First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

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gishuk
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First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by gishuk » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:02 am

As a regular browser of the Reverb app sometimes things catch my eye, this was definitely one of those times. I'd never played let alone owned an archtop before, but something about this guitar really called to me as I kept going back and looking at the listing. After a month or so I thought this was getting a bit ridiculous and sent an offer, and now here it is.

Its a 1958 Hofner 461 which has been converted to electric at some point in the past (the seller believed during the 60s and looking at the wiring harness inside I can believe that) with the addition of a DeArmond pickup over the central sound hole.

It has a massive neck that predates Hofner using truss-rods and a slightly narrower than a regular Fender nut, but its actually very comfortable for me (big hands) and the frets are like a modern jumbo despite being original with a 25.25" scale length. I have no other archtop experience to compare it to but the playability is fantastic. Its had a neck break and a neck reset, I got a bill of work done for it with the guitar. It was fixed by a shop in Denmark Street and cost the equivalent of £400 today when it was done in 1989, so someone must have really loved this thing.

I don't really know much more about it, there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of info online about this old Hofners that I can find at least, so if anyone knows more about these I'd love to know more. I imagine it was a fairly top of the line model with such ornate inlays and elaborate binding, even the nut is bound. Tons of old mother of toilet seat too!

I was most drawn to how it looks, very 50s but also kind of sinister looking, kind of Elvis meets Nick Cave vibe from this, but I'm glad that despite it being a really pot luck kind of thing to buy without any idea that it plays and sounds really great as well.

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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:38 am

Wow! That thing's gorgeous!!

I know what you mean about it looking sinister too. Something to do with those fantastically weird & creepy F-holes, perhaps?

Funny, I was also browsing for Höfner archtops recently, after posting so many of them in this thread.
As I'm living in Germany now I'm hoping the right one shows up as a suitable replacement for my old ES-125T.
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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by Jonesie » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:53 am

That is cool as hell. I love the weird Hofner inlays.

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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by sessylU » Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:55 pm

That is gorgeous. Weird and gorgeous.

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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by DaddyDom » Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:13 pm

Wow. In many years of Hofner-watching, I have never seen a 461 or sound-holes like that!
Wacky!

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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by Telliot » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:04 pm

I'm such a fanboy of vintage Hofners. I absolutely adore my Club bass, and keep toying with the idea of buying something like this.

Congrats, this looks like a keeper. :)
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by Flurko » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:22 pm

This is a mean looking guitar !
I have an Hofner 4550, similar big bodied archtop, but from the sixties and without any electronics. I rarely use it since I'm not playing acoustic with other people anymore and I'm more of an electric guy, but I can't bear to install a pickup into such a pretty old guitar, even just a tiny screw attachment on the neck + an endpin jack for the DeArmond Rhythm Chief I was looking at.

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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by marqueemoon » Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:31 pm

Hot damn. :w00t:

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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by MKR » Wed Apr 21, 2021 4:06 am

wow. that looks amazing. :?

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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by BoringPostcards » Wed Apr 21, 2021 4:29 am

Yea, that's definitely awesome. Good score!!
I love the inlays and binding. The sound holes are spooky, but look good nonetheless.
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Re: First foray into archtops - 1958 Hofner 461

Post by gishuk » Wed Apr 21, 2021 6:36 am

Thanks guys!
I think the weird f-holes were the first thing that caught my eye on this guitar. From what little I've been able to find out about old Hofners they (the inlays) are patterned after a particular 17th century violin makers design.

Wish there was more information about them out there though, as a total vintage gear nerd I'd love to learn more.


Flurko wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:22 pm
This is a mean looking guitar !
I have an Hofner 4550, similar big bodied archtop, but from the sixties and without any electronics. I rarely use it since I'm not playing acoustic with other people anymore and I'm more of an electric guy, but I can't bear to install a pickup into such a pretty old guitar, even just a tiny screw attachment on the neck + an endpin jack for the DeArmond Rhythm Chief I was looking at.
Thats a beauty! I really like the full width fretboard inlays on these Hofners.

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