The page where other people's Hofners are featured.
HOFNER WESTERN ACOUSTIC GUITARS
Guy Audoux's 1956 Hofner 499 and 1967 Hofner 496
following picture-sets of Hofner flattop guitars have been sent to me
years by their owners. This has allowed me to present a much greater
range of models and vintages than encompassed by my own
collection on the website, and maybe this will help other visitors to
the site to identify and date their own Hofner.
They should be studied in conjunction with the
much more comprehensive page on this website which describes all the
"Western" acoustic flat-top models produced by Hofner:
MODEL 448 ACOUSTIC GUITAR A small-bodied
flattop guitar that was produced for less than three years from 1968 to
1970. This guitar had a 14.5" lower bout body width, as opposed
to the usual 16" on the other Hofner acoustics. It was also unique in
having an adjustable steel bridge screwed down directly onto the body top.
Owned by Michael Hickey in the USA.
HOFNER 489 MODEL
1970 HOFNER MODEL 489G "WESTERN" GUITAR Intrduced in 1968, this was Hofner's budget flattop through the 1970's &
80's. It had a laminated spruce top, with modestly flamed maple back and
sides. Most examples were finished natural blonde, but this one is the
489"G" version in a very tasteful sunburst.
It also has a black lacquer neck which is also fairly unusual for this model.
Owned by Andrew Barker of
Lensflair Photos in Alberta, Canada, hence the very high quality of the
MODEL 489 "WESTERN" GUITAR This guitar was purchased brand-new by Gerry Jones in 1975. Unusually, it
has a black lacquered neck. From around 1971, the simple inlaid
purflings around the soundhole of the earlier 489 guitars were replaced with a more dominant
rosette, as with this particular guitar. The 489 was fitted throughout its
production life with Hofner's own adjustable neck rake mechanism in the
none-glued body/neck joint, which can clearly be seen in the photos of this
MODEL 4890 "WESTERN" GUITAR The 4890 was developed from out of the 489, with again a laminated spruce top
and modestly flamed maple back and rims. The body back, rims, and neck were
stained dark brown. It had a glued-in neck joint
however, up-graded tuners, and a very distinctive soundhole decoration. This
example is owned by Georg Strobel in Germany.
HOFNER MODEL 491 "WESTERN" GUITAR A good quality spruce top with laminated mahogany back & sides flattop, acting as Hofner's answer to
the Gibson J45. This one's a brunette, but blonde top finishes were
also available for a few more marks/dollars. Owned by Soren Koch in
HOFNER MODEL 491 "WESTERN" GUITAR Another brunette 491, but this one is a little later than the last with
a more ornate rosette, improved bridge, and enclosed machine-heads.
Owned by Eric Miller in California, USA
1950's HOFNER MODEL 495/S ACOUSTIC CUTAWAY GUITAR An unusual guitar. Good quality with solid spruce top and mahogany
back/sides. Beautiful headstock inlays, a five-piece neck, and...a body
cutaway. This particular guitar is steel-strung, although Hofner
originally intended it to be nylon strung, hence the classical style
bridge/tailpiece. A non-cutaway version was also produced. Owned by
Philippe in the South of France.
Mid 1950's HOFNER MODEL
495/S ACOUSTIC CUTAWAY GUITAR This version of the 495 has a "pin-type" bridge for steel strings.
Seems like Hofner made versions for both steel and nylon stringing. The
guitar has also been signed by Pat
Halcox, and Chris Slaughter, both well respected Jazz players back in
1950's. Owned by Hans Stamer (R&B Allstars; Hans
Stamer Band; Stamer & Schuld; Long John Baldry; etc).
Late 1950's HOFNER MODEL
495 ACOUSTIC GUITAR This 495 is the version without the body cutaway. Because the headstock
has the bold Hofner logo but no-truss rod, I would guess that it was
made between about 1957 and 1959. Owned by Johann Frisch in Bavaria,
HOFNER MODEL 495/S ACOUSTIC GUITAR It would seem that during the 1960's, Hofner were using the Stauffer-Legnani method of bolting
the neck to the body horizontally through an un-glued joint in order to provide
a degree of neck rake adjustment. This
technique is illustrated in the photos of this particular example. Many
thanks to Hans Peter Müller of Germany for showing us this
feature on his guitar. Also, note that in the 60's, the 495 has an adjustable
neck truss rod and all fret markers are the three dot type.
