Back to Main Page

Woody's HOFNER "Solid De-Luxe"
(also known as "GALAXIE") 
Model 176 - series GUITAR PAGE

The Hofner "Solid De-Luxe" (or "Galaxie") series Model 176 deluxe electric guitar 
was built in Germany apparently from 1964 through 1983.
The Hofner web page spells Galaxy with an "ie" (Galaxie) 
and explains a bit more about the 176-series guitar.


Hofner guitars rose to international fame when Beatle Paul McCartney
appeared with a Hofner 500/1-series "violin" style bass guitar
Unknown to most musicians outside of Europe, 
Hofner made a vast line of guitars besides the Violin-series basses of the day.

To the right you can see Beatle
Paul McCartney playing his Hofner 500/1 violin bass on the US-based Ed Sullivan TV Show Feb 1964.

Here you see Paul playing his Hofner bass on the Ed Sullivan Show, 1964
 

Try clicking on a picture to enlarge it for a closer view

OUR SECOND HOFNER GALAXIE
We had bought our first Galaxie in the 1980's.
We bought this second guitar in 2007 
because it had the whammy bar on it and an original case, 
both missing off our original guitar.

   Try clicking on a picture to enlarge it for a closer view

Electric guitars were a comparatively new musical sensation when this guitar was first marketed in 1964. 

During this earlier era of Rock-n-Roll, designs often favored exotic and artistic designs with lots of switches, buttons and pickups. 
Hagstrom, Sears, Montgomery Wards, and even Heathkit, also offered guitars with lots of frills and adornments.

In the case of Hofner, they followed that era's industry styling for their guitar designs.
It sold.

Tonal output was not as robust as some of the industry leaders were.

The Hofner Galaxie loosely followed the design of Leo Fender's Mustang (pictured below) or Stratocaster series guitars. 

Neck action on our Galaxie is pretty good. 
Although it might be possible to improve it a bit more, the action is already low and fast. 
To this end, I do not feel the need for additional neck work.

 

The Fender Mustang, like the one I used to have, is the blue one in the middle of this picture.

According to a book listed on the Internet,  Beatle Paul McCartney did not buy his Hofner violin bass due to quality or reputation 
but rather due to it's asymmetrical design (he is left handed and could just flip it over) and, 
more importantly as a struggling musician, he could afford it (with ten payments) totaling about  us$45 (early 1960s).  
While the quality and tone of these guitars are not as respected as some commonly used within the music industry, they did represent the look of early rock-n-roll. 

To that end, they maintain a certain collectible appeal.

International eBay sales seem to indicate that the investment value of the older 176-series guitars continues to escalate.

From a (now defunct) webpage we read: 
Founded in Schonbach in 1887 by master luthier Karl Hofner, the company became the largest manufacturer of stringed and fretted instruments in Germany. 
Craft skills and business initiative laid the foundation for a reputation that, even before World War I, extended far beyond the borders of Germany.

His two sons, Josef and Walter, joined their father's company in 1919 and 1921 respectively. 
They successfully expanded Hofner's worldwide market, enabling them to survive the years of recovery, which marked the phase after World War II and the related resettlement from the "Sudetenland" to Bavaria. 
In 1950, new production facilities were built in Bubenreuth.

To date, more than two million stringed and fretted instruments - from student to master models - have been produced, 75% of which have been exported worldwide, 
emphasizing the outstanding position enjoyed by Karl Hofner GmbH in the world market.

The product range of Hofner is extensive and not only confined to stringed instruments and classical guitars. 
In 1955, Walter Hofner, a creative businessman as well as a violin and guitar maker, invented an electrically amplified semi-acoustic bass. 
The distinctive 500/1 bass was launched at the 1956 Frankfurt Music Fair and subsequently rose to fame under a different name. 
In 1961, Paul McCartney bought his first Hofner bass in a shop in Hamburg and used it on many of the Beatles' most famous songs. 
Paul still plays his "Beatle Bass" live on stage today.

A new chapter in Hofner's history opened in 1994 when the company joined the internationally successful Boosey & Hawkes Group. 
Since then millions of Deutschmarks have been invested in new production technology. 
In 1997, the company moved from its premises in Bubenreuth to the neighbouring village of Hagenau

Try clicking on a picture to enlarge it for a closer view

OUR ORIGINAL HOFNER GALAXIE
Over the years our family has owned two of the six-string electric Model 176 series guitars.

Below was the first Model 176 guitar that we bought in the late 1980's. 
The vibrato
("tremolo" or "whammy") bar was a simple spring contraption. 
Since it's use could easily drive the guitar out of tune during a stage performance, 
many times they might have been removed and abandoned, as was the case with our first Hofner.
Due to our collection downsizing effort, we did sell this one in 2009.

