Fascinating Instruments from Our Collection: Hofner 1960 Club 50 Guitar

In Sam Ash’s quest to bring you the out of the ordinary, we’d like to remind the reader that not all obscure guitars are cheap, goofy (although that is a big plus) or shaped like Gumby after a trip through the microwave. Case in point, the Hofner Club 50.

Ok, a lot of us know the association between the Hofner company and the young Beatles. In fact, there is barely a soul that has never seen an image of Paul McCartney with his 500/1 “Violin Bass”. Hofner had a wide variety of electric basses and guitars. Made in Germany, these instruments were far more accessible to Europeans than a Fender or Gibson way back when. All of the Beatles (including the late Stu Sutcliffe), David Gilmour, and Justin Hayward (Nights in White Satin, ‘n other stuff) have Hofners. Flat-tops, classicals, and archtops were Hofner’s bread and butter. Primitive but packed with features such as bound bodies and f-holes, zero frets, and elaborate fingerboard and headstock inlay on higher end models.

The Club 50 pictured here is a model up from the guitar young Lennon used in the Hamburg days. It’s a guitar that’s not entirely sure what it is trying to be. The Club 50 is a single cutaway, somewhat Les Paul-shaped guitar. Although it appears solid, it is in fact a hollow body with no f-holes.  That is why it has so many features associated with an archtop jazz box. The floating bridge and trapeze tail have nothing solid to anchor to. A cost effective (and it LOOKS cost effective) control panel is screwed right down to the top. Cool white sliders and TV knobs almost forgive the cheap looking plate they are fixed to. The guitar itself is very playable and sounds pretty darn good for something that’s not sure what it is. The arched laminated spruce top was touted that it “will never crack”. This might be true, but Hofner guys know that every 20 years of so the neck needs to be re-set.

In a time when guitar manufacturers were still trying to develop something that would become an industry standard, this old girl owes as much to old Stromberg archtops as it does to the Les Paul and Gretsch Duo Jet. In some ways, it’s every bit as good, and in some ways, it’s just the “Obscure Du Jour” pick of the day.

A quick look back at the past of a guitar, which in its day, looked like it might be the future!

Any way you look at it, there is no argument, it is one sexy blonde!

This Hofner 1960 Club 50 Guitar is currently on display at our Sam Ash Music Store located in San Diego, California. To make a purchase or to learn more about this exact guitar, please visit the Hofner 1960 Club 50 Guitar page on our dedicated Sam Ash Used Gear Website.

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Mike Rock
A fixture in the Rock and Roll guitar community since 1978, Mike Rock is the “Go-To” source for Sam Ash's most intricate questions involving Guitars and related gear. A collector whose true passion is playing, Mike has performed over 2,500 gigs around the world. Mike began his musical journey studying the trumpet. While buying sheet music for a recital, Mike first heard an electric guitar through a fuzz box. Forty years later, he still maintains that the fuzz WAS germanium based (he is a bit crazy). This encounter drove Mike to his first guitar and a tube amp. Soon his guitar was heavily modified and the amp was on its 3rd replacement speaker. Mike was hunting for tone and blowing guitar speakers before there was a “boutique” or “vintage” market. It wasn’t long before Mike was buying, and validating vintage guitars and gear for some of the biggest companies in the world, finally finding a home assisting mentor and friend Sammy Ash, at the place where he heard that first Fuzz Guitar, so many years ago. Mike still performs regularly and recognizes the history and beauty of vintage and modern gear. Mike is aware not everyone is a collector and most players need a set up that works for the sound they chase, regardless of its pedigree, or vintage or status.