Stunning 1960s Hofner Vintage Archtop guitar with near mint finish on the maple top, sides and back. Appears to be all original. Beautiful pearled inlays, tortoise pickguard or very unique and original Hofner headstock. Finish has some very minute wear, especially on the back and tip of the headstock. The frets and inlays are in mint condition. Tuners are original and in perfectly working condition. This guitar looks pristine and is in remarkable condition for its age. Guitar is a real head turner and fun to play.
There some wood that shifted on the lower back of neck near the heel. It is solid with no issues with the neck and very little fret wear. This guitar is a true closet classic. I have had the guitar professionally setup by a luthier very experienced with archtop guitars. The frets were leveled and polished and strung up with with D’Addario Phosphor/Bronze 12 gauge.
This guitar came with an interesting looking gig bag. I picked up a nice hard shell case for this guitar for the better protection.
I think this Hofner is a Model 456/S (S is for cutaway) made in Germany in early 1960s from the best that I can tell from my research. Very similar to the Hofner Model 455 with maple top and back, but a bit more ornate with more purfling and binding around neck. The Model 457 also similar, had a spruce top.
Does not appear to be an imported guitar. It even has a small name plate that was the original music store or seller. Seems that the retailer is no longer in existance. Very likely purchased in Germany and then eventually making its way to the US. Sounds a bit different that an American made archtop guitar. Has a bit less lower end response, but has a great sound that cuts through when playing with others. Playability is outstanding with nice low action and the setup.
This Hofner Archtop guitar is quite similar to one of George Harrison’s very early guitars, the 1958 Hofner President he played with John and Paul with The Quarrymen before the Beatles.
When Hofner re-commenced production in Moehrendorf, Bavaria after WW2, the 456 was one of the archtop models offered. A very similar archtop had been produced with that model designation before the onset of the war when Hofner were based at Schoenbach in Bohemia.
The 456 was intended to be Hofner’s mid-range archtop, utilising nicely flamed maple for the body back and sides, with a maple top. A good standard of ornamentation was used on the guitar, with binding/multi-purfling around body top and back edges and soundholes, with the rosewood neck also bound. Pearloid strips were used for the fretmarkers, and on all but the very earliest guitars, a pearloid/tortoishell/pearloid celluloid fascia covered the front of the headstock.
There can be problems differentiating between the 455, 456, and 457 models, particularly as Hofner seems to have continually revised the detail cosmetics of these models over the years. The main basic difference between the 456 and the slightly later 457 is that the 456 had a maple body top and the 457 had a spruce top. Both the 455 and the 456 had maple tops, but the ornamentation on the 456 was of a higher standard than the 455. For example, the 455 was not provided with binding to the neck initially, though later examples (after the demise of the 456) did gain this feature.
Initially the 456 was only supplied in brown sunburst finish. Later, a natural blonde finish was available, and some examples even have a red-burst finish.
As with the rest of the Hofner range, the 456 was available from c1954 with the option of factory fitted electrics.
The 456 disappeared from the range in 1962, by which stage the 457 model would seem to have taken over as Hofner’s principle mid-range archtop.