HOFNER MODEL 496/S ACOUSTIC GUITAR The 496 was basically the same
guitar as the first version of the Model 499 featured further down this
page. During 1962, Hofner appear to have
changed the model name of the 499 model to 496. Presumably this was done in
order to free-up the 499 designation for an even higher quality guitar model
in the future.
At the same time, they included the option to order a cutaway body, and this
guitar is such an example. It would seem that this option only lasted for a
short period in 1962/63 and so cutaway 496 guitars are quite rare. The
body date on this particular guitar is September 1962, It is possible that
the the small purfling design located oat the bottom of the body top also
arrived with the new model number. All 496 guitars were also finished in cherry red sunburst finish. Owned by Georg Strobel in Germany.
1962 HOFNER MODEL 496/E1
ACOUSTIC-ELECTRIC GUITAR This must be one of the first electric
flattops made by any manufacturer! There are indications in Hofner's
catalogues of that period that the 496 model was intended as an alternative
to the archtop guitars and could be used in a similar way for the same music
styles. Perhaps this is why this particular guitar has been fitted with
Hofner's E1 electrics package, which was offered as an option for their
archtop range. This guitar, owned by Arne Frohlin in Germany, is the only
Hofner flattop guitar that I have ever seen factory-fitted with archtop-type
HOFNER MODEL 496 "WESTERN" GUITAR This model was basically the same
guitar as the 499 (First Version) featured below, which it replaced in the
mid-1960's to apparently free-up the 499 designation for even higher
specification guitars. As with the later 499 examples, it was fitted with
the Stauffer-Legnani adjustable neck-rake system.
However, the 496 was only offered with a non-cutaway body. This lovely
example is owned by Guy Audoux in France.
HOFNER MODEL 496 ACOUSTIC GUITAR I'm fairly sure that this is a 496, despite the fact that the fret
markers and headstock inlays similar to those adopted for the Hofner 470 archtop
around 1974. It does have the beautiful spruce/flame maple inlayed
body, the mother of pearl, and the gold plating though. Owned by Tom
Dees of Tennessee, USA.
HOFNER 499 FIRST VERSION
1956 HOFNER MODEL
499(i) ACOUSTIC GUITAR One of the first of the 499 guitars made in
1956. The early examples were not provided with a scratchplate, nor it would
see the neck-rake adjustment screw. These features followed a year or so
later. A really beautiful lightly-shaded sunburst 499, owned by Guy Audoux
1950's HOFNER MODEL
499(i) ACOUSTIC GUITAR This later guitar does now have a pickguard,
but not with the bell-flower design found on later examples. There is still no purfling at the bottom of the
body top, but otherwise all the usual features are
there - gold plated tuners with elaborate buttons, ebony fingerboard
with "arrow-head" fret markers, and superb body timbers. This very
beautiful old guitar is owned by Russ Parker in Derbyshire,
HOFNER 499 SECOND VERSION
1972 HOFNER MODEL 499(ii)
ACOUSTIC GUITAR Produced only between 1971 and 1974, this was the
6-string version of Hofner's 499(ii) 12-string guitar which was produced for
a much longer period between 1967 and 1975. Being both high-quality guitars,
the 499(ii) models had spruce tops with laminated rosewood backs,
ebony fingerboards, and mother of pearl block fingerboard inlays. This one
is owned by Georg Strobel in Germany.
HOFNER 4990 6-STRING MODEL
1980 HOFNER MODEL 4990/6
ACOUSTIC GUITAR Top of the flattop acoustic range in 1975, this model
replaced the 499 6-string guitar with which they shared the lovely
rosewood back and sides. Very early 4990 examples have a large ornate
mosaic soundhole rosette, but that was very soon replaced by circular
purfling around the soundhole as on this particular guitar. Split-block
fret markers in mother of pearl were inlaid into the ebony fingerboard
until around 1981, when more simple solid-block markers were adopted. Owned by Jurgen Bachmann in Germany.
