Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Sharkbait
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Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by Sharkbait » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:05 pm

Hi all,

I was recently in Germany and during my travels came across an old (1973) Dieter Hopf guitar, model 398/27. It was a cedar top with Honduran rosewood B&S, and had an aged, deep, dark voice that I loved. And a chunkier neck than most modern guitars, fitted my left hand very nicely.

I compared it with a Dieter Hopf Super Classic 52 cedar/IRW which, while dark, sounded "new", much newer than the 1973 one. I'm trying to find my "classical CG ears", and it seems dark, soulful cedar touches me more than spruce (although I am still pleased with my recent Cervantes Hauser Concert acquisition).

While the price seemed relatively cheap (of course, I don't know how high- or low-end it is, so that's not an informed guess), I didn't snap up the 1973 Hopf because of some quite bad surface playing marks and checking in the lacquer, plus a ding in the soundboard (photos attached). But her voice has taken a hold of my soul, and the luthier said it was technically fine - no cracks and the neck was straight, so I'm now wondering if I made a mistake not buying it.

Would anyone have any information about old Dieter Hopfs and how their old model numbering equates to his (their?) newer models? Any ideas or guesses how much this one might be worth? Should I buy it and maybe get it re-finished to look better? Does anyone have any idea how much it would cost to refinish?

Thanks!

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MessyTendon
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Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by MessyTendon » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:25 pm

I would keep the guitar as is, a re-finish is going to be several hundred dollars...low end price would 300$ if you are lucky, more like 600-700$ for a good level re-finish.

A lot of those lines you see are lacquer checking...a natural process of old nitro lacquer...Keep it even longer and it will get more crazing of the lacquer.

What is the price on that? My only concern would be that dark spot, it looks like somebody might have did a bad drop fill repair and smeared either hide glue or CA glue into the top.

Either way, a nice rosewood guitar with the stricter CITES....why not go for it?

You can re-finish the guitar yourself. It won't be as nice a seasoned professional but I'll bet you get it looking pretty darn good.

What is the price? If it is under 1,000$ I'd be inclined to think about it, if it were me.

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andreas777
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Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by andreas777 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:33 pm

I think the €1800 is a fair price for this guitar. The guitar is offered at this price for some months already so you might be able to get a discount.
I have neither seen nor played this guitar, but I know someone who did and gave a very positive feedback. (It's still available in the internet but it's in German.)
I would not refinish the top but only check if there is a part of the wood on the top with no lacquer. If so, then I would close it, and I guess the luthier will make a good offer for this work.
I don't know if it was an error not to buy it or how complicated a shipment to Singapore would be.
Happiness is when what you think what you say and what you do are in harmony.

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rinneby
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Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by rinneby » Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:20 am

Those old Hopfs can be really good and "dark" sounding to my understanding. Loud and with great sustain. The price depending on model seems to range between 1500-3000 Euro. Be wary of the many cheaper ones out there, as they are just student guitars.

/Jon
Last edited by rinneby on Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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es335
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Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by es335 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:59 am

Why not address the question about the equivalent recent model and the old price to Dieter Hopf? He is a very friendly a helpfull person and usually replies within one or two days.

You might address your question about refinishing directly to him as well, as the guitar is in Germany? He's the expert in all aspects of renovation as he keeps records of at least all master guitars from his workshop.

I wouldn't care too much about the visual apperance if you like her sound and playability! :wink:

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Michael.N.
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Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:04 pm

It's a 45 year old guitar. You would expect it to have some battle scars. I don't really see the point in having it refinished. Sometimes you have to get over this 'new forever' syndrome. If it makes people feel better just think of those players who use original Torres or Hauser I guitars that have numerous dings, worn varnish and dirty looking soundboards. No one in their right mind would even contemplate trying to make them look brand new again. Cracks and structural problems are another issue.
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rojarosguitar
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Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:04 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:04 pm
It's a 45 year old guitar. You would expect it to have some battle scars. I don't really see the point in having it refinished. Sometimes you have to get over this 'new forever' syndrome. If it makes people feel better just think of those players who use original Torres or Hauser I guitars that have numerous dings, worn varnish and dirty looking soundboards. No one in their right mind would even contemplate trying to make them look brand new again. Cracks and structural problems are another issue.
:bravo:
All these superficial blemishes can be called 'beauty marks' ... a signe of natural old age ... as with humans. See how it looks when a 45 years old person looks as if hew or she was 3 :D
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Sharkbait
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Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by Sharkbait » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:57 pm

Thanks all, that is a good reminder that she's 44 years old and deserves to show signs of her age. The checking and playing marks on either side of the strings were more or less what I expected, but the deeper and shallower dings below the bridge had bothered me. But you're right, if there aren't cracks and structural problems, the surface lacquer is just the surface and I should look beyond that.

