An interesting Hofner I couldn't help but get involved with!
Although I'm not overly knowledgeable on them, I do find vintage Hofner guitars beautiful designs to admire. They were certainly very well built and capable instruments in their own right, but at times were unapologetically inspired by the exotic, and somewhat more exclusive USA guitar brands pioneering guitar design at the time. I've only had the chance to get my hands on a small number of 50s and 60s Hofner and similar brand guitars, and there is a certain magic to them. Knowing that a lot of these guitars would have been absolute prized possessions when new and likely for the majority of their lives. I think that carries as much value as their monetary estimations, or exceeds it perhaps too. 

There's an article by Guitar Magazine which is a fascinating read about some of the quirky solid body guitars being built in Britain and Europe around this era too which is worth a read if you like that kind of thing - HERE

Below is an example of a Hofner President a local customer once brought in for me to see.
Hofner guitar

Now I normally don't offer custom harnesses here, or at least at the time of writing this article, preferring to personally develop and test new models to ensure comfortable installs. Plus my anxiety shoots off the scale to be entirely truthful too, so I tend to prefer some hands on testing with a particular guitar model or variation before feeling confident in the product I can offer a customer. But when a customer recently contacted me about a new harness for a (estimated) '64 Hofner Verithin where it had laid dormant for a while due to seized components, I couldn't help but want to be involved in doing my bit to bring this guitar back to life. The Verithin was essentially a 335 esq design, being a double cutaway hollow body design, this particular guitar even sporting a Bigsby too. As my experience with the model was limited at best, a bit of research was required though and thankfully the vintage Hofner community is a thriving place to be and it wasn't long before I was able to pin down pickup specs, find out what specs of pots and caps were used in a particular era and/or paired with particular pickup models. It was quite enjoyable to be honest! Perhaps more so to hear why certain pickup covers were designed the way they were, often simply to visually imitate the premium USA guitar models. Even if the pickup design 'under the hood' differed entirely...

Article about the 510 Diamond

Interestingly, both the customer and I initially presume due to the cover design of the factory pickups, that we were dealing with a pair of humbuckers. But through these fantastic vintage resources I was quickly able to determine that the pickups were in fact single coils, simply styled like humbuckers to mimic the PAF found on the Gibson ES-335 model. The pickups in particular were the '510' Diamond covers, which due to their single coil design didn't sound at all like the PAF they were imitating, but still had a great sound for sure. I was also then able to find out that Hofners from that period, with that pickup style, were outfitted with 250k pots, and common for the time period, 0.1uF tone capacitors. Some appeared to have 0.047uF, but everything for this pickup and period pointed to 0.1uF so I opted for that. Interestingly, the wiring features no pickup selector switch. Instead were 'independent' volume controls, rather than the 'dependant' volume controls more commonly seen and used across Gibson models at the time (and to this day). So here, instead of a quick flick of a toggle switch, you simply have independently operated volume controls, one for each pickup which allows you to turn down one pickup and achieve a neck or bridge pickup only signal.

In contrast, with Gibson's dependant volume controls, if you are in the middle switch position with both pickups 'on', if you turn down one volume pot it will cut off the signal completely. Something many players have utilised as a tool for decades, using it as a kill switch almost! Some have longed for independant volume wiring though and converted their guitars to this style, but it does have it's downfalls which I'll touch on in a moment. The benefits are that it can allow more of a blend functionality from your volume controls to the 'middle' position. The downfall however is due to reversing the wires of the input and output lugs on each volume control, it is commonplace for the volume pot sweep to become very muddy, very quickly. However this can be easily correctly by installing a treble 'bleed' mod. Not something done on the vintage instrument in question today, but one I felt I wanted to do on this guitar to allow optimal, more practical use. So a few interesting specs here and was looking forward to giving this a whirl. 

The only wiring diagrams that exist for this spec (or certainly a very similar one as it had a different pickup variant) Verithin were traditionally drawn electronics schematics, so I figured to help make the install as easy as possible for the customer, I drew up a wiring diagram in the more commonly seen modern style. I've decided to share that diagram here just in case it would help any other vintage Verithin owners hoping to restore or replace their wiring. How you route your wires etc may need changing from how it is displayed in the diagram ,I just tried to keep things as clear to view as possible on that. I routed mine like the main image of this article if that helps with your own wiring work! This was simply my approach for wiring up this guitar and I tried to be true to the factory schematic too, Hofner enthusiasts may have their preferences, I'm really not sure, but this worked upon testing and will help get the guitar back up and running with some high quality new components wired as true to the original schematic as possible. So I do hope it helps others, may as well put the time I invested into this wiring to good use for others too.

Vintage Hofner Verithin 510 Diamond pickups guitar wiring diagram

The final specs I opted for on this build were - 
4x CTS '450' Series 250k split shaft pots - Audio taper with a +/-7% tolerance
2x 'Mustard' Style 0.1uF tone capacitors (The caps in the photo may look pretty huge, it's because they are overkill essentially, rated at around 400V I believe. Which I'm sure you know is excessive for a guitar circuit, but basically, that value is the only one available for a mustard style cap and there's zero harm in it anyway. Use what you prefer!)
2x .001uF & 120kOhm parallel wired treble bleed mods
Pure Tone multi contact jack socket
Wired with Gavitt 22awg wire.

A fun little project, and just thought it would be nice to share it, in case it helped others out there restoring or repairing a Hofner Verithin from this era. Hopefully the diagram and specs are easier to digest than referring to a traditionally drawn schematic. 

Peter (who I helped with the harness) has installed everything now and just sent me this photo of the guitar all finished up, and must say it looks stunning! It turned out that sadly one of the Diamond pickups were faulty, but Stuart at Sunbear Pickups kindly restored them and also helped with the project. I would highly recommend Stuart if you're in the UK and need a vintage pickup restoring!

1964 Hofner Verithin

If you do decide to tackle your own re-wire, as always, I recommend ensuring you have the correct tools and take your time. Definitely don't want any injuries from improper equipment use or damage to the vintage instrument!


Have you made good use of some of the free resources here? Wired up your guitar or found useful info here along the way? Perhaps you might consider kindly supporting this free resource for guitarists via 'Buy me a coffee'! Thank you so much!



Ivan said:

I have a a1964 Hofner President, 2 pic-ups which I think are Humbuckers, can send photo if req’.
Is the wiring for mine the same as the one above. From what I can tell it looks pretty similar. Your help would be very much appreciated.

James Philip Gascoigne

James Philip Gascoigne said:

Hi Ivan,
Thanks for reading the post and for your comment. I have just looked on google at other 1964 Hofner President examples, and the control layout certainly looks the same to me. So if it definitely has 2 volume controls, 2 tone controls and a jack socket only, no switch etc, then this wiring diagram will work for that configuration. It may be worth double checking the component specs when you remove the original wiring though, as that has the potential to be different. This particular guitar noted in the article had 250k pots and .1uF tone capacitors, and it had the classic 510 Diamond model pickups if that helps. Full specs used for this specific guitar are noted above in the article though.


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