Hofner Jazzica and New President

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by daddyo, Nov 17, 2005.


  1. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Has anyone any experience with either of these guitars. I did a search and it was pretty thin returns. I am attracted to these because I would like a jazz box with a solid spruce top, single floating pick-up, 1 3/4" nut and 25 1/2" scale and I don't want to spend $4k+. These seem to sell in the $1700 range. Any thoughts?
     
  2. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    These are both very nice guitars, and reasonably priced. The Jazzica is the more modern of the two and has a unique, somewhat wedge-shaped body that's actually quite comfortable. The New President is more traditional in appearance. They both sound and play very well, build quality is high, and the woods are usually quite beautiful. I have one of the new Hofner Verythins, and while a different sort of beast, it's an impressive instrument. About the only issue was that some of the fret ends were a little ragged, but I had that taken care of and it wasn't a big deal.

    I have a friend in Canada who usually has a few Hofners for sale at below market prices. I'll point him to this thread in case he wants to get in touch.
     
  3. Hammertone

    Hammertone Member

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    That would be me. Thanks George. I'm an archtop guy, and a big fan of the Hofners. The Jazzica and New President both have:
    - carved top, laminated rims/back
    - 25 1/4" scale
    - 24 fret neck
    - 16th fret neck/body joint (!!!!)
    - ebony boards & trim
    - floating Schaller-built mini-humbucker
    - Schaller tuners
    - available in either natural finish or violin finish (shellac)

    They are both smaller guitars (@ 16" wide). The wedge shape of the Jazzica makes it easier to handle IMO, and reduces feedback a bit. It also comes with F-hole plugs for its funky-shaped-holes, and its controls are mounted on the top. The New Pres is more traditional looking, with regular f-holes,3 5/8" rim depth and pickguard-mounted controls.

    The New Pres sounds louder acoustically, but the two guitars understandably sound really similar when plugged in.

    As well, there are a (very) few Jimmy Bruno prototype guitars. These all have the violin finish, conventional f-holes, and are the same width but have rims that are 2 1/2" deep. More importantly, they have 22 fret necks instead of 24 fret necks. Only six were ever made - three with floating Schaller pickups, thee with sunk-in full-sized Seymour Duncan humbuckers. Two unlabelled prototpes were also made and used by Bruno.

    I have owned/played/own all of the above, including Brunos, and can tell you anything you want to know about them, send you pix and so forth. I gig with these guitars, and they are really pro-level gear, made for performing. I've A/B'd them against all sorts of other archtop gear, and I think they sound great. Their design is fairly feedback-resistant as well compared to most other archtops.

    Like George, I have had the frets ends cleaned up on a couple of them, which is no big deal. Happy to answer any questions in as much detail as you want, both on this forum as well as offline if you want. Send me a pm if you want.

    - Hammertone
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  4. Berlin Chris

    Berlin Chris Member

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    My dealer received a shipment from Hofner and I played the whole line of Archtops and the Verythin a couple of days ago. Sound and playability is quite good out of the box, they are well made and look beautiful.
    The big Jazzbox ( New President?) has a real good acoustic tone and the Jazzica is extremely comfortable due to the body shape. DidnĀ“t care too much for the Verythin, not my kind of guitar.
    Compared to other guitars in the shop (namely Heritage, Gibson and Ibanez) they are almost a bargain. For around $2k these Hofners are a great deal I think.
     
  5. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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  6. 57special

    57special Member

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    I can vouch for Hammertone , a notorious serial/sicko ax collector. He knows far too many jazz chords, however.:p
     
  7. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    I've played them both at NAMM (i.e., not great conditions for really getting to know a guitar), expected to and wanted to love the Jazzica, actually fell in love with the New Prez 2 years in a row. For some reason, I couldn't bond with the Jazzica. But I'm not a jazz player, and it was a pretty hostile environment for guitar shopping.

    The violin varnish finish is the Pschitt, however. So much so that when I couldn't figure out how to get my hands on a Hofner, I ordered a Koll and asked Saul to finish it that way.

    Hofner does not make it easy to find out how to buy one of their guitars. The website (once you finally find it, and that didn't use to be very easy) does a bit of a disservice to Hofner's dealers.
     
