In 1972 Gibson produced a series of 'Guitar of the Month' brochures, each dedicated to one of their high end models, the Les Paul Recording guitar, L5-CES, ES-175D, Super 400-CES, ES-355TD-SV and
Byrdland. Each brochure was a single sheet folded into four panels, with details of the instruments themselves, their features, musical purpose, and a little history behind the development of each guitar. Only the Les Paul Recording was a new model; the others were all well established in the Gibson line. Follow the link to see scans and further information on these leaflets and other Gibson guitar catalogues from the CMI and Norlin periods.
The earliest versions of the Vox Stroller were actually copies of an early Japanese electricguitar, the Guyatone (also sold under the brand Antoria) LG50. These Strollers, although short-lived did undergo a few changes before taking on the more familiar Strat influenced style of many mid-sixties UK-built Vox guitars. The biggest difference between early and late LG50-style Strollers (and the two pickup version, the Shadow) was the larger pickup, a shade longer, but noticeably wider used in the very first Vox guitars. Compare this early Vox to a 1963 Stroller with the later V1 pickup. For more information about Vox guitar pickups in general, see the Vox guitar pickups page.
Hofner Electric Guitar and Bass List Instruments manufactured by Hofner
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.
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. Guitars were in massive demand over the next two decades; both in Germany, but also increasingly for export. Sales were rising, buoyed, by the advent of rock 'n' roll and then beat music. This plant had to be extended on several occasions to keep up with production.
1961 Hofner Congress acoustic guitar
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 unavailable 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.
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?