1976 HOFNER MODEL 4912
"WESTERN" ACOUSTIC GUITAR The 4912 model was introduced
into Hofner's Western range in 1973. It had a body cutaway, a blonde/natural
spruce top and flamed maple back and sides, which were finished in a rather
nice black/red/natural sunburst. Mother of pearl block fret markers were
inlaid into the rosewood fingerboard. A very attractive looking flattop, owned
by Siegfrid Dobat in Germany.
Late-1970's HOFNER MODEL 4914 "DOVE" ACOUSTIC GUITAR
No prizes for guessing where Hofner got their idea for this one with a dove
sitting there on the pickguard! Beautiful red sunburst finish to the body,
although a blonde finish was also offered, and mother of pearl block inlays
to the fingerboard and MoP inlays to the "moustache" bridge.
Introduced in 1976, and continued in the catalogue for two or three years. Some
12-string versions of this Gibson look-a-like also exist.
Late-1970's HOFNER MODEL 4914-b
ACOUSTIC GUITAR A lovely example of the blonde-finished version of
the guitar above. The brown mock-tortoiseshell binding on this version
really does look great! Another of Wolfgang's Hofner collection in Germany.
HOFNER 4916 MODEL
c1984 HOFNER MODEL 4916
ACOUSTIC GUITAR Included in Hofner's professional grade "Profi-Line"
marketing between 1983 and 1985, this jumbo-bodied model certainly earned a
place in that high-status range. The beautiful spruce-topped rosewood body
had rich purflings around the edges and soundhole. Mother of pearl block
fret markers were inlaid into the fingerboard and Shaller tuners were fitted
to the MoP "double diamond" decorated headstock. I get the feeling that not
very many of these exclusive (and expensive!) guitars were ever produced.
This one is part of Jurgen Bachmann's collection in Germany.
c1984 HOFNER MODEL 4916-PA
ACOUSTIC-ELECTRIC GUITAR Fitted with a piezzo-ceramic pickup located
under the bridge, a preamp, and a single volume control on the top body rim,
this was the electric version of the acoustic Model 4916 above. Another
guitar owned by
Jurgen Bachmann in Germany.
HOFNER HA MODELS
1993 HOFNER MODEL HA-43
ACOUSTIC GUITAR In the early 1990's, Hofner introduced their "HA" series of
acoustic flattops which superseded the previous long-running "4--"
series acoustics. The HA-43 cutaway was the top of the new range, and
featured a spruce/rosewood body, maple neck, and ebony fingerboard. It
was offered with piezo electrics as a factory option, as on this
guitar, owned by Bernhard Zubragel.
1994 HOFNER MODEL HA-01
ACOUSTIC GUITAR A straight-forward acoustic guitar with a solid
spruce top and laminated mahogany back and rims, but without body cutaway.
Piezo electrics were again available as a factory option. A similar guitar
designated the HA-02 model was also in the range, with laminated rosewood
back and rims. The German-made HA models were discontinued in 1997, prior to
the eventual transfer of acoustic flattop guitar production to China.
HOFNER No. 600 DIANGO MODEL
1974 HOFNER No. 600 ACOUSTIC DJANGO
MODEL - CATALOGUE SCAN Introduced in 1974 and based on the
"Selmer Maccaferri" design made famous by Django Reinhardt, this
exclusive guitar was initially
offered in both fully acoustic and electric versions, although the electric
was quickly dropped after a year or so. This was a top-quality guitar,
with body top in cedar, back/sides in solid rosewood, and an ebony
fingerboard. The price tag reflected this quality, being at the time three times the
cost of a Hofner 470 acoustic archtop!
HOFNER CHRYSALIS ELECTRIC-ACOUSTIC GUITAR A flattop guitar fitted with a piezo pickup, that was produced for a
short time between 1989 and 1991. Apparently only fifty of these
guitars were ever made. It features an elliptical sound hole and slotted
headstock, with a heavily tapered body depth. I assume that it was
Hofner's up-to-date version of the old "gypsy-jazz" Selmer Maccaferri
guitars. It looks absolutely gorgeous though with a stunning black/red
sunburst finish. Apparently a deluxe version was also produced called
the Chrysalis Special. Owned by
Cocozza in Florida, USA.
