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King Loudness 09/03/2011

Hofner Guitars Verythin Classic : King Loudness's user review

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The Hofner Verythin Classic is a reissue of the company's original highly noted semi hollow body guitar from the sixties called the Verythin. It has a very thin (!) double cutaway body with a center block of wood down the body a-la a Gibson ES335 guitar. It features a German spruce top (unusual wood for any electric guitar), flamed maple back and sides, a maple neck, an ebony fretboard with 22 frets and block inlays, Schaller M6 tuners, a roller bridge (again, a tad unsual to find, since this is a fixed bridge instrument) and a pair of Hofner 514 mini humbuckers, It also comes with a nice hardshell case and is made in Hofner's premier factory in Germany.

UTILIZATION

The design of this guitar is fairly ergonomic to me. Compared to a typical Gibson ES-335 or a similar copy, the guitar is bigger overall (in its shape) but it is definitely a thinner instrument than a 335 and it also feels lighter to me. It's not noticable at first but after a while of holding it and playing it, the guitar does feel lighter overall. The shape is like a slightly bigger and thinner version of the ES335, so it's really a matter of whether you like a big body. It's thin and easy to get your arms around it, but the body is still fairly bulky and some players who are used to a solidbody guitar might not like that. The upper fret access on this guitar is fairly good due to the non-blocky neck joint.

Getting a good sound out of this guitar is pretty simple. It's wired with two Hofner 514 mini humbuckers and the same dual volume/dual tone control layout as a typical Gibson 335. It's a great instrument for jazz or blues players looking for a slightly different take on the classic double cutaway semi hollow guitar.

SOUNDS

I've tried this guitar through a few different amplifiers as well as unplugged on its own. Before it was plugged in, I tested it acoustically to see what kind of tonal properties it had, especially as compared to the famed Gibson or Heritage models. It has a loud and resonant tone that almost sounds closer to the Gibson ES-330, a fully hollow version of the 335 that was manufactured with P90 pickups. It might be because the guitar contains a lot of maple wood which is quite bright in its tonality, but the guiar has an extremely resonant unplugged tone that has a good controlled low end, strong but netrural midrange, and a sparkling top end that works especially well for arpeggiated chords.

Plugged in the guitar has a really cool sound as provided by the Hofner humbuckers. The neck pickup has a wonderfully thick and throaty tone that lends itself quite well to complicated jazzy chord voicings and bebop esque lead lines too. The middle position (both pickups on) has a crisp and jangly tone that kind of reminds me of a Rickenbacker type guitar, and the bridge pickup has a perfect controlled snarl that is excellent for gritty blues or R&B stylings.

OVERALL OPINION

All in all I think the Hofner Verythin Classic is a wonderful alternative to a typical Gibson or other ES style guitar. Its got a look and feel of its own, and the tones available are definitely high class. At about $2,800 new these guitars aren't cheap, but you can pick them up for about $1,500 used if you look - definitely a killer deal for a more obscure yet still very well made and beautiful semi hollow body guitar.