There is not really a good way to adjust string height from the bridge.

Try clicking on a picture to enlarge it for a closer view
Below are some photos of the two guitars while I had them apart cleaning them.

Two pick guards from the two guitars, one white one black backs On the back of both pick guards in faded blue lettering was "gepruit 7" - Any idea what it meant? None of the controls had any obvious date or manufacturer stamps on them
None of the controls had any obvious date or manufacturer stamps on them None of the controls had any obvious date or manufacturer stamps on them None of the controls had any obvious date or manufacturer stamps on them
Hofner did an excellent job on their sunburst finish. It is still highly attractive. The bridge allowed string mute. Not a really useful feature. The base of the adjustable neck
Neck removal was four screws, easy enough - The patterns were different between the two guitars. Necks may not be easily interchangable CAREFUL - When you remove the neck there are small shims. Don't loose them. Notice how they were installed else you might screw up your neck set. The base of both necks had identical initials - Could these have been the initials of the luthier? Who was s/.he?
After over 30 years both necks remained very straight and playable. The original tuners on both necks seem to be high quality and maintain their tune fine. The wire from the jack ground-side runs through the guitar and attaches to the tremlo (whammy) bar
Ground wire that ties whammy bar to ground side of jack Whammy bar with spring

   Try clicking on a picture to enlarge it for a closer view

BODY: The body construction was semi-solid plywood. 
The necks were made of an excellent quality maple. 
While the finish on this guitar is showing its age, the sunburst colors are still highly attractive.
A pre-1975 Hofner Galaxy guitar Serial number of a pre-1975 Hofner Galaxy
NECK: According to Hofner (below), the 176-series guitar was built with two styles of necks:
* Earlier as a top selling guitar, it came with celluloid inlays on the fretboard and raised Hofner lettering on the peghead (pictured below) and
* Hofner had apparently run out of stock of the fancier celluloid necks and, with sales of the guitars declining, they used the simpler and skinnier dotted necks for the balance of production.
Note the celluloid inlays on the pre-1975 neck
It appears that, for at least two years (1975 and 1976) besides the loss of the celluloid fret design on their necks, Hofner also cut costs by not issuing serial numbers on their products. 
Neither of our two guitars had any numeric tracking numbers but only
(possible?) initials written on the base of the necks.
 

Try clicking on a picture to enlarge it for a closer view

Correspondence from the Hofner Guitar Company November 2008: 
Dear Woody, Thanks for request, your Galaxies are from ca. 1975/76, at the time when there were no serial numbers. 
The Galaxie´s had been made from 1963 up to 1983, but when the necks with the celluloid inlays were out, 
Hofner built new necks, which were slimmer and had dot inlays. 
At that time the Galaxie was no more the top seller, so that it doesn´t pay to manufacture the old necks. 
With best regards / Mit freundlichen Gruessen Michael Naglav 
Vintage Hofner Guitars +49 (0)9133 7758-0 Tel. +49 (0)9133 7758-58 Fax 
mailto: michael.naglav@hofner.com Karl Höfner GmbH & Co. KG 91083 
Hagenau, Germany www.hofner.com


DATING OUR GUITAR
According to Mit freundlichen Gruessen Michael Naglav (above)
the style of the neck that we have (with the dot inlays) and
the fact that there is no obvious serial number anywhere on the guitar
all conspires to infer that our guitar dates to 1975/1976
BUT
According to the Hofner dating page at
http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/factfiles/bodydate/potcode.html 
it would appear to date much earlier.
That web page indicates that the number found on a potentiometer (AKA:  POT)
can be used to date the electronics of the guitar.
In this case, on a volume control I see: 
250LG  and  2 9
Using the 2 9 it shows that volume control was manufactured
the second week of 1969

It would appear that either: 
- The guitar is earlier than 1975/1976 (as early as 1969)
or
- The electronics were sitting on a shelf somewhere for a very long time.

Do you have a photo of you with your Hofner Galaxie 176 series guitar you could send us?

Hofner Guitar Related Web Pages

Vintage Hofner Information (UK)

Hofner related web sites

Dating the Hofner Guitar

Hofner Guitar Collecting


No SN  ca1975-1976     1987 10/08 eB 500

CLICK HERE FOR THE MAIN 4L RANCH WEB PAGE

Contact WOODY for questions or comments about this page via  email. 
All personal comments, pictures copyright 1996-2011 - R. Linwood (4L RANCH)
LAST MODIFIED:

Since 16 Nov 2009: 

site counter