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  1. #1

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    at my local vintage guitar shop , i found this gem ...

    this is my 3rd Hofner in the last few years , a 70's 330 type full hollow thinline, a mid 60's 457 and now this wonderfully mint (but not all original..tuners have been replaced and it looks like the neck has been reset at some time ) Hofner 456 ,

    this is a non trussrod model so according to hofner vintage site it must be sometime before 1960 when they started using adjustable truss rods, however i did read that there is a non adjustable rod in the neck....

    it has maple top back and sides, and a single coil pickup that is made of wood , that just rests on the top
    the guitar is in remarkable condition for it's age , and the action is low and 100% playable,

    still has original frets and hardly worn ,

    i need to get the dental mirror out and try find a date written under the top..... but thats for another day

    most importantly i bought this to perform with ... and it plays very well and i actually took it direct from the guitar shop (after we changed the strings for some flatwounds and set up the intonation and action in the store before leaving) and took it directly to a gig , i was planning on playing it for a song or two and then swopping to my thinline but i gigged it all night ,

    it has a fat typically 50's neck and a lovely fretboard radius ...i'm just a sucker for fat necks

    tonally the single coil did very well, quite a woody tone.... might change it out for a classic 57 but it was good enough for me to gig it a while as is

    1956 Hofner 457S1E-photo0863-jpg1956 Hofner 457S1E-photo0870-jpg1956 Hofner 457S1E-photo0864-jpg1956 Hofner 457S1E-photo0871-jpg1956 Hofner 457S1E-photo0866-jpg
    Last edited by Keira Witherkay; 12-07-2013 at 04:49 AM.


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  3. #2

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    Looks very nice congrats. That's the first I've ever seen a wooden pickup. Looks nice though. It also looks like it's radiused in line with the fretboard.

  4. #3

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    Looks a good one. Nothing wrong with a single coil on an archtop. Stick with it for a while, and you might grow to prefer it.

  5. #4

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    Nice looking guitar, congratulations! I am not a luthier, but aren't vintage Hofners known for requiring neck resets? In which case, the fact that your new acquisition already had the job done might actually be an advantage, no?


  6. #5

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    Hofner -Model 457S1E
    Year: 1956

    1956 Hofner 457S1E-p1_upptimw33_ss-jpg

  7. #6

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    thanks kris ... however i may be mistaken but i did read the 457 (which my previous one was )has a spruce top where this one is a maple top and the vintage hofner site says its then a 456 however both models did share common looks and hardware ect ... i know we have a hofner expert on the site maybe he can offer an opinion....

    but what ever it is ,it sure plays well and to think i bought this for less than i would pay for a modern eastern made epiphone emperor regent , maybe cos it's German and not American made but they seem to be extremely cheap for what they are and how they sound/look/feel ...anyway i'm NOT complaining i'll just buy up all these bargains ,

  8. #7

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    Congratulations, Keira!

    I had a nice old 457 (same model but with spruce top) that I have since sold. But living over here I've discovered many other older German jazz guitars that I love to play. Enjoy yours!

    +1 on Rob's comment regarding the pickup. I grow to prefer the sound of some of these older single coils more and more as I play them.

  9. #8

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    That's a lovely old 456. Well done.
    Excellent quality old guitar perfectly suitable for pro playing.
    The bridge has been replaced with a typical modern unit, but that's no big deal.
    Same for the tuners.
    It would be easy to take this back to stock condition.

    Note the one piece figured maple back lamination (and front lamination?) as well.
    The boys from Bubenreuth did this once in awhile - very cool.

    Those rosewood-bodied pickups pre-date the black bar pickups and they are hard to come by.
    Sometimes they sound great. If you ever change pickups, let me know - I can always use it for a restoration.
    I personally would find a way to mount a new pickup without altering the top since it seems to be in relatively stock condition (probably by attaching a shallow humbucker like a Zoller or similar to the top using tape or by making a custom mount) , but it's yours to do as you wish. Certainly not worth any great pile of money.

    The date should be under the top as usual.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 12-08-2013 at 11:12 PM.

  10. #9

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    thanks for the comments guys,

    @patrick..... yeah damn right i'm having fun searching out these oldies,

    @ Rob, Cmajor9 and Hammertone that pickup, i read they were made from 1954 - 58 then they changed to the black plastic ones.... initially i found the tone especially on the unwound strings a lot thinner to what i was used to from my humbucker thinline archtop, HOWEVER i gigged this guitar twice this weekend and the tone has grown on me and , yes it's slightly different but in some ways more acoustic sounding than the humbucker guitars , clearer but not sharp like a fender single coil pickup tho.... so i may hang on to it as is for a while ....

    after 2 gigs , both solo guitar (medium volume gigs) the guitar has simply slotted in and done the job very well and tonally works very well for my multi part fingerstyle playing jazz standards , action is low ,

    after battling a little (but no more than usual for an archtop) at the 1st gig with feedback issues ... i simply put some clear box tape over the f holes and problem solved ...and being clear it's 100% transparent so it looks normal and one can't notice the tape till you up close .... and the f hole is still visible too ....

    the only change i plan to make after gigging it is get the frets skimmed/dressed and a set of new tuners , i have a brand new set of vintage Gibson pearloid replacement tuners (like found on 175's) at home i had bought and was wanting to install on another archtop , but i feel this one needs it more ,
    i will take the guitar to my tech and have the frets skimmed and the tuners fitted (he may have to drill the holes a slight bit wider ...from what i see.)

