Höfner 173 Solid, vinyl, 1964

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Instrument: The 173 was a Höfner success model, introduced in 1962 and one of the most played... more
Product information Höfner 173 Solid, vinyl, 1964

Instrument:
The 173 was a Höfner success model, introduced in 1962 and one of the most played Höfner solid bodies. It was visually inspired by the Stratocaster, but was above all electrically quite differently equipped. For thousands of European guitarists in the early sixties, the 173 was an affordable and qualitatively excellent choice over the mostly unattainable US models. In 1962 and 1963, there was the brief trend of vinyl guitars - an innovation by Höfner that was copied but did not last long. Today, models with intact faux leather covers (like ours) are rare and sought-after collector's items.

Material:
Alder body, covered with faux leather/vinyl (white front, black back), maple neck, rosewood fingerboard with double pearloid dot inlays. Truss rod accessible from the end of the neck. Open single tuners with transparent celluloid handles in crown shape. Fully adjustable bridge with roller bearings and single plexi tailpieces. Proven and tuning stable, very robust vibrato unit. Höfner 3D plastic logo.

Electric system:
A central Type 511 Single Coil and two Type 513 Twin Coil Staples pickups are standard equipment. In 1964 for the first time controlled via three on-off slide switches and thus fully flexibly selectable. A master volume control, plus a tone control for each pickup. This results in practically infinite sound control possibilities.

Instruments history:
Unknown. The guitar was certainly played often, but the vinyl covering is almost insensitive to mechanical stress, accordingly the guitar still looks fantastic. The last few years it was in a collection and was no longer played due to various electrical problems. One of the tuners didn't fit, a previous owner had installed a US spare part made in the Far East. We took over the Höfner as part of a small collection.

Restoration work:
The main work was the overhaul of the electrics. Since all three pickups had short circuits and previous owners had made a mess of the wiring, we left the entire job to Helmuth Lemme, the Munich-based guitar electrics wizard and multiple book author. Among other things, he renewed all the pickup coils and thus eliminated the short circuits. With perfect results, of course. We cleaned the vinyl surface and all other parts. We made the tuners nice and tight again and replaced the mismatched US part with an original Höfner tuner from 1962. The fingerboard was stripped, a few grooves filled, sanded and oiled. We stripped and polished the frets and polished all the hardware as well. Finally, new strings were mounted and a setup was performed.

Current condition:
173s are not rare, but with intact vinyl and in this condition they are almost impossible to get - those who have a good one, keep it. The market, on the other hand, is full of screwed-up and tinkered-up travellers, all with damage that is way beyond the DIY enthusiast`s skills. Our 173 is one of the best we've had in 20 years. It has some minor scratches and signs of play, but given almost 60 years of electric guitar life, that's nothing. Everything works perfectly and is solid and stable. The electrics deserve a special mention, they work again as if they just came from the factory. The string action of the bolt-on neck is extremely low at 1-2 mm at the 12th fret, the playability is child's play and on a modern level. The sound is super versatile, with the three fully powerful Staples pickups no other Höfner can beat it. From show instrument for the stage to real player to authentic collector's item - this guitar fulfils all wishes and lives up to every superlative. The two-tone Vinly is true sixties zeitgeist, the whole guitar is beautiful with its continuous black & white colour scheme. If you have been waiting for a fully operational 173, you should strike now, because to find an even better one would be extremely lucky.

Measures:
Overall length 38.6”/98 cm, body length 18.1”/46 cm, lower bout width 12.6”/32 cm, waist width 8.3”/21 cm, upper bout width 10.6”/27 cm; body depth 1.4”/3,5 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 3.340 g, string action on 12th fret 0.04-0.08”/1-2 mm (adjustable).

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