Höfner 4500 E2, 1969

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Instrument: The 4500 was one of Höfner's entry-level models with little decoration. In times... more
Höfner 4500 E2, 1969

The 4500 was one of Höfner's entry-level models with little decoration. In times when a Gibson or Fender was prohibitively expensive, this Höfner offered countless amateur musicians a lot of quality for little money. It was available with one and two pickups, mostly in a three-colour sunburst finish, much more rarely in the black and red Black Rose colour scheme offered here. The successful model remained in the range for almost twenty years from 1965 to 1984. Ours dates from 1969, the pot code 459 means week 45 in 1969.

The guitar is fully laminated, with maple veneer on the outside and mahogany on the inside. The two-piece, longitudinally glued maple neck is made of one piece including the headstock. It has a truss rod and carries a rosewood fingerboard with three pearloid dot inlays in five frets each. The black lacquered headstock also has beautiful pearloid inlays, and the pickguard and switch plate in creamy white marbled pearloid match perfectly. The massive tailpiece with tremolo displays a stylised Höfner H. A thick, three-piece binding runs around the top, and one in black is almost invisible around the back. Open tuners, fully compensated bridge.

Instruments history:
The previous owner, who is over 80 years old, told us the following on the phone: "I was a wild hippie girl! At that time, my husband and I ran an open house. Musicians, artists and all kinds of funny people went in and out, including the musicians from Guru Guru and Joy Unlimited. Well, you can imagine what was hot in the seventies, we didn't leave anything out. At some point the guitar was simply forgotten at our place, suddenly it was standing there, broken, nobody knew it and the owner never contacted us again. Possibly the owner's consciousness or memory of the guitar was also lost in the thick marijuana haze... (laughs). Later we moved it to the attic and it stayed there for 40 years. My husband has passed away in the meantime and because I'm selling the house now, the guitar fell into my hands again when I was cleaning up. I had completely forgotten about it, that was a very emotional moment. Actually, I can't sell it to you, because it's not mine. But after forty years, I guess we don't need to count on the owner (laughs)." As the little dealer's nameplate proves, the Höfner was probably originally sold new in a music shop in Nördlingen, South of Germany. The lady's grandson then found us on the internet and so we gladly bought the guitar. The neck had come out of the neck shoe, the original fastening with a threaded rod was defective. Apart from that, however, there was no major damage.

Restoration work:
We have cleaned the guitar extensively and polished all the lacquer surfaces. The first owner, who was probably a bit rude, apparently scratched "marks" into the side of the wood of the neck with a knife at the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th frets - instead of side dots. Unbelievable! We have retouched and sealed this cleanly. We repaired the neck fastening and glued it in place, correctly aligned. Nothing will ever come loose here again. The frets were polished, the fingerboard lightly sanded and oiled. The pots, scratchy and resinous after a long period of disuse, have been cleaned and made more accessible. Since the two original knobs were already crumbling, we installed matching Höfner replacement parts instead. A new set of strings was mounted and a basic setup done.

Current condition:
What a story! We are glad that the Höfner survived these wild times and that we could now give it a new start. Good 4500s are quite rare now, especially in the Black Rose finish. Many of these entry-level guitars were recklessly worn out, tinkered with and later disposed of. After the overhaul, it is now back in top condition and practically 100% original. The old "sidedots" have been retouched and are no longer a bother. Fretboard and frets are perfect and good for further decades. Various tiny scratches and dents are not noticeable all around and are nothing for a 53 year old guitar. They can't be photographed either. You can clearly see that the Höfner has not been used for about 40 years. Of course, the guitar is spotlessly clean, odourless and without any defects or damage. The string action is low, the Thinline plays as easy as pie. The 510 pickups have full power and make plenty of power, here everything goes from rockabilly to The Shadows with lots of tremolo to woody smooth jazz sounds. The 4500 is surprisingly versatile. A collector's item for Höfner and Thinline fans, but also a great and individual guitar for demanding players.

Overall length 106 cm/41.7”; body length 52 cm/20.5”; lower bout width 42 cm/16.5”; waist width 25 cm/9.8”; upper bout width 31 cm/12.2”; body depth 5 cm/2”; scale length 64 cm/25.2” (zero fret to saddle); fingerboard width 4,3 cm/1.7” at zero fret, 5,1 cm/2” at 12th fret; overall weight 2.600 g; string action on 12th fret 2 mm/0.08” (adjustable).

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