Höfner 172 Vinyl, 1963

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Instrument: In the early sixties, Walter Höfner and Jakob Winter, owner of the eponymous case... more
Höfner 172 Vinyl, 1963

In the early sixties, Walter Höfner and Jakob Winter, owner of the eponymous case manufacturer, were sitting together at a trade show and Höfner was complaining about the effort required to create good and resistant finishes for his guitars. Especially for the heavily used solid bodies. That's when Jakob Winter came up with the idea of simply covering them with vinyl material, just as he had been doing for his instrument cases for a long time. Höfner was thrilled, and so for a short time the electric guitars and basses with vinyl covering that are sought after in collector circles today were created. Höfner was the first in 1962, and brands like Isana, Klira and Fasan quickly followed the fashion. The last vinyl bodies were made by Klira in 1965, and then the short-lived trend was already history. Winter supplied all German manufacturers, no one else mastered the technique of the special vacuum process at that time. Our Höfner dates from 1963, it follows formally the Stratocaster, of course, but is otherwise a completely independent development.

The body is made of alder wood, the black lacquered neck is made of maple. It has a truss rod accessible from the body. The rosewood fingerboard has the typical double dot inlays in nine frets.

The basis are two of the so-called Höfner Diamond pickups, type 510 from the production of Franz Pix. They look like humbuckers, but are single-coils with twin magnets. They were built from 1961 until the seventies and are considered among the best Pix pickups. On the 172, each has its own on-off switch and tone control, plus there is a master volume control, the jack socket is current standard.

Instruments history:
Largely unknown. The Höfner came to us as part of a small collection of Höfner vinyl models. It had only a few playing marks and probably had not experienced a very intensive rock career. As so often, the electrics were scratchy and the controls sluggish. And there were a few unattractive capo marks on the back of the neck.

Restoration work:
The vinyl, which had partially come loose at the edges, was properly re-glued, cleaned and refurbished with vinyl care. The fingerboard and fretsticks were sanded and oiled or polished. We repainted the back of the neck because of the capo marks and then carefully polished it. All the hardware was disassembled, cleaned, polished, the tuners oiled and the rusty tuner sleeves replaced with new-old-stock parts. All the electrics were refurbished, several dead solder joints redone, the controls cleaned, all the sliding parts reworked and made operable. The black pickguard, which was a bit deformed before, was straightened perfectly. Finally, the Höfner received a new set of 10" Pyramid pure nickel strings and a complete setup.

Current condition:
Our 172 is a collector's item in rare, because 100% original top condition. It has never been tinkered with and "optimized", it is just as it came out of the store almost 60 years ago. Of course, the formerly white vinyl has taken on a slightly yellowish tone over the decades, but that's what gives the guitar its wonderful vintage look! The Höfner is a player with a modern neck profile and low string action even by today's standards, it plays pleasantly and as easy as can be. There are almost no playing marks, in fact such a vinyl surface is very durable and insensitive. Fretboard and frets are in mint condition. All the hardware shines, everything works as it should. The sounds are versatile and more than convincing, of course Sixties beat goes perfectly here, but the guitar offers much more: from smooth Stratocaster Shadows sounds to hard rock, really anything is possible. The Diamonds have full power and deliver. This rare collector's item is a show instrument, which makes a good figure on every stage, but also the uncomplicated and insensitive player for all days. And the Höfner has more spirit than most new electric guitars anyway.

Overall length 38,6”/98 cm; body length 17.7”/45 cm; lower bout width 12.6”/32 cm; waist width 8.5”/21,5 cm; upper bout width 10.6”/27 cm; body depth 1.2”/3 cm; scale length 25.2”/64 cm (nut to saddle); fingerboard width 1.7”/4,3 cm at nut, 2”/5,1 cm at 12th fret; overall weight 3.200 g; string action on 12th fret 0.04-0.08”/1-2 mm (adjustable).

Purchase and payment:
Just send us an email to info@german-vintage-guitar.com and you will receive your invoice immediately. Or simply order here through the shop.

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