Hoffman 2009 6-sub-bass Harp Guitar
Barely-played secondhand instrument by the esteemed maker

Here’s something you don’t see every day…a beautiful, secondhand Charles Hoffman harp guitar with six sub-basses that has barely been played!

Hoffman’s instruments are held in high regard by the likes of Dakota Dave Hull, Tim Sparks and Leo Kottke.  From what I hear, the popular Minneapolis luthier has retired from building. Hoffman was one of the first to design and built his own slightly different take on the Dyer, typically with five subs. This March, 2009 specimen is the first he built with six basses, and I don’t know how many others followed. Certainly, only a bare handful of Hoffman HGs are out there.

Though it looks much like a Dyer, it features the recognizable Hoffman headstock and fingerboard end. The heel area is flat, which makes the neck joint much easier to execute (several builders opt for this approach). While Dyer necks join the body exactly halfway between the 12th and 13th frets, Hoffman somehow managed 14 frets clear, and the extra access is nice. His scale is 25-1/4” with a 1-3/4” nut width.

I consider Hoffmans up there in the top ten best-sounding boutique harp guitars. This one plays and sounds like a dream. You can hear a Hoffman harp guitar optimally played and recorded on Dan Schwartz’ beautiful harp guitar EP High Plains Gospel (Dan will be featured again at the October, 2019 Harp Guitar Gathering®).

This one has a nice darkish Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides. (For some reason, my full front photo looks “dirty,” which is not the case – it’s just the photo. It does have a couple of claw figures and natural dark spots). The top (including headstock) and back both are nicely bound with black/white/black binding and tortoiseshelluloid; the top has an additional wood binding section, which also appears in the rosettes.

Condition is excellent, but not perfect. First off, I’m forced to give the original build a 9 for fit and finish, just for a couple imperfect seams and what looks like a couple faint vise impressions on the headstock. They’re hard to photograph and only show up at certain angles, but seem to be under the stain and finish. The finish is highly reflective, as my photos illustrate. Though the previous owner rarely played it, it has typical superficial scratches here and there. There are concentrated fine, light scratches in the finish of the upper back, a tiny finish ding on the side and one tiny chip through the finish on the back of the neck. I gave it a cursory cleaning; it could use a good polish and – if one is super picky – a light buffing should get it back to 99%.

It comes with a nice Cedar Creek plush hard case, and K&K pickups are installed – so this is absolutely ready to go for recording and performing…maybe even that special airport gig?!

Gregg "Sir Gregory" Miner

Specifications: 

  • Serial #534, March 2009
  • Sitka spruce top
  • Mahogany back & sides
  • Mahogany neck, laminated with maple and ?
  • Ebony headplates, fingerboard & bridge
  • Tortoiseshell pattern celluoid binding on entire instrument with black/white/black ABS and wood.
  • Side dot markers
  • Six sub-bass strings (strings for your tuning supplied upon request)
  • Gold Waverly “butterbean” knob neck tuners & gold 5-star 4:1 tuners
  • 25-1/4" scale
  • 1-3/4" nut width
  • Truss rod
  • Dimensions: 15-5/8" lower bout, 4-3/8" depth at tail block, ~41.25" total length
  • K&K pickups
  • Cedar Creek hard case

Price: $7500 (additional 3% fee if paying via CC or Paypal)
Shipping not included; 48-hour approval period

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On Consignment, on premises


CDs & DVDs by Stephen Bennett, John Doan, Muriel Anderson, Andy McKee, Stacy Hobbs, Tom Shinness, Dan LaVoie, James Kline, Larry Berwald, Bill Dutcher, Gregg Miner, Pasquale Taraffo
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