    @ Hammertone... yes it's a great "player" and for a pro muso like myself who is not famous it's a very affordable way to play on a great looking and sounding vintage 50's archtop ...and boy do i get compliments from audience over the look of her ....
    i'm not interested in restoring her to original condition ( tuners and bridge seem the only change i can see) but do want to gig her ....
    however i did read that those wooden pickups are quite rare, and this one is in great shape looks wise and it works perfectly with a very usable tone ..... i read that they handwound so i guess they differ in tone slightly from each other like early fender pickups do... quite thought provocing to think the pickup was around before the classic 57(which i favour) was even available on guitars and it still works all these years later and no excessive hum or noise BUT if i ever change my mind about keeping it and install a classic 57 , i will let you know .

    the guitar is amazingly light weight for an archtop i like that .... and still in great condition structurally no rattles

    and mojo ...... yep this guitar oozes mojo being 55 - 60 yrs old .... nice to own and gig a guitar thats older than what i am(50) even if only by a few years ... i like that
    Last edited by Keira Witherkay; 12-08-2013 at 05:34 PM.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keira Witherkay
    thanks for the comments guys,…[ ] that pickup, i read they were made from 1954 - 58 then they changed to the black plastic ones....[ ]...
    The guts of the rosewood and black bar pickups are the same - a coil wrapped around a fixed bobbin, then removed; wrapped in wax paper; inserted into the pickup housing; then FIVE magnets inserted by hand and fixed in place with wax. So these pickups have no bobbins, and the five magnets tend not to be lined up as neatly as one might expect.
    The result is that some of these pickups sound great, some are OK, and some are terrible.

    In the early 1950s, Hofner used pickups made by FUMA in Berlin - these are single-coil units, encase in metal, usually with 6 adjustable screws with star-shaped slots.

    They then went to the black bar pickups, which had two versions - first the rosewood bodied ones and then the black plastic covered ones. There are also a few black bar pickups with white bar coverings - probably a batch made when there was a shortage of black pigment.

    In 1960, they introduced the short-lived "toaster" pickup and by 1961 they introduced the first of several metal-cased pickups made by Franz Pix, which look like mini-humbucking pickups. By the 1970s, they were using conventional American-looking humbucking pickups.

  12. #11

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    What a cool looking guitar. If I walked in to a venue and the person playing had one of those, I would certainly pay close attention to what they were playing.

  13. #12

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    Hi everybody! Could you help me?
    Please tell me which Hofner vintage guitar type is it?


    1956 Hofner 457S1E-img_20190617_191446-jpg

  14. #13

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    Unfortunately, despite the label, that is not a Hofner body. It would help to see more of the guitar, but from the photo I'd guess it started as a Defil (Polish) which has been heavily modified. How does it sound?

  15. #14

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    Yes, I guess,it got a new neck and an installed pickup system.
    Defil is a guitar brand?
    Interesting.Why they wanted to cheat? Why they not wrote the real maker?
    It has a very rich mellow sound, I like it very much.

  16. #15

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    1956 Hofner 457S1E-img_20190617_214310-jpg

  17. #16

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    1956 Hofner 457S1E-img_20190617_214405-jpg1956 Hofner 457S1E-img_20190617_214339-jpg

  18. #17

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    1956 Hofner 457S1E-img_20190617_191452-jpg1956 Hofner 457S1E-img_20190617_214344-jpg

  19. #18

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    1956 Hofner 457S1E-img_20190617_214436-jpg1956 Hofner 457S1E-img_20190617_214446-jpg

  20. #19

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    Can anyone help me identify this 1950's archtop electro-acoustic - what model is it?
    Attached Images Attached Images 1956 Hofner 457S1E-101824402_10221566244762779_929802218482171904_n-jpg 1956 Hofner 457S1E-101824402_10221566245442796_1648436885183266816_n-jpg 1956 Hofner 457S1E-103071029_10221566245282792_873496223728795648_n-jpg 1956 Hofner 457S1E-101761564_10221566244882782_2997214855607353344_n-jpg 

  21. #20

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    It's a Hofner

  22. #21

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    It's a Hofner Model 457/S.
    S means cutaway.

    This guitar appears almost completely stock - the pickup, pickguard, bridge and tailpiece are all original. Hard to see the tuners, but my guess is that they are all original as well. The output jack is unusual but old - probably an aftermarket installation, since Hofner typically used other connection hardware, but it very well might be original.

    The guitar is from the mid-1950s, based on its features, including the wood-burned logo below the bridge.
    It appears to have a carved spruce top, which would be consistent with its age. Later in the 1950s, Hofner started using laminated or sold pressed spruce tops. The back and sides are laminated maple.

    There is a handwritten date on the underside of the top to confirm its age.

    These can be VERY nice guitars. IMO, any modifications to it should be reversible, unless you simply don't care. One odd thing is the f-holes - they would originally have been bound with a single, relatively noticeable layer of white binding, which appears to be missing or darkened. I can't tell from the pix.

    As well, someone has cleverly installed a valume and tone pot in eack of the f-holes to avoid drill holes in the carved top of the guitar. A bit goofy, but it preserves the originality of the top. The Hofner pickup could have been installed at the factory with no controls, or added later on. The controls were definitely added later.

    The pickup was made by FUMA in West Berlin. They suppied these to a variety of West German guitar makers as OEM branded pickups, to retailers as house brands, and as an aftermarket product under the Ideal brand. It is an excellent pickup, comparable in many ways to a Dearmond pickup. Hofner used these pickups from @1953 to late1956/early 1957, when they started using their own pickups.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 06-06-2020 at 06:33 PM.

  23. #22

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    Thank you Hammertone. These are precious information. I wonder if this model was just acoustic turned into electric... the pick up, the two control knobs, and the two control knobs (unusual place) have been installed after. Thank you