It is well documented
that the A2 was top of Hofner's archtop range when designs
were being drawn up for the AZ - the guitar that was to be
Hofner's flagship and endorsed by the great Hungarian jazz
guitarist Attila Zoller.
Whether the A2 was used
as the basis for prototyping the AZ is not known.
Certainly the resulting AZ was in the end nothing like the
A2. The A2 had already established itself
as a high quality model but the AZ, from the outset,
was the ultimate spec. It boasted an
entirely new body, with hand carved top and bottom, a
more classical shape with stylised
Hofner's know-how was concentrated on creating a tonal
masterpiece with huge, ringing acoustic volume.
Coupled with Attila's trademark pickup (the Shadow AZ)
this lead to an outstanding jazz guitar.
The neck and
headstock was also re-designed and Christian Benker told me
that Attila insisted on an entirely new headstock shape,
a smaller waist with
more weight at the headstock to balance the guitar.
#082 combines the
best of both models as it mates an
AZ body to an A2 neck. I was of the
view originally that this might have been a prototype,
however, after restoring this guitar
and having spent a lot of time examining it in great
detail, I now feel it is more likely that
it was a Special Customer Order.
The AZ fingerboard
more radius than usual and not to everyone's liking.
So I can believe that a customer commissioned an AZ Award but with
the more conventional A2 neck and specifying the AZ
this guitar appears to be a very early AZ Award Special but in Sunburst
which Attila himself preferred. Truly a Custom