|Mid 60's Hofner 500/1 Bass
Here is the beloved Hofner "Beatle" Bass, as it has come to be known. These instruments were made in Germany and popular only in Europe until Beatle Paul McCartney started using one and put Hofner on the global map. These were not nearly as desirable as Fenders or Gibsons during the 50’s; McCartney’s reason for buying it was that it was symmetrical in shape and could easily be turned around to be played left-handed, and more importantly, that it was cheap in price. McCartney’s frugality led to the discovery of a famous bass tone.
The hollow body gives a warm, deep, round tone and is virtually weightless (around 5 lbs), providing hours of comfort and playability. Two blade pickups replaced the staple pickups of the earlier versions from the 50’s and early 60’s. There is a volume control for each pickup (no tone control) and three slider switches: one for each pickup and a rhythm/solo switch, which adds a boost to the signal. These pickups are very hot to begin with, so using the boost switch could cause an amp to overdrive. This would take away from the beauty of this bass sound, which is thumpy and round, with very little sustain. Flatwound strings seem to work best with it, as they add to the thumpy quality of the tone.
Looks: Symmetrical violin shape, classic tobacco sunburst finish, complemented with pearloid pickguard and control plate make it a thing of beauty.