Höfner 470 S E2, factory Bigsby, 1969

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Instrument: Höfner's 470 and its British counterpart, the Committee, are all legendary... more
Höfner 470 S E2, factory Bigsby, 1969

Höfner's 470 and its British counterpart, the Committee, are all legendary collector's items and the best that Höfner has ever built. Extremely elaborate and perfect in terms of craftsmanship, unrivalled to this day, these guitars with their extremely high price were reserved for very well-heeled buyers at the time, and correspondingly few were sold in total. At the time, a genuine Bigsby vibrato instead of the Höfner vibrato was available as an option at a considerable extra cost, but only a few buyers ordered this and such originals are correspondingly rare today. Our 470 was bought new in 1969, unfortunately it does not have a body date.

Only the finest wood that the supplier Kollitz and Höfner's own sawmill had to offer was used here without compromise. The top is made of fine-grained, bookmatched, triple-locked solid Alpine spruce, while the sides and back are made of massive, beautifully flamed maple. The neck, including the headstock, is made from a total of eleven pieces of wood glued lengthwise: Flamed maple on the outside, then two strips of mahogany, two strips of maple and a strip of rosewood in the centre. It doesn't get more elaborate than this. Naturally, a truss rod is built in. The neck heel is made of the same woods and is attached. The ebony fingerboard naturally has genuine bow-tie mother-of-pearl inlays in eight frets, side dots and fine white decorative stripes. The ebony headstock face also has genuine mother-of-pearl inlays in the lily of the valley style. The Bigsby tailpiece is of course heavy and massive and, like all hardware parts on this guitar, gold-plated. The pickguard is made of Perspex with decorative stripes and the Höfner logo. The roller bridge is fully compensated with an ebony base. The tuners are the tried and tested, closed single tuners from Roko. As with all 470s, the extremely elaborately crafted bindings are a particular highlight. Up to twelve layers in three different pearloid colours: White, black and mottled brown, with a spruce strip in between. On the back, they run into the legendary and unique leaf-shaped ornament, which has not been reproduced on any production guitar to this day. More guitar-making artistry was not possible then and is still not possible today!

From 1969, the type 513 "Blade" single coil pickups with double rows of magnets from Franz Pix were predominantly used, as on our guitar. Höfner fans consider them to be the brand's most punchy and best pickups and they were used until the 1990s. The two 513s are selected via a three-way switch and each has its own tone control. There is also a master volume control, and a standard jack socket for connection. Proven, solid and easy and intuitive to operate.

Instruments history:
The guitar was bought new by the first owner in 1969 and played regularly, but only as a hobby in the living room. 30 years later, he sold the guitar to a renowned German collector, who then kept it unplayed until 2023, dark, with sufficient humidity and loosened strings. Accordingly, the condition of the guitar is exceptionally good. We were offered the Höfner in the context of the successive collection liquidation and, of course, immediately accepted. We are delighted to be able to offer such a rare and perfectly preserved collector's item!

Restoration work:
Apart from a complete cleaning and reconditioning of all lacquered surfaces and very careful polishing of the gold surfaces, there was nothing to do. We sanded and oiled the fretboard, levelled and polished the frets. The tuners were disassembled, cleaned and re-oiled. Finally, of course, we put on a new set of 011 Pyramid bronze strings and carried out a setup - but that was it.

Current condition:
Of course, this 17” archtop is a unique opportunity for collectors! 470s and Committees are already very rare, but as a factory Bigsby model there are hardly more than a few handfuls in this condition. Despite its 54 years, ours has virtually no signs of use. Three completely unplayed decades send their regards. Only the wafer-thin gold plating has come off in places on the tuners, pickup covers and vibrato lever. The gold layer is actually so thin that just a few hours of playing with wet hands is enough to strip it off. The Bigsby vibrato supplied from the USA at the time is actually of better quality - here the gold plating is much thicker than on the Höfner parts and is therefore in very good condition. There are a few, completely harmless lacquer cracks at the base of the headstock and on the top, and a handful of tiny dents on the back - apart from that, the guitar is flawless. Everything is stable and fully resilient, all glue joints are bombproof and of course the Höfner is absolutely odourless and clean. Visually, it is absolutely superb - very classy, with impressively beautiful materials, extremely tastefully designed, a blonde dream with black and gold accents. But the 470 is not only beautiful, it is also very easy to play thanks to its modern neck and fingerboard profile and very low string action; the frets and fingerboard are perfect. The large, massive 17-inch body also provides plenty of sound volume. Woody sounds dominate, harmonically accentuated and well-defined across the entire frequency spectrum. At the amplifier, the 513s are quite brute and powerful, the sound is versatile, but still more rockabilly than jazz. Of course, the Höfner is first and foremost a flawless collector's item, the crowning glory of any Höfner or archtop collection and certainly a safe long-term investment with nothing to lose. In any case, it's too good to just stand in a display case, you should play it regularly. And if you are looking for a Bigsby 470, you should buy it immediately, because you won't find a better one - if at all.

Overall length 41.7”/106 cm; body length 20.5”/52 cm; lower bout width 17.3”/44 cm; waist width 10”/25,5 cm; upper bout width 12.2”/31 cm; body depth 3.1”/8 cm; scale length 25.2”/64 cm (zero fret to saddle); fingerboard width 1.7”/4,2 cm at zero fret, 2”/5 cm at 12th fret; overall weight 3.090 g, string action on 12th fret 0.06”/1,5 mm.

Purchase and payment:
Send us an e-mail to info@german-vintage-guitar.com and you will receive your invoice immediately. Or simply order here through the shop. We are happy about a direct bank transfer (SWIFT), because this is free of charge, in contrast to the PayPal payment with its service fees.

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