GERMAN-MADE: 1948 to 2011



This section of the website has been put together in order to assist owners identify the model and approximate manufacture date of their Hofner guitars. It has been compiled by reference to all those Hofner Catalogues and Price Lists that are available to me. I would like to thank the Hofner Company in Hagenau, Germany for allowing me to consult their factory files with regard to these sources of information. 

Like Hofner's flattop "Western" acoustics and their "Jugend"/"Wander" guitars, the evolution of the various models and ranges of Hofner concert guitars over the years since they were first introduced in the 1940's is very complex; more so than the history of the other types of Hofner guitars and basses. In addition, differences between some of the various models seem to be only slight. These may be the reasons why there is so little information about these  models to be found elsewhere. Putting these guitars into some sort of order just isn't straightforward! In an attempt to simplify matters, I have therefore split the various models into various date-based series, in order to hopefully produce a small degree of logic into the exercise. I have also used scans of models and variants taken entirely from contemporary catalogues, rather than using gallery photos of owners guitars, in an attempt to provide some consistency into the presentation of the details.

I have retained the previously existing Visitors' Galleries, which include actual photos of some of the guitars described below, to allow for further research, and they can be accessed using the following link:


Visitors' Gallery - Hofner Classical Concert Guitars







2. The Early 1960's



3. The Late 1960's/Early 1970's 



4. The Late 1970's/Early 1980's

In the period 1983 to 1985, Hofner obviously realised that the range of classical guitars described above had become too un-wieldy and hence far too difficult for prospective purchasers to understand. Over those two or three years therefore, the concert guitar models were re-designed and rationalised into several new series of guitars, starting with the "HC" series in 1983, the "HS", "HD" and "HM" Series in 1985, and the "MS" Series in 1986. Further series have been added during the 1990's and into the 2000's in order to replace or augment those first mid-1980's series. These are all listed and briefly described below.

In 1990, a similar exercise was carried out in order to rationalise the Jugend guitars, and this resulted in the "HS5" Series which is described in the Jugend/Wander Guitar section of this website.



5. The "HC" CLASSIC SERIES (1983 to 1989)

Hofner's first new series of classicals was made up of low and mid-range guitars. There does seem to have been considerable adjustments made to the range over the four years that it was in existance - Hofner were obviously trying hard to get things right for further development of the "series" theme.



6. The "HS" SERIES (1985 to 1989)


In yet another attempt to tidy up things, Hofner pulled out the lower quality guitars from the "HC" series in 1985, and put them into their own "HS" series. 


7. The "HD" SERIES (1985 to 1989)

Just as with the "HC" guitars above, those higher-quality guitars fitted with solid body tops were also moved away from the "HC" range to produce the "HD" range in 1985. This range was later expanded by the addition of the HD71 and HD74 in 1988.




8. The "HM" MASTER SERIES (1985 to Present Day)

As its title states, this series comprises Hofner's highest quality Master instruments made by between 1985 and the present day. The "Master" designation means that they are produced only by Hofner's most experienced "Master" luthiers.



9. The "MS" SERIES (1986 to 1996)

A range of guitars designed in co-operation with the Institute of Stringed Instruments Guitar & Lute (ISIGL) and specifically intended to provide students with good sounding instruments at a reasonable price. Hofner introduced them as all having solid tops, a new special sound-friendly varnish, and an adjustable bridge saddle.




10. The "HE" ANNIVERSARY SERIES (1987 to 1988)

These were two guitars specifically made to celebrate Hofner's 100th Anniversary. The HE20 had a solid maple back & sides, whereas the HE22 had solid rosewood. Both guitars had a solid spruce top, which was finished in matt. The back & sides were highly polished. Scale length was 650mm and the fingerboard width was 52mm.




11. The "TRENDSTYLE" SERIES (1986 to 1996)

The ones with the psychedelic finishes. This range included some "Jugend" range Trendstyle instruments (620mm scale; 45mm fingerboard width) which lasted just a little longer than the full-size concert versions (650mm scale; 50mm fingerboard width).




11. The "HL" SERIES (1990 to 1995)

The replacement for the "HS" budget range, these two guitars had laminated spruce tops and laminated mahogany bodies. The HL3 had a matt finish with nickel plated tuners; the HL5 had a polished finish with gold-plated tuners.



12. The "HF" SERIES (1990 to Present Day)

A range introduced with three models - two in mahogany and one in rosewood - for the 1990 Frankfurt Fair, and later expanded to a total of 7 models which continue to the present day. All the HF range hare fitted with solid spruce tops.



13. The "HZ" SERIES (1990 to Present Day)

The HZ range was brought out at the same time as the above HF, in order to offer a complimentary set of guitars fitted with solid cedar body tops. Two guitars, the HZ23 and HZ27 were offered initially, but the range has been expanded top five models which have remained in production to the present day. 



14. The "HGL" GREENLINE SERIES (1997 to Present Day)

Hofner fell into line with the Eco-Movement in 1997, and began producing their Greenline series. These were made exclusively from renewable European tonewoods substituting walnut for the usual rosewood and alder for mahogany, and were varnished using an environmentally neutral process. Body tops were solid, with laminated back & sides except for the HGL50 and HGL70 which had all solid woods in the body. The original two models, the HGL5 with its laminated walnut back & sides, and the HGL7 with laminated maple back & sides continue in production to the present day.










© Steve Russell 2011-2012
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