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Flick Action Console

Here in America, we’ve always been used to toggle switches, blade switches, and sometimes a rotary switch for selecting pickups. But over in Europe, with its rich history of building fine accordions and melodeons, manufacturers were suddenly asked to build guitars beginning in the 1950s and ’60s. Though they did have the wisdom to more-or-less stick with the the body styles of popular hollowbody and solidbody guitars (though often with some unusual artistic touches all their own), they had boxes full of various switches and buttons, so why not adapt those for selecting pickups or tone presets? A prime example is Hofner, the company that built Paul McCartney’s iconic “violin bass.” On hollowbody models that had interesting names like the President, Committee, Club 50, and the top of their line, the Hofner Golden Hofner (yes, the Hofner name is used twice), the company routinely used a setup it called the “flick action console.” This is clearly seen on Sir Paul’s basses of the 1960s. There is a plain or pearloid rectangular panel, with volume controls on knobs at either end. In between were three switches, which you could “flick on or off” to access tone colors and pickup combinations. Simple but effective. Though the company has modernised most of the controls on their current line, their variations on the hollowbody violin bass all appropriately continue to feature the unmistakeable “flick action console.”

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