  8. 57special

    57special Member

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    DOC, i had my choice to cherry pick out of a bunch of Jazzicas and NP's and ended up with the new NP. I wanted to get the J.azzica cause it looked so cool. The new 17" model is a whole cut above in terms of tone, apparently. Email Hammertone.... knows his Hofners, new and old... he should be there at NAMM in the Hofner booth again this year.
     
  9. xroads

    xroads Member

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    How about the 24 fret neck?
    I heard people saying that the neck pickup is at
    the'wrong' place (wrong = compared to the traditional
    jazz box). any comments?

    Thanks,

    xroads
     
  10. Hammertone

    Hammertone Member

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    xroads, regarding the 24/22 fret neck thing, here are a couple of ways of looking at it:

    1. The"watch out for that door" way:
    Some folks talk about how fewer frets are required to allow for placement of the pickup at a magic "node" resulting in special mojo juice to their tone. I applaud their willingness to never play any notes that don't line up with this approach, or the node in question.

    2. The "you've got a good point" way:
    Generally speaking, the further away from the bridge the pickup sits, the mellower it will sound. More string excursion. So a 22 fret jazz box should sound a bit mellower than a 24 fret jazz box, if the pickup placement is determined by the end of the fingerboard, and if everything else is equal.

    Practically, there are a bunch of other factors that also affect tone - like the design of the guitar, size, materials, scale length, strings used, pick used, signal path, and so forth. And there is enough minor variation in jazz box design so that it's not so easy to do comparison testing based just on this one factor (that factor being a difference of 3/4" in pickup placement). But jazz guitarists are a generally conservative bunch when it comes to the features of their instruments, and lots of folks have requested a 22 fret version of a Hofner jazz box. Hence the 22 fret Bruno models.

    Since that guitar is no longer being offered, the updated version of the Hofner New President will have a 22 fret neck, and the Jazzica will keep the 24 fret neck, giving consumers a choice. BTW, I have designed a mod to convert a 24 fret Hofner New Pres or Jazzica into a 22 fret Hofner for anyone who wants it.

    You could just A/B a Jazzica and the New President and see which feels/sounds better for your style of playing.

    And for anyone who really likes the benefts of the Jazzica - especially the wedge shape - if the sound isn't mellow enough, there are a bunch of options: changing the pots; changing the pickup; doing the 24 to 22 fret conversion; or sticking a full-sized humbucker into the top (which Hofner will do eventually).

    Or just get one of the remaining 22 fret Brunos that can be found, with a floating pickup or a set-in humbucker ... oh, look, I coincidentally happen to have one of each right here.

    The real differences between Hofner jazz guitars and traditional jazz boxes are the Hofner's 16th fret neck/body joint as opposed to the standard 14th fret neck/body joint, and the use of a long scale on a small-bodied jazz guitar.

    More on this shortly...
     
  11. Hammertone

    Hammertone Member

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    I'll be there, but the booth location will be different, which kind of sucks. No longer next to Eastman, so we can't go and make fun of each other's guitars so easily. I'll post details later.
     
  12. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    >>I have designed a mod to convert a 24 fret Hofner New Pres or Jazzica into a 22 fret Hofner

    This would be the "Hacksaw Conversion" method, I presume?
     
  13. Hammertone

    Hammertone Member

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    You must mean the Rusty Hacksaw Conversion method:

    1. remove strings, remove pickup
    2. tape off spruce top
    3. use fine-tooth Japanese pull-saw to cut down through board in front of 22nd fret, leaving room for neck binding if one wishes
    4. use finetooth Japanese pull-saw to cut away board and maple block just above face of guitar. Or use a router (tee hee).
    5. clean out w/chisel as necessary
    6. seal exposed maple, clean up
    7. install pickup over the notch
    8. if the guitar is one that has a small hole in the top for the pickup wire (some do, some don't), plug it and seal it
    9. make new pickguard to fit, or adapt old one to fit

    The high mass design of the Hofner endblock makes this possible, and is one of the main reasons why the guitars are relatively feedback resistant.
     
  14. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Great discussion on guitars that should be better appreciated. Now to find some cash.
     
  15. Hammertone

    Hammertone Member

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    Trades welcome, too. PM me anytime.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012

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