1. #1

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    Hi jazz maniacs,

    got a vintage acoustic Hofner today. Seller offered that guitar as a 455 S model, made in the early 60ies. Guitar is in mint condition as you can see on the following images. Really she looks like never played and new out of the box. At the moment the guitar is set up with flatwounds. Don´t know the brand and gauge but for me it seems that these are not the right strings for this Lady. Sound is too dull and dead. Also string action is way to high for me. At 12th fret I messure for E6 - 4mm and E1 - 3,5mm. Bridge is on its lowest position, so no way to change that. Seems that I have to buy a different and lower bridge.

    Got four questions.
    1) What strings do you think are best for that kind of archtop?
    2) Bought that guitar for only acoustic use, but probably will use that archtop also with a pickup made by Gretsch, DeArmond 1000 or 1100 reissue in the future. What do you think about that?
    3) Also I don´t know if the woods are solid or laminated...
    4) Is this a 455 S or a different model?

    Have a nice day and stay healthy.

    Acoustic Hofner 455 or 456?-001-jpgAcoustic Hofner 455 or 456?-002-jpgAcoustic Hofner 455 or 456?-003-jpgAcoustic Hofner 455 or 456?-004-jpgAcoustic Hofner 455 or 456?-005-jpgAcoustic Hofner 455 or 456?-006-jpg


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  3. #2

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    The guitar is a 455/S. A very shiny 455/S.

    The top, back and rims are made of laminated wood with a top layer of maple.
    The neck is made of maple with a center-strip of beech, with a rosewood fretboard.

    There are two ways to get the action to a reasonable height:

    Trim the bridge by sanding down the underside of the saddle, and/or by sanding down the underside of the bridge base. The bridges on these models are typically made of black-dyed pearwood.

    Reset the neck. My general rule with vintage Hofner archtops is to reset the necks every 50-60 years, whether they need it or not. The joint is a simple tapered mortise, which makes the neck exceedingly easy to remove and reset if you have any basic woodworking skills and some steam. If not, get it done by a pro. The entire job takes under one hour, making it very inexpensive.

    Typically, these are loud, punchy, bright guitars.
    Despite not being a particularly fancy model, this exmple applears to be in excellent condition. I recommend against cutting or drilling any holes into it or into the pickguard, or modifying it in any non-reversible way, other than, say, installing an arm on the side of the neck for a floating pickup such as a Dearmond, or a Hofner 511/514 style pickup (reissues of which are available from Thomann) in a floating pickup mount.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 03-05-2021 at 10:27 AM.

  4. #3

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    Hi Hammertone, thx a lot for your answers to my questions.

    You are right, I will not change any part like the pickguard on this guitar. I will ask a luthier to sand the bridge. I am not very skilled in trade or as we say in Germany, I got two left hands. Also will ask how much a reset of the neck will cost.

    Do you got any idea for strings to use on this guitar. Shall I use 80/20 or something different?

  5. #4

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    Anything will work.
    Strings are cheap, so try a few very different sets.
    On these guitars, I prefer .012 or .013 sets, with a wound G string:
    -80/20 will be very bright;
    -I do NOT recommend nickel-plate stainless steel strings.

    Based on strings that I have used, I recommend:
    -pure nickel wrap roundwound strings - many companies offer them;
    -Monel wrap roundwound strings - several companies offer them;
    -Galli AJF1252 Medium Jazz Flat 80/20 bronze acoustic guitar strings.

    I'm sure there will be other recommendations as well.

    Last edited by Hammertone; 03-05-2021 at 09:49 PM.