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The pages where other people's Hofners are featured.

SOLID BODIED HOFNER GUITARS
- EUROPEAN & US MARKET





1962 Hofner 173(i), courtesy of Pyramid Strings. 


The following picture-sets of Hofner solid body guitars have been sent to me over the years by their owners. This has allowed me to present a much greater range of models and vintages than encompassed by my own collection, and maybe this will help other visitors to the site to identify and date their own Hofner.

Click on the underlined heading for each guitar to view photographs of that particular example.



VISITORS' OWN HOFNERS:

HOFNER MODEL 158/159 RANGE

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 160/161/162/164 RANGE

 



HOFNER MODEL 165/167 RANGE

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 166(i)

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 166(ii)

 

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 168

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 169




HOFNER MODEL 170

This was Hofner's attempt at a "Strat Copy". Everyone else was doing it at the time, so why not Hofner? Instead of Fender's integral bridge and vibrato unit, Hofner opted for a separate bridge unit. The 170 was produced both with (170V) and without (170) a vibrato unit from 1972 through to 1981.


HOFNER MODEL 171(ii)

Hofner's copy of the Fender Thinline Telecaster, which were produced between 1972 and 1977. The 'H' version introduced in early 1973 was fitted with twin humbucking pickups with split polepieces. These could be switched for phase inversion and put in series - see below. Body colours were flamboyant, with red, orange, violet, azuire blue, dark green, ivory plus sunburst being on offer. A version called the 171V fitted with a Bigsby-style vibrato tailpiece was also available from 1975 through to the end of 1977.


HOFNER MODEL 171/172/173 RANGE

(See also Wolfgang Eggersdorfer's account of the 173 and Super 3 Solid Models between 1962 and 1970.)




HOFNER MODEL 174

The 174 was Hofner's "SG" copy, it was produced between 1970 and 1979. Initially the 174 was fitted with Hofner's Type 513 "Blade" pickups. This was replaced by Hofner's new Type 515 "Studio" humbucking pickups for a short period around 1971/72; the wooden-bodied low impedence HiFi pickups being also available as an option. At the beginning of 1973, the 174 was given improved electrics. These consisted of new humbucking pickups (Type 516) with additional slide switches on the pickguard which allowed the pickups to be switched for phase inversion and/or put in series.

The 174 was optionally available throughout the production period with a vibrato unit in place of the standard stop-tailpiece.

 

HOFNER MODEL 175 (First Type 1963)

 

In late 1962, or very early 1963, Hofner introduced a more advanced guitar than the 172/173 models that had been their flagship solid guitars up to that time. The new 175 model featured an off-set waist body with sharply pointed cutaway curves, three pickups, and a built-in vibrato tailpiece. The bolt-on neck was one-piece maple, with celluloid strip fret-markers, and binding to the edge of the fingerboard. The most radical feature on the guitar however was the controls for the electrics. "Radio-style" pots were used for the master volume and three individual tone controls. The only other controls were a discreet four-way selector for the pickups on the lower bout, and a Solo-Rhythm slide switch. There was not one conventional rotary control on the scratchplate, and this gave the guitar an even more un-cluttered and streamlined look.

The pickups fitted were the new Type 511 "Staple" units which were introduced into the Hofner range at the same time as the 175.

Several different finishes were available for the 175, most of which were vinyl. The most dramatic were heavily embossed in either geometrical patterns or even snakeskin. These were usually complimented with dramatically coloured scratchplates and matching headstock fascias. Others however were lightly patterned in more usual colours such as red and white. Some 175 examples can be found in red or white cellulose lacquer.

Production of the 175 lasted for less than 18 months, before being replaced by the even more revolutionary 176 Model.

The 175 was never supplied to Selmer London's UK market, but a slightly simplified version of the 176 did become Selmer's famous Hofner Galaxie model.


 

 

HOFNER MODEL 175 (Second Type: Telecaster Look-Alike 1970-79)




HOFNER MODEL 176 "SOLID DE LUXE"

The 176 model was an up-rated version of the 175(i), which it replaced during 1964.

It allowed individual switching of each pickup to provide a total of seven pickup combinations compared to the 4-way selector switch on the 175. In addition, an overall tone switch (Treble-0-Bass) was built into the circuit. The Rhythm/Solo switch on the earlier version, like on the 175, was not adjustable. Many of the early versions, again like the 175, had bodies finished in vinyl of various colours and patterns.

The 176 had a long production period, with very few changes other than the dropping of the vinyl coverings and adoption of polyester finishes throughout, and the adoption of a screw pot for the balance adjustment of the Solo/Rythm switch. The guitar finally disappeared from the Hofner price list at the end of 1983.

