Originally launched in 1982 and lasting just four years, the Shorty was perhaps the least Hofner-like Hofner ever made. Has its time come at last?
Hofner ShortySo you’re packing up the car for the ordeal of a family holiday or, worse still, a visit to the in-laws. You know that the only way your sanity will survive is to take a guitar with you but, as always, just isn’t enough room.
It’s that travel guitar time of year again… and Hofner might have the ideal solution.
Most travel acoustics are still too bulky, and they don’t sound much like ‘real’ acoustics anyway.
Besides, there’s nothing quite as effective as an electric guitar for releasing pent-up frustration, and nobody can bother you when you’re wearing headphones.
The Hofner Shorty might be, well, short. But despite an overall length of 82c, it has a full 24.75″ scale length. In fact you could easily squeeze it into an overhead locker on a plane, and the gigbag that comes with it has enough space for quite a few extra bits and pieces.
This design was launched around 1982, and the early German-made models had mahogany bodies. For a short period they were even sold as kits, but since production resumed in China in 2005 the bodies have been made from basswood.
There’s no internal speaker model in this new series. But the proliferation of mini modelling modules like the Line 6 Pocket Pod and Waves iGTR has made that old feature redundant.
The whole design is stripped back to basics with a single humbucking pickup and a Badass-style wrapover bridge with individually adjustable saddles. So be grateful for the volume and tone controls!
Given the dimensions Hofner can be forgiven for a touch of neck-heaviness. At least you can play it sitting down. But it’s even better on a strap and best of all standing up, where the size of the body becomes less noticeable.
Thanks to a chunky maple neck with a serious slab rosewood fingerboard, the Shorty feels not unlike a normal guitar.
The neck profile is generously rounded, with a back-angled headstock and some very decent diecast tuners. The metallic red headstock matches the body, and there’s a volute for extra strength.
Through an amp the Shorty sounds just like any conventional guitar. Maybe it’s the lightness of the body that makes this Hofner so resonant. But what does that matter when it’s so big and bold?
The humbucker is loud and powerful. But the range of clean tones might have been improved if it didn’t darken up so quickly when the volume control is turned down.
Never mind, a treble bypass cap over the volume control could fix that. But the taper of both pots does still make them a bit all-or-nothing.
Although the clean tones are quite passable, the Shorty sounds best when it’s rocking out. Dialling up the Rectified setting on the old Pod and strapping on the Scullcandys is a complete blast. It plays and sounds like a regular guitar, but you can sneak it anywhere – and it’s cheap. Problem solved!