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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 soon after. He and his sons, Josef and Walter, built the business in Schonbach, Germany, building their first guitars there in the 1930s.

Coming from a tradition of Violin making did have a noticeable impact on the guitars they produced, and not just in body style, as in the aforementioned 500/1 bass. Players more used to other brands are often amazed at the light weight of hollow-bodied Hofner guitars and basses, and the superb "woody" tone. But one downside is the fact that they are less durable than many equivalent instruments; after all violinists don't thrash their instruments, and a typical Hofner can not take the beating that many rock guitarists like to mete out. Violins are held together with animal hide-based glue in order that necks can be steamed open and reset. After several decades, the joints of guitars built this way will often need regluing; most vintage Hofner's have had or will need a neck reset. Likewise finishes, whilst beautiful looking, are not able to handle the wear and tear of decades of use. Vintage Hofners can be great functional instruments, but need to be handled with care to remain in tip-top condition.

Early days, 1950s Hofner

1966 UK Hofner advertisement

1966 UK Hofner advertisement - see other vintage Hofner advertisements here

The Schonbach plant ceased instrument production during the second world war, and was closed shortly afterwards. 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

1962 Hofner Verithin thinline electric acoustic guitar

1962 Hofner Verithin thinline electric acoustic guitar have a closer look

1960s heyday

Hofner guitars have always been popular in the United Kingdom. Hofner made special UK models like the President, Senator, Congress, Committee, Verithin and numerous others. They were similar in many ways to some European models. They were distributed in the UK and Commonwealth 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 176 galaxie rare one of a kind color
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last message by jules

Hofner 177
1 replies
last message by jules

hofner violin bass 500/1
8 replies
last message by jimtone

Verithin 1965 I think
1 replies
last message by jules



Solid body guitars

V1 / V2 / V3
Colorama
172
173
176
177

Hollow body guitars

Ambassador
Committee
President
Senator
Verithin
  1962 Verithin

Bass guitars

500/1
500/2
G500/1
500/4
185/S
Senator
President

Hofner Catalogues

1960 Selmer (UK)
1964 Selmer (UK)
1966 Selmer (UK)
1967 Hofner (US)

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Hofner parts

Pickups
Pickguards


Recent updates

1966 Selmer guitar catalogue
1966 Selmer guitar catalogue The 1965/1966 Selmer guitar catalogue contained guitars by a number of different makers imported for the UK market, the most numerous being German-made Hofner electrics, acoustics and basses. There is also a fairly large Gibson section, but it by no means contains all instruments produced under that brand at the time. Other instruments featured include guitars and basses by Hagstrom and Futurama, and Brazilian acoustic guitars by Giannini. 44 pages, with UK pricing in guineas.
1962 Hofner Verithin thinline acoustic
1962 Hofner Verithin thinline acoustic A closer look at a 1962 Hofner Verithin electric acoustic guitar, in translucent cherry red finish. The Verithin was Hofner's thinline model, produced in Germany for Selmer in the UK, and aimed at capturing the desire for the highly desireable, but largely unaffordable Gibson ES series thinline models. They were good quality, well-built, lightweight instruments, and very popular in early 1960s Britain.
1960 Selmer Guitars and Strings catalogue
1960 Selmer Guitars and Strings catalogue, The 1960 Selmer guitar catalogue featured a whole range of acoustic, electric semi-acoustic, and solid body guitars manufactured by Hofner. There were also a small number of Hofner-made (but Selmer branded) acoustic guitars, Futurama branded solid bodies, and a Futurama electric upright bass. From the very fine (and even shorter lived) Golden Hofner, to the budget Selmer 222 flat top. Monochrome, 32 pages

Older updates here


US ebay listings

Limited Edition Hofner Beatle Bass 1962 Ed Sullivan - #7 out of only 64 made

Current price: $1889.99
buy it now
Time left: 2d 22h 55m
1966 Hofner Guitar Ad Featured on Collector's Envelope *X129

Current price: $3.50
buy it now
Time left: 15h 52m
1969 Hofner Fiddle Bass

Current price: $3599.00
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Time left: 4d 21h 32m
Hofner scratchplate bracket for deep bodies-1960's -rebuild/restorations/project

Current price: $15.58
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Time left: 1d 18h 24m
original HOFNER GALAXIE guitar bridge with dampener 1960's/1970's - LAST FEW

Current price: $51.94
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Time left: 2d 16h 49m
1961 Vintage Hofner Cavern 500/1 bass (NOT A RE-ISSUE), Full McCartney Spec.

Current price: $7999.00
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Time left: 15d 18h 37m
HOFNER 500/1 Beatle Bass 1969 Vintage w/Case Worldwide Shipping Original

Current price: $1949.00
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Time left: 9d 7h 32m
1967 Hofner Beatle Violin Bass 500/1 - All Original including Case

Current price: $1895.00
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Time left: 2d 6h 42m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

hofner verythin guitar 1964

Current price: £350.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 19h 54m
Hofner Vintage CONGRESS guitar with original fitted case, 1950`s.

Current price: £275.00
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Time left: 21d 13h 19m
Vintage Hofner 1950s 457 President

Current price: £469.00
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Time left: 20d 1h 32m
1962 Hofner President archtop Blonde

Current price: £550.00
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Time left: 22d 3h 34m
Hofner senator 1959 blonde vintage guitar

Current price: £225.00
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Time left: 4d 20h 10m
��"66" Hofner 'Venitian Senator Thin Blonde Vintage Archtop Guitar 1965-1971

Current price: £600.00
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Time left: 16d 18h 22m
HOFNER PRESIDENT ACCOUSTIC GUITAR CIRCA EARLY 1960s BLONDE

Current price: £698.00
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Time left: 21h 54m
Very rare Hofner 1959 Model 457 S T3. Hollow body, 3 pick-up, active booster

Current price: £1500.00
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Time left: 21d 23h 26m
See more results on eBay here


German ebay listings

HOFNER * Jumbo Flattop 1962 * Rarität * Liebhaberstück * Westerngitarre * Höfner

Current price: €1999.00
buy it now
Time left: 27d 21h 7m
��"66" Hofner 'Venitian Senator Thin Blonde Vintage Archtop Guitar 1965-1971

Current price: €695.81
buy it now
Time left: 16d 18h 22m
1958 1959 Höfner 455/S Hofner Archtop Vintage Tobacco Sunburst

Current price: €680.00
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Time left: 2d 19h 3m
Hofner CLUB 50 no.1 ‚blonde‘, ca.1958 – no RI

Current price: €1475.00
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Time left: 25d 17h 5m
Hofner CLUB 50 no.2 ‚tobacco sunburst‘, ca.1959 – no RI

Current price: €1975.00
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Time left: 25d 17h 5m
1960 HOFNER 463 E3 ARCHTOP,Jazzgitarre. Massive Fichtendecke!

Current price: €1880.00
buy it now
Time left: 12d 22h 30m
See more results on eBay here

There are 3 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
Stefan Comment left 22nd July 2012 16:04:31
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 17:05:32
looking for a 459vtz super call 7727083714 thanks
Jacqui Comerford Comment left 6th September 2016 15:03:05
I have a Hofner 486 acoustic 6 steel string guitar. I wanted to find out what approximate value it may be to sell.

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