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1961 Hofner Colorama / Hofner 161

Solid body Hofner guitar distributed by Selmer

This page has extra content in the Supporting Members area, including additional images, video content, circuit diagram and scratchplate tracing. If you are a supporting member you can access this here

The Hofner Colorama was the name given by British Hofner distributor Selmer, to a series of solid and semi-solid instruments sold with different model names in Europe and the USA. Coloramas cover a wide range of body styles, construction methods and electronic configurations: the only real thing all variants have in common is a name. But by late 1960 the Colorama was a double cutaway set-neck solid body, with a steep headstock angle and a deep cherry nitrocellulose finish. To many, this was the golden era of the Colorama: within a year or so, (and despite having the same silhouette) the Colorama had a bolt-on maple neck, a far shallower headstock angle, and many also shipped with a cheap looking vinyl body covering.

1961 Hofner Colorama 1961 Hofner Colorama reverse

The Hofner Colorama, like all Hofners of this period, was made in Germany (Bubenreuth), where it would have been sold as the Hofner 161, (or the Hofner 162, with a two pickups). In the UK it was designated model 443. This Colorama is a lovely instrument: well-built, good looking, and nice playing.

Model: 1961 Hofner Colorama I (model 443)
Pickups: One Diamond logo pickup
Body: 43.5cm x 34cm x 3.15cm approx (17 1/4" x 12 3/4" x 1 1/4"). Overall length 1015mm excluding end 'pin'
Neck: Three-piece laminate, rosewood fretboard. Dot inlays. Width at nut 41mm. 22 frets
Hardware: Nickel plated. Trapeze tailpiece, floating metal bridge. Individual open gear tuners with plastic buttons
Weight: 2.91 kg
Hofner Colorama - 1960 Selmer Catalogue

This is how the Colorama was described in the 1960 Selmer catalogue

The new Hofner Colorama has the styling today's guitarists demand. Double cutaway comfort contoured body, fashioned from the finest timbers with attractive red-glow finish. Exclusive Hofner "Slendanek" with adjustable internal truss-rod and handed machine heads. Fitted with either one or two Super Response pick ups and exclusive flick action console.

In late 1960, the single pickup Hofner Colorama 443 had a list price of 21gns; rising to 23gns in the second half of 1961. This was the least expensive electric guitar offered by Selmer, but is nicer than many guitars in the same price bracket available in the United Kingdom at the time. A lot of guitar for the money.

Hofner Colorama body and hardware

1961 Hofner Colorama body

Although the Hofner Colorama of 1961 bore little resemblance to the 1960 Colorama, having a new body shape, headstock shape and construction, some hardware remained. The Toaster pickups were fitted initially but quickly replaced with the Diamond logo pickup shown here. The tailpiece was identical to that of the previous version, and remained in use into the next Colorama variant. The bridge is broadly similar in looks, but on closer examination is a little different - sitting on a long flat base rather than the two cupped feet of the previous example. The point that this changed is not clear, but it is unlikely to have been at exactly the same time as the pickup or body changes occurred,

1961 Hofner Colorama diamond logo pickup
1961 Hofner Colorama floating bridge
1961 Hofner Colorama tailpiece and strap button
1961 Hofner Colorama neck heel

Hofner Colorama controls

The 1961 Colorama still has the Hofner control consule as fitted to other single pickup guitars. There is a single volume control and two tone settings via the switches.

1960 Hofner Colorama control consule

There are three basic sounds as detailed below, that natural sound of the pickup, plus 'bass' mode and 'treble' mode.

Neck pickup (all switches up)
Bass on (bass switch down) - this activates a treble cut filter
Treble on (treble switch down) - this activates a bass cut filter

The above were recorded directly into a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB recording interface (i.e. no amp) - but check out the video clips of the guitar in a more typical amplified situation further down the page.

Hofner Colorama headstock

1961 Hofner Colorama headstock side view

The 1961 Hofner Colorama has a long headstock, with six-in-a-row tuning keys. The truss rod is adjustable at this end of the headstock, but it is this combination of truss rod adjustment cavity and a steep 14° headstock angle that can often lead to headstock breaks, especially if the guitar falls over backwards. True the Hofner has a three-piece maple laminate neck, and a small volute, both of which add strength, but as can be seen in this case, these features were not enough. This guitar has had a repaired headstock in this exact position.

