Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars


HOYER - Bianka (Electric Model - Natural) -

Originally the Hoyer Instrument company was established in 1874 by Joseph Hoyer (Arnold's grandfather). In 1945, Arnold Hoyer (died in 1967) did re-organization the company and continue to the releasing of instruments with top quarity. After Arnold's passing, his son, Walter had run the company in 1970s to 80s. Still the Hoyer brand is living in music instrument scene in Deutschland. Now the rights of HOYER has been belonged to the company called AMC, they fonded the HOYER-GUITARS (www.hoyer-guitars.com) brand and they released many variations of guitars: from high-end archtops (made by old-woods!) to the budget priced STUDENT-MODEL guitars manufactured in Asian factory.

Go back to the 50-60s era. Please see every pictures. AMAZING design!! Arnold Hoyers model BIANKA with electric circuit. This model was well-known for the featuring on the cover of the book "Great Guitars" by Robert Shaw. Extlemely Rare. And this one keep great condition. All original parts still works fine, the 2 humbucker pickup were installed when I got it, but now I replaced them to the original white single-coiled pickup. Now she got back to the original specs when she was born.

The neck made by Flamy maple and mahogany-lamainated. Fingerboard is ebony with fancy perloid inlays. Machinehead was separate 6 pegs with Ornate floral plastic pegheads (theevery brass covers have fancy engravings). The Body is incredible. Very thick spruce top having the wave engraving. very fat bindings decorated on the edges. Soundholes were just like as ZIGGY STARDUST. Back (Flamy maple) was engraved with the wave-form same as top. The output jack is for (old form) 3Pin DIN cable. You'll see the tailpiece was best-matsching with the top waving. And, the body shape, No the picture is not distorted it really is that wide! Mr. Schnepel said to me this shape (There're guitars with similer shape in the company like HOPF - See Hopf page) was called "Fish-shape". It meams the shape seems just like " through the fish-eye lenz".

The old pics, when I got this Bianka she has 2 humbuckers, and cause of its long showing on this website, a lot of people misunderstood the Bianka has "2 hum PUs" as the original spec. When I was asked from the Vintage Guitar magazine to send the pics of Hoyer Bianka, I decide to replace it back to the opriginal. so the same picture showing above could be seen on VG Magazine.
I also replace the bridge (to the original) with the red and white roller suddles. And I made the pickguard newly and installed it cause the original pickguard was missed when i got it.
This "get back" project was done with the book "Great Guitars", the book showing the Hoyer Bianka previously owned by Scott Chinery (I heard his Bianka was presented to the Museum after his death). Great Guitars - by Robert Shaw /Hardcover: 128 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 12.75 x 9.25 Publisher: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates; (March 1997) / ASIN: 0883633973

HOYER - Bianka (Electric model - Sunburst)

The Exentric shape of the Hoyer/Bianka are fascinated the guitar-lover all over the world. You can also find the Bianka on The famous website "MUSEUM OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS" (http://www.themomi.org/) where introduce the history of the music instruments. Anyway, recentry I could get the another hoyer / Bianka guitar. This is the same shape and same engraved body, but some of the specs are different with above one (especialy elecric ciecuit).

The Sunburst finishing was available only the top and back board (side board was finished with natural lacquering). The inlay-work on the headstock has just a little different shape (the end of the "ziggy line", small points are added). And, The 2x single coiled pickups are smaller and simpler model. (please compare between above bianka and below SPECIAL). The pickup has their bridge, and can change the height of the pickup. the bridge is painted white, pickup colored gold.

The control sections are more special design. they have settled onto the red/purple perloid panel. Volume and tone pots are the famous "tea-cup" knobs. The pickup selecter switch (on the upper-bass side of the body) are "push-type" ones. cannnot choose the "HALF POSITION".

The Hoyer Logo-mark was painted on the near of the Ziggy soundhole (treble side). The bridge is more simply made (than above). Solid Spruce top, Solid flamy maple sides and back. Maple and ebony laminated neck. Fingerboard is abony. Too many finish-checkings, but the conditions of this guitar is exellent.


3 Hoyer diectors talking about the reissue of BIANKA with a prototype...... Probably the shot was took in middle of 70s. The middle man is WALTER A. HOYER, son of Arnold Hoyer. Mr. Wilfried Hoyer - The cousin of Walter- let me know that. (Thanks Willi). Also he let me know that now the Hoyer company name and rights were acquired by a company called Pellarin.

