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HOFNER | COLORAMA

Hofner Colorama

solid body electric guitar

Hofner instruments were distributed in the UK and throughout the commonwealth (except Canada) by the largest British musical instrument distributor Selmer. They produced their own Selmer brand amplifiers, and would ultimately distribute guitars by Fender, Gibson, Hagstrom and several other less well-established makes. But in the 1950s, before the mass appeal (and availability in the UK) of these brands, Selmer's guitar offering consisted almost exclusively of imported German Hofner instruments; mostly hollow-bodies, but adding solid body guitars into the range starting with the Hofner Colorama.

Selmer-distributed Hofner guitars sometimes differed from those sold elsewhere, and typically had their own model designations. The UK's Hofner Colorama was sold in Europe as Hofner models 161, 162, 163 and 164: Colorama I for single pickup guitars, and Colorama II for dual pickup models.

The Hofner Colorama range of (mostly) solid body guitars underwent numerous changes in design, construction, and materials throughout the years of production, and, in effect the guitar was completely revised every year or two. Not all Hofner Colorama guitars are equal; earlier set-neck Coloramas feel significantly nicer instruments than later examples. Generally, one and two pickup versions were available, with optional vibrato available in some incarnations. The Hofner Colorama was listed in Selmer catalogues from 1958, and last included in the catalogue dated September 1964, though European models shipped through the 1960s.

1960 singlecut and 1961 doublecut Hofner Colorama guitars

Hofner Colorama solid body?

The Colorama was first offered in 1958 and these early examples (1958-1960) had a single cutaway body, sharing the same basic shape/design as the Hofner Club or even the hollow body President / Committee (also similar to the Gibson Les Paul / Melody Maker, though with a more rounded lower horn). But the body itself wasn't solid - rather a block running the length of the body, with a separate top, back, and sides. These were nicely-built and exceedingly light guitars, with (from 1959) a lovely translucent Cherry nitrocellulose finish. The earliest literature described the Colorama as being "carved from selected timbers" and added "their completely solid construction renders them virtually indestructible".

But the body shape and construction changed in very late 1960/early 1961. Like the Les Paul / Melody Maker, the body was redesigned to a double cutaway, now with a true solid body for the first time - replacing the semi-solid construction of earlier instruments. The image here shows two early Colorama examples - a semi solid 1960 Hofner Colorama II (European model 162), and a solid body 1961 Hofner Colorama I (European model 161). Note the change in overall lengths and the new headstock on the right.

The circa 1961 solid body Colorama was surely one of the nicest guitars with the name, and a pretty nice guitar all round. It was no doubt less time-consuming to produce, but maybe not by a lot. The body size was almost identical to the previous single cutaway version, but the change from a semi-solid to completely solid construction, larger (Fender-style) single-sided headstock and chunkier neck, all added weight to the guitar. But despite this, the new Colorama was far from heavy. It was shown in the 1960 Selmer catalogue, but was short-lived, and perhaps not shipped much beyond late 1961. It was a well-made guitar, Gibsonesque in looks (have a look at the Les Paul Junior in the 1960 Gibson catalogue), with it's dark cherry finish and double cutaway body style, but also Gibsonesque in construction and materials, having a hardwood body, mahogany set neck and rosewood fingerboard. It had "the styling today's guitarists demand" and was not too highly priced. Sounds perfect, but it was only short-lived, and by late 1961 was replaced by a similar looking model, but with a much cheaper to produce bolt-on maple neck, and often vinyl covered body. One change for the better, however, was the replacement of the tricky control consul, in favour of a volume and tone control for each pickup.

By 1963 the body style had changed for the last time - to an offset cutaway. With the earlier change to a bolt-on, and a new shade of red finish the transition from 'Gibson' to 'Fender' was complete. The new finish was more Fiesta Red than Cherry nitrocellulose, but it was also available in Ice Blue and Cream.

Coloramas remained in the Selmer range until 1965, but some of the guitars on which they were based remained in production for the European market right through the 1960s

The hardware changes (especially in terms of scratchplates) made to all Hofners also applied to the Colorama, and within each distinct Colorama 'phase' there are earlier and later examples differently equipped, and these offer an additional means of dating these guitars.

