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  #017   Hofner  The Ruby.  
       
 
    This guitar is quite unique.     It does not fit any recognised model type in Hofner's back catalogues.   The body is hand dated 13.9.1954 yet it has a truss-rod neck and so is post 1960.    The headstock fascia and pearloid bar position markers confirm the neck date between 1960 - 1965.

The question was,  could it be a genuine Hofner or only an odd-ball, recreated by someone with access to old Hofner parts. 

There were, however, some clear and indisputable clues.

  The Schaller tuners were original and the bezels had turned black with age which is absolutely consistent with 40 year old Schallers.

The neck joint was original and had not been re-set therefore the neck and body had come together just once and sometime around the 1960's

The body is closest in spec to an early 457 with hand carved Spruce top and Maple sides.

A pickguard had been fitted originally.

The colour was a perfect match for the colour used on the 464.

The tailpiece was a Muller piece used occasionally by Hofner at that time for specials and the Bridge was original and correct.

I bought the guitar in Germany and was told that it originally had been a special order by a Gypsy Jazz professional.     It certainly had bags of rich, mellow tone and a huge voice.

I consulted Steve Russell and Stephen Candib on this one and we reached a consensus that this guitar appears to have been made by Hofner, sometime in the 60's, using a 60's neck and a body from the stock shelves selected for its acoustic properties, made to the specific order of a customer who also specified his choice of colour.    It is known and documented that Hofner would undertake special requests like this and all the evidence seems to confirm that this is a genuine Special Customer Order.

Fifty years later it also turns out to be a very nice guitar.    The colour of this lovely guitar is quite stunning and so I affectionately called it The Ruby.

       
    Note the multiple binding around the fingerboard edges.    Confirmation that this was an upper range model.
    If you zoom in on this pic you will see twin fine lines down the centre of the back, inlaid with wood when the two halves of the back were glued together.    A good dating clue as this method was discontinued around 1954-56.
   

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