David McCormack, who now owns this guitar, has done a very informative YouTube feature on it which can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqaH-xZEVa4 . Well done David!
This is a guitar that I bought three years ago. It came with a note from the widow of its original owner, who bought it new in 1955 and played it professionally all over the world. I suspect that in those days, guitars with built-in pickups on this side of the Atlantic were very rare, and hence a screw-on two pickup/scratch plate attachment had been installed. Unfortunately, this did nothing for the soundboard of the instrument, as you can see from the three large screw holes which are all too clear in the above picture! There are also several screw holes at the bottom of the neck, which are evidence of other single screw-on pickups having been fitted at various other stages of the guitar's life.
The soundboard on this guitar is carved solid spruce. Selmer brochures used to state that the President Acoustic had a "table carved from a block of aged, close grain, Bohemian pine". All I can say is that not all Presidents possess this desirable asset - many of the post 1960 guitars are spruce laminate.
Note the impressed Hofner logo on the body just below the bridge, the only manufacturers identification on the guitar other than the model label on the inside of the body below the bass soundhole. On guitars made in the late fifties onwards, this was replaced with a small Hofner transfer on the top bout of the body, with of course the adoption of a HOFNER headstock inlay.
The original pickguard was not on the guitar when it came into my possession. Luckily, I was able to obtain a genuine 60's Hofner replacement from Music Ground in Doncaster.
You can see from the three photographs above that the side and backs of this guitar are a very impressive flame maple laminate. The bookmatching of the back is particularly impressive.
Hofner reduced the depth of President bodies during the 50s. The depth on this particular instrument is 3.5" compared to 3.25" on the 1959 President also featured on this site.
The neck is a five piece laminate of maple, beech, and mahogany. Unlike later models, including the 1959 President, this guitar does not have a separate piece of spruce scarfed in at the base of the neck for the tongue extending over the soundboard. There is also no truss rod reinforcement, this only being adopted on Hofners at around 1960. Needless to say, the neck could only be described as "chubby". The rosewood fingerboard is bound, and incorporates mother of pearl triple dot fret markers.
The headstock shown above has the typical vine leaf inlay which all middle quality range Hofners (50's and 60's) possess. As stated above however, there is no Hofner name inlay, and no truss rod cover. Note also the classical guitar tuners with the thick plastic coated barrels. Presumably this type of tuner was all that was available to Hofner in Europe during the austere early fifties.
On the rear of the headstock are the remains of two pins. My guess is that these originally attached the retail shop's name plate to the guitar. Thank goodness that that form of advertising has gone out of fashion!
The above photo details the rosewood bridge now fitted to the guitar by myself to replace the very high, maybe original, bridge (also rosewood) that was on the guitar when I obtained it. I had to carry out this modification in order to lower the action and make the guitar playable. The replacement however, is an old Hofner individual string
intonation bridge made in rosewood, with small strips of fret-wire located in four slots cut in the top section of bridge. Simple, but effective, and typically Hofner! Don't worry; I haven't thrown away the old bridge!
The indented Hofner logo is quite clear in this picture.
For a guitar that is over 45 years old, the President looks and plays reasonably well. It has a loud clear tone, and I hope that I am providing it with a suitable retirement after its global travels. If you would like to read about its history, then please click HERE.