1957 Senator Electric Serial No 3876 (Courtesy of David Rogers)

The Senator was the "working-mans" archtop in the Selmer catalogue between late-1952 and c1971 when it finally disappeared. It sat between the lowly Congress and the mid-range President in Hofner's archtop hierarchy. Its nearest equivalent in the European/US Hofner range was the Hofner Model 455.

The main features of the Senator, carried across all variants, were:

A plain (ish) Maple body top, and the use of Flame Maple veneers for body back and sides.

Blonde and Brunette finish options.

No body cutaway until late 1965, when a Venetian cutaway was introduced on the Senator "66" version. 

Five triple-dot fret markers.

Compensator tailpiece fitted.

Only a single pickup fitted to electric models.

There are several examples of this model in the Archtops Section of the Visitors' Gallery. In this Fact File, I have therefore attempted only to describe the features of the Senator at the various stages in its evolution. The headstock and body cutaway type changes are perhaps the most positive method of illustrating the various stages, and hence these are illustrated below. 

I have not identified the changes to the pickups on the electric versions. These follow the general pattern of Hofner electrics changes.

Please note that the evolution described below should only be taken as a guide, and not as 100% gospel. Hofner being Hofner, there was a degree of overlap between the various stages, and not every Senator falls exactly into the pattern. 




  • Maple laminated body top, and flame maple back and sides.

  • Lower Bout width: 16.25"

  • Plain white/black/white/black binding to body edges, top and bottom.

  • Tortoiseshell scratchplate. 

  • Three piece  maple/beech laminated neck.

  • No binding to neck.

  • 3-on-a-plate open machine heads, without ferrules around barrels.

  • Five triple dot fret markers on fingerboard.

  • Flared top headstock with three-piece tortoiseshell fascia with three inlaid central dots.

  • No truss rod.

  • Rosewood fingerboard.

  • "Compensator" style tailpiece, earliest have "Straten" logo instead of Hofner.

  • Two piece "ebonised" single plastic saddle bridge with only vertical adjustment.

  • Hofner logo stamped into body top just below, and to treble side of, bridge.

  • Only an acoustic version offered.

1953 - 1954:



  • Symmetrical-top headstock with three-piece tortoiseshell fascia with three inlaid central dots.

  • "Compensator" style tailpiece with Hofner logo stamped in.


1954 - 1956:


  •  Black-stained holy wood headstock fascia with inlaid mother of pearl cross design.

  • Single-pickup electric full- depth body version introduced in mid-1955 as an alternative the ongoing acoustic version.


1956 - 1957:


  • Larger mother of pearl cross inlay on headstock. Black-stained holy wood laminate headstock facia retained.
  • Hofner logo decal on top bout of body (not all Senators)
  • Single open machine heads, without ferrules around barrels.



 1957 - 1958:


  • Plastic headstock facia substituted for previous black timber laminate inlayed facia.
  • Binding around F-holes introduced.
  • Hofner logo decal on top bout of body (not all Senators)



1958 - 1959:

  • "Clipped" corners to headstock.
  • Thinline bodied electric version introduced in 1959.



1960 - 63:

  • Plastic headstock facia with treble clef motif and "Distributed by Selmer, London" script below Hofner logo.
  • Truss rod provided in neck from 1960.



1961 - 1964:

  • Plastic headstock facia with treble clef motif. No "Distributed by Selmer, London" script below Hofner logo



1964 - 1966:


  • Timber laminate headstock facia with raised plastic Hofner script logo (or very occasionally the decal logo), and mother of pearl "dagger" motif.
  • Ferrules provided around barrels of machine heads.
  • No Hofner decal logo on body top bout.



1965 - c1971 (THE HOFNER SENATOR "66" MODEL):


The Hofner Senator "66" Model


  • Introduction of Venetian body cutaway on electric models from late 1965 and on the acoustic version from c1966.
  • Revised scratchplate shape - similar to President.
  • Most examples fitted with raised plastic headstock logo, but very occasionally with a decal-type logo.



December 1958 Selmer advertisement featuring the Hofner Senator, "the most widely used and well liked guitar" in the UK!