Dating your Hofner Colorama

The Colorama was shipped between 1958 and 1965, and over this time just about all of the hardware changed, the pickups changed, control layouts changed, and the construction changed. But not all of this happened at the same time, and there are numerous examples with transition features

Colorama pickups

1958-59 black plastic bar pickups

1960-61 Hofner Toaster pickups

1961-63 Hofner Diamond logo pickups

1963-65 Hofner Staple pickups

Colorama body style

1958-59 single cutaway metallic finish (typically gold or blue), set neck, 2x3 headstock

1959-60 single cutaway cherry finish, set neck, 2x3 headstock

1961 double cutaway cherry finish, set neck, 6x1 headstock

1961-63 double cutaway red, white or blue paint or vinyl finish, bolt-on neck, 6x1 headstock

1963-65 asymmetric double cutaway red, white or blue finish, bolt-on neck, 6x1 headstock

Hofner pot codes

A lot of Hofner guitars use Preh pots. These typically have the rating (e.g. 250Ω), and a date code in the format WWY - where WW is the week of the year, and Y is the final digit of the year. e.g. 403 would mean week 40 of 1963. More about reading pot codes

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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

$250

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
DISCLAIMERS
- 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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1960s Hofner Model 4560 V2 Thinline Archtop Electric Sunburst

1960's Hofner Model 4560 V2 Thinline Archtop Electric Sunburst

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$995

1960's Hofner Model 4560 V2 Archtop Electric In Sunburst Finish
This Guitar Is Located At IVG Sherman Oaks
In Good Overall Condition (Please See Photos)
Moderate Cosmetic Playwear Throughout Including Various Marks, Dings, And Scratches As Shown
Small Divots In Frets At 6th-8th (See Photos)
Will Benefit From A Refret
Minor Seam Separations On Back Of Headstock
Made In West Germany
Flame Maple Back And Sides
Maple Top
Dual Hofner Mini Humbuckers
... 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

$799

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

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

Oldbury, B69***, UNITED KINGDOM

£1499

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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Vintage 1963 Hofner Super Solid III 173 Red Solid Guitar

Vintage 1963 Hofner Super Solid III 173 Red Solid Guitar

Todmorden, OL14***, UNITED KINGDOM

£695

Vintage 1963 Hofner Super Solid III 173 Red Solid Guitar
Vintage1963 Hofner Super Solid III 173 Red Solid Guitar
The ?Super Solid?? is one of the first semi-pro lines that Hofner brought out in the early 60s to compete with the Fender and Gibsons of the time. This is the top of the range 3 pick up version. The neck profile is a really comfortable shape, and in my opinion very playable, and gives a wonderful vintage sound. This is from 1963, with the Translucent Red Colour, ?Super?? ... 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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1963 Hofner Super Solid III in Natural with Case - Superb Vintage Guitar

1963 Hofner Super Solid III in Natural with Case - Superb Vintage Guitar

Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9***, UNITED KINGDOM

£795

Welcome to the eBay shop of Musical Money Ltd
On this platform we are unable to discuss partexchanges, viewings or negotiate prices
We advise finding our website where you can discussall the above
Thanks for checking out our Listing for
1963 Hofner Super Solid III in Natural with Case
Superb Vintage Guitar
In excellent condition, 60-year-old guitar showssigns of age including some light scuffs, small dings, areas of wear andgeneral signs of use, in line with a played ... 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.

Sandy, SG19***, UNITED KINGDOM

£585

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 comes with an original Hofner case which is very worn but is complete
The guitar is in a very good original condition
... more
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1960s Hofner Colorama electric guitar

1960s Hofner Colorama electric guitar

London, SW11***, UNITED KINGDOM

£550

1960s Hofner Colorama electric guitar.... more
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Hofner 161 Colorama Electric Guitar, 1961. Excellent Condition with Case.

Hofner 161 Colorama Electric Guitar, 1961. Excellent Condition with Case.

Nottingham, NG16***, UNITED KINGDOM

£599

Hi

Offered for sale is this excellent condition Hofner 161 colorama model which dates from 1961


It is original - apart from the tuners which are a modern reproduction set that look just the same - but work perfectly. However the original tuners WILL be included in the sale


The guitar plays well, and sounds lovely thanks to its semi hollow construction. It??s one of the most resonant guitars I have played


It has also recently... more
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1963 HOFNER COLORAMA II  *ONE OWNER

1963 HOFNER COLORAMA II *ONE OWNER

Worthing, BN14***, UNITED KINGDOM

£400

1963 Hofner Colorama II Twin pick up - Tremelo. Owned by me from new. Red vinyl body, low action easy play. No wear to frets or fretboard. Lovely giutar but it's time to go as my left hand doesn't function as it once did. Original case and an unusual miniture 'horsebrass strap' A small scuff behind the bridge Any questions please contact
Happy bidding
... 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.

