The strange history of Hugh Cornwell’s Höfner S7L – the ‘Razorwood’ electric guitar made famous by The Stranglers

Hugh Cornwell's Hofner S7L
(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

If you happened to be watching The Stranglers performing Golden Brown on BBC’s Top of the Pops in the early 1980s, you may have found yourself wondering about the strange-looking electric guitar that singer Hugh Cornwell was holding. 

None more black in colour, of course, but with a strange blade-like body shape with a Fender-ish headstock, it wasn’t immediately unidentifiable from any sources we have to hand. But when we ran into Hugh last year, we were able to ascertain that the guitar was a Höfner and so we contacted Steve Russell, a Höfner historian, who identified the guitar as an S7L, a highly unusual model that was only available between 1978 and 1984. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

David Mead

With over 30 years’ experience writing for guitar magazines, including at one time occupying the role of editor for Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, David is also the best-selling author of a number of guitar books for Sanctuary Publishing, Music Sales, Mel Bay and Hal Leonard. As a player he has performed with blues sax legend Dick Heckstall-Smith, played rock ’n’ roll in Marty Wilde’s band, duetted with Martin Taylor and taken part in charity gigs backing Gary Moore, Bernie Marsden and Robbie McIntosh, among others. An avid composer of acoustic guitar instrumentals, he has released two acclaimed albums, Nocturnal and Arboretum.