HOFNER 173 / SUPER 3 SOLID GUITARS: 1962 to 1970 


Here are the results of my research over the years. Please don't take it as gospel. Every Hofner guitar is transitional. And.......please excuse wrong words or terms- I'm not a native English speaker.




Body- early ones with multi piece spruce/pine body with breech plywood veneer facings. Then solid alder was used.

Finish: Most guitars had vinyl covered bodies, i.e. cream levant grain, red levant grain, almost no-grain brown, red/gold paisley, and black/gold paisley. Even some guitars with plastic wood imitation covered bodies are known to exist. Spray-painted bodies are rarer. Cream and brown/yellow sunburst nitro-cellulose finished bodies can be found, together with red/gold and copper/cream sunburst on some very early guitars. The necks on these and on many of the brown/yellow sunburst guitars had also a matching sunburst finish.

Neck: maple with rosewood fret board. Until mid-1962 some guitars had mahogany necks with rosewood fret boards. Double dot fret markers. The distance of the dots varies. The necks were usually finished in clear nitro-cellulose. To hide imperfections in the wood, many necks got a black and some even got a cream/white finish. The cream/white ones were mainly used on brown vinyl covered bodies. The cream linen covered guitars had a neck with stripe fretmarkers and a bound fretboard like the Super 3 but with matching green pearl headstock front and were painted cream/white. The hofner logo is usually a decal with gold script and a small black outline. Necks with pearl headstock and some black painted necks used the raised plastic logo like the 500/1 from ’63-’69.

Tuners: single open back nickel plated with oval tuner buttons. Guitars with bound fret board and striped fret markers had closed back tuners like the galaxie.

Bridge: solid nickel plated brass with 2 thumbwheels for height adjustment

Tremolo: very early prototypes with V2/V3 tremolo (2 spring design with raised nickel plated brass cover. Production models had a tremolo that was recessed into the body and used one big spring and a flat cover. Cover had a large rectangular cut out for the spring bearing. In the second half of 1962 a different tremolo cover appears. This one had six cut outs above the string bearing and was slightly arched in that area.
The tremolo arm was made of flat and slightly curved chrome plated brass.

Pick guard: early models had a single black plastic P/G with white painted edge. Until mid 1962 most guitars had a 4-way pickup selector (“1”,”2”,”3”,”All”) with a cream chicken head knob on the upper treble boot and the Hofner E1 aggregat on the lower treble side. Some guitars with that style of electric had a 3-layer plastic (thin black/ thick white/ thin black) or a red pearl P/G.
In mid 1962 the circuit was changed to a 4 pot layout on the lower treble side with a master volume and three individual tone controls for each pickup. The knob of the 4-way pickup selector was changed to an off-center small black plastic one.
In mid 1962 some guitars with cream vinyl covering had a fake abalone style plastic pick guard (very rare). Other P/G materials appear: brown striped plastic (on cream vinyl covered and brown/ yellow sunburst spayed guitars. White/Black/White plastic on red vinyl and green pearl with white painted edge on creme linen vinyl covered( very rare!) guitars. In late 1962 black coated metal P/Gs can be found on cream vinyl bodies and even red coated metal was used on some black/gold paisley vinyl bodies. On the paisley guitars (black/gold or red/gold) red pearl or black metal P/Gs were standard.

Pickups: 3 Hofner 510 super response single coil pickups. Bridge pickup had pole pieces close to the bridge. Neck and middle pickups had pole pieces closer to neck. Pickups were not height adjustable.


Body: alder and sometimes mahogany

Finish: like 1962, but brown vinyl and cream linen vinyl were no longer used. Guitars made for Selmer (called Super 3) had solid red nitro finish. In mid 1963 red croc skin replaced the red levant grain vinyl. White front and black back croc skin bodies appear.

Neck: maple with rosewood fret board, double dot fret markers. The Super 3 had a bound rosewood neck with 3 piece stripe (pearl/tortoise/pearl) fret markers. cream/white painted necks faded out. The Super 3 had always a clear painted neck. Some paisley covered guitars also had the Super 3 neck with matching red pearl headstock front.

Tuners: like 1962. In mid 1963 the tuner buttons were changed to crown shaped pearl plastic. The Super 3 had closed back tuners with crown shaped buttons like the galaxy.

Bridge: Like 1962. The Super 3 had the Hofner micromatic bridge with metal base.

Tremolo: The cover changed to a trapeze-shaped flat design with six cut-outs over the now smaller string bearing. The flat chrome plated brass trem arm was replaced by a round one with cream plastic tip. Both arms were fastened to the tremolo by a thumbwheel.

Pick guards: like 1962 except the green pearl, the fake abalone and the red coated metal ones were not longer used. The Super 3 had the black metal or black plastic pick guards.

Pickups: like 1962. Sometimes the 511 "Super" variant can be found on guitars with the 175 neck (stripe fret markers and bound fret board) The Super 3 always had humbuckers: early ones Hofner 511 "super" and later ones had Hofner 511 nova sonic pickups.


Body: Alder and sometimes mahogany with different routings compared to earlier bodies because the pickups were made height adjustable and the rotary pickup selector disappeared.
Bodies for the new sunburst finish were veneered with flamed maple.

Finish: Like 1963. In the middle of the year hofner started to use polyester lacquer for the body. Cream and a new three tone “Fenderish” sunburst were the first polyester finishes. The vinyl coverings began to disappear.

Neck: like 1963

Tuners: like 1963

Bridge: chrome plated diecast design with clear plexi saddles in a floating cage. Height adjustment by two screws.

Tremolo: like 1963. Trem arm changed again to a onepiece design with dome shaped base and black or cream plastic tip.

Pick guard: B/W/B plastic is standard but brown striped (on cream) and red pearl (on paisley vinyl) pick guards were also used. The 4-way selector was replaced by three on/off slider switches (“bass”, “discant”, “treble”) and the pickups got a brass base plate with three screws for height adjustment.

Pickups: like 1963


Body: like 1964

Finish: a second black/ red sunburst and an opaque red finish appeared. The last of the vinyl coverings and the brown/yellow sunburst were faded out.

Neck: no change

Tuners: no change

Bridge: no change

Tremolo: no change

Pick guard: B/W/B standard. On the new red/black sunburst bodies the P/G was White/Black/White. Brown striped ones are very rare as cream coloured bodies seem to become unpopular.

Pickups: Bridge P/U was changed to the 511 Nova Sonic type humbucker.


Body: no change

Finish: no change

Neck: no change

Tuners: no change

Bridge: no change

Tremolo: no change

Pick guard: no change

Pickup: neck pickup was also changed to Hofner 511 humbucking type


Body: The black/red sunburst model got 513 pickups with white plastic inserts and black tone and volume knobs.

Finish: no change

Neck: Fret markers change to single dots on frets 3,5,7,9,15 and 17. Double dot on the twelfth fret. No fret markers on the 19th and 21st fret. The headstock gets wider and a string retainer for all strings was added. Trussrod adjustment is extended and visible at the end of the neck.

Tuners: cheaper six-on-a-stripe tuners with metal or plastic tuner buttons were used.

Bridge: no change

Tremolo: no change

Pick guard: no change

Pickup: 513 single coils with black or white plastic insert.