A similar model called the "Galaxie" was supplied exclusively to Selmer UK, also from 1964. This tended to be finished in either red cellulose or red vinyl, and was not fitted with the Treble-0-Bass tone switch. It remained available into the early 1970's.

Jamie Hince of "The Kills" talks about his own Hofner 176 guitars HERE

 



HOFNER MODEL 177 "EXQUISIT" (1965 - 1970)

An even more advanced solid than the 176/Galaxie, with even more impressive electronics. An "Organ Effect" was added to individual pickup switches, individual tone sliders, the master volume rotary control, and the solo/rhythm switch. Top quality from Hofner, with a bound ebony fingerboard and the deluxe mother of pearl "double arrowhead" fret markers.



HOFNER MODEL 178 "GRANDE SURPRISE" (1966 to 1970)

This model seems to have been developed out of the Model 177, which was introduced one year earlier. The 178 was fitted with two pickups (instead of the 177's three pickups), and debatably improved controls -a master volume control plus a tone control for each pickup, plus six press buttons for tone presets which brought in active circuits. Sliding switches were supplied for pickup selection, and on later guitars a lead/rhythm switch with a further rotary control for adjusting the difference in volume between the lead and rhythm selection was fitted. From 1968 there was offered the option of having a Fuzz circuit was offered to special order.

Note - it was intended in 1977 that another guitar given the 178 designation should be introduced. This was actually finally released in Spring 1978 as the S5E graphic-equalizer solid.

 


HOFNER MODEL 179

 

 

HOFNER MODEL 4579(ii) (Les Paul Look-Alike)

This guitar was developed from the 1970/71 first-series 4579 model, which was actually a semi-acoustic guitar. (See the Archtops Gallery) The second series 4579(ii) appeared in 1971 and stayed in the catalogue until 1978. A 4579 HiFi variant, fitted with wooden-bodied low-impedence pickups was produced from 1971 through to 1975.

Visually similar looking to the Les Paul, but of different construction - Hofner's version had an arched laminated top. Made between 1972 and 1978, there were two versions - the 4579 fitted initially with Hofners Type 515 "Recording" pickup and the 4579 "HiFi" which was fitted with the Type 514 wood Hi-Fi pickup. In early 1973, the Type 515 pickups was replaced by the larger Type 516 humbucking pickup, but the HiFi option continued. A vibrato tailpiece was also offered on the standard 4579 model as an option.

 

HOFNER MODEL 180 "SHORTY" & 181 "SHORTY SUPER"


Hofner's "travel guitar", produced between 1982 and 1986. This utilised a full 24.75" scale length, and was fitted with a Shadow single humbucking pickup. The body and neck were made of mahogany, and several appropriate finishes were available - red, blue, white, yellow, and natural mahogany. A bass version was also produced - the Model 187, and also a "Shorty Super" Model 181 that came fitted with a built-in amp and speaker for true portability!! Hofner have just re-introduced the 180 model back into their range. (Dec 2004)

HOFNER MODEL 191 DOUBLENECK


Produced between 1961 and 1970, this was a hollow-bodied instrument with two necks for normal 6-string and bass. The first version of the 191 was finished in tobacco sunburst, and initially had a set-neck joint. Later examples have a bolt-on neck. It had a single pickup for the bass and twin pickups for the normal guitar. Production of this version was from 1961 to c1964. A later (c1964 - 70) and rarer version of the 191 had a fully solid body and Strat-type cutaways. This version referred to as the 191(ii) had two pickups for the bass and three pickups for the normal 6-string guitar.

A simpler version of the 191(i), named the 190, was produced around 1961. Apparently it had a red finish and less body binding than the 191(i). No examples of this rarity have so far turned up.

 

HOFNER FLEDERMAUSGITARRE (THE "BAT" GUITAR)

Whilst not being a "solid" guitar, but actually a hollow one, this unusual guitar qualifies for being in this section due to its totally non-acoustic nature.

A very small number (maybe only around five or six) of Bat Guitars were produced by Hofner both for experimental purposes and also for the 1960 Music Fairs in order to show off their abilities with guitar electronics. The main feature, other than the body shape (!), is the built-in 4 watt solid-state amplifier and loudspeaker. 

