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  #005 Hofner.  Committee Thinline.  #1630
  1.  On Arrival I photograph every detail.      It comes in useful later!
  I bought the guitar in this condition, knowing it would need a lot of work.     It had been liquidated from a loft-clearance and was stripped bare and very, very dirty.   When I had it in my hands I was pleased to see that it was structurally sound but had clearly had a hard life..

Hofner Committee Thinline serial#1630 was made in 1965.   Three pots ( 1 Master Volume and 2 Tone controls) with the selector switch on the Treble side, means that this was one of the last Committees made.

  All the binding is good and no shrinkage.    Always a good sign.
  Rather a lot of hard knocks all over!
  At first I thought the heel had been re-glued but it is just shrinkage.    The cellulose has cracked an little flakes have come away.   The heel-plate has not been removed so no repairs have been done from the back.   Good!
  2.  Stripped and Recorded.
  Half the Committees in the world have their name miss-spelled.   Have you checked yours?
  3.  Synopsis.

Sex and drugs and Rock n Roll  -  this has had a hard life!.   There were rather a lot of dents, scratches and abrasions but nothing through to the wood!   

It also looked as though the neck had come away from the heel but on very close inspection it seems that the damage was only to the finish -   nothing more than shrinkage causing the cellulose to crack and come away.    The neck joint is strong and there are not any signs of repair.   The heel plate is original and has not been removed and there has not been any work done on the heel joint via the fingerboard.    So, unless the neck has simply separated and been re-glued  (which is very unlikely)  I believe it to be shrinkage.    This is confirmed by one or two more shrinkage lines in close proximity due, no doubt, to a many Summers in a hot, dry loft.

In all other respects the guitar is in good condition.

So a major restoration is in order.    I shall need to source all the correct parts.   Not so easy now with Committees!  

  4.  Cleaning, dealing with neck issues and rejuvenating the finish.
  I always start with the neck.   I need to know that it will play nicely before I invest more time!  It has been cleaned, sanded with 800 "Wet n Dry" paper but used dry from 800 through to 1800, and all the frets cleaned, fret dressed and polished.    
  All the MoP has been re-engraved where the old engraving had worn.    Finally, it had several dressings with Gibson Fretboard Conditioner (the best).
  Coat after coat of clear cellulose has been flooded into the chips, then flatted.
  Flatting with 1800 "Wet n Dry" used wet until all the blemishes, scratches and dings are "matt and flat".     Reflected light shows when to stop.  
  Then I do it all again with 2000 grit wet.    It looks right now.     I shall go over the entire top like this.
  I work the cellulose paste into the cracks, so the finish cracks are filled with the original cellulose.    It dries out white (as you can see) but it is pure cellulose and so after polishing it will just take on the colour of the surrounding finish.   A magic trick!     

The prep stage is finished.    It is ready for polishing now.

  Front polished.    It doesn't look like new (I don't like that) but it looks like a well cared for '65 Committee Thinline.
  Back polished too but the back is different .     It is in the nature of Bird's Eye Maple for the grain to open up with age.    Flatting would be out of character with the wood.   Instead, I deal only with any damage on a local basis.    I want to keep it looking original. 
  After a full refurbishment of the original cellulose, and with the originality of the finish retained, once again it has a rich, gloss finish.    
  The only exception is the headstock.    To me the headstock is the "face" of the guitar - it should show its age.    The face on this guitar is full of character and it shows its age well.    The black stain has worn thin in areas revealing the work of the master craftsman who inlaid the mother of Pearl and the original Holly wood into which it was laid.   A sympathetic restoration!

It is now ready to build-up.

  5.   The Build.

I have been bringing together all the parts needed to build-up the guitar.    It has taken more than three years to source  all the correct 1965 parts.   Everything is ready now.     Fortunately the Tuners are the original ones for this guitar - otherwise they would have been the most difficult parts to find.    The pickguard (previously unused) , bridge, tailpiece, knobs and selector switch are all from 1965.

I plan to wire a new harness.     I always try to use correct period pickups but I don't like using vintage harnesses unless the guitar is all original, which this one certainly is not!

  The '65 tune'o'matic Bridge is now restored and the '65 knobs will be next.
  Quite amazing how 48 year old knobs can be brought back to "new" condition with a little tlc!
  After 3 years of searching,  I now have all the correct parts for the build.     All of these parts are from 1965 (the correct year) with the exception of the pickups.     I will use all new electrics ( pots, wiring and pickups) to achieve a high quality tone.   

In my experience,  most '65 electrics are now underperforming badly.   I have only had two '65 Committees which still sound right,  #024 Thinline and The Pohlert Jazz guitar  -  both are magical.    Both had virtually no play time in their life.     I want this one to be the best it can be.

Because it had the wider pickup rings I had contemplating using some early Type 513 pickups from my stash that are just like new.    In my opinion the 513 is the best of Hofners vintage pickups for tone and output  BUT  to use them would diminish the guitars integrity.    Hofner have recently re-manufactured some retro type 511 Staple pickups and they are very good  -  very good indeed.     I used one on #073 The Burgundy President and was delighted with the sound.     I bought two more for this restoration.    They should sound very good and look exactly right for period.     After a few years they will have aged nicely.

I have known since I first acquired this guitar that the fading in the finish where the original pickup mounts were fitted showed that this guitar was made with larger than usual mounting rings.     It could only mean one thing  -  that the pickups on the original guitar must have been tab-type 511s,  the type that can be adjusted for height from the top.     It meant I had to source tab type pickups and rings for this re-build.


  Clear evidence that the original pickup rings were of the wider type.    So this must have been one of the last Committee Thinlines.  
  This "new" old stock, unused Committee pickguard had to be adapted for the larger mounting rings as it was originally made to suit bar pickups.   Here the Bridge cut-out is finished and the neck is marked, ready for shaping..
  String height is right  -  now to adjust the pickup height, then its done!
  After final adjustments to the truss-rod, zero fret, bridge height, intonation and the pickup height,  it is ready to play for the first time!     Always a thrill!!

Ahhh.     The sound is simply majestic.    It has turned out well!


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