Sandy, SG19***, UNITED KINGDOM

£550

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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1971 Selmer guitar catalogue

1971 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1971 Selmer guitar catalogue showing the range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Gibson, Yamaha, Selmer, Hofner and Suzuki. 1960s Selmer had always placed Hofner at the front end of their catalogues, no doubt these were the better sellers - but into the 1970s Hofner were slipping somewhat and only appear at the tail end of this publication, pride of place going to Gibson, and to a lesser extent Yamaha. In fact this is the last Selmer catalogue to include the many Hofner hollow bodies (Committee, President, Senator etc) that had defined the companies output for so many years - to be replaced in the 1972 catalogue by generic solid body 'copies' of Gibson and Fender models. A number of new Gibson models are included for the first time: the SG-100 and SG-200 six string guitars and the SB-300 and SB-400 basses.

1968 Selmer guitar catalogue

1968 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1968/1969 Selmer guitar catalogue (printed July 1968), showing the entire range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Hofner, Gibson, Selmer and Giannini. Selmer were the exclusive United Kingdom distributors of Hofner and Gibson at the time, and this catalogue contains a total of 18 electric guitars, 7 bass guitars, 37 acoustics, and 2 Hawaiian guitars - all produced outside the UK and imported by Selmer, with UK prices included in guineas. This catalogue saw the (re-)introduction of the late sixties Gibson Les Paul Custom and Les Paul Standard (see page 69) and the short-lived Hofner Club 70. Other electric models include: HOFNER ELECTRICS: Committee, Verithin 66, Ambassador, President, Senator, Galaxie, HOFNER BASSES: Violin bass, Verithin bass, Senator bass, Professional bass GIBSON ELECTRICS: Barney Kessel, ES-330TD, ES-335TD, ES-345TD, ES-175D, ES-125CD, SG Standard, SG Junior, SG Special GIBSON BASSES: EB-0, EB-2, EB-3 - plus a LOT of acoustics branded Gibson, Hofner, Selmer and Giannini

1961 Hofner Colorama I

1961 Hofner Colorama IHofner Colorama was the name UK distributor Selmer gave to a series of solid and semi-solid guitars built by Hofner for distribution in the UK. The construction and specifications of the guitars varied over the period of production, but by 1961 it was a totally solid, double cutaway instrument, with a set neck, translucent cherry finish, six-in-a-row headstock, and Hofner Diamond logo pickups. Available as a single or dual pickup guitar, this sngle pickup version would have been sold in mainland Europe as the Hofner 161.

1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)

1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)Commodore was a brand applied to a series of guitars produced in Japan at the well-respected Matsumoku plant from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s - and sold primarily (perhaps exclusively?) in the United Kingdom. The models bearing the Commodore name were all guitars available from different distributors with different branding. Although there may have been some minor changes in appointments (specifically headstock branding) most had the same basic bodies, hardware and construction. Equivalent models to the Commodore N25 (and this is by no means an exhaustive list) include the Aria 5102T, Conrad 5102T(?), Electra 2221, Lyle 5102T, Ventura V-1001, Univox Coily - and most famously the Epiphone 5102T / Epiphone EA-250.

1960 Hofner Colorama II

1960 Hofner Colorama IIThe Hofner Colorama was the name given by Selmer to a series of solid (and semi-solid) body Hofner guitars distributed in the United Kingdom between 1958 and 1965. The Colorama name actually applied to some quite different guitars over the period, but in 1960 it was a very light, semi-solid, set necked guitar with one (Colorama I) or two (Colorama II, as seen here) Toaster pickups. Although an entry-level guitar, it was very well-built, and a fine playing guitar; certainly a step up (at least in terms of craftsmanship) from many of the Colorama guitars that would follow, and a good deal of the guitars available in Britain circa 1960.

1971 Epiphone 1820 bass (ET-280)

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1981 Gibson Marauder

1981 Gibson MarauderProduction of Bill Lawrence's Gibson Marauder began in 1974, with production peaking in 1978. But by 1980 the model was officially discontinued, though very small numbers slipped out as late as spring 1981. Over 7000 examples shipped between 1974 and 1979, and although no totals are available for 1980 and 1981, it is unlikely production reached three figures in either of these years. These final Marauders were all assembled at the Gibson Nashville plant, and had some nice features not available through the later years of production, such as a rosewood fretboard, and in this case, an opaque 'Devil Red' finish. It's a great looking and fine playing guitar!

