Höfner Colorama II, model version 2, 1960

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Instrument: The Colorama, distributed by Selmer in the UK, is the counterpart to the German... more
Höfner Colorama II, model version 2, 1960

The Colorama, distributed by Selmer in the UK, is the counterpart to the German version, the 161 and 162. Our model is the second version of the Colorama, built from 1959 to 1960. It is a light semi-solid with hollows in the body. The most striking feature is the gold-coloured stripes all around the sides. Like all Selmer guitars, the Colorama got a consecutive serial number on the back of the headstock. Ours bears the 489 and is thus an early 1960s guitar. Coloramas were the first electric guitars from Höfner, quite simply built, but between 1961 and 1964 the best-selling electric guitars in England and thus for countless guitarists the entry into a more or less great musical career. They are relics of their time, but still fantastic sounding guitars, light and easy to play. This model was only available in red, but with one or two pickups.

The body is made of sandwich construction, top and back of maple plywood on a frame of solid alder. The glued-in neck, including the headstock, consists of three pieces of maple-beech-maple, glued together lengthwise, already has a truss rod and a rosewood fingerboard with pearloid inlays in eight frets. The guitar is completely lacquered in transparent red with dark edges, including neck and headstock. Open tuners, large four-ply pickguard and a massive, height-adjustable bridge.

Most of the Coloramas of the second version got Höfner "Type 2" pickups, built by Franz Pix, Erlangen, often called Toaster pickups. They are single-coils with five pole magnets, which were only used in 1960 and 1961. They are controlled by the usual small Höfner switch plate with a volume control for each pickup, a rhythm solo switch and bass and treble switches. There are more practical things, but that's how it was with all Höfner electrics back then. A standard jack socket sits in the lower side.

Instruments history:
Largely unknown. We got the guitar from an English collector. Due to the traces of playing, it has certainly had several hours of use, but since this is only superficial, we assume that it has been treated with care. Fortunately, no alterations or "optimisations" were made, so the guitar is in its original condition, except for the strap buttons.

Restoration work:
We have cleaned the guitar extensively and refurbished the original varnish with bale polish in several passes - the beautiful red shines perfectly again. In the process, we retouched and sealed various paint flaws. The tuners were disassembled, cleaned, polished and re-oiled. The frets were polished, the fingerboard was sanded and oiled. All other hardware was also polished. We replaced two mismatched new strap buttons with original Höfner tailpieces also from this period.  Actually, the old leather slings with metal brackets for latching snap hooks belong to this guitar, but since this is completely uncommon today, we mounted strap buttons from our old stock again. Finally, new 10-gauge Pyramid strings were fitted and a basic setup was carried out.

Current condition:
A 62-year-old Colorama in this top condition is a rarity today; most of those of yesteryear have been worn out and dumped. It exudes zeitgeist and has endless mojo and character. Genuine patina, but with no real damage - it doesn't get more beautiful than this. The paintwork is crackled over the whole area but has no open cracks. There are a few tiny scratches and dents, scuffs on the edges and many tiny plectrum marks on the pickguard. But all completely harmless, the guitar is solid and stable, everything is rock solid and without any serious damage. The best thing is the sound: the Type 2 pickups kick ass, they are sparkling fresh and have endless power. The bridge pickup has an amazing twang, the sixties are alive, the British beat culture is live and tangibly present. And the neck pickup has huge power with full sound and massive bass. With its typical Höfner controls, the guitar is amazingly versatile, this unique, authentic sound cannot be created artificially. It is fully playable, easy as pie and with the lowest string action, buzz-free across all registers. With its great vintage flair, it is the star on every stage, sonically an independent addition to the portfolio of demanding guitarists and collectors will appreciate it because of its perfect original condition. Nothing but a pure fun guitar!

Overall length 37.8”/96 cm, body length 17.3”/44 cm, lower bout width 13”/33 cm, waist width 7.5”/19 cm, upper bout width 9.6”/24,5 cm; body depth 1.2”/3 cm, scale length 24.4”/62 cm (zero fret to saddle), fingerboard width 1.7”/4,2 cm at zero fret, 2”/5 cm at 12th fret; overall weight 2.100 g, string action on 12th fret 0.08”/2 mm.

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