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  The Collection.    As always,  for more details click on the pic
       
  Hofner Heaven.
       
    Hofner Verithin.                                     SR.

My collection really began with #001 a Gibson Byrdland but, before that, there had always been a Hofner in my home for more than 50 years.     Initially I had a President but for most of that time it had been this one   -   a very early (serial No 313) Cherry Sunburst model with a Bigsby.

It was a good looking guitar, still in Mint condition, and great for playing Chet Atkins but the electrics were always disappointing.   I played it on and off but eventually it went into the loft and I transferred my affections to an Aria Pro II.

After 24 years in the loft, I rediscovered the Verithin.   It still looked mint but it did n't sound any better so I sold it.   I regretted doing so immediately.

   

Hofners in General!  

It occurred to me that, if mine had survived so long in my loft, there must be thousands more Hofners just sitting in lofts all over the world.     What a great retirement hobby to go Hofner hunting and perhaps bring a few of them back into good playing condition.  

So I went looking for Hofners to restore.   What I found was intriguing.    Back in the 60's, the Selmer guitars were seldom nice to play and hardly ever set up properly     Amazingly, so many seem to have survived in tact but still in that same unplayable condition!     Meanwhile the European models, mostly after the Selmer era, had developed into very playable instruments.    The electrics too had greatly improved and so I set out to discover the unfamiliar continental archtops and especially the thinline models.   

I have been attracted to the rare and unusual models and instruments with interesting histories.    As a result I have been fortunate to have found outstanding examples of many of the important models.     At all times I have been looking for highly playable guitars and Mint where possible.      Yes, there are still Mint Hofners out there and many more that are worth saving!    All needed a set-up, most have cried-out for attention, and a few have needed some serious restoration.  

In the comments beside each guitar, I note:

'R' when it has been Restored,

'F' for Refurbished, 

'E' when the Electrics have been overhauled or renewed or 'W' if just the wiring has been cleaned and re-jointed.   

'Custom' identifies guitars which I have developed into instruments that Hofner might perhaps have made.

Also 'SR' indicates that this guitar is listed on Steve Russell's excellent Hofner site. 

       
       
    #002  Hofner 4570.

4570 is the Thin version of Hofner's 457, which was the model from which the President was developed for Selmer.   This guitar taught me that Hofners can actually play well.    It had been set up by my friend Olaf Poeter and it felt right.     At some stage a Trapeze tailpiece had been fitted.   See #041 for the correct 62/7 tail for a 4570.

       
    #003  Hofner The Jazz Café.    Custom.    SR.

I still feel proud of The Jazz Café.   I acquired it as an unfinished New President body and neck from the factory.    It had not had any holes drilled which enabled me to design this fully acoustic archtop, something Hofner no longer makes!   

For more information on The Jazz Café, click the pic, for a separate page on the design, development and recent history of this guitar.

Now:   I recently bought back the Jazz Café to upgrade it with electrics in keeping with the ethos of its design.

       
    #005  Hofner Committee Thinline.

I have great affection for this guitar.    Committees are always special but I have a soft-spot for thinlines.

After five years detailed restoration this has become a very lovely guitar  -  to look at, to play and to listen to.

It sings!

Now:  Singing in Finland.

       
    #011  Hofner 4577                           SR.

This guitar is Mint and its lovely.   The colour is gorgeous - real "Sunset"  and more Red than the usual Red/Yellow "Tequila Sunrise".   

These are quite rare and I have not seen another in this spec with 513's twin Vol controls and a Master Tone control.

I discovered it in Germany and, after a full set-up, it plays like a dream.  

Now:   It has gone to join The Pöhlert in Munich.

       
    #012  Hofner 173(ii)  R.   W.

I wanted a blues machine!     When I bought this, it was a complete wreck.    It took a week to dismantle and clean  but it was worth it.   After a full resto and set up it did not disappoint.

Now:   I found a better blues machine.