 

 

HOFNER "VENTURE" SOLID GUITAR RANGE

In 1981, Hofner introduced the concept of producing high quality versions of established US guitars in which lovely exotic timbers and through-neck construction were used. These were called the "Venture" range. Initially, copies of the Gibson Flying-V and the Fender Stratocaster were offered, but by 1982, a third model was on offer based on the Gibson Explorer. Hofner's own names for these guitars were the Hofner "V", "S", and "E". Very few examples of these guitars appear to have been produced, as they are rarely seen these days. The "V" and the "S" were in the price list from 1981 to 1985, with the "E" only listed in the 1982, 83, & 84 price lists. They were possible discontinued to make way for the much more radical but better-selling "Alpha" series.

 

 

HOFNER "S" SOLID GUITAR RANGE

 
  • Mid-1980's HOFNER S2 SOLID GUITAR
    Produced between 1984 and 1990, this guitar had a mahogany body and simple twin pickup electrics. The photos of this guitar were kindly supplied by Norbert Schnepel of Musikkeller, Germany.

  • 1980's HOFNER S2 SOLID GUITAR
     It would appear that both twin and single coil pickups were fitted to the S2 at various periods. This one, owned by Martijn Klop of The Netherlands, has single coil units.

  • 1984/85 HOFNER S2A SOLID GUITAR WITH BUILT-IN AMP & SPEAKERS
    One of Hofner's quirkier designs, this version of the S2 above had a built in 2 watt amp and two loudspeakers.....located directly under the strings! The resulting feedback could then be fed back through and external amp with quite a dramatic effect, one would think! The example shown is from the Christian Benker collection in Germany.


  • c1980 HOFNER S3N SOLID GUITAR
    A mahogany bodied guitar with a body shaped like a combined Telecaster and Les Paul. Three single coil pickups, with two located close to the neck and wired so that the middle pickup is out of phase. Bolt-on mahogany neck. Produced between 1979 and 1986 in black, brown, and natural finishes. This black finished one is owned by Guy Audoux in France. 


  • 1980's HOFNER S3N SOLID GUITAR
    Similar to the one above, but in natural body finish. Thanks Music Ground in Leeds for allowing me to photograph this guitar.

  • c1980 HOFNER S5E SOLID GUITAR
    Introduced as an advanced version of the Hofner 168 solid in Spring 1978, and initially intended to be designated as the 178 model, the S5E was equipped either with two humbucking pickups or three single coils. Controls fitted seem to have varied in both type and position, but all had a battery-powered five-band equalizer and a sensitivity switch. The body and neck were constructed from mahogany. (The superseded 168/178 were made of maple.)  This example is owned by Guy Audoux in France.

  • Early 1980's HOFNER S5E SOLID GUITAR
    The same model of guitar as above, but with a different control layout. Owned by Bob Cocozza in Florida, USA.

  • HOFNER S5E OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS
    Partially applicable also to the non-active 168 model.

  • HOFNER S5E GRAPHIC EQ SETTINGS
    Settings supplied by Hofner with each new SE5 Model.


  • 1979 HOFNER S5PA SOLID GUITAR
    This version of the S5 solid was introduced one year after the S5E in Spring 1979. An "acoustic filter" circuit together with a pre-amp replaced the S5E's battery-powered equalizer. Also, the material used for the body and neck was mahogany. This guitar, owned by Wolfgang in Germany, is however finished in black polyester, unusual for the S5PA.

  • EARLY 1980's HOFNER S5PA SOLID GUITAR
     The more usual mahogany stained finish for the S5PA. Owned by Bernhard Zubragel in Germany.

  • EARLY 1980's HOFNER S5PA SOLID GUITAR
    A slightly different version of the above S5PA, but still with the active electronics.This example is owned by Miguel Cejas in the Canary Islands.


  • 1980 HOFNER S5PA SOLID GUITAR - ADVERTISEMENT SCAN
    An advertisement placed by Barratts of Manchester Ltd in the musical press in March 1980. Barratts were the official UK distributor for Hofner guitars at that period. The advertisement provides a detailed explanation of the model's electronics. It also shows the unusual vibrato tailpiece that could be supplied as an option, and which was a direct substitution on the studs of the standard bar tailpiece.


  • 1984 HOFNER S6 SOLID GUITAR
    A very short-lived model which seems to have been produced specifically for the 1984 Frankfurt Trade Show. (See also the S10 model below.) Fitted with two humbucking pickups, the shape of this budget solid guitar was based on the Stratocaster.  

  • 1978/79 HOFNER S7L "RAZERWOOD" 6 STRING SOLID GUITAR
    One of Hofner's more futuristic designs, these guitars were produced between 1978 and 1984, and were available with either six (S7L) or 12 (S7/12) strings. A bass version designated S7B was also available. The S7L had fairly complex passive electrics, with an 'acoustic filter' rotary control, and two coil tap switches. This particular guitar is part of the Christian Benker Collection.
    It would seem that it was Barratts of Manchester, Hofner's UK distributors at the time, who first gave this series of guitars the very appropriate nick-name "Razerwood". 

