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. And it's not hard to see why. Hofner instruments were of high quality. The hollow body guitars have their own great feel and tone; woody and resonant. They are great guitars to play, and perhaps not surprisingly, lend themselves well to blues and jazz.

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 Hofners 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.

1961 Hofner Congress acoustic guitar

1961 Hofner Congress acoustic guitar

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.

1962 Hofner Verithin thinline electric acoustic guitar

1962 Hofner Verithin thinline electric acoustic guitar have a closer look

Hofner guitars in the 1960s

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.

Hofner solid bodies

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.



Solid body guitars

172
173
176
177
Colorama
V1 / V2 / V3

Hollow body guitars

Ambassador
Committee
  1959 Committee
Club 40 / 50 / 60
President
  1965 President
Senator
Verithin
  1962 Verithin

Bass guitars

185/S
500/1
G500/1
500/2
500/4
500/5
Artist
Committee
Professional
President
Senator
Verithin

Hofner Catalog scans

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

Hofner parts

Pickups
Pickguards
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Levys luxury soft case

Levys luxury soft case

"Best bag money can buy, period" - available in five colors: for guitar or bass. Expensive, but exceptional quality.


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Hofner guitars for sale

Vintage 60'S HOFNER Bass TAILPIECE Beatle Violin Bass 500 / 1

MIAMI, FLORIDA, 33143, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$139

This is an original vintage 60's Hofner Bass Tailpiece. It's correct for the 500 / 1 "Beatle Bass " . Please do your own research to see if it's right for you. It shows wear and pitting. Two original mounting screws are included. 7 % sales tax will be added to all items shipped inside the state of Florida. I will ship most of my items to many countries other than USA, but I ask that all buyers contact me before making a purchase. Foreign buyers are responsible for all of their taxes and customs ... more

1965 Hofner Committee Thinline - Thin E2 - All Original - Gorgeous Birdseye Back

GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA, 29607, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1999

This all original Hofner plays great with its recent setup with Thomastik-Infeld flatwound strings. The staple style pickups sound great and all of the electronics work perfectly. The woods are gorgeous. The birdseye used for the back is simply amazing. The inlay work is typical for higher end Hofner's and is quite stunning. The guitar has picked up quite a few dings, as can be seen in the pictures, but this guitar is solid as a rock. It's a really nice guitar. I actually hung onto this one for ... more

Vintage Hofner Senator Guitar 1960s soft shell case

RIDGEFIELD, CONNECTICUT, 06877, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$504

1960s Hofner Senator GuitarElectronically guitar had no issues / Brings back the Beatle Years Was refurbishing and stopped the projectBeautiful blond guitarOriginally purchased without pick guard from a gentleman in GermanyComes with soft shell case ($75 00 value) Hopefully you are a guitar aficionado. :) I have sold at least 20 guitars on Ebay in the past, please check my history.... more

Hofner Club 50 1961 Hollowbody w / Case

HUNTINGTON, INDIANA, 46750, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1499

For sale is a Hofner Club 50 1961 Hollowbody w / Case in Very Good Condition!Just been cleaned, restrung and set up! Sounds and plays great!Bridge pickup has a weaker signal but still works fine!... more

HOFNER 335 STYLE GUITAR, 1960'S, MADE IN GERMANY, CLEAN

TRENTON, NEW JERSEY, 08618, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$899

This is a Hofner 335 style guitar made in Germany in the 1960's. Plays and sounds great. Stamped "2465" on the back of the headstock. Spruce top with a laminate flame maple back. Neck straight. Fingerboard and frets good. One tuner shaft bent, but works fine. Will ship in some type of gig bag, or SSC for protection purposes. Thanks for looking and best of luck!... more

Hofner 450 Model Archtop Guitar / Vintage / Early 1950s

ESTACADA, OREGON, 97023, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1495

Hofner 450 Model / Early 1950s Collectors guitar, Hofner reached world-wide fame with the instruments signed under fire under the bridge, corresponding approximately, to the years 1952-57. All original nice condition, has a correct Hofner repro scratch plate (pickguard), some case rash as shown in pic 10 / soft chipboard case included (might be original, the guitar was in it when I got it over 40 years ago)... more

1956 HofnerJazz / Blues Box ~ Top of the line Rare-neck bridges body-German A+

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, 90815, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1999

1956 Hofner 2 single coilJazz / Blues Box #462SE2 *Hofne Pickups " Rare Collectable ~ . Condition is Used. Shipped with USPS Priority Mail. This is story beauty has tone variables no other guitars this was leading the pack This jazz blues Box as more variables and tone Variables is in excellent condition and playability is fantastic and the toneS historicalAdd advanced in the 1950s this is state-of-the-art Made in Germany hafner Made this top of the line 1956 with hafner pick UPS bar type the ... more

1960s Hofner 459 VTZ Beatle Violin Guitar Sunburst

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, 21224, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2499

Check US Out By Clicking the About Me Icon! 1960s Hofner 459 VTZ Violin Guitar A Rare top of the line Beatle Violin Guitar. Sunburst Finish, Tremolo, On board Fuzz and Treble Boost Effects, Figured Maple Back and Sides, and Inlayed headstock. Overall an excellent condition vintage guitar that appears to have spent a lot of time in its case. Some finish checking lines with some typical binding deterioration at the heel. Original store sticker on the back of the headstock. A very cool guitar that ... more

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There are 5 comments on this article so far. Add your comment

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Steven collinge Comment left 21st November 2016 21:09:29 reply
Hi have hofner congress model no 12804 could please tell me what year it was made and how much is it worth
Jacqui Comerford Comment left 6th September 2016 15:03:05 reply
I have a Hofner 486 acoustic 6 steel string guitar. I wanted to find out what approximate value it may be to sell.
Fran De Hans Comment left 17th July 2016 18:06:34 reply
I still have a 1969 459TZ guitar and i will be selling it soon. May call for making offers.. I also have a 1967 VOX Super Beatle Amphead with a 1969 Royal Guardsmsn cabinet for sale too... Make offer tooUse email address attached... frandehans@hotmail.com
mark Comment left 23rd August 2013 17:05:32 reply
looking for a 459vtz super call 7727083714 thanks
Stefan Comment left 22nd July 2012 16:04:31 reply
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?

Guitars and Parts for Sale


Levys luxury soft case

Levys luxury soft case

"Best bag money can buy, period" - available in five colors: for guitar or bass. Expensive, but exceptional quality.

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