All about Höfner Classical Guitars

We first started producing classical (concert) guitars around 1930 having previously spent 43 years making violins and other stringed instruments. Nobody now is quite sure of the exact year. Production of classicals has continued ever since and is today a major part of the business.

Hofner catalogue 1931   
Catalogue page from 1931

We still have a copy of the 1931 catalogue which shows a number of classical guitars. At that time they were always described as "Spanish models" since the public generally associated this type of guitar as coming from Spain. Also in production then were a number of Hawaiian models since this style of music was very popular at the time. The tops of these were usually decorated with suitable Hawaiian style motifs. 

Hofner catalogue 1957
Catalogue page from 1957

These old catalogues help us to trace the history of the classical guitars that we have produced over the years, giving us an insight into the past times at Höfner. In fact we have most of the catalogues for every year from 1950 to the present day and these act as the main point of reference for research.

Hofner catalogue 1975
Catalogue page from 1975

The designer of all guitars produced by Höfner from the 1930s into the 1970s was Walter Höfner, the son of the company founder Karl Höfner. He was without doubt a gifted designer as well as a superb craftsman. He knew how to make a good guitar, but also important, he knew how to get that produced within the workshops. He is, perhaps, most famous for designing the Höfner 500/1 Violin (Beatle) Bass guitar.

Walter Hofner 1950s
Walter Höfner, working on a classical guitar, in the 1950s

Demand for classical guitars grew considerably in the 1950s as the German economy got back on its feet with more and more spare time available that allowed people to satisfy their cultural needs. Many children chose to learn the guitar and so happy parents would need to buy one. Until the 1970s classical guitars were availabale only from Spain, Germany and Sweden, naturally many parents opted for a German made instrument. Today many children still prefer to learn guitar, more so than for any other instrument and parents are happy, to acquire an affordable quality guitar "Made in Germany" by Höfner. 

Höfner Bubenreuth workshops 1960s
Classical guitars being produced at the Bubenreuth workshops in the 1960s.

Höfner is still making classical guitars, still by hand, in the traditional way. We may have moved from Schönbach to Bubenreuth and then to Hagenau, but our passion for perfection and our love for quality is everlasting.

Höfner Hagenau workshops 2014
Today we are still hand making classical guitars. The workshops at Hagenau in 2014.

Höfner guitars are of course made of wood and we have an extensive wood store where the wood is air dried before it is used in production. We buy as much locally grown wood as possible and work only with certified timber dealers who are able to supply to our exacting standards. We seek out the best woods and also look for exotic woods that offer superb tonal and aesthetical properties. 

Our master luthier constantly looks for ways to improve our classical guitars, to make them stronger, have better tone and to look absolutely stunning.

 Höfner wood store
Part of the Höfner wood stores.

Höfner labels
Labels for classical guitars.

Our German made classical guitars in the Classic, Green, Master and Limited Edition series often surprise people. Why? Because they are actually a lot cheaper than many believe could be the case. Our handcrafted guitars can be bought for around €400 upwards. You or your children could be playing a handmade German guitar for far less than you thought. Why settle for less when you can have the real thing? 

Höfner classical guitar

 

Hofner classical guitar
Höfner HHM-ELF model