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HOFNER | ACOUSTIC | CONGRESS

Hofner Congress

Archtop acoustic guitar

The Hofner Congress was an archtop acoustic guitar sold in the UK for approximately 20 years between about 1954 and until 1974. It was available in the UK and the Commonwealth from Hofner distributor Selmer Selmer. The Congress was one of the mainstays of the Selmer Hofner line, being the most affordable archtop acoustic, and with a production period only matched in longevity by the 500/1 Violin bass.

An equivalent model to the Hofner Congress, the Hofner 449, was distributed in Europe, and remained in production right through the 1970s and into the 1980s.

The Congress came in just one finish, Brunette (Sunburst). It was an effective guitar with no cutaways, fancy appointments or unnecessary decoration, and a relatively small 15" body width. And all of these factors kept the price low, making it an excellent entry level instrument that sold in large numbers.

The model changed very little over the period of its production, though there were subtle updates most notably with respect to headstock ornamentation. The Hofner Congress has fairly good availability in the used vintage guitar market (in the UK at least) and at quite reasonable prices. Look out for post 1960 examples which have the advantage of an adjustable truss rod.

1961 Hofner Congress archtop acoustic guitar
1961 Hofner Congress

Hofner Congress catalogue description

The Congress was included in all Selmer catalogues and price lists over its period of production. The following description comes from the 1960 Selmer catalogue:

1960 Selmer guitar catalogue

Full arched top and back with new style internal bars for greater resonance. Fitted with exclusive Hofner "Slendanek" with adjustable internal truss rod. Rosewood fingerboard with inlaid mother of pearl position dots and easy action brass frets. Steel screw cog, brass single plate machine heads. Floating finger plate in rich tortoiseshell grained celluloid. Hand-made adjustable bridge. The body has white purfled edge, rich brown colour with sunburst shading and is hand-rubbed to a high lustre finish. The Congress model has an easy action and the tone is very responsive. Compensator tailpiece.

A closer look at the Hofner Congress

The Congress, like every other Hofner guitar, slowly evolved in terms of features, especially headstock ornamentation. Here is an example of an early 1961 Hofner Congress, typical of those built between 1960 and early 1962. These are the first examples of the Congress fitted with an adjustable truss rod.

1961 Hofner Congress body detail
1961 Hofner Congress body detail. Note the floating rosewood bridge and scratchplate mounted with pins to the bridge, side of the neck and (via the mounting bracket) screwed into the body edge.
1961 Hofner Congress Compensator tailpiece
The Congress is equipped with the Hofner Compensator tailpiece, as also fitted to the Hofner Senator, and Senator acoustic.
1961 Hofner Congress headstock detail
1961 Hofner Congress headstock detail. The 1960-62 Hofner Congress (like other Hofners of this period) had the 'treble-clef' headstock motif. Note also the truss rod cover - 1950s Hofners had no adjustable truss rod.
1961 Hofner Congress reverse headstock detail
Hofner Congress reverse headstock detail. Note the volute, three piece neck and open gear tuning keys.

Hofner Congress identification and dating

As explained above, Hofner guitars continually evolved in terms of features, and examining these gives an idea of production date. Selmer imported guitars do have a serial number, and there are various sites online that suggest an approximate date based on this, although these are certainly approximate. But some early Hofners also have a date on the underside of the body top. This is obviously not immediately visible but can be viewed by placing a mirror typically within the lower sound hole. This would have been applied during the instruments construction typically weeks or even months before the guitar would have been shipped. In this example the guitar is dated 25th January 1961.

1961 Hofner Congress soundhole date
1961 Hofner Congress soundhole date: 25th January 1961
1961 Hofner Congress soundhole label with model designation and serial number
1961 Hofner Congress Selmer soundhole label, with model: Congress and serial number: 11037.
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Hofner Congress for sale

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Hofner Congress 1959 Archtop Acoustic Guitar (Pre-Owned)

Hofner Congress 1959 Archtop Acoustic Guitar (Pre-Owned)

Ormskirk, UNITED KINGDOM

£549

eBay Store Design by Visualsoft Home About Us Our Feedback Shop Categories Electric Guitars Acoustic Guitars Pre-Owned Guitars Guitar Effects Pedals Accessories... more
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Hofner Congress 1956 in excellent condition.

Hofner Congress 1956 in excellent condition.

Cheltenham, GL53***, UNITED KINGDOM

£485

Original Hofner Congress acoustic guitar from 1956-1957 in excellent condition, also comes with original 1950??s custom hard shell case.

Early Hofner Serial number: 3280.

No fret wear, barely been played.

This guitar is in remarkably good condition for being over 66 years old!

The action is a a little high but it??s still ok for playing basic chords.

A unique time piece for any music lover that definitely deserves more than being stuck ... more
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1960 Hofner Congress Acoustic Guitar

1960 Hofner Congress Acoustic Guitar

Exmouth, EX8***, UNITED KINGDOM

£350

Experience the classic sound of the 1960 Hofner Congress, a sought-after gem for guitar enthusiasts and collectors. This vintage instrument boasts a rich and warm tone that resonates through its smooth and beautifully crafted body.
Crafted by the renowned brand Hofner, this acoustic guitar is perfect for both beginners and seasoned musicians alike. This guitar is ideal for all styles of music and its model year of 1960 adds that extra touch of vintage charm. Don't miss your chance to own a ... more
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Hofner Congress 1958

Hofner Congress 1958

Sevenoaks, TN15***, UNITED KINGDOM

£625

Hofner Congress 1958. Serial number 7224. Condition as shown in photos. Top of letter ??R?? in Hofner on name plate missing (see photo). Comes with Hiscox Liteflite hard case with key
... more
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Hofner Congress guitar 1960s German acoustic

Hofner Congress guitar 1960's German acoustic

Monmouth, NP25***, UNITED KINGDOM

£625

Professionally set up with new ten guage coated strings

Bridge has been set up to correct angle

Some scratches on back - see pictures

Otherwise very good condition
... more
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1961 Hofner Congress Acoustic Guitar with original Case

1961 Hofner Congress Acoustic Guitar with original Case

Enfield, SA, 5***, AUSTRALIA

AU $1300

Hofner Congress Semi Hollow Acoustic GuitarEstimated 1961 by the serial number Guitar is in pretty good condition considering the age, there are a couple of nicks but the guitar itself is quite well presentedFloating bridge and old strings are on this, I dont have the skill to intonate a floating bridge, so buyer will need to change strings and get a proper setup performed after purchase. Original guitar case is included however the exterior is very fragile and would suit a professional ... more
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1965 Hofner President

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