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1959 Hofner Model 459S

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Dated: 10.8.59, handwritten under soundboard

Body size at lower bout: 16 3/8". Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 10/16" Body depth: 3 1/8"

Finish: Original blonde finish, nitrocellulose type

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid Alpine spruce top; birdseye maple back and sides; 3 piece maple neck; inlaid rosewood fingerboard; 5 ply body binding.

Hardware: Original hardware includes nickel twin trapeze tailpiece, adjustable ebonized maple bridge with bone insert; nickel three-on-a-plate open-back tuners. Vintage correct dark tortoise contoured pickguard.

Notes: Founded by Karl Hofner in 1897, the company that bore his name became the largest maker of fretted instruments in his native Germany, and quite likely in all of Europe as a whole. Moving energetically into archtop design after the war, Hofner soon assembled a formidable array of models, whose breadth and range rivaled any catalog of the era. The dominant jazz guitar in Europe and England for decades, Hofner attracted such luminaries as Attilla Zoller, John Stowell, Bobby Broom, Sid Jacobs, Peter Leitch, Joseph Reinhardt and Martin Taylor among other top performing artists. Now offering a highly regarded line of carved-top instruments worldwide, Hofner was extremely limited in North American distribution for decades, making their vintage archtops some of the scarcest to be found on the US market.

The Hofner Model 459 was introduced in 1952 and produced in both cutaway (S) and noncut versions until 1960. Similar to the President model marketed by Selmer in the UK, the 459 has a handcarved parallel braced soundboard of Alpine spruce, and a body of dramatic birdseye maple, a rarely seen tonewood found on some prewar D'Angelicos and Epiphones. The model is further distinguished by its flame-shaped soundholes, Frequensator inspired tailpiece, and art-deco pearloid headstock.

This example has been maintained in wonderful condition, without pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and shows just a bit of normal finish checking in the original deep amber blonde finish. The neck has a generous C profile, with smooth low action, and plenty of clearance at the fingerboard for any floating pickup. An unusually lightweight instrument, this example tips the scales at a mere 4lb 10oz. (2.10kg). This finely carved construction, and long 25 1/2" scale (rare in 16" archtops) combine to produce a voice of truly astonishing projection and brilliance, with particularly fine natural reverb in the upper register, and an appealing clarity and balance in the lows. The neck has been professionally reset to optimize bridge height and action, and the instrument is supplied with a 50's vintage brown plush hardshell case. A highly distinctive instrument, unique in tone, feel and appearance, the Hofner 459 is an outstanding value in a true vintage carved top jazz box, and a mighty rare bird on either side of the pond.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge radius inspected and recurved as necessary; bridgewheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze roundwound strings (.013-.057). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.

Case: 50's vintage brown plushlined hardshell case.




















































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