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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

1960's Hofner 4560 / 456 Archtop

Current price: $500.00
buy it now
Time left: 2d 16h 24m
1966 Hofner Guitar Ad Featured on Collector's Envelope *129

Current price: $0.99
buy it now
Time left: 19h 58m
Vintage 1960s Hofner 500/1 Violin Beatle Bass

Current price: $1929.95
buy it now
Time left: 27d 16h 9m
Hofner 1959 Senator Electric - black neck

Current price: $650.00
buy it now
Time left: 10h 41m
Rare 1960's Maier Hofner Clone Electric Guitar Made In Japan W/Case Pro Set-Up

Current price: $195.00
buy it now
Time left: 14h 49m
1960's bridge [#3] Hofner, watkins, Klira & many other electic solid guitars

Current price: $62.49
buy it now
Time left: 1d 6h 42m
1966 Hofner Guitar Ad Featured on Collector's Envelope *129

Current price: $5.00
buy it now
Time left: 29d 20h 38m
1964/65 Hofner Verithin model 4574 Archtop Vintage Guitar

Current price: $500.00
buy it now
Time left: 15d 5h 52m
GRECO VINTAGE 1967 VIOLIN BEATLE BASS GREENBURST HOFNER MINT COND WITH CASE MIJ

Current price: $750.00
buy it now
Time left: 4d 19h 44m
1965 Hofner Bass 500/1 Beatle Bass with Original Case-Nice Original Shape

Current price: $1657.50
buy it now
Time left: 27d 13h 14m
1960s Vintage Kapa Continental 4 String Bass Guitar Hofner Pickup

Current price: $350.00

Time left: 1d 21h 20m
1967 Hofner Ambassador Guitar RARE

Current price: $1750.00
buy it now
Time left: 14h 6m
1960s Hofner Nova-Sonic Pickup Staple Style Verithin Ambassador 176 Kapa GERMANY

Current price: $99.99
buy it now
Time left: 21d 3h 25m
Vintage Circa 1966 Hofner Model 176 Deluxe Electric Guitar 3 Pickups Plays Great

Current price: $999.00
buy it now
Time left: 28d 22h 1m
1961 Hofner 462 & Pin Up Girl Featured on Collector's Envelope

Current price: $5.00
buy it now
Time left: 19d 15h 59m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

1960's Hofner 4560 / 456 Archtop

Current price: £312.06
buy it now
Time left: 2d 16h 24m
1962 HOFNER PICKUP

Current price: £25.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 9h 3m
Hofner senator slim s vintage guitar 1968 electric acoustic

Current price: £280.00
buy it now
Time left: 27d 4h 41m
Hofner Guitar:Vintage 1960s;Refurbished.With hardcase.

Current price: £260.00
buy it now
Time left: 5d 14h 29m
1966 Hofner Guitar Ad Featured on Collector's Envelope *129

Current price: £3.12
buy it now
Time left: 29d 20h 38m
FRAMUS old vintage guitar ( hofner jolana musima ) 1969

Current price: £59.00
buy it now
Time left: 20d 13h 10m
Hofner president pre 1959

Current price: £300.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 11h 28m
1958/9 Hofner Senator archtop semi acoustic hollow vintage guitar FREEPOST

Current price: £495.00
buy it now
Time left: 28d 14h 17m
Hofner 1959 Senator Electric - black neck

Current price: £405.68
buy it now
Time left: 10h 41m
Hofner Western Jumbo Acoustic Guitar 1970s

Current price: £135.00
buy it now
Time left: 27d 16h 54m
Beautiful 1962 Hofner Congress Archtop acoustic Guitar Johnny Cash Style

Current price: £255.00
buy it now
Time left: 25d 7h 7m
HOFNER PRESIDENT - CIRCA 1960 - BLONDE ACOUSTIC - RARE VINTAGE HOFNER!

Current price: £695.00
buy it now
Time left: 19d 10h 43m
1965 Hofner Violin " Beatles " Bass Guitar + Original CASE MAde in Germany

Current price: £1199.00
buy it now
Time left: 1d 12h 8m
1967 Hofner Ambassador Guitar RARE

Current price: £1092.21
buy it now
Time left: 14h 6m
Hofner Guitar Bass 500/5 Model 1960 Double Toaster REDUCED From £1500 to £1200

Current price: £1200.00
buy it now
Time left: 16d 15h 9m
See more results on eBay here


German ebay listings

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

Current price: €340.00
buy it now
Time left: 2d 7h 51m
HÖFNER HOFNER HOEFNER BEATLES BASS ViNTAGE GERMANY 1968 BASS GUiTAR TOP RARE

Current price: €2421.00
buy it now
Time left: 28d 2h 33m
1964 HOFNER 176 GALAXY CUSTOM LEATHER CASE

Current price: €245.00
buy it now
Time left: 23d 15h 42m
VERY RARE 1960s HÖFNER HOFNER ELECTRIC MADE IN GERMANY LEFTHAND LINKSHÄNDER

Current price: €499.00
buy it now
Time left: 42m
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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