Arnold Hoyer archtop guitar

usual-shop-feb-09-027This has been to M – luthier and banjo-maker – for a set-up and a general tidying. I found this late last year at the Brighton station Sunday market and thought it’d be worth a chance at £15 – and it plays far better than any guitar so messily glued-up at the neck has any right to do.

The usual guitar-traders that prowl the market first thing passed it over: one told the seller that ‘it’s 2 different guitars glued together’ as the plate on the headstock reads ‘Rosetti’ and a stamp on the body ‘Arnold Hoyer’. Not so: Hoyer, a German guitar-maker which seems to have been similar in its range to Hofner or Framus, made a number of cheap guitars for export, it seems. Rosetti, meanwhile, never actually made its own guitars: it was a distribution company (the main distributors for Gibson in the UK at one point) but also imported cheap guitars (mostly Dutch-made, but a few German) for sale under its own brand-name.

The inlay detailing on the neck is to a Hoyer design, the wood matches up perfectly, so I reckon it’s a safe bet this is a Hoyer, marketed in the UK by Rosetti. A quick squizz round eBay and Google, and I’d  put it at 1950s**.

All parts, including the bridge, tailpiece and tuning pegs, look original, and whilst it’s missing its scratchplate, it’s got all its period charm… It holds its tune – the neck is glued straight, even if the work’s not pretty – and M has refretted it and raised the action. The tone’s bright and clear – whilst it’s clearly no Gibson L5, it’s got a real retro sound and is great fun to play. Now let’s work on some jazz chords…

**Actually, it’s probably newer than that: I’ve since found pictures of a Hoyer of identical shape sold as a ‘student guitar’ (i.e. cheap, bottom of the range) in the ’60s and perhaps into the early ’70s.

Anyone know anything more about these? I can see from my site stats and search engine feedback that this is a very frequently-viewed post and a lot of people are clearly researching Hoyer/Rosetti guitars! All suggestions as to what my guitar is, and how old it might be, welcomed. Leave me a comment here, please, if you’ve got any knowledge to share…  But no, it’s not for sale, as I’m very fond of it.

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This entry was published on March 1, 2009 at 7:12 pm. It’s filed under Musical and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Arnold Hoyer archtop guitar

  1. I owned one of these in the early sixties. My first guitar in fact. Mine was a creamy colour with a black scratch plate. I was always intrigued by the two names, thanks for clearing that up. The guitar was quite small, about the size of a classical guitar. It cost me 15 pounds together with a little single channel amp, from a second hand shop in Birkenhead UK.

  2. I have thesamehoyer. Probably an expo around 1962.

  3. stuart on said:

    It is from the 50s you can tell by the logo. After the 60s they removed the arnold from the logo and only had hoyer. I have the same guitar although my head stock is blank. The action on this guitar is superb requiring very little pressure and every slide and hammer sounds really crisp and clean.

    • The Driver on said:

      You’ve inspired me to rescue mine back out of the attic & to get it set up again… Headstock’s blank on mine too with ‘Rosetti’ just a screwed-on plate, guess they made them like that for shipping out to various distributors.

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