Anyway, in fact, The Hoyer company planned to reissue the BIANKA in 70s peiod. with new logo on the headstock, 2 humbackers installing, 70s style gold metal tailpiece, and square positionmarks on the fretboard. Also you could find the 4 knobs fo contols were putted direcly onto the topboard. I don't know is this plan was achieved or not. But they released a eissue of Arnold hoyer's SPECIAL model in 70s era (with new logo and new tailpiece with old FISH-SHAPE body).

HOYER - Special / Acoustic (Natural)

One of the most well-known model of the Arnold Hoyer's vintage archtop, called SPECIAL. Later the Special missed its FISH SHAPE of the body, (the shape lives only in its early period). Not only the bodyshape, The Catseye soundholes and deep carving od the top and back boards are very similer with the 320SL of HOPF company. I don't know much about the relation between the Hoyer and Hopf, but I heard that Gustav Glassl must be worked at HOYER company for short time in 50s period.

This SPECIAL is totally in ORIGINAL condition (except few split of the topboard repairing). The pickguard made by CELLOID material is very rare to find (the material is easy to break or split) so nowadays most of Hoyer Special has black plastic pickguard remade later days. Also this guitar lives with its ORIGINAL hardcase (You can find the same logomarks on the back of headstock and inside of the case.)

This guitar probably made in 50s era (early days of Hoyer Special). The non-trussrod and no-volute neck. Nut wudth is 45mm. Scale length is 645mm. Body width is 432mm. Body depth is 102mm. Solid spruce top, Flamy solid maplewoods were used on back and sides. Perfect condition with great acoustic sound!

HOYER - Special / Electric (Natural)

Recently I could get the HOYER / SPECIAL with factory original Electric model. he total spec of the guitar is same with the Acoustic model. The Hoyer installed the typical electric circuits onto this guitar. The Parallelogram double pickups (the Neck pickup has engraving of Hoyer Logo). The PUs can change its Height, Angle and height of Polepieces each other. And the control section is the metal-boxed (The top board has big hole to suite the metal-boxed-circuit) with pickup selecter, tone-selecter (+Bass / +Bass and Treble / -Bass and+Treble / -Treble) and original 3PIN DIN plug (the seller also gave me some old 3PIN din cables! great!)

I don't know thr Vibrato unit (gold-plated, missing arm bar) is original or not, but there's no additional holes on the board at the end of the tailpiece. The unit feels too heavy for me! so I'd ike to replace it to the original tailpiece... And Also I could find this guitar (probably made in early 60s era) has the difference spec on its neck materials. The Above SPECIAL is 3 Piece Maple with sandwitching the black thin woods. But The center material of the neck on This Elecrical SPECIAL was made from mega-laminated woods (like as the Hopf Saturn's neck). I know This difference was from the contribution to keep the neck straight.

Probably the Neck reseted long time ago, and has many dings anywhere. But still the action keeps low and sounds great. Also missing the pickguard, So I made the same one newly. (but not installed yet. the below right pictured).

HOYER - Special (Red Sunburst)

This guitar has very similler shape and specs with above Bianka. I guess this model - SPECIAL is the reasonable model of Bianka. Made in early 60s. Using woods and parts are same with Bianka except : the long Catseye holes was replaced on the top / Wave engravings were desapeared on the top and back / Bindings become more simply / Tailpiece was replaced with the model that used normally one on the hoyer guitar. Bridge parts using the clear ball (instead of white-red ball).

Nut wudth is 45mm. Scale length is 645mm. Body width is 432mm. Body depth is 102mm. Solid spruce top, Flamy solid maplewoods were used on back and sides. Neck is Maple/Mahogany laminated.

This Guitar was installed the additional electric PU and circuits by the first owner (not Electric-model, this ones born as an acoustic model). PUs are of the unknown manufacturer but I know this PUs were used for many models in 60s german-vintage (like Hopf / Saturn etc.).


The another hoyer's top-of-the-line model placed between the BIANKA and SPECIAL. Probably made in early 60s. These 3 guitars are not from my collection. (BUT WANTED!! Any informations are welcome!) recently I could find The Hoyer Special SL has some minoe difference on its specs, you'll see them on above 3 Special SL pictures.

