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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
forum index | post message

Lookin 4 Vintage Hofner Electric Guitar Model 459VTZ
9 replies
last message by Custom53
23/11/2014 09:53

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



Solid body guitars


Hofner V1 / V2 / V3
Hofner Colorama
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 President bass

Hofner Catalogues

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

Hofner Advertising

Hofner Advertising


Back to the HOFNER INDEX | comment


US ebay listings

1967 FRAMUS ATLANTIC BASS VINTAGE ELECTRIC HOFNER HOHNER BILL WYMAN STAR GUITAR

Current price: $23.00
buy it now
Time left: 9d 13h 18m
1960s HOFNER CLUB BASS GUITAR WITH ORIGINAL HARD CASE NECK RE-SET

Current price: $510.00
buy it now
Time left: 5d 4h 35m
1960 Hofner Colorama Guitar

Current price: $162.50
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Time left: 5d 11h 25m
1964 Hofner Solid De-Luxe Model 176 Electric Guitar with Case

Current price: $2650.00
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Time left: 3d 10h 45m
Vintage 1966 Hofner 12 String 457/12 Sunburst Electric Hollow Body Guitar

Current price: $1495.00
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Time left: 6d 3h 52m
genuine HOFNER guitar or bass pick up surrounds 1 deep & 1 shallow 1960's used

Current price: $37.63
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Time left: 1d 23h 10m
1967 Hofner 500/1 Beatle bass

Current price: $1600.00
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Time left: 3d 9h 8m
HOFNER CAVERAN 1961 BASS WITH HOFNER TWEED CASE IGNTION MODEL NEW

Current price: $585.00
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Time left: 4d 11h 56m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

1959 HOFNER 500/5 Beatle Bass

Current price: £3983.12
buy it now
Time left: 20d 2h 12m
1964 HOFNER 500/1 "Beatle Bass"

Current price: £3318.72
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Time left: 20d 2h 21m
RARE 1964 1965 VINTAGE HOFNER ELECTRIC BEATLE BASS GUITAR SELMER ORIGINAL CASE

Current price: £3189.16
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Time left: 20d 4h 16m
1965 Hofner Beatle Bass, Model 500/1 (#HOF0001)

Current price: £1989.90
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Time left: 18d 8h 40m
Hofner German Made Vintage 61 Cavern Violin Beattle Bass 1961 Reissue 500/1

Current price: £1906.19
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Time left: 1d 9h
Original 1967 Hofner 400/1LH. Left-handed

Current price: £1900.00
buy it now
Time left: 3d 8h 50m
Hofner 1962 Reissue Violin Bass Guitar, H500/1-62

Current price: £1899.00
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Time left: 21d 22h 13m
Hofner 1961 'Cavern' Reissue Violin Bass Guitar, H500/1-61-O

Current price: £1899.00
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Time left: 21d 22h 19m
See more results on eBay here


German ebay listings

Höfner Club 50 1962 Hofner 126 Vintage Hofner Club 50 from 1962 original Beatles

Current price: €1080.00
buy it now
Time left: 7d 4h 4m
Höfner 176 Jazzmaster Vintage Hofner 176 Baujahr 1971-1977 sehr selten very rare

Current price: €750.00
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Time left: 2d 3h 32m
Höfner/Hofner Archtop jazz Gitare Model 4570 E2 S Thin Vintage 1964

Current price: €495.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 3h 27m
1964 HOFNER 176 GALAXY CUSTOM LEATHER CASE

Current price: €238.37
buy it now
Time left: 27d 22h 18m
VINTAGE HOFNER “” BASS, ca. 1963.

Current price: €201.00
buy it now
Time left: 3d 4h 21m
HOFNER COMPENSATOR TAILPIECE ORIGINAL 1950s PRESIDENT SENATOR CONGRESS

Current price: €149.90
buy it now
Time left: 26d 8h 4m
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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