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Hofner Electric Guitar and Bass List
Instruments manufactured by Hofner

Hofner Guitars The Beatles in the early 1960s

Hofner guitars and basses hold a very special position in the history of popular music; they were the guitars that so many influential British guitarists of the early 1960s were playing, Most notably of course, Paul McCartney of the Beatles, with his 500/1 Violin bass.

Karl Hofner started producing violins in 1887, adding other stringed instruments to the line soonafter. He and his sons, Josef and Walter, built the business in Schonbach, Germany, building their first guitars there in the 1930s. This plant ceased instrument production during the second world war, and was closed shortly after it.

Early days, 1950s Hofner

1966 UK Hofner advertisement

1966 UK Hofner advertisement - see other vintage Hofner advertisements here

Instrument production started again with a big new plant in another German town, Bubenreuth, opening in late 1950. Hofner's long history in orchestral stringed-instrument manufacture dictated the kind of guitars produced: well-built hollow bodies with set necks, many with hand carved tops, many acoustic; and many utilising the inlaying skills of Hofner's craftsmen. As the 1950s progressed numerous improvements were instituted; Hofner certainly kept up with the important developments in American guitars, and by the very end of the decade were producing thinlines, and fitting adjustable truss rods to all models. But guitar demand grew massively over the next two decades; both in Germany, but also increasingly worldwide. Sales were rising, buoyed, by the advent of rock 'n' roll and then beat music, and the Bubenreuth plant had to be extended on several occasions to keep up with production.

1961 Hofner Congress acoustic guitar

1961 Hofner Congress acoustic guitar

1960s heydey

Hofner guitars have always been popular in the United Kingdom. Hofner made special UK models like the President, Senator Congress, Committee, and numerous others. They were similar in many ways to some European models. They were distributed in the UK by Selmer and sold well in the late 1950s and very early 1960s, both as student and professional instruments. More expensive American guitars by Gibson, Gretsch and Guild were largely unavailable (or at least unaffordable) due to trade restrictions, at least until 1961, and at this point British guitar makers were unable to produce well-built hollow-body guitars, so Hofner initially had little competition.

Then, of course, there was Paul McCartney who had bought his 500/1 violin bass in 1961. He played this bass throughout his time with the Beatles, and despite having other basses available always came back to this; most notably using it on the famous Apple building rooftop concert of 1969.

One other big change in the 1960s was the strong demand for solid body guitars; in part due to the changing musical direction of the 1960s, but also the huge growth of student guitarists looking for cheaper instruments than the labour intensive hollow bodies. Original Hofner models like the V-series (V1, V2, V3) were followed by the Colorama, Super Solids and Galaxie guitars, all of which sold well to aspiring guitar players of the 1960s.

The 1970s

Solid bodies performed better at louder volumes, and as the 60s turned into the 70s, hollow guitars dropped out of fashion. But Hofner was facing problems. Highly respected manufacturers like Gibson and Fender had the professional end of the market all but sewn-up, whilst Asian manufacturers were producing high quality budget guitars very cheaply indeed. Hofner managed to keep flagship models like the violin bass, but was otherwise forced down the route of the Japanese manufacturers producing (admittedly not bad) copies of Gibson guitars.

Latest posts on Hofner guitars and basses at the VintageGuitar forum
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Hofner president electric 1959
2 replies
last message by RonB
26/08/2014 11:08

Can you please help identify this Hofner? Thank you!
0 replies
last message by Jumpinjoejenkins
22/08/2014 05:03

1965 Hofner President Brunette with Hofner pick up.
0 replies
last message by btfgraphic
10/08/2014 01:46

I need a new control switch for a 1968 beatle bass
2 replies
last message by skydog
02/07/2014 20:00

Hofner Galaxie
1 replies
last message by jules
13/02/2014 07:56

Hofner Senator pickup query
0 replies
last message by petefaeperth
06/01/2014 03:06



Solid body guitars


Hofner 172
Hofner 173
Hofner 176
Hofner 177

Hollow body guitars


Hofner Ambassador
Hofner Committee
Hofner President
Hofner Senator

Bass guitars


Hofner 500/1
Hofner 500/2
Hofner G500/1
Hofner 500/4
Hofner 185/S
Hofner Senator bass

Hofner Catalogues

1967 Hofner catalogue

Hofner Advertising

Hofner Advertising



US ebay listings

1959 Vintage H70 Guitar Tailpiece Harmony Silvertone Hofner H71 1429

Current price: $99.95
buy it now
Time left: 6d 15h 34m
Vintage Hofner Hard Case 1950's/1960's

Current price: $19.00

Time left: 4d 1h 34m
Vintage 1960s Hofner 500/1 Violin Beatle Bass

Current price: $1879.95
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Time left: 5d 20h 37m
1965 Hofner Bass 500/1 Beatle Bass with Original Case-Nice Original Shape

Current price: $1657.50
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Time left: 5d 17h 41m
1966 Hofner Guitar Ad Featured on Collector's Envelope *129

Current price: $5.00
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Time left: 9d 11h 7m
small vintage HOFNER 510 parlor steelstring blues GUITAR Gitarre Germany 1970`

