1970s Hohner HG-430LP (Japanese-made) Les Paul-style Electric Guitar

This must be about the 10th or 11th iteration of this same, basic, Japanese-made Les Paul-clone guitar I've worked on so far. It's the first one I've had through in the Hohner branding, though. Branding, you say? Well, yes -- the decal's outline is visible on the headstock in glare but the decal itself is long gone.

Per the catalogs from the time, it correlates to the HG-430LP "Lacquered Ebony Black" model (ie, a Black Beauty). Since these guitars started receiving sealed tuners early-on (by '73) and this one originally had the '60s-style, covered-back "open" tuners, I suspect that it was made right around 1970-1972.

The design for this type of LP-copy is interesting, though. The body itself is a flat piece of plywood. To that is added a press-arched top in the shape of a Paul's "carve." They then receive a bolted-on neck in the style of old '70s Japanese Epiphone guitars. The result is a guitar that's heavy like a Les Paul and sustains well but is definitely not traditional Gibson-style fare.

Almost all of these come with bad wiring and often misaligned components and a desperate need for attention to the frets. I usually just solve the problems and fix them "straight-up." This time around I solved the problems and simplified it, too, changing from a 2 volume/2 tone wiring setup to a simple 3-way and master volume/tone setup. The new wiring harness lets these pickups shine, too. They're not typical humbuckers for the time -- they're clean, a bit chimey, not too aggressive, and have an almost DeArmond-like, Fender Wide Range, or Guild-style humbucker sound. It's a mix of those with a metallic slur when driven... tasty and different.

Now that it's all done-up, it also plays fast and easy and will be reliable for the future. I yanked-out all the bad, replaced it with good, and left the rest. One bonus is that the patched hole left for the original 3-way position switch (now that it's been moved to the lower bout) is covered with an old 5-Yen coin. I keep a stash of foreign currency around just for such occasions, I guess!

Repairs included: fret level/dress, new Gotoh Kluson-style tuners at the headstock, new wiring harness (500k pots, Switchcraft jack), cleaning, setup.


Body wood: plywood w/arched ply top

Bridge: ABR-style adjustable

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany

Pickups: 2x humbucker, clean/vintage-voiced


Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: 42w-9 extra lights (10s fine, 11s probably OK)

Neck shape: slim C

Board radius: ~12"

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium-lower


Scale length: 24 3/4"

Nut width: 1 5/8"

Body width: 13"

Body depth: 1 3/4"

Weight: 8 lbs 10 oz


Condition notes: clearly, it's aged-in and has seen a lot of life. The binding has hairline cracking all over but is stable. There's lots of wear and tear and scratches to the finish and the back of the neck. The fretboard's been played. I've modified/replaced the wiring harness a bunch. The tuners are now better but are not original. The two speed knobs appear original but are not the same type (3 of the originals were on it when it came in). The headstock logo decal is missing or removed. There's the usual plating wear/tear to the hardware. The bridge is also basically at its maximum allowed adjustability to the rear but it does play in tune after setup.
















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