Dear Es335, your suggestion of writing to Dieter Hopf to ask about the comparison with more recent models is a very good one! Thank you... I had not even thought to ask him, but will do so.

Dear Andreas777, if I decide to buy it, I would not ship it to Singapore, but only send to my Munich office. I will pick it up when I go again in October and hand-carry it back to Singapore. Or rather, I will try to arrange with the airline to allow me to hand-carry it back (since I will be in business class), assuming Munich airport lets me through with such a big piece of hand-luggage. Would you (or anyone else in Germany) know how strictly the Munich airport staff enforce the "hand-carry luggage must not exceed the specific dimensions" rules?

:merci:

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andreas777
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Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by andreas777 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:50 pm

Sharkbait wrote:
Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:57 pm
...
Dear Andreas777, if I decide to buy it, I would not ship it to Singapore, but only send to my Munich office. I will pick it up when I go again in October and hand-carry it back to Singapore. Or rather, I will try to arrange with the airline to allow me to hand-carry it back (since I will be in business class), assuming Munich airport lets me through with such a big piece of hand-luggage. Would you (or anyone else in Germany) know how strictly the Munich airport staff enforce the "hand-carry luggage must not exceed the specific dimensions" rules?

:merci:
I have no experiences with the airport Munich and guitars. I think there are two different aspects. The airport security guards don't really care about the dimensions of your hand luggage but only about security aspects, and it's the airline that cares about the dimensions of your hand luggage. If you know the airline then you can try to google information about carrying musical instruments. I would write a mail to both, the airport security and the airline, and ask them if they accept a guitar (in a soft case) as hand luggage. When you are in Munich and Stuttgart in October or November then you can check if there are guitar concerts. For example the Gitarrentage Vaihingen beginning of November.
Happiness is when what you think what you say and what you do are in harmony.

Sharkbait
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Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by Sharkbait » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:21 pm

So I did buy the guitar after all (discounted from the original €1800 price mentioned by Andreas), and I collected it almost 2 weeks ago when I was in Germany again. Dieter Hopf replied to my query, advising that it is a Grand Concierto (which is still being made with some modifications), and the 70’s versions, as built then, were similar to the Ramirez 1a.

Despite the 660 cm scale length, it is not that difficult to play - the low action and chunky neck suit me quite well. I don’t know how well my left hand will adjust to the stretches, though... let’s see if it can adapt. The sound is brighter than I remembered it; I think the luthier cleaned it up and changed the strings (maybe after I purchased it?), putting on bright-sounding Savarez New Crystal/Corum ones. I will have to experiment with other strings to reproduce that dark sound which so attracted me in the first place. Would anyone be able to recommend darker-sounding strings?

My teacher tried it out today and gave it a good rating, saying it’s responsive and gives a good sound, capable of more subtlety in soft tones than his teaching guitar. Even though he normally prefers spruce to cedar, he really liked my (cedar) Hopf. So satisfying to have my choice validated.

At Munich airport, I encountered a bit of resistance bringing the guitar on board - not from the check-in counter staff, but from the gate staff just before boarding. I went up to them to ask to be allowed to pre-board so that I could store the guitar safely and they were reluctant and somewhat unwilling (despite my being in business class). But they finally agreed to let me try fitting my guitar in a cabin compartment provided that, if it didn’t fit, I would agree to it being checked-in. Once on board, the case fit into the compartment easily, with room to spare for my backpack and coat. Thankfully, no problems/turbulence whatsoever and the guitar is completely fine and unaffected, safely at home with me.

I’ve been playing as much as I can, but being on a busy 10+ day business trip covering 4 cities (bouncing in & out of Munich every couple of days), it was really hectic and I barely played 15 mins every couple of days. I am now looking forward to getting to know and enjoy her, and improving my playing (of course, now my teacher and I picked out my mistakes *so* much more clearly!!).

Cheerio :P

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pogmoor
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Re: Old Dieter Hopf guitar

Post by pogmoor » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:35 pm

I think you got a good buy there :)
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