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

V1 / V2 / V3

Hollow body guitars

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

Bass guitars


Hofner Catalog scans

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

Hofner parts

Got an opinion on the contents of this page? Disagree with something written above? Please comment

Hofner guitars for sale

1970's HOFNER 500 / 1 Violin Bass * HSC * Made in Germany



1970's HOFNER 500 / 1 Violin Bass * HSC * Made in Germany Atomic Musichas used its best efforts to inspect the item(s) for sale and create descriptions and furnish photographs that fairly and adequately depict the type, condition and image of the goods at the time of sale Atomic Musicmakes no express or implied warranties or representations regarding the condition or suitability of the goods and to the extent allowed by law, specifically disclaims any express or implied warranties, including but... more

Greco Japanese Hofner Copy Violin Bass Guitar New Price!



It is with much sadness that I am selling my beloved Hofner copy bass guitar. I am the original and only owner, having owned it since 1972. It is in excellent condition, with a beautiful scratch-free and blemish-free honey sunburst finish. The laminated neck plays effortlessly; the only modification I made was many years ago I added a small shim between the neck and the body to bring the strings a little closer to the fretboard. The plate that holds the jack shows some surface rust but I have ... more

Rare Hofner 459 VTZ 1966 Tobacco Burst Six String w / Factory Case



Behold a rare 1966 Hofner Model 459 VTZ! It is the much rarer six string version of the Hofner Violin shaped bass that was made famous by the Beatles. The tobacco burst finish is in very fine condition with some minor buckle worming on the surface of the back of the guitar. The neck is straight, and set up is excellent with clean chords and notes all the way up the fretboard without buzz. There is some wear of the frets in the first position area, which is typical, but it still plays ... more

Vintage Original 1967 Hofner 500 / 1 Beatle Bass Sunburst w / Vintage Soft Case


C $3346

Here's a killer example of a circa 1967 Hofner 500 / 1 Beatle Bass. Neck angle is excellent and action is low with good playability and no buzz or issues. The neck is nice and straight. Original Hofner pickups are warm and full of vintage tone. Has that classic vintage thump tone. Nice and warm and fat. A wonderful bass for gigging and recording. Perfect for the player and collector alike. Comes with a nice vintage case, too. Bass is exactly as pictured. Buyer pays $65 shipping in the USA ... more

Hofner 40 / 20 Anniversary 500 / 1 Bass 62'



Pre-owned In Mint ConditionHofner 40 / 20 Anniversary 500 / 1 Bass 62' The Limited Edition 20 / 40 Anniversary Bass has been hand built by Karl Hofner GmbH & Co. in Germany to celebrate 40 years of production of the 500 / 1 bass and the 20th anniversary of the founding of Music Ground in England. The guitar is in the form of the 1962 year model which is so closely associated with Paul McCartney of the Beatles. Serial #: 20400308 Important Information: ➢ Your order is processed within 24 hours ... more

Vintage Original Circa 1969 Univox Beatle Bass Violin Bass Hofner Copy Black



Vintage original circa 1969 Univox Beatle Bass Violin Bass Hofner copy. Sounds and plays nice. The neck pickup has been changed and two of the tuners are changed, too. Neck plays well and our tech just set it up so it's ready for rock and roll. Has a wonderful look and sounds as great as she looks. Real nice and thumpy and warm tone with the neck pickup, bright and punchy with the bridge setting. This is a rare Univox, don't miss it! Comes with a gig bag Guitar is exactly as pictured. Buyer pays... more

1963 Hofner Committee E2 Brunette Archtop Guitar - Vintage Jazz Electric


C $3607

For your consideration, a 1963 Hofner Committee E2 Brunette archtop electric guitar. The Committee is Hofner's flagship archtop model, and the over-the-top cosmetic appointments make it stand out against the competition. The level of ornamentation that went into each Committee had only previously been seen on one-off custom made guitars. The Committee raised the bar, for sure! The body is 18" wide at the lower bout, the same as most sought-after full sized Gibson archtops from this era. The ... more

1967 Hofner 500 / 1 Violin Bass



1967 Hofner 500 / 1 Violin BassThe classic Beatle bass! These basses have a fantastic unique tone and look! This one is all original and in good condition with normal cosmetic wear. Plays well and and the shorter scale makes it perfect for guitar players as well as smaller hands. Delivers that signature dry, woody bass tone. The blendable dual pickups allow for a wide range of amazing sounds, producing everything from a sub heavy thump, to a bright and percussive attack. Includes chip case. For ... more

Find more vintage guitars for sale at vintageguitarsforsale.co

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

Comment on this article

Email address
Anti-spam question - to catch web robots
How many legs does a cat have?
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?



Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Google+

Other Great Sites