#073   Hofner E1 President Special.   "The Burgundy President".

  Hofner-hunting has been a retirement hobby for a while now and in the last year or two I have made contact with several people still living near the old Hofner factory at Bubenreuth.    Some are ex-employees, or the  relatives of people who worked there.     Another, for example, owned a Music Shop in the area and had a close relationship with the factory.    All have stories to tell and I have been keen to follow up anything that sounded interesting.

On just a few occasions "The Red Hofner" has been mentioned.    In fact it was my pursuit of "The Red Hofner" that lead me to find The Pöhlert Jazz Guitar, also featured on this website.

My interest in "The Red Hofner" was aroused because I recall very clearly seeing a Burgundy Hofner in Selmer's window back in the early 60's.   It was alongside a garish Orange Sparkle finish Senator BUT called a  "COLOURAMA" that looked appalling.     Coincidentally,  I saw an Orange Sparkle Colourama for sale in France last year (I have no idea whether it was the same one or indeed if Hofner even made more than one).     But the Burgundy Hofner looked good.    It was a President, finished just like a Framus Black Rose,  although I don't remember more than that. 

So when I discovered this guitar (#073)  I was intrigued.   It was another of those guitars that had been spirited away from the Bubenreuth factory when it closed in 1984 and kept, out of site, like a pension.    I know this because I bought it from the family which had kept it all those years.

It is a President without doubt.   When I acquired it I discovered that the pickup had been changed but that everything else, except the Bridge,  seemed to be original.   What is unique about it, apart from the gorgeous finish, is that it has a single pickup.   

As far as I know,  Hofner never made a single pickup President and my current researches confirm that there is not any mention of a single pickup President in Hofner's literature.    The sister model,  the 457, was offered as E1 or E2 from its origin but never the President.     For a short period,  457s were sold as Presidents in Germany but you can tell the difference.

It was only later,  when I discovered the Pöhlert,  that I was able to put these two guitars side by side for the first time.   The resemblance,  one to the other, is striking.    The finish colours and sunbursts are identical.    There is every reason to believe they were made at the same time.    I say this because the reds that Hofner used for example, on the 4572(i) and the 464 are not the same, and on the 450 is quite a different colour!     Again "The Ruby" #017 is different, whereas #073 and #081 are really identical.   Comparison of the pots in due course may confirm or contradict this assertion!

Consequently,  I am now beginning to feel that this guitar might perhaps have been made as an option to show Werner Pöhlert at the early stages of the Pöhlert's development or maybe as a Hofner spin-off from having made the Pöhlert.  

My rationale for believing this guitar to have been made alongside the Pöhlert are detailed at the end of this page under the heading "Notes for Nurds"

This is as far as my researches have got  -  but the story will continue here as I build up whatever evidence I can find.



  Too similar to ignore.    Were these made at the same time?    It is worth researching.  

The seller of this guitar told me that  ...................

(I am still seeking confirmation of my notes on these discussions)




  The Guitar   -  A description.    
  Here is the guitar as it arrived:  
  This is in every respect a President Thinline but in "Black Rose",  Like The Pöhlert Jazz Guitar and with only a single pickup.   I believe it to be unique in both respects!    The pickup had been upgraded for a Super and the Bridge is from another era but otherwise it all fits.   A one-off?     That's the question!  
  Square-cut cutaway is typical of the period but not the strap-button!   Some restoration needed here.  
  Hofner's "Classic" headstock shape with "Bellflower" motif. Standard President "Capstan" tuners confirm that this is not a 457.  
  Nicely flamed Maple on the Back and Sides.  
  Identifying the Guitar.    
  I am currently in discussion with people who may help identify the guitar.   (More Later).



The guitar is in all respects a Thinline President from around 62 - 65 with the usual bindings and dot position markers as shown in the pics.

Unusually,  and perhaps uniquely,  it has a single pickup with single Volume and Tone controls and finished in a distinctive Burgundy-burst almost exactly like the Framus Black Rose.   

  Dating the guitar.  
  Firstly, everything appears to be original on this instrument except the pickup which originally would probably have been a type 511 but mounted in a Toaster type ring.    The original pickup ring is still on the guitar.    All these indicators set the window around  1964/65,  so I guess this guitar was made around 1964 (the same time as the Pöhlert).  
  Restored now and looking good!  

Spec:  President Thinline


Top               Laminate

Upper            12

Waist              91/4

Waist Pos’n     71/4

Lower           161/4

Length          201/4

Thickness        2”   50mm

Scale            253/8

Body joins     14th fret

Headstock     Classic

Motif             Bell Flower

Logo             HOFNER

P/up             not original

P/up Rings    Toaster

Tailpiece       Harp

Bridge           Plastic Saddle

Controls        2 Rotary

Finish            Black Rose

Binding          W--b/w/b/w/b





  This guitar needed quite a bit of work to allow it to play nicely but,  overall,  it was in good original, unrepaired, undamaged condition.   There was also a lot of cosmetic work required to bring it back to a presentable condition.

The restoration was completed in February 2012 and will be featured in a new "Restorations" section shortly.

  Notes for Nurds
  Rationale for believing this guitar and the Pöhlert to have been made at the same time:
  • Specification - from the same period suggests both made in 1964
  • Finish colour - identical and unlike any other Hofner "Red".
  • No evidence of any President model made as a single pickup (so probably a cheaper President in keeping with the cheaper Committee for WP to see in chose between).
  • My President has an odd mark in the finish!    I have never seen it before.    It is as if a 2"piece of masking tape has been applied on top of the colour coat,  then the top coat sprayed over it.   When the tape was removed there remains a depression in the finish.    I have now seen photos of Werner Pöhlert's guitar and it has the same mark!     When I first saw this mark I spent a long while trying to sand it out using damp "2000 wet n dry" paper.    I didn't want to go through the top coat so I left it.   I am glad I did.    It links #073 with Werner's guitar.    This is why it is so important to let the guitar influence how full the restoration should be.

I am now as sure as I can be that these guitars were made at the same time.    I suspect that both guitars were shown to him as a pair - a Committee based sample and a President based sample for him to select the final Pöhlert model.


  Further Research.  
  Meanwhile,  if you can add further to our knowledge of any more Red Hofners,  please mail me via this website  (go to "Contact" button above).

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