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1980s Hondo HL5-FB Fat-Boy Vintage Archtop Electric Guitar Blonde w/ Case, Upgrades


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Up for sale, a 1980s Hondo HL5-FB Fat-Boy in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, upgraded with gold hardware and Golden Age humbuckers. Produced in Korea by Samick, this guitar takes its design cues from the Gibson L-5 CES. Upon its introduction, the Fat-Boy was a very popular model, helping to establish the Hondo brand (a joint venture between Samick and the Fort Worth, Texas-based International Music Corporation) despite never being included in any catalogs.

This archtop features maple body construction, a two-piece maple neck and a rosewood fretboard, with multi-ply binding throughout. With sound post body construction and a full 17” lower bout width, the Fat-Boy has a natural woody character with ample acoustic resonance and a percussive midrange chop, perfect for jazz chording, qualities faithfully captured by the upgraded pair of Stew-Mac Golden Age humbuckers. These pickups meter at 8k ohms in the bridge position and 7.3k at the neck, suited to both complex chording and sonorous lead work, all while retaining an inherent smoothness accentuated by a set of 11-49 flatwound strings. This Fat-Boy weighs 7lbs 13oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with low action and accurate intonation.

The two-piece maple neck has a medium C-shaped profile carve with just enough roundness in the shoulders, measuring .850” deep at the 1st fret and .925” at the 9th. The rosewood fretboard is framed by multi-ply fret edge binding, matching Gibson spec. The medium jumbo frets are in fantastic shape with their full factory height and well-rounded crowns, showing no wear and playing cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The replacement nut measures 1 11/16” (43mm) in width, just behind the zero fret. The headstock is framed by multi-ply binding and sports the “sunrise” Hondo logo, and the replacement set of genuine Grover Rotomatic tuners turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch, with clean gold plating.

All of the electronics function as intended, with the Golden Age pickups wired to the stock harness and governed by a three-way selector switch, individual pairs of Volume and Tone knobs, and a Master Volume control on the Venetian cutaway. The original model label is visible through the bass-side F hole. Hardware includes the upgraded Byrdland-esque trapeze tailpiece, and floating, pinned rosewood bridge with subtle compensation on the saddle. There are a few small filled mounting holes from the previous pickguard bracket and tailpiece. The plastics are all replacements, including the quintet of reflector cap knobs and an L-5 style pickguard framed by multi-ply binding.

The gloss Natural finish highlights the grain in the maple body and very subtle figuring on the back. This is a notably well-kept guitar with cosmetic wear limited to a very small area of light buckle rash on the back central to the waist and just a scant few tiny nicks and faint scratches on the body as a whole. There is also one small, faint square "tan line" from a previously removed sticker adjacent to the pickup selector. The smooth gloss finish on the neck profile is pristine.

A Gretsch-branded TKL black tolex hardshell case is included.