The Left One (photo courtesy of Ralf Winter, Germany) has same specs with the same model on Hoyer 1964 catalogue. Red Sunburst, Checker bindings over the edge of white pearloid purflings, and additional binding on the middle of the sideboards, Parallelogram Pickups with metal-boxed control section, and white Pearloid Fingerboard.

The Natural one (middle) was customized Special SL (with Hofner Pickups and 2vol/2Tone controls). This Special SL has the brown pearloid purflings. The Fingerboard is ebony (and block positionmarks, simple!). Photo courtesy of Banjoworld, Germany.

The Right one is generally has same spec with left one, but it is ACOUSTIC model with additional floarting pickup-plate (could change the pickup position with SLIDING it), and red-pearloid headstock. photo courtesy of Jonas Groth, Sweden.

HOYER - SPECIAL SL (Red Sunburst) photo courtesy of Rabdy Bachman

This guitar is the same one showed right of the above 3 Special SL. Now the guitar was owned by the Legendary guitarist RANDY BACHMAN (Canada). After he got then he took some pictures of it and sent me. So I update this clumn with his pictures. I guess people hardly could see this guitar with multi-angled viewing. On the side, there's one white line binding. but most of other bindings were done with the Checker Binding.

We could find this guitar was born as an acoustic Special SL originally cause of the position of the Hoyer Logo on the topboard. Anyway, WHAT A GLITTER GUITAR! Great design!!

HOYER - SPECIAL SL (acoustic model - Red Sunburst) -

Finally, I could get the Hoyer Special SL, one of the most killer-looking archtop by Arnold Hoyer. As you see, most of its spec is same with the normal SPECIAL model, but the fingerboard was white perloid. (Arnold Hoyer had use the perloid material not only for this Special SL but also the Esquire ore Special etc.....) The thick body-purfling was also the white perloid, but it gets yellowed cause of the age). On the edge of the body, the guitar was decolated with the checker-binding.

Comparing with Randy Bachman's Special SL (show above), there is some different coloring on its top board finishing. There's a dark line on its top of the board. And the headstock has the black plate with a lot of chip-inlay. The original sliding-metal pickup plate was installed when I got it but I took off.

Recently The neck of this guitar was re-setted cause of its loose joint (when I rrecieve this guitar, the neck was completely offed from the body. no chips and cracking, so it was easy to reset). The body width; 46cm (18inch), the body depth: 9.2cm, The scale is 63.5cm, neck grip is big fat U shape (really fat, more than my 58-LP Jr....)

<HOYER - Herr Im Frack (black)

One of the earliest model released by Arnold Hoyer. Made in 50s. The model name, HERR IM FRACK means Gentleman in Evening-Dress. Ummmm Nice. The Non-Cutaway archtop guitar having the normal (but bigger than others) f holes and extra round soundhole on the top. (Hoyer also release the non-cutaway archtop called VOLTTA, that has the 18 soundholes on the edge of the top board, Click here to see.) An acoustic model without trussrod.

This Gentleman has loud sound. Scale is 640mm, body width is 410mm, depth is 85mm. width at the nut 42mm. This fancy tailpiece (caricutured from the initial of Arnold Hoyer, Right?) was original parts for this one, not appeared on the other model of Hoyer. The Bridge Parts is same with abobe Bianka and Special, but the suddle parts could roll for their octave tuning, made with steel (not the plastic). The Strange shaped pickguard is also the original parts. The name on the headstock was decorated with pearloid gold material.

HOYER - Solist (Natural) The Norbert Schnepel Collection

The typical HOYER archtop. This one come from the Norbert Schnepel photo CD collection. Probably made in the early 60s. SOLIST is the well-sold archtop in the 50-60era in germany. now you'll be able to find this model for sale at the second-hand instrument shop in the world. Deep cutaway and long catseye soundhole are characteristic. Natural, sunburst, and black (or more color?) finish were available in this model. In the 50s the inlay on the fingerboard was used the bar-type one (not the diamond dot one just like this picture, see below)

-the relational guitar- HOYER - SOLIST (multi-striped-top)

The other Hoyer Solist but you'll see the crazy works are done on the top board. the Stripe seems to be made with spruce and mahogany woods (not the lacquering!). The bindings on the edge of the guitar were structured with triangled-woods. oh my god.... The pickguard and Dearmond FHC pickup were installed later.
photo courtesy of guitarquest.com


These Pictures are from 1950s Hoyer instruments Catalogue shown the many luthiers working at the Arnold Hoyer factory. YOu can see, at that period, the company made many non-cutaway archtops just like the man (pictured at the center of the left snap) has in his hands (The Hoyer Meister-Klasse, right?). Also you can find that the CATSEYE holes have some variations at this factory, normal catseye style and the sickle shaped style.... Very interesting shots for me (WOW pretty girl polishing the body!), but I don't know where the factory was.