1969 HOFNER MODEL 490 12-STRING GUITARS
These two guitars aren't in the best of condition, but they do demonstrate
how the details on a Hofner acoustic model can change dramatically over the
course of a year. The 490 was introduced into Hofner's range in 1968, but by
the following year, several fundamental changes had been made.
1970 HOFNER MODEL
490 12-STRING GUITAR
A lovely original example of Hofner's base model 12 string guitar. Spruce top,
blonde flame maple body back & sides, and a tilt-able mahogany two-piece neck.
Owned by Norbert Boekhout in The Netherlands.
HOFNER MODEL 490M 12-STRING GUITAR
Hofner's budget 12 string, the 490, was supplied with either a
"polished" gloss finish, or matt. This is the matt version, and it's
owned by William Schart of Texas, USA.
HOFNER MODEL 490 12-STRING GUITAR
This guitar displays the un-stained maple back and modest body binding
of the 490, but has a fairly elaborate soundhole decoration. Owned by
Bernhard Zubragel in Germany.
HOFNER 4900 MODEL
c1975 HOFNER MODEL 4900E
ELECTRIC 12-STRING GUITAR Around 1975, Hofner introduced a new
soundhole-mounted pickup with top mounted controls for the electric versions
of their "Western" guitars. This new pickup seems to have been used for only a
short time however, perhaps being overtaken by piezzo bridge units. The photos
for this example have been provided by
Norbert Schnepel at
HOFNER 492 MODEL
60'S HOFNER MODEL 492 12-STRING GUITAR
A 492 fitted with a very unusual "T"-shaped bridge/tailpiece. Has
anyone ever seen anything similar? Was this bridge factory fitted? An
interesting guitar owned by Brian Penikas of the USA.
1966 HOFNER MODEL 492
A fine example of an early Hofner 492, with its spruce
top and mahogany
back & sides. Gary Scourtas, of Massachusetts USA, describes
the guitar's recent history.
HOFNER 492 12-STRING ACOUSTIC GUITAR
Hofner appear to have introduced a much up-rated version of the 491
(6-string) and 492 (12-string) in 1973. This had the spruce top
and laminated mahogany back & sides of previous versions, but mother of
pearl "block" fret-markers and double-diamond headstock inlay were
featured. This version does not appear to have been continued for very long
before the dot markers and plain headstock were re-introduced. A very nice guitar, owned by Shane in the USA.
HOFNER MODEL 499 12-STRING GUITAR At the end of the 499-12's
production run in 1975, it appears to have been transitioning towards the
new 4990-12 model, with a simple purfling line design around the soundhole
instead of the previous rosette designs as well as Schaller tuners being
fitted. This example is owned by John Hargrave.
HOFNER 4990 MODEL
HOFNER MODEL 4990 12-STRING GUITAR The 4990-12 was Hofner's
replacement for the above 499-12 model in 1975. The main cosmetic
differences between the two models were the 4990's line purfling around the
sound hole instead of 499's wood mosaic rosette and the replacement of the
499's inlaid design headstock fascia by a simple rosewood veneer fascia.
Schaller enclosed tuners were also fitted instead of Hofner's spring-type
fitted to the 499. This example is owned by Juergen Bachmann in Germany.
HOFNER TENOR GUITAR
HOFNER TENOR GUITAR I can't find any catalogue entry for this tenor guitar, but it is
definitely an original Hofner-made guitar. Perhaps it was made to
special order? It has 18 frets, but it actually has a 25" scale length,
which is unusual for Tenor guitars and apparently gives problems with
the normal CGDA tuning. They usually have a short 21" to 23" scale.
Many thanks to Tom Dignan in Auckland, New Zealand for the pictures
of his rare and interesting guitar.
SELMER DISTRIBUTED GUITARS
HOFNER "COUNTRY & WESTERN" 6-STRING:
Late 1960's HOFNER
COUNTRY & WESTERN ACOUSTIC GUITAR
This model was distributed by Selmer in the UK throughout the 1960's, and was
based on the Hofner 491 model.
