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Dating Höfner/Hofner 500/1

Model year product changes of the 500/1 series during the 'most interesting' years (rectangular control panel) from 1960 to 1975

The common and well known Potentiometer Code* is neither the only hint nor is it unerring. Potentiometers and contol panels can be changed...

logoHeadstock logo vertical (capitals)
'raised' plastic
laquered decal gold
tuner2+2 strip, open

single open
axis through wing
single closed (Kolb),
plastic wings
single closed
metal wings

510 (diamond)

small frame
large frame
513 (blade) with engraved Hofner logo

513 (blade) no logo

cream pearl small, 32 x 105mm
cream pearl large, 40 x 104mm
pearl white
white pearl
fits small switches
knobs'teacup' cream with concave brass inlay

alu top
(pure plastic)

switchescream slides
black, small
tailpiecelong with KH-logo
metal or plastic button on neck heel
cream plastic button on neck heel
heel endno cover
pearl cover
cream cover stamped:
'Made in Western Germany'
short heel, rounded wood

pearl cream

white pearl with 'Höfner' Logo
some early models had an
additional logo on the body
'67 model also built in
the first half of '68


As there were many variations over the years, abovementioned data can only be indications, especially since the limits of the model-years were not very sharp. Depending on the hardware in stock, even a new model could get an item of an older one which causes an overlapping here and there.
In the old days people simply could give Hofner a phone call and they easily made custom changes. In 1967 they produced for a short time a model without a control panel (similar to the 459 violin guitar), models without headstock logo or with a longscale neck have been reported as well. Still in the eighties people could order e.g. a lefthand version of the 'shorty'-bass guitar, so it is impossible for me to cover all model variations roaming on the market.

Please be aware that many people altered their instrument, sometimes to adapt it to their belongings, sometimes simply to 'pimp' it according to the ideals of the particular time. Not less important is the fact that neither the year of purchase needs to be necessarily the year of the production nor does the pot-code* guarantee that the instrument was built in exactly the same month or year!

Since I have not really much data from the post-teacup period after 1971, I appreciate any help based on proved knowledge concerning anything of the following unanswered questions:

Somewhere in the (later) seventies (or even later)

- the 'Preh' potentiometers were abandoned and so the easy method of dating old Hofners vanished as well - when?
- the blade pickup (type 513) was changed into a model without the punched 'Höfner' brand - when?
- the golden decal changed to silver - when?
- the control panel abandoned the small switches and used the bigger (black) switches again - when?
- the black 'Höfner' logo on the pickguard disappeared again - when?

If you feel having an important amendment to that topic feel free to send it to admin at

*The 'Preh' potentiometers used until the seventies had a two- or three-digit number folliwing the 250K resitance value. The first one or two digits were indicating the production week (of the pot), the last digit stood for the year. e.g: 250K28=2. week 1968, 250K355=35.week 1965