Hofner Model 456 Archtop
When Hofner re-commenced production in Moehrendorf, Bavaria after WW2, the 456 was one of the archtop models offered. A very similar archtop had been produced with that model designation before the onset of the war when Hofner were based at Schoenbach in Bohemia.
The 456 was intended to be Hofner's mid-range archtop, utilising nicely flamed maple for the body back & sides, with a maple top. A good standard of ornamentation was used on the guitar, with binding/multi-purfling around body top & back edges and sounholes, with the rosewood neck also bound. Pearloid strips were used for the fretmarkers, and on all but the very earliest guitars, a pearloid/tortoishell/pearloid celluloid fascia covered the front of the headstock.
There can be problems differentiating between the 455, 456, and 457 models, particularly as Hofner seems to have continually revised the detail cosmetics of these models over the years. The main basic difference between the 456 and the slightly later 457 is that the 456 had a maple body top and the 457 had a spruce top. Both the 455 and the 456 had maple tops, but the ornamentation and timbers on the 456 was of a higher standard than the 455. For example, the 455 was not provided with binding to the neck initially, though later examples (after the demise of the 456) did gain this feature.
Initially the 456 was only supplied in brown sunburst finish. Later, a natural blonde finish was available, and some examples even have a red-burst finish.
As with the rest of the Hofner range, the 456 was available from c1954 with the option of factory fitted electrics.
The 456 disappeared from the range in 1962, by which stage the 457 model would seem to have taken over as Hofner's principle mid-range archtop.
(c) 2012 Karl Höfner GmbH & Co. KG, Hagenau - Germany