  • 1978 HOFNER S7L "RAZERWOOD" 6 STRING SOLID - EARLIEST VERSION
    This is the version of the guitar that appeared at the 1978 Frankfurt Show, and was featured in the initial marketing. The pickup toggle switches are mounted on the top bass-side body bout. A special version of the S7L fitted with vibrato tailpiece was presented to Ricky King, a famous European recording artist, by Christian Benker in early 1978.

    A Hofner S7N version was listed in the 1978 price list and very vaguely described, but not illustrated, in the first (1978) Professional-Line Catalogue. This version does not seem to have been proceeded with and accurate details of it are unknown. However, a single pickup  six-string Razerwood can just be seen on photos taken on the Hofner stand at the Spring 1978 Frankfurt Trade Show. It was not present in the 1979 price list.


    1982/83 HOFNER S7L "RAZERWOOD" 6 STRING SOLID GUITAR
    In early 1980, the S7L's body was changed slightly in shape, with the previous stub of the treble-side cutaway being changed to a longer more stylish horn.. This guitar is an example of the later body shape, and is owned by Guy Audoux in France.

  • 1978/79 HOFNER MODEL S7/12 "RAZERWOOD" 12 STRING SOLID GUITAR
    The 12-string version of the guitar above. Active electronics, the incredible Razerwood body shape, and 12 strings on a solid body make this a very unique guitar. Owned by David Kelly of Manchester, England.

  • CONTROL FUNCTIONS FOR HOFNER S5E, S5PA, S7L, & S7-12 SOLID GUITARS 
    Hofner attached tags to these guitars at the factory which explained what the electrical controls on the guitar did. In many cases, these tags have now been lost. Hopefully the scans on this link will assist present day owners get the best out of their guitars!

  • 1984 HOFNER MODEL S9C SOLID GUITAR
    The S9C was produced between 1980 and 1984. It was a very high quality solid guitar with a through neck and beautiful maple and bubinga timbers. The active electronics included three band EQ and compressor circuits. This fine example is owned by Neal Hargis in Louisiana, USA.

  • 1984 HOFNER S10-2 & S10-3 SOLID GUITARS
    A very short-lived range of solid guitars which used the same shape as the S11 model below, but were of simpler (and cheaper!) construction. Two versions were produced - the S10-2 with two humbucking pickups and active electrics, and the S10-3 fitted with three single coil pickups and Stratocaster-style controls. They seem to have been made just for the 1984 Frankfurt Trade Show, because I can't find any reference to them in catalogues (although they do feature in a special February 1984 Solid Guitars price list) and also because they were discontinued almost as soon as the Trade Show was over!  

  • 1984 HOFNER S10-3 SOLID GUITAR
    Finally, an actual example in red of the elusive and rare S10-3 has turned up! This is fitted with a stop-tailpiece, although vibrato tailpieces ("screwed-on" and "built-in") were also apparently optional. Many thanks to Nige Davies in the UK for supplying these photos of his guitar.

  • 1982 HOFNER S11 "HEAVY DUTY" SOLID GUITAR
    Another top quality Hofner solid, produced between 1981 and 1985. At the time, this guitar retailed for the same price as the Hofner 470! A neck-thru method of construction was adopted on this striking guitar, with two humbuckers plus one bridge mounted piezo pickup for acoustic sounds. The neck was made from maple and mahogany, and the body was highly featured Bubinga. This illustrated guitar and most others have a clear finish in order to show off the timbers to best effect. There is evidence however that some later S11 examples were finished in various other finishes, including red and blue. Owned by Simon Jones of Cornwall, England.

  • c1984 HOFNER S11 "HEAVY DUTY" SOLID GUITAR
    A later version of the S11, with a maple fingerboard instead of the rosewood one fitted to the 1982 guitar. This particular instrument is from the Christian Benker Collection.

  • c1986 HOFNER S11 "HEAVY DUTY SOLID GUITAR - CUSTOM ORDER
    This S11 is a factory-modified example with a "Custom Order" label on the headstock in place of the usual serial number sticker. The S11 had very low sales figures, and my guess is that this guitar was made up using fewer and less expensive fittings and electrics as part of an attempt to use up the stock of completed bodies/necks following discontinuation of the model in favour of the new Alpha Solid. Owned by Bob Cocozza in Florida, USA.

