1962 HOFNER MODEL 172 SOLID ELECTRIC GUITAR
Written by the guitar's owner, Soren Koch:
I remember how, when I started playing guitar in the early 80s, these guitars were everywhere and they costed nothing. (Funnily, almost every one I've seen has been missing the vibrato arm - I wonder what people do with these???). Everybody wanted to get rid of them and nobody wanted them. But these days it's quite different. I know of several guitarists who are desperately hunting for these cool monsters (and the same with Framus, Hagstrom, Kent, Hopf, Hoyer and so on).
I got mine about 3 years ago. The strings had been off for about ten years, so it was quite exciting how it would respond to a set of strings. First I tried a set of 0.009 without great success. It needed something heavier to pull the neck back in the right place. Soon after I was in (Swedish pop group) The Cardigans "Tambourine studios" in Malm recording and found out how they got their cool, dumb, "non-sustain" trademark-sound. Simple by using old Hagstrom and Kent guitars strung with thick flat tapewound strings. (Well, combined with some rather tasty musical ideas and alternative ways of working the recording studio!) I hurried home and tried this out on this Hofner with a pair of flat tapewound 0.011s. And what a success. Within a few months the neck was back where it ought to be. And the sound was very useful to me. It sounds like nothing else (and not very Hank-like, I'm afraid). I have to mention that both of the pick-ups needed rewinding. This, by the way, seems to be a very common problem on old Hofners. The pick-ups have now been wired in series to actually work as one humbucker when both are turned up. This makes the guitar very powerful and very microphonic, so you have to be careful with this red hot one. If you should ever stumble over the Marie Frank album; "Ancient Pleasures" (out in England during March 2001), check out the track "Heart Of Saturday Night", on which I used only Hofner guitars (nice theme for a song!). This 172, a '61 455/E1 and the '66 491 acoustic
During a recent tour with the Marie Frank band, there at my side of the stage was a red Hofner like this one, hanging on the wall besides old drums and trumpets as some sort of decoration. (Yes, very decorative indeed!) It just goes to show how differently these things are looked at. Personally, I find that these guitars are not only collectable and cool looking, but quite a few of them are also wonderful sound-machines. My 172 is not a Strat substitute (as it might have been thought as by quite a few first generation buyers), but rather a guitar with its own characteristic sound.
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