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Susanna Hoffs: Girl with a Signature Guitar

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Susanna Hoff's First Guitars

Susanna Hoffs first got into guitars when she was in elementary school, when her uncle started teaching her how to play chords on her nylon stringed acoustic. From there, she learned chord progression and traded lessons with friends. Before she started college, she started playing on the electric guitar, and bought a Gibson SG, said to have been owned by one of The Byrds. She was in love with music from the 60s, so a guitar played by one of The Byrds was definitely her style. While attending UC Berkeley, she bought her first 60s Rickenbacker, black and white with checked binding. It was the guitar she used in the recording of The Bangle's first hit single. She said she's always loved that nostalgic sound of the Rickenbacker.

She had a long and successful career with The Bangles, famous girl band from the 80s, with such huge hits as Walk Like an Egyptian and Manic Monday (written by Prince). By the time their fourth album "Doll Revolution" hit, she was using a '66 Guild Starfire 12-string guitar, which she said had both a vintage and modern sound, suiting her style, once again, just fine.

Susanna Hoffs, The Girl with the Guitar.

Susanna Hoffs, The Girl with the Guitar.

Susanna Hoff's First Guitars

  • Childhood nylon-string acoustic
  • Gibson SG
  • 60s Vintage Rickenbacker
  • John Lennon style 325 Rickenbacker
  • '66 Guild Starfire 12-string Guitar

The 350SH Rickenbacker Susanna Hoffs Limited Edition

Back during the height of her career, in 1988, Rickenbacker asked her to back a guitar to be produced and sold in her name. She, of course, agreed, the Rickenbacker being her favorite guitar. She immediately knew how she wanted the guitar styled; just like her old original favorite Rickenbacker from her college days and Bangles career. It was black with checked binding with 3/4 sized body, full scale neck and the perfect size and shape for her. Quite a gorgeous guitar. Quite a gorgeous lady.

And that's how the design of the guitar turned out. In addition, the guitar has one HB1 pickup, the Rickenbacker's humbucking pickup, and 2 vintage type "chrome bar" single-coil pickup. It has a semi-hollow body design and the neck is solid maple. It also has Rickenbacker's dual truss rod system. With 24 frets, it has rosewood fingerboard and triangle inlay.

The guitar is quite a tribute to a beautiful and talented musician.

Susanna Hoffs Career Plus Another Guitar

During the early part of the 1990s, the Bangles were less in the forefront of popular music. While their popularity subsided, Susanna went on solo ventures, including an album in 1991 titled When You're a Boy with the hit single My Side of the Bed. She continued doing some solo work and also performed on various soundtracks.

Then in 1999, she was asked to compose music for Mike Myers' famous hit movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and also to make an appearance in the movie as guitarist and singer for fictional 60s band Ming Tea (along with Matthew Sweet who would later become her partner in future musical ventures).

After her appearance in Austin Powers, The Bangles had a revival and even went on tour.

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Susanna also continued solo work, including a series with Matthew Sweet called Under the Covers, which is a three volume set of covers of songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s: Susanna's perfect nostalgic niche. It has been noted that she has been playing a Taylor K22 Acoustic during her solo performances and she has said the guitar is so well-made, it can sit around forever and stay in tune, that it's the perfect size to play in concert and is beautifully constructed from gorgeous Koa wood with mother of pearl.

Her recent work includes an album called Someday which she produced in collaboration with Andrew Brassell.

The beautiful Susanna Hoffs performing live in Sydney.

The beautiful Susanna Hoffs performing live in Sydney.

Susanna Hoffs Picture Me

The Girl With The Guitar

Susanna Hoffs I think will often be remembered as that beautiful dark-haired girl with the gorgeous doe eyes that seduced us with that pretty face and sweet ethereal voice back in the 80s when we first saw her play with The Bangles. But she didn't stop there. She's led a career full of independent musical ventures, an excursion into film, and she continues to explore her love of music today. Truly it is a joy to watch her evolve and to be exposed to her incredible musical talent and to enjoy her amazing beauty and magnetism.

She is that beautiful girl with the guitar.

The Bangles

The Bangles

© 2014 Nathan Bernardo


Nathan Bernardo (author) from California, United States of America on January 19, 2014:

Oh, I know, jp, it's a beautiful guitar. Yes, The Bangles were one of my favorites back in the 80s.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on January 19, 2014:

I remember the bangles . That's a sweet guitar. I remember drooling over Rickenbackers when I was younger.

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