HOFNER "ALPHA SOLID" RANGE

 

The Alpha solid guitar versions were produced as a follow-on to the "S" series solids, from 1986 to 1989. Their shape was based loosely on that of the Gibson Firebird, and the whole concept appears to have been pointed towards the "Heavy Metal" guitarist. A "Standard" model formed the basis of the range, and this was supplemented by the Alpha Custom, an Alpha Pro, and even an Alpha Anniversary which was a special model to commemorate Hofner's centenary.

A special order form was provided to dealers in order that the customer could specify his custom requirements on the Alpha model by using a tick-list.

 

  • 1986 HOFNER ALPHA STANDARD
    A scan from the Hofner catalogue which provides details, in German, of the base version Alpha.

  • c1986 HOFNER ALPHA
    An interesting Alpha in black finish, which seems to be a cross between the Standard and Custom. It is fitted with gold-plated hardware, and could well have been a pre-production  prototype. Originally owned by the late Pete Haycock of Climax Blues Band fame, who had a long association with the Hofner company and who provided input into the late 1980 guitars such as the Nightingale and the Alpha.

  • c1986 HOFNER ALPHA  
    A very similar Alpha to the one above, although finished in sunburst. This one was also owned by the late Pete Haycock.


  • 1987 HOFNER ALPHA - 100th ANNIVERSARY MODEL
    The Alpha was available, only in 1987, in a special red finish, with gold hardware, to commemorate the Hofner Company's 100 year Anniversary.

  • CONTROL FUNCTIONS FOR HOFNER ALPHA SOLID GUITAR
    A scan of the instruction sheet supplied with every new Alpha guitar.

 

HOFNER "REFERENCE", "T", and "S" SOLID RANGE

The Reference solid guitars appeared in 1987 at the same time as the Alphas were being produced,  but continued for much longer than the Alphas - i.e. up to around 1995. They were top quality solids and were obviously Hofner's attempt to produce "state-of-the-art" guitars, as they incorporates such features as Floyd Rose vibratos, locking nuts, scalloped fingerboards, and both passive and active circuitry, dependent on the particular model variant. Two basic body shapes were used - initially with a Telecaster style body, the guitar was simply called the "Reference". However, with the introduction of a version with a Stratocaster style body called the "Reference S", the Tele shaped version was then called the "Reference T". Stunning translucent flame finishes and gold plating were used on some models. All-in-all, they represent the zenith of Hofner's solid guitar making.

The Reference guitars was offered in various "off-the-shelf" options, as well as a custom-build option whereby the customer could take his choice on specification by filling in a special Hofner order form that listed every possible option and accessory available. A similar custom-order system was also available for the Nightingale, and Alpha models.

  • Early 1990's HOFNER REFERENCE "PRO S"
  • This is rather an unusual guitar in that it has the pickups of the "Pro S" and the scalloped fingerboard, yet it does not have gold-plated hardware. The natural body finish is also not a standard catalogue option, and the guitar's circuits are passive. It was bought recently by Bob Cocozza, and was obviously New Old Stock, as the protective film was still in place on the pickguard.
     

  • Early 1990's HOFNER REFERENCE "PRO S"
    Just like the one above, a "Pro S" with matt silver hardware, scalloped fingerboard, and passive electrics. Owned by Alan Patrick in Berlin Germany.


  • Early 1990's HOFNER REFERENCE "CLASSIC S"
  • The basic version of the Reference S, with passive circuits and three single coil pickups (Hofner VSN10 Type). A rosewood fingerboard was fitted to this version instead of the Pro's combined maple neck/fingerboard, and the Classics board was not scalloped. Hardware was gold platted however. The body was alder with a flame maple veneer top. Another of Bob Cocozza's guitars.






SOLID GUITARS MADE IN SPAIN UNDER LICENCE FROM HOFNER

(SEE THE HOFNER GUITARS MADE IN SPAIN FACT FILE ELSEWHERE ON THIS WEBSITE)

 

  • SINGLE PICKUP SOLID GUITAR
    Owned by Chema Ríos in La Coruna, Spain. These guitars were made for the Spanish market in Spain during the 1960's by the Keller company under licence from Hofner. They have different body shapes and finishes to any German built Hofner that I know about.

  • TWIN PICKUP SOLID GUITAR
    Two pickups, and the Hofner rectangular control console. This one is marked "Licencia Hofner Espana". Owned by HUR in the Basque Country.

  • c1963 TWIN PICKUP SOLID BASS GUITAR
    This guitar was purchased new in Barcelona, Spain by Artur Palomer I Ferrer sometime around 1963. It has the same body shape as the two guitars above.




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