The first time many of us became aware of the Hofner brand was on the bass of a certain famous Beatle. And this guitar actually has the name “Paul” stencilled stylishly on its top. Now, we don’t think particular instrument was owned by that particular Paul. However, you never know ……
But it is a fact that Hofner Presidents were owned and put to great use by both George Harrison and Buddy Holly.
The President was Hofner’s upper-middle-of-the-road range, built to a high standard with quality appointments. This one is from 1960-61, so it actually has a truss rod, and it works !
This medium sized hollow-body is 16 1/4-inch-wide and 3 1/3 inch deep guitar weighs just 4.70 lbs. It has a two-piece book-matched flamed maple back and a two-piece carved spruce top with two single-bound F holes. The top and the back have six-ply, white over black binding.
The three-piece maple neck has two mahogany center-strips, a nut width of just over 1 11/16” inches and a solid feeling D profile. It is on the big side without being in uncomfortable, ie not baseball bat territory.
The single-bound slab rosewood fretboard has a zero fret, 22 more original jumbo frets in good condition, and inlaid triple pearl dot position markers. The single-bound, walnut-faced headstock has a beautiful inlaid mother-of-pearl vine flower design, and the fabulous pearloid Hofner logo.
The individual open-back Waverley tuners have bone buttons with rounded edges. The specific-shaped, single-layer tortoiseshell pickguard with etched outline is all intact. The bridge has a bone saddle on a height-adjustable ebony base and Hofner ‘Compensator’ tailpiece engraved with “Hofner / Compensator / Regd. 851997” stamped on the lower edge.
The most significant impairment on this otherwise lovely instrument is that it has suffered a neck break at the base of the headstock. It appears to possibly have been a split in rear of the headstock only, and does not appear to come through to the front of the neck. It has been repaired with a basic glue and clamp procedure. It is not the prettiest job, but it sure appears to be mighty strong. An experienced luthier would be able to clean this up significantly without too much effort.
A most desirable feature is the presence of the two rare Hofner “toaster” pickups, model type 536 we believe, and they sound clean, clear and full. The classic Hofner diagonally set control panel contains 3 switches and two volume controls which are working nicely.
Apart from a few small dings and dents, and some insignificant surface marks, this old girl is in pretty original condition. The frets have been dressed and have lots of life left. The neck join and heel are structurally sound and sturdy. The truss rod works fine, and the action offers good playability all the way up the neck.
This is a lovely time capsule of European design, that plays well and sounds great. A little piece of history with some signs of use, but lots of character and tons of tone.
Comes as is – ie without a case.