Serial No. 5588

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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 finish.

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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).

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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 Gibson-ish.

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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.