1961 Hofner Colorama headstock front
Hofner Colorama headstock, front. The truss rod cover is another hardware item carried over from the previous Colorama version. Note here the three-ply black/white/black nut and zero fret. The logo is silk-screened rather than the decal of the 1960 Colorama.
1961 Hofner Colorama headstock reverse
Hofner Colorama headstock reverse. The tuning gears fitted to this guitar are certainly an improvement on the older strip tuners used on the previous Colorama incarnations. Note the repaired area around the volute. Guitars with a truss rod adjustment cavity at the neck, and a backwards sloping headstock are particularly prone to such damage.
1961 Hofner Colorama tuner detail
The tuners fit to this gear are individual, open gear, and primarily brass (unplated). In this image they are newly polished, but the lack of plating means they dull quickly.
1961 Hofner Colorama headstock logo
The Hofner logo (without umlaut) is silk screened rather than a decal compare with a 1960 Colorama).
1961 Hofner Colorama in its original Selmer case Original Selmer case

1961 Hofner Colorama in its original brown Selmer case with red lining

See also

Hofner Colorama main page
Early 1960 Hofner Colorama II
Late 1960 Hofner Colorama II

1961 Hofner Colorama video clips

This is a cool little guitar. Easy playing, with a lovely resonance, and a nice basic tone from each pickup. The bridge pickup is a bit thin at lower volumes but really snarls with the amp gain upped somewhat. The neck alone is as fat as you like. Controls are a bit basic, and the floating bridge is a little bit more tricky to keep in tune than one with a fixed bridge and/or adjustable saddles. But it is what it is: full of character and a lot of fun to play.

Subscribe to the vintageguitarandbass youtube channel for more vintage guitar and bass demos. Also, check out the other Hofner Colorama videos (different amps, different settings) in the supporting members area.

1961 Hofner Colorama I / 1963 WEM ER 15 (3m 07s)

1961 Hofner Colorama
1963 WEM ER-15

Find out more about this amp here 1963 WEM ER-15

This is a wonderful playing guitar - and it sounds pretty cool through the WEM ER15. The Hofner Colorama was sold by Selmer in the UK 1958-1965: yet the several different guitars were included under the moniker at different times. In 1961 it was a nice set-neck solid body, with a Hofner 510 diamond logo pickup, and a long 6-in-a-row headstock. The controls of these single pickup models are easier to understand than the dual pickup examples, but are still not totally intuitive. These are 1) natural pickup sound 2) treble cut 3) bass cut 4) treble and bass cut. Because the electronics on these controls only act on a single pickup, there is not quite the range of sounds on a dual pickup example, and frankly, they seem pretty subtle. Compare this to the dual pickup 1960 Colorama - the treble/bass switches also turn pickups on/off making the effect far more noticeable - and because of this, using the treble and bass cut together is not possible.

Recorded here with a Heil PR-40 (left channel) and a Shure SM57 (right channel), through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface - highly recommended gear!

1961 Hofner Colorama I / 1963 WEM ER 15, long version (long version, 7m 18s)

1961 Hofner Colorama
1963 WEM ER-15

Find out more about this amp here 1963 WEM ER-15

Long version of this video with extra amp settings: starting off clean and gradually getting crunchier as we go. An easy playing guitar and a sweet sounding amp.

Recorded here with a Heil PR-40 (left channel) and a Shure SM57 (right channel), through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface - highly recommended gear!

1961 Hofner Colorama I 'supporting members' content

Extra content on this guitar is included in the Supporting Members area here

1961 Hofner Colorama I unloaded body detail
1961 Hofner Colorama I scratchplate template
1961 Hofner Colorama I circuit diagram
  • 54 extra images (with description): large detailed images including body construction, circuitry, components
  • Detailed wiring diagram
  • Pickguard tracing (PDF for accurate printing)
  • Extra video content (1 video, 7m 18s: WEM ER-15)
Got an opinion on the contents of this page? Disagree with something written above? Please comment

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Hofner Colorama modern electric guitar, black, Grover tuners!

Hofner Colorama modern electric guitar, black, Grover tuners!

Wood Dale, Illinois, 601**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Here is a Hofner Colorama guitar. Made in China; no serial #
Heavy wear, dings, and scratching on body. Grover tuners. Missing truss rod cover. Headstock has a damaged corner
22 frets, 2 volume knobs, 2 tone knobs, 2 pickups, 3-way switch.
Case not included. Please note that Ebay will charge and collect sales tax based on your state
- We do NOT set up our guitars (ie. truss rod adjustment, intonation, action, etc )
If you desire a proper setup with new ... more
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Vintage 1966 Hofner Model 164

Vintage 1966 Hofner Model 164

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 532**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


The most handsome 1966 Hofner Model 164 on the planet. Period. It's not even close
Chipboard case included as well as original white pickguard equipped with all stock / original components as pictured
Upgraded / Updated 1966 Hofner Model 164. This guitar is too cool and so unbelievably handsome. The upgrades keep the mojo alive and well while really keeping the classic spirit and tone intact
Upgrades / Updates:
Hand-Formed American Bison Bone Nut
Custom "H" Logo Engraved Chrome... more
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1960s Hofner 172 Colorama II Electric Guitar Red Vinyl

1960s Hofner 172 Colorama II Electric Guitar Red Vinyl

Benicia, California, 945**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Buy with confidence knowing this guitar will rock your socks off! We ship off same day or next business day!
In the early 1960s, rock music was sweeping across Europe, and one of the most iconic bands of that era was undoubtedly the Beatles. Their arrival on the scene in 1962 and 1963 marked the onset of Beatlemania, a phenomenon that swept the globe, with audiences clamoring to see them perform and emulate their style
The immense demand for instruments like the ones the Beatles played ... more
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1961 Hofner Colorama Doublecut Model - Red - Made in Germany

