1961 HOFNER V3 SOLID GUITAR
Serial No. 169
This guitar was purchased new by myself in 1962 from Kitchens of Leeds. It still has its Selmer imitation crocodile skin covered hard case with plush maroon lining.
Hofner seem to have produced, ignoring basses, two grades of solid guitar
for Selmer during the 60's: the Coloramas being the budget models, and the "V" and Super Solids, later replaced by the Galaxie, as the better quality instruments. Before the
introduction of the symetrical twin cutaway versiond of the Colorama, and the asymmetric twin cutaway V Series
models of which this guitar is an example, some single
cutaway Colorama solids and semi-solids were imported into Britain. These were based on the German Market
160, 161, and 162 models.
The "V" solids were based on the 171, 172, and 173 German models.
There were basically three variations available; the V1 with one pickup, the V2 with two, and the V3 with, would you believe, three pickups. In addition, the V2 and V3 were available with a Bigsby tremolo fitted instead of the generic Hofner unit, and
these were referred to as the V4 and V5 respectively.
A later V1/2/3 model followed in around 1962 with Strat like pointed cutaways. the new "diamond logo" pickups and a bolt-on neck. This was followed very soon after by the "Super Solids", which had separate rotary volume and tone controls instead of the classic Hofner rectangular control panel, and stripe fingerboard markers. Finally, the Galaxie arrived from around 1964 with all its trendy switchgear. All very difficult to keep up with!
The body of the guitar is made from three pieces of what appears to be maple. The neck is a three part laminate of maple/beech/maple, capped off with a good quality rosewood finger board. Two unusual aspects are the set neck/body joint and the angled-back headstock, which I suppose reflect Hofner's traditional acoustic guitar heritage. A truss rod is fitted, adjustable by a nut located under a small plate on the headstock. Triple dot fretboard markers are in abundance.
The headstock is capped with a very plain celluloid/plastic
fascia which bears only a small gold coloured Hofner logo. Machine heads are plain, single units, but of good quality, with brass plates and tuning barrels. The guitars serial number is stamped on the rear of the headstock.
A zero fret is fitted to this particular Hofner solid. This was the last time
that a zero fret was fitted to any Hofner solid, as it was dropped with the
introduction of the later (bolt-on neck) version of the V3 and all subsequent
The three pickups fitted are of the
single coil "toaster" type, and are controlled by the white rotary switch on the upper treble bout. The four choices available are each individual pickup or all three on together. The single volume rectangular control panel provides two slide switches for modifying bass and treble, together with a solo/rhythm switch; not a very precise tone control system.
The tremolo is a very basic swivel system balanced on two springs which act in compression. Needless to say, the guitar does not generally return to accurate tune following depression of the arm! The chrome cover is not the original, this having been cut up by myself some 30 years ago in order to make a switch panel for a motor car dashboard. Its replacement is a genuine Hofner unit of the period, but slightly shorter. The original cover actually enclosed the bridge, making string damping, (essential when playing Shadows music), impossible. The replacement is definitely an improvement in that respect!
The bridge is a very basic chrome affair, with only height adjustment. It is located on a piece of black celluloid which has been recessed adjacent to the tremolo routing, and is prevented from sliding by a piece of sandpaper glued to the bottom plate of the bridge. Novel!
As far as playability, the neck on the guitar is the slimmest that I have encountered on any Hofner, or most other guitars come to that, and has a fairly low action. This and the small proportions and light weight of the body make the instrument a pleasure to play, providing of course that the tremolo arm is left undisturbed!!