Current price: $158.00
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Time left: 5d 12h 38m
Original Case For Hofner 500/1 Vintage Electric Beatle Bass Hardshell OHSC 1960s

Current price: $225.00
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Time left: 11d 38m
Vintage 1966 Hofner 500/2 Club Bass, All Original! Beatles Paul McCartney #26360

Current price: $1999.99
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Time left: 19d 19h 47m
Vintage 1960's Hofner Germany Beatle Bass Control Plate, Knobs, Switches, Pots

Current price: $125.00
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Time left: 5d 18h 29m
Vintage Circa 1966 Hofner Model 176 Deluxe Electric Guitar 3 Pickups Plays Great

Current price: $999.00
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Time left: 7d 2h 29m
Vintage 1960's Hofner Solid Body Electric Guitar Pickups Pickguard Germany

Current price: $125.00
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Time left: 26d 22h 57m
ORIGINAL Truss Rod Cover Plate hofner Beatle Bass 1960s 1969 Part

Current price: $79.00
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Time left: 11d 21h 45m
vintage HOFNER HÖFNER 513G 4/4 size classical concert GUITAR Germany 1960s

Current price: $138.00
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Time left: 10d 11h 47m
1975 Hofner 489 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Made in Germany Flamed Maple& Spruce

Current price: $399.99
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Time left: 15d 7h 58m
Original Vintage 1960s Pickguard Mount German Hofner Beatle Bass Part 1969

Current price: $69.00
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Time left: 14d 20h 39m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

Hofner Colorama:Vintage ,1960s,Guitar plus case:very good condition.

Current price: £315.00
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Time left: 28d 13h 13m
HOFNER PRESIDENT BASS 1965

Current price: £620.00
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Time left: 6h 46m
Hofner Guitar:Vintage 1960s;Refurbished.With hardcase.

Current price: £230.00
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Time left: 4d 20h
1958/9 Hofner Senator archtop semi acoustic guitar - NOW STUPID CHEAP!!

Current price: £325.00
buy it now
Time left: 24d 14h
Hofner 173 Electric Guitar - 1960's

Current price: £330.00
buy it now
Time left: 16d 11h 35m
Vintage Hofner Galaxie Guitar white 1964

Current price: £400.00
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Time left: 13h 34m
Hofner Senator Cutaway:Vintage 1966:Archtop:Semi-acoustic;Well looked after.

Current price: £430.00
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Time left: 6d 14h 40m
Hofner President Acoustic/Electric Guitar 1961 Bigsby + Rare 1st ed Hofner book.

Current price: £650.00
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Time left: 26d 19h 1m
1960 Hofner 'Club 60' Guitar with Bigsby V6 Tremolo Original Hard Case 6 String

Current price: £750.00
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Time left: 28d 18h 31m
HOFNER BRIDGE ORIGINAL 1950s PRESIDENT,SENATOR,CONGRESS!!

Current price: £60.00
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Time left: 29d 10h 49m
Hofner 1959 5005 Bass - Beatles - Very Rare - Nr Mint

Current price: £1419.99
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Time left: 21h 30m
Hofner Western Jumbo Acoustic Guitar 1970s

Current price: £135.00
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Time left: 5d 21h 22m
1966 Hofner Guitar Ad Featured on Collector's Envelope *129

Current price: £3.19
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Time left: 9d 11h 7m
HOFNER PRESIDENT - CIRCA 1960 - BLONDE ACOUSTIC - RARE VINTAGE HOFNER!

Current price: £595.00
buy it now
Time left: 27d 15h 10m
Vintage 1964 Hofner Verithin 2 PU Guitar

Current price: £826.00
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Time left: 8d 29m
See more results on eBay here


German ebay listings

Vintage Höfner Archtop Jazzgitarre, Hofner ca. 1960 Archtop and Archback TOP!

Current price: €120.00

Time left: 4d 11h 27m
1964 HOFNER 176 GALAXY CUSTOM LEATHER CASE

Current price: €245.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 20h 9m
HÖFNER HOFNER HOEFNER BEATLES BASS ViNTAGE GERMANY 1968 BASS GUiTAR TOP RARE

Current price: €2421.00
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Time left: 6d 7h 1m
Höfner Hofner Modell 4579 Les Paul Vintage Tremolo rare 1971 seventies Sammler

Current price: €300.00
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Time left: 4d 17h 55m
Hofner Selmer E-Gitarre 1964 surf green

Current price: €390.00
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Time left: 26d 19h 48m
Hofner Selmer Solid Bass 1961

Current price: €890.00
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Time left: 26d 12h 48m
See more results on eBay here

There are 2 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
Stefan Comment left 22nd July 2012 15:03:31
I own three Hofners, a '61 Hofner Congress acoustic, a '63 President electric and a new contemporary series Verithin in stunning translucent cherry. All great players, especially the new verithin, which has a great action. I think the two others have slightly too high action for me, but I don't want to go the neck reset route. Any tips for improving playability without major work?
mark Comment left 23rd August 2013 16:04:32
looking for a 459vtz super call 7727083714 thanks

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