The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Does anyone have experience with poor Hofner quality control?

    I've owned 3 Hofners: a 2017 Chinese Bluetone Superluxe, a 2003 German Verythin Standard and a 2017 German Verythin Classic.

    Only thing is, they have ALL had defects and signs of poor craftmanship. I really want to like Hofner but i've had bad experiences.

    The chinese one I can forgive as it was less than half the price and the German ones were actually the best guitars i've ever played and they seemed very well made when it came to the actual construction, but the paint, hardware and finishing touches were poor: the 2003 one was fine apart from binding overspray and some really ugly bubbles in the top coat in about 3 or 4 places. The 2017 one had loads of black flecks under the finish, a very large scrape under the finish and a poorly fitted nut (caused the laquer to stress around it) with file marks still present. There were other bits such as damaged hardware and scratches on the fretboard and headstock but there is no way to tell if that was Hofner that did that or the store I bought it from (I suspect probably the store as they'd had it sitting on display for 5 years). The nut may have also been a replacement done by the store for all I know. I sent it back and they just relisted it at the same £2k price as if nothing was wrong with it.

    So has anyone else had similar experiences or was I just really unlucky? Do I pull the trigger and try again for another one?


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Does not match my experiences. In the past several years, I've had four German Hofners: a used Verythin John Stowell, two new Jazzicas, and a used Chancellor. I've moved all but the Chancellor on to other owners, but generally speaking, I thought the build quality of all four guitars was top-notch. Any issues I had on the used guitars were resolved with a proper setup / fretwork. The fretwork on one of the Jazzicas was impeccable.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Given that I have handled hundreds of German-built Hofner electric guitars built between 1998 and 2022, maybe this will help a bit:

    Chinese-built Hofners are not built in a Hofner facility. They are contracted to be built by any of several independent factories. Sometimes the product is really well-done, sometimes, not so much.

    For the most part, other than shellac ("violin varnish") finishes, Hofner did not do its own guitar finishing on the Jazzica / New President / Vice-President / Verythin Standard / Verythin Classic / Verythin JS / Thin President / Chancellor and so forth until just before they stopped making any of these instruments. These guitars were sent out to various European contracted suppliers over the years. New emissions laws in the EU have liability implications, so Hofner has brought its previously contracted finishing work back in-house, to ensure that emissions QC measures are observed.

    In the early oughts, Hofner had specific finish issues with the finishes on a few of these guitars - bad masking on the binding/purfling, overly thick clear coats (resulting in finish cracking), some problems with contamination (dirt, fingerprints), and some problems with chemical interactions between sealer, finish and clearcoats (resulting in clouding). Your 2003 Verythin Standard was made at the tail end of these issues. What was the finish colour?

    By 2017, Hofner was making very few electric guitars. IIRC, only a handful of Verythin Classics (natural w/gold hardware) and Verythin Standards (honeyburst) were made, and Hofner's relationships with its outside painters were in disarray. Too many cooks between the production of the unpainted instruments and the delivery of completely finished instruments. The main issue when electric guitar production stopped was minor finish cracks on otherwise gorgeous instruments. Guitars with violin varnish finishes did not have these problems.

    Black flecks and a scrape under the finish of a 2017 (serial # starts with "T" if it is a 2017) Verythin Classic are definitely the fault of the painter. The poorly finished nut with file marks is most likely from the store, not Hofner. During this period, Hofner tended to ship cleanly installed, but very high nuts (which is a whole other issue). The store probably did a crap job trying to file it down. Damaged hardware and scratches on the fretboard and headstock sound like shopwear, especially if the guitar hung for a few years. Of course, it's also possible that the guitar was a "B-stock" instrument sold as-is to the retailer, and they simply didn't describe it that way.

    Where is it now for sale?

    Last edited by Hammertone; 12-07-2022 at 12:37 AM.