       
 

  #013  Hofner 4572(i)

This needed a total restoration.   I ran out of space and time and decided to concentrate on #005 and my Custom projects and so sold this as a full restoration project to a well known Vintage Hofner playing recording and performing artist.

Instead of restoring it, however, I believe her guitar tech simply re-assembled it.   That's not what I mean by restoration.   It must be a dog!

Now:    I saw it on eBay a while ago!

       
    #014  Framus 5/59 Sorella.    Restoration.

A very lovely instrument which I partially restored.   It was subsequently featured in The Framus Vintage News and on their website.   It had a rare Framus vibrato of which only the hand made base plate remains.

Now:  Appears regularly in Reading Jazz Clubs.

       
    #015 Hofner Jazzica - La Provençale. Custom. SR.

I discovered this very tired prototype Jazzica in Germany.      Interestingly, it was acoustic so there were not any holes drilled in the body!    It enabled me to design this electric jazz guitar with neck mounted AZ pickup.     I invested weeks of time in this one and it was worth it.   A great guitar with superb tone and it plays like a dream.

For more information on La Provençale. click the pic to see a separate page on the design, development and build of this guitar.

Now:   ON HOLD

       
    #016  Framus 5/53 Sorella acoustic.

This was a mistake - a truly unexceptional guitar.

Now:   I sold it immediately.

       
    #017  Hofner 457.    The Ruby.          SR.

This is a very special Hofner and seems certain to have been a Customer Special Order.

It had a really big, rich voice and although a neck mounted pickup had been fitted by a previous owner, I kept it as a very, jazzy acoustic.

It needed little more than a good clean.

Now:   I sold it very reluctantly.

 

       
    #018  Hofner 458S Black Beauty.             SR.

By this time I had started to become interested in the guitars Hofner was making for its home markets.   Selmer's guitars were produced in high volumes, the European archtops felt more hand-made.

This one was indeed a beauty!

Now:   In an important collection in Scotland.

       
    #019  Hofner 4570.  R.  E.                SR.

This arrived from Italy needing a lot of attention.    I restored it for Keith B who specified the Harp tailpiece (click the pic for "Tailpieces")   It now is a delightful guitar that plays really well.    Very satisfying to have given it new life.

Now:   Twanged regularly by a few Rock legends up North.

       
    #020  Hofner 4571 Thinline                    SR.

A very rare 4571 from 1967 with 511(iii) pickups and dot position markers, finished in Classic Sunburst.   Gorgeous and very jazzy!   This was Hofner's version of Gibson's ES 335 but it only lasted in production a very short time.

Now:   In the USA

       
    #021  Hofner S3N  Black Beauty.            SR.

Very Rare.   Mint and still with its original case.    I could n't resist it!     Interesting electrics  -  just pure Rock.

Dionne Lennon asked to buy it (click on the pic)

Now:   Still with Dionne in New York.

       
    #023  Hofner 4570 E1.

Another lovely old 4570.   (see #002)

Now:   With a happy new owner.

       
    #024  Hofner Committee Thinline.                SR.

An amazing 10/10 one owner '64 Committee with its original case.     Gorgeous  -  Stunning! 

I obtained full provenance from its original owner and intended keeping it forever but I discovered #031, my A2HL.      I just can't keep them all!!

Now:   Treasured in British Colombia.

       
    #025  Hofner Club 60.                          SR.

Lovely, lovely, lovely 1965 Club 60.   Everything it should be and in Hofner's light sunburst too.   Very special.

Those "toasters" are always so sweet!  

Now:   It went to a collector in New York.

       
    #027  Hofner Nightingale.

This is one of Hofner's greatest guitars  -  in my view it should still be in their range.   It is a players delight and great to look at.   Maybe a gentle re-design of the cutaways would help but it is one hell of a guitar.     If you ever get the chance to play one,  jump at it.

Now:   Cherished on Merseyside!

       
    #031 Hofner A2HL.                             SR.

