Höfner Verythin UK Exclusive review: A brilliant budget guitar for beginners
You might think of Fender and Gibson as the twin giants of guitar heritage. But they haven’t got a thing on Höfner – founded in 1887 and played by all the Beatles. Yes, even Ringo.
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It’s fair to say that the past few decades have been a little turbulent for the famous German brand. But its Verythin semi-acoustic model traces a line right back to the 1960s and is still going. Now, for British buyers on a budget, it’s going blue.
Pearl Blue and Pearl Gold are two sparkly new finishes for the UK exclusive version of the Höfner Verythin, a drastic change in style from the existing options of Dark Stain (dull brown) and Black Stain (duller grey).
And if you think ‘exclusive’ means ‘expensive’, you couldn’t be more wrong. This guitar is barely half the price of the standard HCT Verythin. We’re not sure why: the HCT is made from figured maple instead of mahogany, features striking full-width fret markers, and comes with a pickguard, but otherwise there are few obvious differences.
The original Verithin was fully hollow but the change of spelling for the 21st century brought with it a centre-block, making this a more direct design equivalent to the Gibson ES-335 – except, as the name suggests, thinner (it’s barely 3cm deep at the edges). It’s an extremely pretty guitar, and wears its new metallic blue finish well.
Twin humbuckers, a tune-o-matic bridge and a stop tailpiece stay true to Gibson’s formula, although there is one more shortcut in the electrics: this version of the Verythin doesn’t have individual pickup volume and tone controls, just a master pair.
Surprisingly for an instrument in the beginner-friendly price range, the neck is distinctly chunky, staying close to a full inch deep all the way along, with a volute behind the nut for added strength. It’s bound, as is the body, and for the most part it’s been done in tidy style.
Based on past experience, we’re a little wary of Höfner’s Chinese build quality, and there are a few early signs that we might be right to worry: the upper frets are somewhat scratchy and the neck set angle has left little room for downward bridge adjustment. Luckily, the factory action is okay, especially after a quick tightening of the truss rod. But still, we’d hesitate to buy a modern Höfner without the reassurance of a good dealer refund policy, just in case.
Five minutes of plugged-in playing, however, and all those cares are forgotten: it’s everything a Verythin should be.
You might think the skinny body would make this guitar too brisk for jazz but, on the neck pickup, it boops away in timeless style with or without a bit of treble knocked off on the tone control. It’s full, smooth and buttery, with no shortage of snappy clarity in the pick attack.
The middle setting brings the twinkle, for super-sweet arpeggios and lyrical lead lines, while the bridge pickup is a treat for lovers of mid-1960s semi-hollow tones: feisty and bright but still solid and free of harshness.
Pushing all this through a cooking Marshall brings classic 335-style results, with possibly even less susceptibility to feedback than a Gibson semi. The only thing we’re left ruing here – aside from a crackly pickup switch – is the absence of any fretboard markers to keep our over-enthusiastic wig-outs as accurate as they are enjoyable.
DESCRIPTION Six-string semi-hollow electric guitar, made in China
BUILD Mahogany top, back and sides, spruce centre block, mahogany neck with 12” radius rosewood fingerboard, no inlays, 22 medium jumbo frets and bone nut
HARDWARE Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece, vintage-style tuners
ELECTRONICS 2x Hofner humbuckers, master volume and tone, three-way pickup switch
SCALE LENGTH 24.7”/628mm
NECK WIDTH 41.9mm at nut, 51.6mm at 12th fret
NECK DEPTH 24.3mm at first fret, 25.5mm at 12th fret
STRING SPACING 34.5mm at nut, 52.5mm at bridge
FINISHES Pearl Blue (as reviewed), Pearl Gold, Dark Stain (£325), Black Stain (£325)
CONTACT hofner-guitars.com, bandm.co.uk
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