Vintage Höfner, unusual headstock and rosette

Hello everybody, I found an old Höfner guitar in the basement at our school, obviously not played that much for a long time: covered with lots of dust, a dead spider inside. The school was built in the 50ies, maybe it's one of the first instruments that were bought back then. It has a zero fret, a slightly arched back and a "gipsy" headstock, but a classical tailpiece. And a carved rosette. Does anybody know similar Höfners?

Bill Da Costa WilliamsBucorudolfochrist


  • WillieWillie HamburgNew Old french mystery
    edited April 2021 Posts: 419

    I didn't have the time to look for the guitar in the internet this morning, but now I found several pictures, here are some examples, and a link to ""

    Höfner Vienna 485, 1962

    Höfner Vienna, 1950 -1981

    And even more interesting: with trapeze tailpiece. I don't know if the tailpiece is original, or if someone was experimenting with his classical guitar.

    The playability of the guitar from our basement is quite o.k., even with the rather old strings attached on it. I will restring it with Thomastik Infeld Steel strings for classical guitar; I'm curious, if the instrument will turn out to be a real gipsy. A collegue has brought a set of KR 116 rope core, but I'm afraid this will kill the guitar, the top has a crack already. So I have to wait for a set of KR110 - if successful, the result can be seen and heard here shortly.

    Bill Da Costa WilliamsBuco
  • WillieWillie HamburgNew Old french mystery
    Posts: 419

    As one can read following the above link (, Selmer was trading Höfner guitars to the United Kingdom. Here is a page of the 1960 Selmer catalogue:

    Selmer even sold Höfner guitars under their own name (quote from, an example can be seen following


    For a year or so in 1966 and 1967, Selmer commissioned Hofner to produce a series of archtop and flattop "Western" guitars with the "Selmer" brand-mark on them. There was no reference to Hofner on these guitars, although they did tend to be based rather loosely on Hofner's existing models. Their style and finish was unmistakably Hofner, although the usual Hofner ornamentation such as inlaid headstocks and neck binding was missing. This was made up for by the use of good quality fittings, such as Schaller pickups and Hofner's own enclosed machine heads. Any finish was available, providing that it was brown sunburst! These were obviously intended to be very much "working guitars".

    Bill Da Costa WilliamsBuco
  • stuologystuology New
    Posts: 116

    Hofners' are great guitars and a bit unsung, and despite their first-rate rock'n'roll pedigrees (first Beatles guitars etc.) vintage Hofners can be picked up for less than the cost of a budget Asian Selmer. I traded my Burns electric for a 62 Hofner arch top years ago and since then, the Burns has soared in value and my Hofner has hardly budged at all, so it was a poor deal but the Hofner is the better guitar and looks fantastic too with a violin-style finish.

    Selmer had a shop in London so they had a few deals with Hofner. My '62 has a 'distributed by Selmer' headstock. Selmer had another range of guitars in the early 60s called Futurama, which were basically Strat copies at a time when no one could buy Fenders in Europe. The Beatles played Futuramas in their early days, a lot of groups did until Hank Marvin brought the first Strat into the country. I've got an early 60s Futurama, nothing special and currently unplayable but at least I can say I own a Selmer ...

    BucoWillieBill Da Costa Williams
  • WillieWillie HamburgNew Old french mystery
    edited April 2021 Posts: 419

    In 2019, George Harrison's Futurama was exhibited for a very short time (four hours!) in the guitar shop just around the corner of my flat in Hamburg, 60 years after he had bought it at Liverpool:

    I didn't show up to worship it: not a "guitare manouche" at all.

  • Bill Da Costa WilliamsBill Da Costa Williams Barreiro, Portugal✭✭✭ Mateos
    Posts: 445

    Gosh - maybe I should have hung onto my Selmer Futurama.

    Me in 1966:

    I see now they were made by Hagstrom.

    Not a patch on the strat though.

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew Old french mystery
    edited April 2021 Posts: 419

    Today the collegue brought the new strings: Thomastik Infeld KR110. I did a very quick demo of the guitar, I think it is a perfect little gipsy. But before listening, you should remember the spider who once was resident in this instrument:

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew Old french mystery
    edited April 2021 Posts: 419

    Please excuse the somehow "nervous" version: a free hour at school for restringing and recording (I couldn't wait any longer when I held the Thomastiks in my hand) - and the usual baseball bat neck that I know from old german lower budget guitars; there surely are more convincing versions of "Charmaine" (for example: But I'm very happy about the sound!

    BucoBill Da Costa Williamslittlemark
  • Bill Da Costa WilliamsBill Da Costa Williams Barreiro, Portugal✭✭✭ Mateos
    Posts: 445

    Surprisingly good sound - you must be pleased.

    So the TI strings are designed to get a steel string sound from classical style guitars? Work well.

    Thanks also for the link to the Feigeli Prisor video - it's great!

  • WillieWillie HamburgNew Old french mystery
    edited April 2021 Posts: 419

    @Bill Da Costa Williams

    You're welcome!

    Feigeli Prisor lives in Gerwen, one of his main influences was Wasso Grünholz. (But you probably knew ths already. I'm just fascinated by the Gerwen camp and the great importance of Wasso Grünholz for the following generation of players.)

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