1971 'Pick Epiphone' Catalog

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1981 'Gibson Specials' Pre-Owners Manual

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It was the largest folder in the series, with 24 inserts, (19 guitars and 5 basses): Guitars: 335-S Standard, Melody Maker Double, Marauder, L-6S Custom, S-1, RD Artist, Firebird, Firebird II, Flying V, Flying V-II, The V, Explorer, Explorer II, The Explorer, The "SG" Standard, Les Paul Artist, Les Paul Artisan, ES-335 Heritage, ES-175/CC Basses: Grabber, G-3, L-9S, RD Artist Bass, Flying V Bass

1970s Shaftesbury 3263 bass

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1961 Hohner Zambesi

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1963 Vox Super Ace

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1966 Vox New Escort

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1969 Fender catalog, Fender Lovin' Care

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1973 Eko Ranger Folk

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1966 Vox Symphonic bass guitar

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1968 Shaftesbury 'Electric Guitars' catalog

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1970 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns Celebrated Classics' catalog

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1971 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns' catalog

1971 Rose_Morris catalogThe sixteen-page 1971 Rose-Morris catalog featured electric guitars by Rose-Morris' own brand, Shaftesbury, and budget brand Top Twenty; aswell as acoustics by Eko, Aria, and for the first time Ovation. The catalog contains the following instruments: Electric guitars: Shaftesbury 3261, 3264, 3265, 3400, 3402; Top Twenty 1970; Bass: Shaftesbury 3263, 3266; Top Twenty 1971; Acoustic guitars: Ovation: Balladeer, 12 String, Glen Campbell, Glen Campbell 12 string; Eko Rio Bravo, Rio Bravo 12, Ranger, Ranger Folk, Ranger 12, Colorado, Ranchero, Ranchero 12, Studio 'L'; Rose-Morris Florida; Aria 'John Pearse' Jumbo, 'John Pearse' Folk

1972 Fender Precision bass

1972 Fender PrecisionA detailed look at an early 1970s Fender Precision bass guitar in custom black finish, with rosewood fretboard. 1972 list price, $307.50. The Fender Precision had been shipping since at least very early 1952 - with just one re-design circa 1957. This example, then, shows a model already two decades old, but barely changed since the '57 revamp. Fender got it right first time around, and although there are numerous minor cosmetic differences, the essence of this bass is effectively the same as it was in '52: a simple, single pickup instrument with a GREAT sound. Check out the demo video through an old Ampeg B15. It's no wonder this is the bass that everybody wants!

1967 Vox Stroller

1967 Vox StrollerThe Vox Stroller was the brand's entry level electric solid body guitar, fitted with just one pickup and a fixed tailpiece. Although aimed at student guitarists, it wasn't a terrible instrument, but did lack somewhat in adjustability, having no accessible truss rod and only a floating rosewood bridge. But this example is actually quite an improvement on earlier versions, with a standard 1/4" jack and a solid mahogany body. 1967 price £18 2s. JMI ceased UK guitar production in late '67, and combined with decreasing demand for the Stroller, this surely must be one of the last examples shipped.

1963 Vox Clubman Bass (left handed)

1963 Vox Clubman Bass left handedA nice example of the Vox Clubman II bass, built by JMI in Dartford, Kent in 1963. This is a lightweight bass, short (30") scale and very easy to play. It is an early example, and as such has a thin black scratchplate and side mounted, coaxial output jack. JMI offered left handed examples of their solid body Vox guitars and basses at 10% premium. Production numbers are unclear, but left-handed examples rarely come up for sale

1977 Gibson ES Artist 'prototype'

1977 Gibson ES Artist prototypeNot to be confused with the Gibson ES Artist launched by Gibson in 1979; this ES Artist was an early model designed by the Gibson research and development team in Kalamazoo in 1977, the instruments themselves constructed by Gibson artist Chuck Burge. It was planned for launch as a high end semi acoustic with 335-style construction (central maple block) and innovative circuitry - but was pulled at the last minute, being deemed too expensive. Apparently, several examples were produced with varying specifications, though exactly how many actually left the Kalamazoo plant is unclear. Certainly two guitars were sold to LaVonne Music by Gibson in around 1980. Read more about the development of this guitar, with details from Chuck Burge and the story of it's sale to LaVonne music

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.