Höfner 492 E 12, 1966

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Instrument: The 492 was one of Höfner's most successful 12-string guitars. In Great Britain it... more
Product information Höfner 492 E 12, 1966

The 492 was one of Höfner's most successful 12-string guitars. In Great Britain it was in the portfolio as "Hofner Western", the production time was 21 years from 1964 to 1985. Only a very small share was equipped as 492 E or "Hofner Western Electric" ex factory, with a pickup by Franz Pix integrated in the fingerboard. Our 492 is one of these early models and dates from 1966.

The top is made of fine grained spruce, sides and back of mahogany. The neck is made of one piece including the headstock. It is very sturdy triple-blocked, with a narrow beech strip between the maple sides. It has a truss rod and a dark grained rosewood fingerboard with pearloid dot inlays. The tailpiece is also rosewood. Plus typical Höfner decorative inlays in the headstock, bindings around the body and a beautiful pearloid pickguard. Open Schaller single tuners.

The basis is a hand-wound single-coil pickup built by Franz Pix, which was elaborately integrated into the end of the pickguard. It is controlled with a volume and a tone knob, the standard jack socket is in the lower bout.

Instruments history:
Unknown. The large soundhole sticker only proves that the guitar was originally sold by "Musik Müller" in Hamburg, Germany. We took over the guitar in 2021 as part of a small Höfner collection. It was missing the pickguard and had mismatched string pins installed. Most of the screws and action sleeves had rust picks. Otherwise, the guitar was in very good condition.

Restoration work:
Complete cleaning, blowing out the body and polishing all lacquer surfaces. The fingerboard was slightly smoothed and oiled, the fretsticks polished. The tuners were completely disassembled, cleaned and re-oiled. (As two individual sets of 6, they are worth €200 each alone!) In addition, 12 old but unused tuner bushings were mounted. We rebuilt the missing pickguard from old pearloid material and glued it back on. We also had 12 original string pins from the early sixties in stock. As well as matching as good as new screws. The amplification was a bit more difficult - we relied on the proven services of electronics guru Helmuth Lemme, Munich. He rewound the pickup, which sounded strongly microphonic in the original, and completely potted it with wax. He replaced the two completely corroded controls with modern ones. Finally, we mounted new Pyramid bronze strings and did a setup.

Current condition:
The Höfner, which was a bit run down when we took it over, has become a real gem again and the amplified sound is better after the " treatment " at Helmuth Lemme than it ever was. One can only wonder with what primitive electrical equipment the guitar was sold at that time. Quite different is the quality of the other materials, here we have an upscale and high quality equipment. Everything works perfectly again, the guitar is stable, sturdy and can be used immediately without any restrictions. It is of course absolutely clean and odorless, the lacquer surfaces shine and the fingerboard and frets are like new. It has some patina, some nice paint crackling and quite a few tiny scratches that are only visible up close. The plastic lettering is missing the top part of the f. Quite a lot of charm and charisma - a typical vintage guitar. The acoustic sound is beautifully warm and woody, yet brilliant and silvery as expected from a good 12-string. It's all very harmonious, with long sustain and cleanly differentiated. Amplified, there's a surprise to boot, as the optimized pickup now adds a whole new dimension to the beautiful acoustic sound, incredibly powerful and stage-filling. This is probably the best sounding 492 E in the world today - Beatles, Moody Blues and Hollies say hello. Thanks to its low string action, the Höfner plays surprisingly light for a 12-string guitar. With its original pickup equipment, it is a real rarity and not only player, but also perfect for any collection. No longer a bargain, but worth every penny and a good long-term investment.

Overall length 42.5”/108 cm, body length 20.1”/51 cm, lower bout width 16.1”/41 cm, waist width 10.6”/27 cm, upper bout width 11.4”/29 cm; body depth 4.3”/11 cm, scale length 25.2”/64 cm (zero fret to saddle), fingerboard width 2”/5 cm at zero fret, 2.4”/6 cm at 12th fret; overall weight 2.300 g, string action on 12th fret 0.08”/2 mm.

Purchase and payment:
Just send us an email to info@german-vintage-guitar.com and you will receive your invoice immediately. Or simply order here through the shop.

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