It's Selmer catalogue number was 5154. An electric version (5155), and
acoustic and electric 12-string models were also available (5156
& 5157). This particular 6 string acoustic is owned by Graham
Stockley in the UK.
LEFT HANDED EARLY 1970's HOFNER WESTERN
Probably one of the last Western Jumbos (Cat # 5154) brought into the UK by Selmer.
This one has a double scratchplate and obvious signs of having been
changed from right to left handed before being sold new to Kelvyn
Taylor of Surrey, England in 1973/74. It was almost certainly
"adjusted" by Selmer prior to being supplied to the retailer in Denmark
Street, London as a left handed guitar.
HOFNER "ARIZONA" 6-STRING
SELMER-BRANDED ARIZONA WESTERN JUMBO ELECTRIC-ACOUSTIC GUITAR This guitar was made for about a year in 1966/67 by Hofner for Selmer to sell under
their own brand-name. That was the period when Selmer
commissioned Hofner to produce a whole range of electric and acoustic guitars with the Selmer logo only
on them. This first version of the Arizona was based on the Hofner 491
model, but without neck binding and headstock ornamentation. This electric
version is fitted with
Hofner's fingerboard-mounted pickup. Photos courtesy of Paul Cook,
HOFNER ARIZONA GUITAR
The budget flattop in Selmer's catalogue, introduced around 1968 in
the UK, was in fact the second model to be given the "Arizona" name. It was in-fact identical to the European/US market Hofner 489
model, with laminated spruce top and flame maple back and sides. An adjustable neck rake screw was fitted to the heel of the
Arizona, in common with many of the non-Selmer flattops produced from 1968. This
nice example is owned by Bob Bullock in the UK.
HOFNER "BLUE GRASS" 6-STRING
"BLUE GRASS" WESTERN GUITAR A guitar that was actually the
same as the Hofner's European/US market 4890 Model. It was introduced into
the Selmer catalogue in the mid-1970's, together with a 12-string version.
Although the "Blue Grass" seems to have been an up-dated and slightly
up-rated version of the Arizona/489 model, Selmer offered both models
together in their mid-1970's catalogues. Owned by John Robinson of North
HOFNER "COUNTRY & WESTERN 12-STRING:
HOFNER WESTERN 12 STRING
Based on the Hofner 492 model, this was given the Selmer catalogue #5156. Intended as a mid-quality acoustic guitar and
introduced into the UK sometime around 1963; just in time for the boom
in folk/country music that was becoming popular around then. An
electric version was also available. Another of John Lynch's guitars.
HOFNER "ARIZONA" 12-STRING
HOFNER ARIZONA 12
STRING ACOUSTIC GUITAR
The budget 12-string in the UK Hofner line. This appeared at the same
time as the 6-string Arizona in 1968, and was in fact identical to
the European/US market Hofner 490 model. It differed from the 6-string
Arizona, in that it had a three-part neck as opposed to a 2-part on the
Arizona 6, X-bracing instead of parallel, and a body/neck joint at
the 12th fret in common with all Hofner 12-strings. This immaculate
example is owned by Bob Bullock.
HOFNER "SAMPLE" FLATTOP GUITAR
GUITAR MADE AS A SAMPLE FOR SELMER LONDON, c1967 A very interesting
guitar, purchased from a music shop in Scotland in 1967/68, that I believe
was supplied by Hofner to Selmer London sometime around 1966/67, when Selmer
were wanting to expand their range of acoustic flattop guitars for sale in
the UK. At that time, Selmer had only their Hofner "Western" model (really a
Hofner 491), and presumably a slightly cheaper more basic model was
required. This sample guitar would seem to offer a suitable specification
for that role, with less "bling" than the 491 but still with a nice mahogany
/spruce body and even Van Ghent enclosed tuners. As it was, Hofner brought
out their Hofner 489 model a year or so later. and it was this model that
Selmer finally adopted as their budget "Arizona" flattop in 1968. The
scale length of this guitar is an unusual 660mm (26"), and it is owned by
Tom Sommerville in Canada who has recently renovated the guitar after it
sustained shipping damage. There is a report on the repair work