Karl Hofner Violin -- worth buying?

Edited: June 4, 2017, 7:15 PM · An in-law of mine is moving and packing up her house, and she is trying to get rid of a violin. I haven't even seen a photo of it yet. I just got an email with an offer to buy it for $50. Is a KH worth that price? I know nothing about them. I play guitar and bass, but I was interested in trying to learn violin. She wrote:

"The violin is a Karl Hofner, Bubenreuth 19, made in west Germany. That's all I know. The violin was purchased by my cousin, a rich doctor who is a narcissist. I'm sure he bought the best."

My guess is this instrument is pretty old -- probably 60s or 70s based on the in-law's age. Maybe 80s the latest.

From my research online, these are not well-regarded violins. Is it worth the $50? It probably hasn't been setup in ages. I don't know if it has a bow. Etc. How much does all this stuff cost? I don't want to buy it for seemingly cheap only to have a money pit.


Replies (12)

June 4, 2017, 7:16 PM · barely worth $50 IMHO
Edited: June 4, 2017, 7:42 PM · Why don't you post a photo of it if you can? It's probably not going to sound the greatest (sufficient for a beginner if playability is good), since it sounds like it hasn't been active (violins, and other orchestral strings for that matter, must be played in order for them to sound at their best).
June 5, 2017, 7:45 AM · thanks, unfortunately i can't get a photo from her.
so this this is essentially worthless? not worth the $50 since it might need a setup or repairs, correct? i read online they don't sound very good. it's strange b/c i always associate hofner brand with good instruments
June 5, 2017, 8:24 AM · The worst German instruments were made in the 60s to 80s IMHO, even the cheapest 100 year old instruments are usually better. This is a case where a new Chinese instrument would probably be better.
June 5, 2017, 8:50 AM · It's a risk. You might be able to buy $15 strings and put them on yourself and get a $25 carbon fiber bow on amazon or ebay and have a good student instrument. But if the pegs don't turn or the soundpeg has fallen out, or the bridge has bent or broken, you're probably looking at repairs that cost much more than the instrument is worth.
June 5, 2017, 10:51 AM · "The worst German instruments were made in the 60s to 80s IMHO"

that's good to know. it could be much older or newer. my in-law is in her 60s, and this guy maybe purchased an older one. i asked her to look for other markings and she said she couldn't find any. are there ANY years where the hofners were good? And if so, where could we find the exact date? Thanks!
I'm leaning toward passing on it.

Edited: June 5, 2017, 10:54 AM · it says West Germany so it has to be after 1947, and I don't think Bubenreuth was established till about 1953, some violins from this era are passable, most are complete trash, there's no way of knowing where your violin falls in this spectrum.
Edited: June 5, 2017, 10:57 AM · Okay cool. I will pass on it. Thanks for the heads up.
June 5, 2017, 10:57 AM · Most of these violins were built too heavy, if it weighs more than a pound definitely take a pass on it.
June 5, 2017, 11:16 AM · I wouldn't say that such a violin is useless. If it's structurally sound and dimensionally correct, i.e., the neck isn't sagging, a violin like that is a perfect candidate for putting a piezo bridge like a Baggs on, and using it as an electric violin. I honestly think the greater mass in such a violin is beneficial in an amplified setting.
June 5, 2017, 11:30 AM · I have a Karl Hofner, model # 62, 1997, $400. It's not good, but it is easy playing, not loud enough, with a neutral tone. It's not heavy. I put on a Baggs electric bridge, with D'Addario NS steel strings. It's good for non-classical amplified or under a mike. jq
June 6, 2017, 6:40 PM · I would convince your in-law to leave her petty greed aside and give it to someone for free. I mean, is $50 from the sale of an instrument that requires repairs really going to make a real difference in her pockets? It probably has a negative value given the work it needs.

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