A beautiful guitar which I found in Mint condition in Germany after it had been sitting in someone else's loft for 24 years.    In many respects it looks like a Selmer Committee and has the same level of ornamentation but it is far superior in my view.   Fitted with sophisticated passive electrics it is a delight to play.    I really love this guitar.

Now:    Where it belongs - back in Bavaria.

       
    #033  Hofner President Thin.

A nice Thinline President which I wanted to restore but ran out of time.

Now:   In Riccardo Abbondanza's collection.

       
    #035  Hofner Club 50.                         SR.

This is a very special guitar which spent all its early life, from '59 - '85, on display in the Hofner Museum at Bubenreuth.    It was absolutely Mint and perfect in every respect   and had been in just one other German collection before I acquired it.

I was delighted when Peter Frampton bought it.    I believe he recorded with it 2008.

Now:   Making music in Ohio

       
    #041  Hofner 4570 E1.                       SR.

Updated, single pickup version with a 511(iii), slightly modernised f-holes and an Ebony fingerboard.   Never seen another one like it.  single dot markers.     I can only get a jazzy tone with this when I use 12's.   With lighter gauge strings it is pure Rock, Pop, Beat.

Now:   Pulling the birds in Birmingham!

       
    #042  Hofner 4571 VTZ.                         SR.

Another very rare 4571 this time with 513s, bar position markers and the full VTZ effects.    Not my scene but I could n't help buying it!

Now:   Still in the UK

       
    #044  Hofner AZ AWARD.                       SR. 

In my opinion, this is the best jazz archtop Hofner ever made.     It comes alive as you play it,  just like a great violin.    I can feel the whole guitar vibrate against my chest as I play. Tonally it is sublime,  the neck is superb and the size, weight and balance of the instrument is perfect.

Designed by Attila Zoller, it was also played by guitarists of distinction including Jimmy Raney, Chuck Wayne and Herb Ellis.    My good friend Mitch Seidman (see Jazzy Stuff) is also a devotee.

Now:   Joining other AZs in Kentucky.

       
    #048  Hofner Jazzica Custom.           SR.

I bought this from its original owner who ordered it specially from Hofner.   It's label bears his name and also that of Klaus Schöller, its designer!

Now:   Played regularly in a Swing Band.

       
    #051  Hofner Jazzica Series 1.               SR.

I love these Series 1 Jazzicas.    A truly exceptional guitar.   I bought this one from Juliano Reinhardt who still plays Gypsy Jazz around Europe in the spirit of Django.

Now :  Played regularly just over the Border.

       
    #056  Hofner Shorty Bass.  Speziale.       SR.

A unique Hofner.    This was a special Customer Order and is the only known Shorty Bass with an Ebony fingerboard.    Fantastic tone,  stunning looks.   Looks great on stage.

Now :  In France the last time I heard.

       
    #057  Hofner 190 Bass.      PROJECT.

A vary rare Bass.  Hofner's answer to Gibson's SB 400.      It is ultra-lightweight and has the nicest neck on any Bass I have played so well worth restoring properly.

Now :  In the Workshop

       
    #058   The Electric Jazz Café   

Although it was difficult to part with The Jazz Café I sold it to Ollie in Leeds who treasured it and kept it acoustic as intended.   It then moved on but its second owner added a pickup.   It was done very badly  -  frankly it looked terrible!

Once made electric there is no going back so I bought back The Jazz Café in order to upgrade it properly,  the way I would have designed it had I intended it to be electric when I made it.

Fortunately it has become a superb electric archtop.    Very jazzy indeed.

Now:   I will not let it go again!!

 

       
    #059  Hofner T6S.                           SR.

Hofner's most highly developed Verithin.    It uses Verithin dimensions but it is virtually a fresh guitar.   For example, it is a semi-acoustic, hollow-body archtop but without f-holes, with highly sophisticated active electronics and monster pickups.   Quite a handful.

