Have you ever seen a Colorama like this one before? I certainly haven't. I bought it in May 2000 at the Manchester Vintage Guitar Show from John Horne, a fellow Hofner enthusiast and Yorkshireman. John told me that he thought the guitar was not fully original, but nethertheless I took a liking to it, and did the deal.
The guitar is the Colorama 1960/61 model, with fully solid body and set-neck. There was an earlier Colorama which had a sort of composite construction body, which was not fully solid. This particular one was made in the same era as my V3 Solid, and has a very similar set-neck, and angled headstock. It should however be fitted with the classic rectangular Hofner control consul, with the two rotary volume controls and three slide switches for pickup selection and solo/rhythm. You will see from the picture that in place of the control consul, three white rotary control knobs are fitted: two volumes and a tone control. Also, the scratchplate bears no resemblance to the conventional Colorama type, though it would appear to be made of the same laminated black/white/black material. The pickups are the Diamond Logo Super Response Type fitted to all Hofners between mid-1961 and 1963. I have to say that I always thought that these were only fitted to the next generation of Coloramas made from 1962 to 1964 which are characterised by a bolt-on maple, clear finished, neck and non-angled headstock. By the way, the first guitars made in this style were also fitted with the Hofner rectangular control consul. Later, from about 1963, they were equipped with four white rotary controls. So why have we got here a Colorama with fitted out with features from three different eras of production?
One could say that there is a very remote possibility that this guitar was a Hofner factory prototype, produced subsequent to introducing the Colorama model with the rotary controls. Much more likely is that some past owner has updated the controls of his guitar from the original, but difficult to use, control consul. If it is the latter, a great deal of care has been taken to maintain the Hofner "style", and the work has been carried out very professionally. There is a clue in the fact that screw holes are present under the scratchplate which would correspond with the conventional shape of scratchplate. My money is very definitely therefore on the later possibility! The guitar does feel right in its present format somehow.
The body is heavy, and appears to be made out of mahogany. The neck is three piece, made I suspect from two pieces of maple and a centre strip of beech, with "wings" added for the headstock width. The use of a set-neck and angled headstock certainly is fairly unconventional for this style and price-range of guitar these days: remember that the Colorama (or Model 164 as it was known for the European market) was intended to be the budget guitar of the range.
Whatever the pedigree of this Colorama, it is a very playable guitar, with a great bluesy tone. The electrics are the most effective of any of my Hofners - they actually do what you would expect them to do! Again, like my recently acquired 57 Senator, this is not a purist's Hofner, but one that I am more than pleased to have in my collection. If any visitor to my site can throw more light onto this guitar's history, please get in touch!