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- Order number: 679
Manfred Pletz was a well-known German master luthier, based in Taunusstein-Bleidenstadt near Wiesbaden. He worked first as an employee, later as a self-employed master builder and home worker for Hopf. He designed and built classics like the Explorer or Neptune with their characteristic screwed tops and backs, but also many standard archtops. Hopf was exclusively a dealer in the field of archtops and electric guitars, they ordered guitars from the most renowned German manufacturers, such as Fasan, Hüttl, Neubauer, Glassl, Klira etc. and then marketed them under their own name. Our Archtop probably comes from Manfred Pletz's workshop, but it is still a typical Hopf, because it combines details from various makers: The flat neck extension from Klira; the fingerboard markings from Höfner or Fasan; the headstock design from Hanika/Soli; the Framus bridge. All very typical of German jazz guitars of the time, but of course not very independent, as is perfectly normal for Hopf. Because the various suppliers were left to their own characteristics, a typical Hopf style was not defined. And Manfred Pletz is known for the fact that he was happy to help himself stylistically everywhere and, as a free mind, also took over construction details from furniture construction, for example, if they seemed to make sense to him.
This mid-range archtop is a typical violin maker's guitar - made entirely of maple. The top and back are each made of one continuous piece of veneer. The maple neck, including the headstock, is intricately crafted from one piece, glued in three pieces lengthwise and has a bright middle stripe. The rosewood fingerboard has pearloid dot inlays in five frets as well as brass fretsticks. The guitar is beautifully and perfectly transparent lacquered in brown-light cognac gradient. It displays a flawless, high-gloss finish. Creamy white bindings around the top, beautifully chiseled open brass tuners, rosewood bridge and ABM-Müller tailpiece with Hopf signature.
Unknown. We were offered the guitar by a private middleman and gladly took it over. It was a bit tinkered and not playable, bridge and pickguard did not fit. Nevertheless, it was certainly not played often and perfectly stored, because the condition was (and is) practically as new.
Complete cleaning, body blown out, original nitro lacquer of body and neck refurbished with bale polish in several passes. Fingerboard sanded and oiled, frets polished. Overhaul and polish of all hardware parts. From our stock we installed like-new tuner bushings, pickguard and bridge, all new old stock from the early sixties and a perfect fit. Finally, there was a set of 11 gauge Pyramid bronze strings and a basic setup.
This beautiful Hopf is first of all a feast for the eyes. The overall appearance in brown and cognac shades, the gorgeous deep glossy varnish and the clearly visible wood grain give it a timeless elegance. Except for a semi-circular scuff on the headstock about 2 cm long, there is no damage, no wear, not even a single lacquer crack. Only the unused pickguard has various micro scratches from decades of storage, but they are not noticeable. The guitar is of course perfectly playable, fretboard and frets are in mint condition, the string action with 2 mm at the 12th fret is pleasantly deep. The sound shows a lot of old wood, is warm, mellow while being open, responsive quickly and with plenty of sustain. This is an affordable player with lots of vintage flair and everything that makes a German post-war jazz guitar - and a nice collectible as well.
Overall length 108 cm/42.5”, body length 52,5 cm/20.7”, lower bout width 41 cm/16.1”, waist width 26 cm/10.2”, upper bout width 31 cm/12.2”; body depth 7,5 cm/3”, scale length 64 cm/25.2” (zero fret to saddle), fingerboard width 4,3 cm/1.7” at nut, 5,3 cm/2.1” at 12th fret; overall weight 1.980 g, string action at 12th fret 2 mm/0.08” (adjustable).
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