This is an outstanding guitar and plays superbly.

Great for Rock, Pop, Fusion and all the things I don't play.

Now :  Bopping again down in the West Country!

       
    #061  Hofner S3N with Vibrato.

My first S3N Black Beauty really was a beaut' and Dionne Lennon bought it for stage use.

I liked that guitar - a simple easy to play solid - so I set out to find one that I could develop.  The factory offered a bridge post mounted Schaller vibrato as a listed option in their pricelist however this is Schaller's "Floyd Rose" model.     It was going to be the basis of a Custom guitar but it was too nice to modify and it became my Blues guitar for a while.

Now :   Rocking in Kent

       
    #062  Hofner Shorty Bass Lefty Special.

I have been looking for a Bass that I can play upright (like a full sized double bass) mainly because I like to play seated.     I tried the White Shorty and loved it but the controls are on the wrong side when you play it upright.   I thought that a lefty would solve this problem however Hofner's catalogue did not list a Lefty option.    

I heard that a few had been made to special order and managed to track this one down in Germany.      It is absolutely mint and perfect for my needs.

Now :  In good hands again in Derby.

       
    #063  Hofner President Special.

This is a very special guitar and believed to be unique.

This superb playing and very interesting guitar   is believed to the the final prototype for the New President.    It is made with choice Spruce and Flame Maple, with a 90mm deep body, Ebony fingerboard and has Gold fittings.   All features which are to be found in the New President and unlike the 457 which this prototype was probably based upon.   

It definitely has the feel and build quality of the new era of Hofner archtops, heralded by the New President.    It's gorgeous.

Nice feel  -  great tone.   A real Jazz archtop!

Now :  Joining more Hofners in the Swiss Alps

       
    #066  Hofner President Florentine Thinline.

How ironic that the 66th guitar in my collection should be a Hofner 66!

I had wanted one of these for a long while  -  sort of a Hofner ES 225 - a throwback to "The Crickets".      

Now :   It had to give way to #069.

       
    #067  Hofner President Acoustic.

Just like my first Hofner (see Early Days) but this one had clearly spent its lifetime in a loft.    Very little evidence of play time but covered in mould, dust, dirt and ......... sporting Nylon strings!!!!   

Many hours of gentle cleaning and polishing,  and restoring the Bridge, and it looks just like new!

Now :   In a Beatles collection in Brazil.

       
    #068  Hofner 7SB  Bass.

I did not buy this for its looks!    It just plays so well and is so, so easy to play.   It will become the basis of my stand-up Jazz Bass.

Now:   Experimenting.

       
    #069  Hofner President Florentine Thinline.     SR.

In 1961 Gibson converted to Florentine cutaways on all their archtops (except for the Super 400) and in '65 Hofner followed (except for the Committee).  

President 66 Thinlines are quite rare and I was offered this one only hours after I won a similar guitar (#066) on eBay.    This one is just like new and plays superbly.

Now :   Straight to the recording studio the minute it arrived in Aussie.

       
    #070  Hofner President Special.

Another very interesting and unique Hofner.

From the 80's,  this President. was finished in a one-off Cinnamon, just like the colour Hofner only recently introduced.     Clearly Hofner were playing with this colour back in the 80's.

It is polished now and looks stunning.    I bought it from its original owner so I know its history.  

Now :    Swinging in Tring

       
    #072  Hofner 458 Black Beauty.

Another lovely Black Beauty.  I do have a soft spot for these provided they are good.   This one was excellent in every respect.     Superb acoustic tone from this mid 50's archtop.

Now :   Being strummed gently in the Faroe Isles.

 

       
    #073  Hofner President E1 Special.

This lovely old guitar had been abandoned in a dark corner of the factory and was "acquired" by a Hofner employee when the old factory closed.    I know this to be so because bought it directly from his family.

It is a President Thin E1 (something Hofner did not have in its catalogue of the period)  in a colour that was more associated with Framus than Hofner.

