1960's Hoyer Special Thinline
The Hoyer company was established in 1874 and is known for their fine quality instruments. During the 50’s and 60’s they produced a wide range of archtop models of which the Special was their top-of-the-line guitar with it’s hand-carved solid spruce top, maple rims and handcarved maple back.
The Hoyer Special is an 18 inch archtop like Gibson’s Super 400, but this particular guitar is a bit shallower than the average Special, comparable in depth to a Gibson Byrdland, and therefor probably a custom-order although specs in general are not always consistent with these German-made guitars. The fact that this guitar is a bit less deep makes it much easier to handle as an 18 inch archtop is quite a big guitar!
Dating the guitar is only possible by estimate as there is no date stamp inside the guitar. However the type of Schaller pickups fitted on this guitar are commonly found on many German guitars from the early 60’s, and the same goes for the Bigsby like vibrato unit. Also the layout of the knobs is consistent with early 60’s models, whereas the older models usually have that electronics mounted on a pickguard.
Given it’s age the guitar is in very good condition displaying normal traces of use. There is some checking in the finish, and one slightly deeper crack near the control knobs. There is also a crack running from the bass side of the brigde downwards to the edge of the body. This runs paralel with a brace supporting the top, so it's probably shallow and definitely perfectly stable. Currently setup with flatwounds (012) it has a wonderful deep jazz tone, but with a set of round wounds will lend itself for Gretsch like territory too with it’s low output single coils and vibrato. The middle position for the pickups engages the bridge pickup which has an equal output as the neck pickup, which means you get a bit of a volume drop in this position. The other two positions are for the neck pickup, with one setting adding a different capacitor, slighty altering the tone.
In recent years the higher-end German made archtop guitars have become increasingly popular and sought-after by collectors and players alike because of there impeccable quality and elegant design. The Hoyer Special is an all solid archtop with handcarved top and back still way more affordable than it’s American counterparts, yet it’s likely to appreciate in value over the years. It's also a great playing instrument with a truly unique aesthetic.