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- Order number: 738
The 490 was Höfner's best-selling twelve-string guitar, very successful for years and in the lineup from 1968 to 1992. In the UK, it was marketed under the name Arizona. During these 24 years it was reworked countless times, from the shape of the body to the headstocks, pickguard, bridge and string suspension, no detail actually remained as it was in the beginning. Ours has a date stamp in the neck pocket under the removable Höfner patent neck: 08/82, so it dates from August 1982.
The top is made of bookmatched spruce, sides and back of subtly flamed maple. The black lacquered neck is made of maple and has a rosewood fingerboard with pearloid dot inlays in six frets. It has a truss rod, of course, as well as high-quality open tuners. Black bindings are mounted around the body, the rosewood bridge has the classic 12 string plugs made of black plastic.
Unknown, we acquired the guitar unplayable because the grub screw of the patent neck was missing and the string action at the 12th fret was thereby a handsome 7 mm. Therefore, we suspect that the Höfner was in the hands of very inexperienced owners, also the almost complete lack of playing wear proves a very quiet life somewhere under the bed or on the closet. The 490 came in a sturdy canvas case, so it is likely that it was always well protected from dust, damage and UV light.
After we had mounted a suitable grub screw from our stocks and corrected the neck angle, there was not much left to do. A complete cleaning including blowing out the body, polishing all lacquer surfaces, cleaning and re-oiling the tuners and polishing the pickguard were quickly done. We oiled the as-new fingerboard and polished the frets. Of course, at the end, a new set of Pyramid strings in phosphor bronze was mounted and a basic setup was done.
If you are looking for a classic German acoustic flat top with 12 strings, this beautiful Höfner is perfect for you. The three-tone look is harmonious: black for pickguard and headstock, rosewood for bridge and fretboard, plus the beautiful clear lacquered natural wood. Of course, everything works as it should and the guitar is absolutely clean and odor-free. It now plays perfectly easy again, thanks to 2 mm string action at the 12th fret, modern slim neck and like-new frets. The sound is wonderful, twelve strings don't get more beautiful: clear, brilliant, rich overtones, harmonically combined with wide mids and a quite fat bass. All this warm and full of wood, you can hear Barclay James Harvest, Leo Kottke and the late Beatles. There might not be too many 490s left in this perfect condition, so if you're looking for one, don't wait any longer.
Overall length 111 cm/43.7”; body length 50,5 cm/19.9”; lower bout width 40 cm/15.7”; waist width 27,5 cm/10.8”; upper bout width 29 cm/11.4”; body depth 9,5 cm/3.7” at neck, 11 cm/4.3” at lower bout; scale length 64,5 cm/25.4” (zero fret to saddle); fingerboard width 4,6 cm/1.8” at zero fret, 5,4 cm/2.1” at 12th fret; overall weight 2.160 g, string action on 12th fret 2 mm/0.08”.
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