Hofner flattop guitars are not at all well documented. This fact file has therefore been compiled with the help of old catalogues, and with a little intuition gained from half noticing many old Hofner flattops knocking about over the years. The information provided below should therefore not be treated as gospel so as usual, if you can supply further or more accurate information, please get in touch.

Generally, it is the archtops that Hofner are most noted for - I am afraid that the six and twelve string flattops seem to be very much the unloved runt of the litter. However, lets see what we can do to generate some interest in them!


I am aware of only two basic models supplied to the UK, although these appeared to have many detail changes over the years, particularly with regard to scratchplate shape and headstock ornamentation.

Hofner Country and Western 12 String - Selmer Model No. 5156 (Acoustic) and No. 5157 (Electro-Acoustic)

These guitars were introduced into the Selmer catalogue around 1964, and stayed there until the end of Selmer's Hofner dealership. They continued to be sold in acoustic format in the UK right into the 1980's, and hence many examples are still to be found.

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Hofner Arizona 12 String - Selmer Model No. 5153

This was the budget 12 string offered as an alternative to the C & W above. Maybe introduced a year or so after the C&W, it was still in the Selmer 1972 catalogue, but not in the Bell's 1974/75 catalogue.

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It would appear that Hofner offered the rest of the world a line of four models of 12 string flattop guitars over a period spanning the 1960's. 70's and 80's. These ranged from the budget Model 490, through the mid-range 4900 and 492 models, up to the lavish Model 499. Electro-acoustic versions of each model were available. As with the Selmer distributed instruments, such details as scratch plate shapes and soundhole decoration changed on individual models throughout the years.

Hofner Model 490 (Acoustic) and Model 490E (Electro-Acoustic)

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The HA series of Flattop steel-strung guitars seem to have been superseded by the Hofner Fargo range. These were produced in Asia, and were consequently much cheaper in price than the HA guitars. 

The present (2003) range of  Hofner flattops is the Sierra HAS range, which are produced in China. This range includes the Sierra HAS07-12ET twelve-string electro-acoustic guitar. Details of these current guitars can be found by clicking HERE.

Click HERE to view pictures of details such as types of pickups fitted to Electro-Acoustic models, neck adjustment, bridges, etc.


Some time ago, I had my attention drawn to a strange Hofner 12-String model, not featured above, by both Ron Mellor of Cheshire and by Timothy Burgess in the USA. This had a slotted headstock. Click HERE to view pictures and details of this guitar. There has recently been a similar 12-string to the ones above auctioned on Ebay. This was in excellent condition, and had a label on the rear body whoich stated that it had been made in Spain. (See Hofner Guitars Made in Spain Factfile)  So.......now we know!

Also click HERE to view Armand Valeta's c1966 Slotted-Head Electric 12-String Guitar, and HERE to view Juanjo Llopiz Joga's acoustic version.

As far as dating this model is concerned, because Ron's guitar is fitted with a pickup built into the fingerboard, I can only assume that the model was produced in the 1960's - the soundhole type pickup apparently being introduced in the early 1970's.