Another way of checking, and also dating, your old Isana is to look inside the f-holes and see if there is a date stamp inside.These stamps are really small and usually very hard to read since the ink has sunken into the grain of the wood.When I was trying to figure out from which year this guitar would be, Hofner’s website wasn’t of much use, as they use Selmer’s serial codes for dating purposes.
Back in the 50’s and 60’s Selmer was importing these guitars to the UK and Van Wouw was Hofner’s Dutch importer.The “diamond” pickups are actually called rhombohedron’s…but who’s gonna remember that?! So, the diamond pickups look like humbuckers, but are merely single coils, with some extra beef due to their size. Keep posted by following/liking this blog and be sure to check out Daydream Guitars’ Facebookpage! Fender’s using it as marketing strategy to sell oddball concept guitars, as well with their line of Squire guitars.It pops up on a lot of adds on e Bay and the likes.While Josef Sandner’s Isana was not related to Fasan and Alosa, these brands to carry some similarities.The odd shaped f-holes, are also used by Framus, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between all these brands.These guitars are solid carved archtops, crafted by hand.Most of them where sans pickups at the time, but later on pickups where attached to the neck and eventually on the body itself as well.As far as playability goes, this one has a great neck! The tremolo system works pretty much the same as a Bigsby, but the whole unit is placed inside the guitar.That creates a nice break angle for the bridge, and leaves some extra string length behind the bridge for picking odd dissonant notes, which is always fun.If the first f-hole you check is too unreadable, there should be one in the other hole as well. This particular Isana is from December 1954, so it lacks a truss rod, but the neck is pretty straight. It stays in tune really well and has great intonation and an ever greater sound, full, lush, warm but with enough high end, courtesy of the solid spurce top. Sandner really understood his craft, as this is still a fantastic guitar after 50 years since it’s production. Many passed me by as these guitars are not that rare, especially since Germany is right next door, but I always seemed to miss out on them, yet, I finally have one!Due to it’s age it does have some minor flaws, as the lacquer is scratched up and crackled a bit, a small piece of the pickguard bracket is missing and the inlays have shrunken and leave very tiny gaps in the wood. Hofner is a fairly well known company from Germany that made some great sounding instruments, including Sir Paul Mc Cartney’s bass guitar.