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Thread: Which Hofner mandolin?

  1. #1
    Registered User Seppo's Avatar
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    Default Which Hofner mandolin?

    This old German Höfner (Hofner) mandolin is currently being restored for me by a skilled luthier.
    While looking for info on this specific model I wasn't able to google any models
    with similar f-holes. All I find seem to have Gretsch -style cat's eye holes.

    Does anybody know more about these or own equal models ?

    sincerely

    Seppo Sillanpää
    Finland
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  2. #2
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    It sure looks like Höfner's mandolin body, but are you certain it's a Höfner? Does it have a stamp on the face, or a label? The f-holes remind me of another Markneukirchen maker whose name is not materializing.

    Laminated top, I assume?
    .
    ph

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    I agree with Paul. Other than the body, doesn't look like a Hofner, at least none that I know of ...

  4. #4
    Registered User Seppo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Thanks guys,
    It is definitely laminated.
    I've never thought of any other maker than Höfner but there is actually no writing, labels or signatures to prove me right or wrong.
    I hope these pictures can help identifying the instrument.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Seeing the headstock, it looks more like a Höfner now. Measurably fancier than I've seen, but who knows what their presence inside Europe and Germany was really about. Their catalogs and general production told one story, but there was more, certainly.
    .
    ph

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    After you added the headstock photos it appears to be a Hofner, but the the way the sound holes are cut appears to be unique. I can't find any other photographic evidence that Hofner produced anything like this ...

  7. #7
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/galle...mandolin5.html

    F-holes (or whatever you want to call these) are close.... not exact... but take the headstock and the rest of it, and there is not that much in it...

    A prototype? Very limited run? They made some very odd guitars back in the late 50's top mid 60's.

    I actually visited their plant in Germany myself once, way back when. It was not exactly hi-tech, or "mass production" as we know it now, so anything is possible. This is their wood store...

    http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/vinta...tory/wood.html
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

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  9. #8
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    F-holes (or whatever you want to call these) are close.... not exact...
    Right, but that's the body shape, etc. The 547 was their only catalogued "arched" flatback mandolin, to the English-speaking world, anyway.
    .
    ph

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  10. #9
    Registered User Seppo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    This is getting very exciting. What I know about this specific mandolin is that my late father-in-law bought it for himself
    in the sixties from an ordinary local smalltown music shop in Southern Finland. I don't think he ever travelled outside Scandinavia.
    Local music shops ordered most of their instruments from Central or Southern Europe those days. We have lots of mandolins and accordions that were made in Germany or Italy and they were stamped at the factory with any Finnish name you wanted.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Hello everyone,
    I've been at the Cafe before, but I have only just registered today.
    The mandolin looks like a Hofner to me too. I got the same model, early sixties, with a carved bridge. Plus another one with larger soundholes. It is louder and sounds better. Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    That looks like two different mandolins. Bigger soundholes on the first. Which is yours?
    Jim

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  13. #12

    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Both are.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    I have an unmarked "Hofner" mandolin that I bought in Germany around 1962. It looks similar to the one almeriastrings linked to in post #7 in his first link. Mine has the same body shape, same open peghead w/ same carvings on it, same screwed-on pick guard and same trapeze tailpiece. (It takes ball end strings.)

    Differences include a slightly darker color, but with same grain pattern (possibly a printed finish grain?) Mine also has rectangular, probably plastic, position markers that go completely across the fretboard. Fretboard is unbound. Top, back and sides all appear to be laminated.

    Hope this info contributes to the discussion.

    Thanks,
    Lee

  15. #14
    Registered User Seppo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by strattem View Post
    Hello everyone,
    I've been at the Cafe before, but I have only just registered today.
    The mandolin looks like a Hofner to me too. I got the same model, early sixties, with a carved bridge. Plus another one with larger soundholes. It is louder and sounds better. Click image for larger version. 

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    The one with smaller soundholes is exactly like mine. I've never seen even a picture of an equal mandolin.

  16. #15
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    I kind of like the horizontal "V" holes, interesting indeed.
    Never know what will rear its head around here.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  17. #16

    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    They're not Höfners!
    Found out Seppo's mando (and one of mine) is a 'Cremona 545' by masterbuilder Bräuer from Schönbach, Germany.
    Some nice pictures at http://schoenbach.webnode.cz/photoga.../#dsc-7470-jpg.