1961 Hofner Colorama Doublecut Model - Red - Made in Germany

Nottingham, NG1***, UNITED KINGDOM


Hofner Colorama single pickup model with double cutaway, made in Germany circa 1961
1x Hofner neck pickupFactory red finishDouble cutaway bodyRosewood fingerboardBody mounted tremoloRhythm / solo & bass / treble switching
Good vintage condition for its age, used but not abused with some marks, patina and signs of playing wear. No breaks or issues
Modifications / repairs:
Replaced high E tuner, pickup rewound by Armstrong Music (Ashford). Replaced nut by... more
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Hofner Colorama II Model 164V 1963 (Pre-Loved)

Hofner Colorama II Model 164V 1963 (Pre-Loved)

Oldbury, B69***, UNITED KINGDOM


Hofner Colorama II model 164V c 1962 / 4 with twin ''diamond'' pickups and rectangular control plate with volume and tone controls, treble on / off, bass on / off and rhythm / solo switches. The bridge is all metal and the tremolo tailpiece (hence the ''V'' in the 164V)
It has an original red vinyl body covering which is in an excellent condition as is the whole guitar
... more
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Hofner Colorama I - model 163V - brown vinyl body - early 1960s.

Hofner Colorama I - model 163V - brown vinyl body - early 1960's.



Hofner Colorama I model 163V with original and rare brown vinyl body covering, and made in the Hofner factory in Germany in the early sixties. It has a single diamond pickup with rectangular control plate with volume control and rhythm / solo on / off switch, treble on / off switch and bass on / off switch. The bridge is a metal Hofner model and the tailpiece is a tremolo Hofner model with a replacement arm. The fretboard contains twenty-two frets, and the headstock contains the six on a side ... more
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1960s HOFNER Colorama mod. 161 Redburst, Germany

1960's HOFNER Colorama mod. 161 Redburst, Germany

Burnaby, BC, V5H***, CANADA

C $1215

1960's HOFNER Colorama mod. 161 Redburst, Germany
This rare Hofner guitar was made in Germany in the 1960s. There is no marking on the guitar, but I assume it is a model No. 161. Guitar is very light in weight ( 2 22kg or 4 15lb ) and body is hollow inside
Considering the age, I estimate the external condition as very good. There are some scratches and small dents, but nothing major. Please take a look on the posted pictures where these marks are clearly visible on.
The string tension... more
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Hofner Solid 164 1964 - Brocade Paisley

Hofner Solid 164 1964 - Brocade Paisley

Doncaster, DN6***, UNITED KINGDOM


FINESTSELECTIONSHIPPINGSPECIALISTS24 HourSupportLondon Vintage Guitars are please to offer:Hofner Solid 164 1964 - Brocade PaisleyGerman Appeal 
We are pleased to offer the following classic Hofner its its original Vinyl Covering , details as follows 
Hofner Solid
Made in Germany
Circa 1964
Brocade / Paisley textured vinyl finish
Hofner Pickups
Condition 8 5 / 10 ( light , normal playing wear )
Note: Cool Hofner with rare factory vinyl... more
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Hofner Colorama II model 164V - made in Germany - 1964 / 5 - vgc.

Hofner Colorama II model 164V - made in Germany - 1964 / 5 - vgc.



Hofner Colorama II model 164V made in the Hofner factory in Germany in 1964 / 5 and with faux ''snakeskin'' vinyl body covering with a centre cream piping to the body. There are two staple pickups with two volume and two tone controls. The bridge is a metal Hofner model and Hofner tremolo arm and tailpiece It is in a very good original condition
... more
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1959 Hofner Committee

1959 Hofner CommitteeThe Hofner Committee was a truly beautiful guitar produced in Germany, primarily for the UK market. It was a large bodied (initially 17 1/2") guitar with a carved spruce top, available as an acoustic or electric guitar. By the early sixties the carved top was replaced with a laminate, and although still a very fine guitar, the earlier carved top examples, with frondose headstock (like the example shown here) are far more highly prized amongst musicians and vintage guitar collectors.

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins TennesseanThe Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean, or model 6119 was Gretsch's best selling hollow body of the 1960s. This wonderfully faded example from 1965 was originally Dark Cherry Red, but has turned a mid-orange brown. The original color, however, can be seen underneath the pickup surrounds. 1965 specs: maple body, two-piece neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and Hi-Lo 'Tron single coil pickups. Nickel plated Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece.

1965 Gretsch 'For the Spectacular Sound of the Times' guitar and amp catalog

1965 Gretsch catalogThe 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

1966 Hagstrom guitar catalogHagstrom guitars were distributed in the mid-1960s United States by Merson of USA. This eight page 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog, printed in two-colors contained six solid body electrics, three solid body basses, two electric acoustic guitars, two electric acoustic basses and five acoustics.

1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.