At first I thought it to be one of several "Specials" that Hofner regularly made for Exhibition,  and I remember seeing one very similar to this but twin pickup, in Selmer's shop window in the mid-60's.     

Following extensive research,  I believe it to be a prototype made to show Werner Pöhlert in 1964.

Now :   Cherished in Coulsdon

       
    #074  Hofner 459 Black Beauty.

Yet another lovely Black Beauty.    This is a very nice guitar.   It reeks of the master luthier's art - nicely hand carved and surprisingly lightweight to hold.    It feels right  -  a real true players guitar.    Great acoustic tone and punch.

Most unusual to find an electric 459 which suggests it is probably an early 60's model.

Now :   Loved in Tamworth.

       
    #077  Hofner 477.

The 477 is one of the classic Hofner archtops  -  big body,  big sound.     This one is a stunner in Tequila Sunrise!    A nice fingerboard on this one and a slender neck.   I like the 513 pickups  -  great for jazzy tones but with plenty of bite.

Now :   Adored by Koubiak in France.

       
    #081  The Pöhlert Jazz Guitar.

A guitar I discovered in Bavaria in 2010.  

It was previously unknown in Hofner circles and had not been recorded in the Hofner archive or  been mentioned in any Hofner literature.

It was a special customer order made for Werner Pöhlert around 1964,  one of a small run of 6-8.     Herr Pöhlert played one and supplied the others to his students.

Sympathetically restored.

Now :   Making mellow music in Munich.  

       
    #082  Hofner AZ AWARD CUSTOM.

The AZ is simply Hofner's best ever guitar of all time.    This is the second one I have had (see #044 above) and it is a players dream!     The only weak-spot in the AZ design is that the heavy radius on the fingerboard is not to everyone's liking.    #082 overcomes that issue - it couples the AZ  body with the superior A2 neck.     It is finished in the AZ sunburst of the period with gold fittings so it sits somewhere between an A2L and an AZ AWARD.  

In all other respects it is pure AZ.   It looks like an AZ with a different headstock.    Most importantly, it plays just like an AZ  -  superb tone and very responsive.    A very nice guitar indeed and is stunning played acoustic.   Played electric it retains the same tones as if it it were played acoustic through a Mic'.     Just what the Be-bop player always wants!    

I am satisfied that this is a genuine, factory hand-made Hofner and am of the opinion that this guitar was most likely a Customer Special Order.

Now :   FOR SALE

       
    #084  Hofner A2L.

This is a Hofner I had been wanting for a long while.    Known to be the forerunner to the AZ,  the Attila Zoller is a model I much admire and I wanted to know just how good the A2 was.

In its day the A2 was Hofners top of the line jazz model but nobody seemed to know much about it.    I had neither seen one nor spoken to anyone who had played one.    I have owned  the thinline version (#038)  known as A2HL and it is a guitar I really like.    A lot like a Committee but with real electrics!

It does not disappoint.     This is a serious jazz archtop, featuring Hofners excellent 052 pickup,  and a very nice instrument to boot.

Now :   Joining an Epi and a D'A in Norwich.

       
    #092  Hofner 456S.   1957

This is  really nice pre truss-rod 456 from 1957, fitted with a rare 60's Hofner type 513 pickup/pickguard assembly.

I bought this one in Germany mainly because it still had that bright, almost white look you see in the old Hofner catalogues of the period.

The single-coil pickup gives it that true 50's/60's sound.

Now :    Bopping in Bucks.

       
    #097  Hofner S3N.

I had an idea for a Custom S3 with a double cutaway and hot, hot electrics.     So I bought this as the basis for that project.

When it arrived I was so taken by the fact that it looked just like new,  it was just too good to modify.

So now I have (or at least have had) the full set.    An S3N in each colour,  Black #021,   Oak #061 and now Blonde #097.

Now:   Starting a new life in Sheffield. 

       
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