjuster. Produced from c1969 at around the same time as its 477 cousin appeared, and then on into the early 1990's.
A very rare guitar that does seem to be an attempt at recreating the "Club" style of a small single cutaway semi-acoustic. This model had a body depth of 1.75" (42mm), which was a little thinner than the earlier Clubs. It also was fitted with double truss-rods, one of Walter Hofner's inovations which he put up for patent in 1969. The 4579(i) was introduced in early 1970, although it only seems to have been offered for a year or sobefore being transfigured into the second version of the 4579 - a solid-body version which looked and sounded even closer to the G...on Les Paul. Offered with or without a Hofner vibrato tailpiece.
This guitar seems to have been a development of the 4580 model above, in that it was fitted with full-size Type 516 humbucking pickups that had a provision for coil-tapping. As Hofner said at the time....."This makes it possible to switch the instrument from a hard, sharp sound to a soft, melodic sound. The new guitar practically combines two instruments into one". The conventional 2 x rotary volume; 2 x rotary tone; 3-way pickup selector controls were fitted to the guitar, plus a switch for controlling the coil-tap located on the treble-side upper bout. It was introduced at the Spring 1976 Frankfurt Show, but lasted for less than a year. It didn't even make it into the 1977 price list!
HOFNER MODEL 4582
This semi-acoustic guitar was only produced over a very short period in 1977. It had the familiar Verithin-shaped body, but with a 1.5" (40mm) body depth. It's main claim to fame was the large rotary selector switch which allowed various combinations of single or twin-coil tapings on theSchaller-made pickups.
This thinline (2" deep body) guitar was based on the 471 archtop, which seems to have been Hofner's replacement for the up-market 468/4680 models. The 468/4680 was discontinued in 1968 and the 471/4710 models appeared in 1969. Ornate Fleur de Lys headstock ornamentation in mother of pearl, together with split fret-marker blocks in the same material were used, together with ebony fingerboard and ornate body / neck binding. The Florentine cutaway (which seems to have been popular with Hofner in the late 1960's), the gold plated hardware, and the slender elongated F-holes help identify these models. The 4710 was produced up to 1977.
In 1980, a
final version on the theme called the T6S was introduced. This had a
30mm "Verithin" body with central sustain block, and was equipped with active electrics. Various
combinations of pickup options were offered, including the option of a bridge
piezzo unit. The "T" Series was phased out around
1985 to make way for the Nightingale model.
HOFNER T4 MODEL VERSIONS
ATTILA ZOLLER FUSION
Introduced in 1989, shortly after the Nightingale, this guitar acted as a semi-acoustic version of Hofner's top-of-the-range AZ archtops. It had a 2" deep body with a centre sustain block and utilised two AZ pickups rather than the archtops' single unit. A more technically advanced AZ Midi Fusion was also offered, which had Shadow 1500 MU pickups which could either be used conventionally or linked up to a Midi set-up. Finishes available were antique brown sunburst, Bordeaux red sunburst, and black. Both Fusion versions were discontinued around 1991/92 after only a handful - perhaps less than ten - had been made.