Hohner Rockwood LX90 - mid 1990s

Bob Leggitt | Friday, 27 June 2014 |

This is a rather evocative ad for the Chinese-made Hohner Rockwood LX90 Strat copy, published in January 1995. Whilst the ad doesn’t specifically say that improving your love life would purely be down to the guitar, and that the depicted beach babe was a ‘serving suggestion’ rather than an inclusion in the deal, I’m guessing that was the case.

The ad states that the LX90’s body is made from solid basswood, although previous, more expensive Rockwood LXs were deemed by reviewers to be plywood, and even if the solid designation is not a mistake, what quality of basswood you’d have been looking at in an instrument starting at £99 is probably best not considered. The sunburst is of the type typically used on solid wood rather than '90s ply (it doesn't have the 'blacked out' contour), so the claim probably is correct, with the low price explained by the Chinese manufacture, which was achieving unprecedented value in some instruments in the mid 1990s. The term 'solid wood' often conjures up notions of nicely grained, two-piece renditions, but the reality could be very different - even at much, much higher price points. The Fender Tex Mex Strat's body memorably comprised numerous strutted blocks of timber, but technically it was still a 'solid wood' guitar.

Something that definitely is a mistake in the ad, though, is the pickup orientation. Clearly the guitar has three single coils, and not two as denoted.

Despite their entry level status, the Rockwoods of the early to mid ‘90s did do well in reviews. They were generally regarded as player-friendly and good value, with no nasty surprises in the pickup department. At least one pro reviewer spoke of a sound that belied the low price. Where the Rockwoods did often disappoint in the real world, off the shelf, was of course in their setup, which could never be much more than hit and miss in a guitar with no margin in its retail price for professional tech attention before sale.

An interesting ad though, even if it does raise more questions than it answers.

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