Keith Richards’ Hofner Archtop

Keith bought this guitar sometime in the early sixties, and it was his first steel-string guitar. He used the guitar circa 1961 with the band called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, consisting of Keith, Mick, Dick Taylor, Bob Beckwith, and Allen Etherington.

My guitar, this time an f-hole archtop Hofner steel string, was Blue Boy–the words written on its face–and because of that, I was Boy Blue. That was my very first steel-string guitar. You’ll only find pictures of it in the club gigs, before the takeoff. I bought it secondhand in Ivor Mairants, off Oxford Street.

You knew it had had one owner because of the patches and sweat marks on the fretboard. He’s either playing up the top, the fiddly bits, or he’s a chord man. It’s like a map, a seismograph. And I left it either on the Victoria line or the Bakerloo line on the London Underground. But where better to bury it than the Bakerloo line? It left scars. 

Keith Richards; Life

Based on what appears to be the only photo of Keith with the guitar, this was most likely a Hofner Senator model in blonde. Also, it seems that this was an electric model since a neck pickup seems to be present on the guitar (Hofner Senator was produced in both the acoustic and electric variant).

Keith Richards on the far left, playing a Hofner archtop.

As noted in the quote from Keith above, he forgot the guitar in a train in one oft the London Underground lines, and that was the end of it. It’s funny to consider that someone must’ve picked it up, and probably never knew that this was the first steel string guitar that Keith Richards ever played.


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