Karl Höfner GmbH & Co. KG is a German manufacturer of musical instruments, with one division that manufactures guitars and basses, and another that manufactures other string instruments. It was established in 1887 and distributed in the UK through Selmer.
The T396, introduced in 1953/4 and withdrawn in 1969, was the top-of-the-line export model sold only in England by Selmer. Beginning life as an acoustic an electric model was introduced in 1957 followed by a thin-line electric model in 1959. The large 'frondose' headstock characterises the model though this was changed to a standard Höfner headstock in 1963. It had a 17.5" lower bout size changing to 18" in 1963. The 'Lyre' tailpiece was used until 1963 and it was then fitted with the 'Escutcheon' type. Solid or laminated carved spruce tops were used, with quality birds eye maple for the back and sides. The 1960 Committees were the first to have the adjustable truss rod and "Super Response" pickups.
The Committee name was given as Selmer stated that a committee of Britain's top six guitarists contributed to the specification of this fine instrument, but who certainly helped with the introduction of the instrument onto the 1950's UK music scene. There are varying accounts of whom the members of the committee were supposed to be, but if you choose any six out of the following, you won't be far out: Bert Weedon, Ike Isaacs, Denny Wright, Roy Plummer, Jud Proctor, Frank Deniz, Jack Llewellyn, and Freddie Phillips.