HÖFNER, BUNENREUTH, GERMANY, CIRCA 1963
HÖFNER, BUNENREUTH, GERMANY, CIRCA 1963
HÖFNER, BUNENREUTH, GERMANY, CIRCA 1963
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HÖFNER, BUNENREUTH, GERMANY, CIRCA 1963
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HÖFNER, BUBENREUTH, GERMANY, CIRCA 1963

A SOLID-BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR, SUPER SOLID

Details
HÖFNER, BUBENREUTH, GERMANY, CIRCA 1963
A SOLID-BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR, SUPER SOLID
The headstock stamped 690, the pickup covers stamped Höfner / Super, together with a soft case and accompanied by a Kill To Get Crimson Tour programme, 2008, featuring this guitar on the cover
Length of back 15 ¾ in. (40 cm.)
Sale room notice
Mark Knopfler plans to donate no less than 25% of the total hammer price received, to be split equally between The British Red Cross Society (a charity registered in England and Wales with charity number 220949, Scotland with charity number SC037738, Isle of Man with charity number 0752, and Jersey with charity number 430), Brave Hearts of the North East (a charity registered in England and Wales with charity number 1006247) and the Tusk Trust Limited (a charity registered in England and Wales with charity number 1186533).

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Lot Essay


Born in Glasgow and brought up in Newcastle, the young Mark Knopfler spent his childhood pressed up against the windows of music shops, lusting over the guitars. 'I wanted a guitar so badly that I used to smell the Fender catalogue,' Knopfler admits, 'I know what it actually smells like and the grain of paper on those old catalogues.' Like every rock and roll obsessed youth in early 1960s Britain, the Shadows were a big influence on the young teen, and Hank Marvin’s Fiesta Red Stratocaster was the object of his desire. 'I only wanted a red electric guitar for as long as I can remember and I had to wait years and years,' Knopfler told Guitarist magazine in 1986. 'Actually, when I was very small, I just used to play on tennis racquets, my Dad’s T Squares and things, and I just pestered him so much that in the end for my 15th birthday he got me a Höfner. It was red, had two pickups and a wobbly tremolo arm.' Knopfler recalls the story of that first guitar and five others that shaped his career in the 2012 Sky Arts documentary Guitar Stories, telling his old bandmate John Illsley: 'It was as close as he could get to a real Fender StratocasterI absolutely loved this thing, even though it wasn’t the real object of desire… Just because it was nowhere near a Strat doesn’t alter the fact that you loved it. I remember not wanting to let go of it the day I got it, so it’s possible that I slept with it.' Costing fifty pounds in 1964, the guitar was a big stretch for Mark’s father at the time. 'I didn’t have the nerve to ask poor old Dad for an amp, so I blew up the family radio in fairly short order.'

The self-taught Knopfler picked up the basics from listening to the Shadows, the Everly Brothers, Duane Eddy, Ricky Nelson, Elvis, and – crucially – American blues guitarists. 'I was into playing American music, especially the blues,' Knopfler explained to Guitar Player magazine in July 1979. 'First, I learned how to fingerpick – just the basic stuff – and then I began developing a clawhammer style. And all during this time I was playing my solid-body without an amp of my own.' Knopfler was still using that first Höfner when he formed the pre-Dire Straits band Café Racers in 1975, and the guitar remains in his possession to this day. The present lot, Mark’s second Höfner Super Solid, was acquired in 2002 as a duplicate of his treasured first guitar and featured prominently in the promotional shoot for his fifth solo studio album Kill To Get Crimson, released in 2007. Photographed by Fabio Lovino, the shoot was captured in Tom Bird’s short documentary film that accompanied the CD/DVD album set, and the resulting publicity shots were featured in the album’s liner notes, as well as the 2008 Kill To Get Crimson Tour programme.

'Loving guitars means you’ve got to love the cheap ones as well,' Knopfler reflected in a 2021 interview for Guitarist magazine. 'A really powerful part of my childhood was gazing longingly at those things. I didn’t know whether it was going to be a Futurama or a Höfner or a Burns Sonic that I was going to get first. But I was desperate for something. Boy, I loved them and I still do. You never escape that.'

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