    Good-sounding laminated tops using exotic wood, carved headstocks, carved bridges made of rosewood (top) and ebony (bottom), flamed wood for the necks, often no labels inside.

    I believe Cremona was taken over by Höfner some time after WWII, which may explain why the Hofner 457 still resembles the Cremona 545 by Bräuer. Not sure of this though!

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  19. #17

    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    As far as I have been able to check, it was the other way round: Höfner was taken over by Cremona shortly after WWII, and the designs were continued which may explain resemblance between the Hofner 457 and the Cremona 545 by Bräuer.

  20. #18
    Registered User Martin Veit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Hmm - often the bigger companies using some more unknown Luthiers to build their high end Instruments.
    So for eg. does my freind Tom Launhardt in his earliers days a lot of Work for Lakewood-Guitars or Schack Guitars
    and for his old company "Hopf", where he had his trainee.

    Maybe your instruments are done in the same conditions.

  21. #19

    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    And here's a pic of a 1955 Cremona label. One like this is inside the mando on the Schoenbach site. I suppose these labels were only used in instruments for the home market.
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  22. #20

    Thumbs up Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    I would like to thank all people who helped me a lot in finding the right information about this mandolin. So in fact Hoffner left Ceskoslowakia and the Tjech company
    "Cremona" was born using the production process of Hoffner. They renamed the model
    but only provided the instruments for the domestic market with a label.
    Beautiful pictures from the Brauer / Schoenbach site!

    They did so between appr. 1945 / 1965

  23. #21
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    For more backstory, you might want to read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framus

    This explains how the Schönbach makers were transplanted to Germany in the nick of time.
    .
    ph

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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatGuitars View Post
    I would like to thank all people who helped me a lot in finding the right information about this mandolin. So in fact Hoffner left Ceskoslowakia and the Tjech company
    "Cremona" was born using the production process of Hoffner. They renamed the model
    but only provided the instruments for the domestic market with a label.
    Beautiful pictures from the Brauer / Schoenbach site!

    They did so between appr. 1945 / 1965
    I have a Cremona 545 that I bought on line about 7 years ago in excellent condition . Has a great ringing sound to it & plays about as easy as my Kentucky 505. I'm using medium light strings. May have to sell soon due to artheritis gettin worse. These & Hofner are rare and there is very little info available on line. -- Abe -- Canada

  25. #23
    Registered User Rickker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seppo View Post
    This old German Höfner (Hofner) mandolin is currently being restored for me by a skilled luthier.
    While looking for info on this specific model I wasn't able to google any models
    with similar f-holes. All I find seem to have Gretsch -style cat's eye holes.

    Does anybody know more about these or own equal models ?

    sincerely

    Seppo Sillanpää
    Finland
    I have a Hofner 545. On the back of the headstock the Hofner name is displayed, per the attached photo. Would seem logical that Hofner would have shown this on all the instruments they made. So perhaps yours is a copy made by someone else?
    ....Rickker
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  26. #24
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickker View Post
    I have a Hofner 545. On the back of the headstock the Hofner name is displayed, per the attached photo. Would seem logical that Hofner would have shown this on all the instruments they made. So perhaps yours is a copy made by someone else?
    ....Rickker
    Mine is a Cremona, made in Checoslovakia after the Brauer company moved out of Germany after the 2nd w war. Has fancy hand carved headstock, but no decals or stampings as seemed to be normal for these mandolins coming from the Check republic.
    It has the V shaped sound holes which was rare. Otherwise it looks identical to the Hofner of the same vintage.
    I tried to post a picture but the procedure to do so did not work for me.

  27. #25
    Registered User Rickker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Hofner mandolin?

    "I tried to post a picture but the procedure to do so did not work for me."

    Hey Mando Abe, I have also struggled to post pics. I reckon there are others as well. I will try to document the procedure as I am typing this reply.

    Whether you are posting a new topic or replying, go down to the bottom and click on "Go Advanced"

    On the next screen, go down to the bottom and click on "Manage Attachments"

    A window will come up. If you have never posted pics, it will be blank, otherwise some thumbnail pics will be there. Click on "Add Files", then "Browse". Next, navigate to the file you want to attach and click "Open", and then "Upload". The file will now appear in the bottom window. Make sure it is checked, then click "Done"

    The file or pic will now be shown under "Manage Attachments" and will be included whan you click on "Submit Reply"

    Hope this helps. This process is easy when you know how and post pics regularly. Otherwise it is a daunting procedure.

    ....Rickker
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