Model 457/E3 Guitars

1959 Hofner Model 457/E3

Color: Cherry Sunburst, Rating: 8.75, $2,950.00 (ID# 01851)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


Super Rare 1959 Hofner 457 a.k.a. President With Three Pickups


1959 Hofner Model 457/E3


This super rare 16-inch wide, 2/14 inch deep electric archtop weighs just 4.80 lbs. Two-piece book-matched, spruce top with "Höfner" decal in gold with black trim on bass side. Two-piece, book-matched, highly flamed maple back. Maple sides finished in black. Six-ply binding on the top, six-ply-ply binding on the back and single-bound f-holes. Two-piece maple neck with mahogany center strip (neck finished in black), a nut width of between 1 5/8 and 1 11/16 inches, a scale length of 25.50 inches and a wonderful thick profile. Headstock  with mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell face, separated by two sets of black and white lines. Three-in-a-line open back strip tuners tuners with round edge rectangular bone buttons. Silver and red metal label "Ahlfors Musik / Malmo" on back of headstock, secured by two small pins. Two-layer, black over white plastic, 'bullet-shaped' truss-rod cover secured by three screws. Two-layer pearloid over black plastic heel-cap with original white plastic strap button on neck heel. Single-bound rosewood fretboard with 22 original medium jumbo frets and inlaid pearl block position markers. Specific-shaped, single-layer mother-of-pearl pickguard with black edging, secured by a single bracket and two pins. Three Hofner, height-adjustable single-coil white bakelite covered '101' pickups with outputs of 6.36k, 6.33k, and 6.47k. Standard Hofner control panel with single volume control and three two-way 'slider' switches for "Rhythm/Solo", "Bass" and "Treble". Hofner 'teacup' control knobs with ribbed sides and gold inserts on tops. In addition there are three two-way pickup selector switches between the control panel and the tailpiece. Six individual metal (fret-wire) saddles on height-adjustable ebony base and Hofner specific 'trapeze' style tailpiece with metal "KH" emblem in center and white plastic strap button. On the underside of the top, written in pencil, is the date of manufacture "25/11.59". This rare and unusual late fifties Hofner thinline electric was in a private collection of some twenty-three fifties and sixties guitars that we purchased earlier this year. When we first examined the guitar we noticed that the top binding was severely damaged due to the not uncommon disintegration of the multi-layer celluloid binding. We sent the guitar to Don Butler who is a renowned expert and restoration specialist of early Hofner's. He has successfully restored the binding using original materials from the late fifties that he specially acquired from the Hofner factory Germany. The result is quite astonishing with just a few very small surface cracks being visible in the lower binding. There are a few small and very minor surface marks / indentations on the body sides and a couple of insignificant surface marks on the top. Housed in the original Selmer (Hofner) four-latch, shaped tan tweed hardshell case with green felt lining (8.75). The action is low and the guitar plays effortlessly with a not dissimilar sound to a Stratocaster.

The 457 was Hofner's most popular mid-range guitar, with a very long production run from 1952 to 1994, a record only just beaten by the 463 model. The equivalent Selmer-distributed version of the 457 was the President model.
The 457 had a medium 16" wide body with flame maple back & sides, and (initially) a solid carved spruce top. This desirable feature had generally changed to a laminated spruce top by the end of the 1950's. Non-cutaway and cutaway bodies seem to have been available for the acoustic version, but the electric models all had cutaways. Up to ca. 1960, the 457 seems to have only been offered in brunette finish. Blonde finishes appeared from them on. The three or five-piece neck was a maple/mahogany laminate, with a good quality rosewood fingerboard.  Various headstock fascia and fretmarker designs were adopted for the 457 during its production period, including pearloid/tortoishell, treble clef, inlaid dagger, and inlaid double rhomboid designs for the headstock and celluloid strip, triple dots, and single dot fret markers. Likewise, various pickguards in several shapes and materials were fitted at different times. The 457 was initially available only as an acoustic guitar. From 1954 however, electric options were offered with one, two, or three pickups together with the possibility of active circuits for the more adventurous from 1957 onwards. In 1960, an electric thinline body version was introduced which was designated the 4570 model. This was produced up to 1992. To complete the line-up, a comparatively short-lived 12-string version was made between 1966 and 1970, called the 457/12 model. As one would expect with such a long production run, there have been numerous types of pickups and electrical controls fitted to the President over the 40 years. The 457 tends to be confused with its close cousin, the 456 model. The sure way of differentiating them is by checking the type of timber used in the body tops - the 457 has a spruce top, the 456 has a maple top. The white bakelite with oval-ends were manufacture by Hofner ca. 1957-1960.

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