This 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.