The Hofner President has to be one of the best known vintage guitars produced by the company, in part due to it's success in terms of sales, but also because of it's long production run. The electric version of Hofner's acoustic President was first produced in 1956, some three years after the acoustic, and ran throughout the 1960s. It was still included in Selmer catalogues as late as 1970, but was missing from price lists, certainly by the second half of 1972.
The acoustic President was certainly a well-built guitar and shipped in comparatively large numbers; 1950s literature described it as follows: "the table is hand carved from a block of aged, close grained bohemian pine" - electric models typically had a laminated top, although there were exceptions.
It was produced in Germany for Selmer, to be distributed in Britain and the Commonwealth (countries previously part of the British empire: Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc), but was similar to European models 457, and 4570 (thinline). As with any guitar with a long production run, there were numerous changes, some subtle, some less so, in hardware, construction, ornamentation and even body style; whatsmore there were a number of distinct President variants, including a thinline version and a twelve string.
The President was described in the 1960 Selmer catalogue as follows:
Fitted with two Hofner "SUPER RESPONSE" pickups and a double plate "FLICK ACTION" cosole. Body dimensions 20 1/4" x 16 1/2" x 3 1/2". F-holes are bound with white celluloid whilst the edges of the table and domed back are purfled with contrasting black and white lines. Exclusive Hofner "Slendernek", the strongest thinnest Guitar neck ever with internal adjustable Truss Rod. Single machines, heavily engraved, fitted to a head faced with hand-cut mother of pearl marquetry. Compensator tailpiece.
Hofner President Chronology
1953 Acoustic President launched
1956 An electric version of the President is released, fitted with plain plastic cover pickups
1959 A thinline version is released
1960 The necks of most Hofner guitars are now fitted with adjustable truss rods. Toaster pickups.
1961 Hofner 510 diamond pickups fitted as standard at some point in 1961.
1961 Hofner 511 staple pickups fitted as standard in 1963.
1965 The florentine cutaway President is first demonstrated to the public in August 1965 at the UK BMI show. See the 1965/66 Selmer catalogue.
1971 Model deleted
Vintage advertisements for the Hofner President
Electric Guitar advertisements originally published from 1966 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies.
Check out other vintage Hofner advertisements
Hofner President - Hofner Have Done The Impossible (1966)
They've improved their range of electro-acoustic guitars
Mid sixties ad for four Hofner electro-acoustic guitars: the Verithin 66, new Ambassador, President and Senator
Hofner President - Hofner is Not the Best Guitar in the World But it is By Far the Best in its Class (1968)
UK magazine advertisement. Not the most expected of advertising claims - but this Hofner guitar advertisement was placed by Selmer, the UK ...