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- Order number: 774
Höfner's 470 and its British counterpart, the Committee, are all legendary collectors' items and the best Höfner ever built. Extremely elaborate and perfect in terms of craftsmanship, still unrivalled today, these guitars with their extremely high price were reserved for very well-heeled buyers at the time, and correspondingly few were sold altogether. Left-handed models did not exist as a series at all - in a time when left-handers were still being "re-educated", only a handful of individual pieces of various models were made as special orders. Our 470 S has the body date 12/11.67. It is the only left-handed 470 we have ever heard of.
Without compromise, only the finest timber was used, which the wood supplier Kollitz and Höfner's own sawmill had to offer. The top is made of fine-grained, bookmatched and solid Alpine spruce, sides and back of likewise solid, beautifully flamed maple. The neck, including the headstock, is made of eleven pieces of wood glued together lengthwise: Flamed maple on the outside, then two strips of mahogany, two strips of maple, and a strip of rosewood in the middle. It doesn't get more elaborate than that. Of course, a truss rod is built in. The neck foot is made of the same woods and is set on. The ebony fingerboard has, of course, genuine mother-of-pearl inlays and side markers at eight frets, as well as fine white decoration stripes. The ebony headstock also has inlays of genuine mother-of-pearl. The Escutcheon tailpiece is massive and gold-plated like the encapsulated Schaller tuners. The pickguard is made of plexiglass with a special feature: Since Höfner has never made side-inverted plexi pickguards, this left-handed guitar was simply made by turning a right-handed pickguard upside down, painting the rear trim strip and gluing on the logo. Thus, the bevelling at the edge is not at the top, as usual, but at the bottom. The bridge is made of ebony. As with all 470s, the special highlight is of course the extremely elaborate bindings. Up to twelve layers in three different pearloid colours: White, black and marbled brown, with a spruce strip in between. On the back, they run into the legendary and unique ornament in leaf shape, which could not be reproduced on any series-produced guitar to this day. More guitar building art was not possible then and still is not possible today!
Who the first owner was and ordered the guitar from the factory back then is not known, nor is it known exactly how it came from the Höfner workshop back then. But then it was in a musical family for many years: it belonged to the Erfurt musician, singer and comedy entertainer Jens Hellmann, stage name Vicky Vomit, a cousin of the East German superstar and singer Tamara Danz of the band Silly, both very famous in the former GDR. There is a YouTube video (see picture and video) showing him with the guitar in its former state: He had removed the pickguard because it bothered him. It was found again later, but unfortunately not the mounting bracket. The tailpiece was a simple Framus model from ABM-Müller. An additional strap button was worn out and wobbly simply screwed into the side above the neck. Why these modifications were made is not known. Hellmann sold the Höfner around 2015 to a well-known German Höfner collector, who picked it up in Erfurt at the musicians place and from whom we were finally able to take it over. Judging by screw holes and pressure marks, the Schaller tuners, the white truss rod cover and the bridge are original, as is the Plexi pickguard. Only the lost pickguard bracket and Escutcheon tailpiece had to be replaced with matching parts.
First, the rather dirty but overall extremely well preserved guitar was completely cleaned, the body was blown out and all the lacquer surfaces were elaborately polished. The fingerboard was sanded and oiled, and the frets were smoothed and polished. The tuners, pickguard and bridge were also carefully cleaned and refurbished. Of course, we removed the mismatched Framus tailpiece, which is inferior on this guitar, and replaced it with a gold-plated original Höfner replacement part, as well as the missing pickguard bracket. The drill hole of the mismatched strap button was closed and retouched. Finally, a new set of 011" Pyramid bronze strings and a setup - that's it.
Of course, this guitar is a unique opportunity for left-handed fans of German post-war guitars! 470s and Committees are already very rare, and as a left-handed model we actually only know of this one. Despite its 56 years and certainly turbulent times in the Hellmann/Vomit family, it has almost no traces of use. Fortunately, he never used it as a stage or tour instrument. A few tiny, barely visible scratches on the top, the retouched screw holes of the strap button and Framus tailpiece, the somewhat "stripped" gold plating of the tuners - that's it. Everything else is flawless and, of course, perfectly clean and odourless. Visually, the Höfner is absolutely top - very noble, with impressively beautiful materials, extremely tastefully designed, a blond dream with black and gold accents. But the 470 is not only beautiful, it is also very easy to play thanks to the modern neck and fingerboard profile as well as the very low string action, the frets and fingerboard are perfect. In addition, the large, massive 17-inch body provides plenty of sound volume. Soft and very woody sounds dominate, harmonious all around and well pronounced over the entire frequency spectrum. Long sustain, fast response and plenty of volume - making the Höfner extremely assertive without ever becoming shrill or tinny, no matter how hard you play it. Of course, first of all, it is 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 is too good to just stand in the showcase, you should play it regularly. And it's probably the only chance for left-handers to acquire a matching and completely authentic 470!
Overall length 41.3”/105 cm; body length 20.5”/52 cm; lower bout width 17.3”/44 cm; waist width 10.2”/26 cm; upper bout width 12.2”/31 cm; body depth 3.1”/8 cm; scale length 25.4”/64,5 cm (zero fret to saddle); fingerboard width 1.7”/4,2 cm at zero fret, 1.9”/4,9 cm at 12th fret; overall weight 2.410 g, string action on 12th fret 0.06”/1,5 mm.
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