Early Days

The Collection

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  #070  Hofner.  President Special.   c1980s
  1.  On Arrival I photograph every detail.      It comes in useful later!
  I bought this guitar because of its amazing colour  -   pure Cinnamon.    I had not seen another Hofner like it  (although much later Hofner  introduced a similar colour in their Chinese collection).

Its worth saying that I have had this guitar for quite a while so, at that time, it was a very distinctive, attractive and unique finish.    Later, I supposed it might have been an early factory experiment with colours.

The guitar appeared to be in good structural condition except that it had the wrong bridge, the wrong pickguard and pickups that weren't working well.     Also, the jack socket was mounted in a chrome plate (something you just don't do on archtops) which usually suggests damage in that area.    Otherwise it was simply neglected, very grimy, dusty and unloved.

  The tuners had been abused and the truss-rod cover was a crude copy of a Gibson "Bell" cover, otherwise all good on the headstock except that the Hofner logo had become powdery and disintegrated the minute I touched it!   
  2.  Stripped and Recorded.
  Stripped naked  -  and in the cold light of morning it was very neglected, quite filthy and very dusty.   A challenge!
  Massive block to receive the neck joint.    These half heel joints are very strong.
  Everything under the jack plate was perfect so I cannot see any good reason for the plate.    Was it done just for appearance sake?
  3.  Synopsis.

I bought this guitar because of its distinctive and unique finish colour.   I knew the minute I first saw it that it was a one-off and a lengthy discussion with its first owner confirmed my feelings.

It has an interesting story which is recorded in my notes on this guitar in the "Collection" chapter.

On first inspection it seemed to be in good structural condition, no signs of abuse or hard playing,  just simply thoroughly neglected.

I hadn't expected that it would take much work although, once I got started, I found that the more I did the better it got.

In the end it has been totally refurbished as you can see below.

  4.  Cleaning, dealing with neck issues and rejuvenating the finish.
  Normally I start with the neck.  I like to know that a guitar will play nicely before I invest more too much time on other things.   

But this guitar was so filthy I had to clean it first.

  A trial clean with just vinegar and water revealed this superb colour.   Then a little trial with cutting polish revealed great depth to the colour.
  Any small areas of damage, scratches and chips were cleaned, sanded and drop-filled with cellulose.    I hand tint and match my own finishes whenever I can.     Then the whole body is flatted ready for polishing.
  Half finish / half not,  just for comparison.
  Grimy as well as dirty.   Not nicotine so had it lived near to a Kitchen?
  The back was just the same.    The Flame Maple came alive after cleaning.
  So, with a clean guitar, I was able to start restoring the neck.    There was not any damage to the fingerboard or to the frets so the fingerboard was cleaned, sanded with 800 through to 1800 Dry -  always with the grain ...  never across the grain!    Then all the frets were cleaned, fret dressed and polished.     My normal routine. 
  It should play nicely.
  With the front polished, the true glory of this distinctive instrument is apparent.   It glows!
  Back polished too.    The Flame Maple on the back is magnificent.
  The headstock required a very detailed refinish.     It has a black plastic fascia which needed refreshing so I went all over it with a Stanley Knife used as a flat scraper and scraped a new surface which was then re-polished.    Quite a lot of work but worth it.

There is still a slight outline of the original Hofner logo where the plastic has faded around the motif leaving it slightly darker beneath the missing logo.     So it still says Hofner although it hardly shows.   A nice touch. 

  Ready to be built-up with electrics and hardware.
  Initially I fitted the original pickups but I didn't feel that the white inserts looked right with the Cinnamon finish.     I opted instead to fit 513 blades with black centres.
  A new pickguard was needed.   I had one in stock and black was the obvious first choice but, with the black blades and knobs,  the Cinnamon seemed to loose something with too much black around.     So I sent to the US for a very special Amber Tortoiseshell repro material.     I am pleased with that decision.    The finished pickguard looks just right.
  5.   The Finished Guitar.
  After final adjustments to the truss-rod, zero fret, bridge height and intonation and the pickup height,  it is ready to play for the first time!     Always a thrill!!

Its sounds superb!    It is very crisp,  has perfect intonation and with clarity at every fret.     There are strong harmonics and good sustain.   This is a powerful guitar with a wide tonal range.   I can handle Jazz, Rock,  Country, anything.    Frankly, it plays and sounds much better than I had expected.    It has turned out well!


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