HOYER GITARRE - No Name Archtop The Norbert Schnepel Collection
Not sure about this guitar, But I think this one would be made by Roderich Hoyer (Arnold's brother. The Hoyer Family is wellknown as the Luthier-Family since 19th century). I Don't know where and when it was made, but probably the middle of 60s. You'll see the same caracter with this guitar and the Arnold Hoyer guitar. The long Catseye Holes , Streamliner shaped pickguard and big headstock is similer each.

Tailpiece and bridge parts would be replaced (Tailpiece is probably Hofner made). This is the 3 tone Sunburst model but I have an experience to see the Red-Black sunbuest model.

FANTASTIC - Bagpipe guitar photo courtesy of GB

This is not from My collection. Recentty This was sold on e-bay, and of course I'd like to get it but I missed cause of the Japanese server's trouble. I contacted to the seller and he gave me some additional pictures and informations, so I would like to introduce this.

Manufactured in eary-mid 60s era by Arnold Hoyer, called FANTASTIC. You know this shape is simulated with the BAGPIPE organ, very exsotic design. According to the book ELECTRO GITARREN, the Fantastic made only 6 pieces in that period in handcrafted construction. The original owener says to me, he did use this guitar on his livestage in 60s, in fact!!

I know the another Hoyer/Fantastic is settled in the celler of MUSIKKELLER / Dorsten. But Norbert says it is not for sale. Between the 2 of these FANTASTIC, some difference was found (the shape of headstock, the coloring of the body, installed pickup, the amounts of the soundhole on the top of the body etc....). Anyway, I guess this Fantastic must be the one of the rarest model in the vintage german guitars.


This was made in 60's for the Instrument shop authorized by Hoyer. 650mm x 1000mm. the big flag. I'm not sure, in 60s era, if the Hoyer company exported their instrument to USA or England or not, but you know this flag was written by English language. So I guess this one would be made for the States' or England's dealer. The simple but gorgeous item for Hoyer Lover.....

RELATED ITEM - HOYER 32 - Solid Guitar

Not from my collection, found from ebay auction, but the seller stoped the listing. I don't know why. This is the Gorgeous Solid body guitar with German carving and lozenge-shaped pickups (probably also the Bigsby vibrato unit is original), made in early 60s. Sunburst finish. Detouchable neck (made with mega-laminated woods having the ebony finger board). If you have any information (or availability) about this, please let me know......

HOYER - 29 (solid body guitar - Red Perloid) -

Hoyer Company started to make the SOLID BODIED electrick guitar in 1962. Here's the first model they released. The guitar had no name but have the number "29" as its model. As like shown above, the model "32" is very similer guitar, but it have a German-curved body with natural finish body. This "29" have the slab-board flat top body that wrapped (but only on top and back) with the red perloid material.

The neck is a typical ultra-laminated (the everstraight neck - see the Hopf Saturn 63 page) manufacturing. You could see the tuners (with Tulip knobs) are same one with on the HOFNER 175 etc... the parts made in Italy?? sorry I'm not sure. Unbelievably, the neck-joint was done with only ONE big screws..... The neck didn't jointed with the body at all, It jointed only to the metal (aluminum) plate.

The Electric circuit is a same one with SPECIAL, BIANKA etc... The knobs on the control panel are not original, Output jack is the 3 pin DIN plug. fingerboard is Ebony, Bounded neck. The Vibrato unit is original. It feels just a little bit heavy, guessing the body is made with maple wood..... even though the very thin body... only 2cm!. Most of Arnold Hoyer guitars has its LOGO mark on its body but this guitar has it on the headstock.

The Jazzgitarren website proudly produces and presents the RE-BORN of the legendary German vintage Archtop : HOYER / BIANKA in Today!

In 2005, we planned and work for making the special copies of the legendary Hoyer / Bianka archtop in Japan. Now We completed to make 4 new BIANKAs with totally fabulous quarity. Please Click HERE to look the JAZZGITARREN BIANKA 2005 PROJECT page for the details.


Jazzgitarren - vintage German made archtop guitars

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