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1964 Hofner 500/1 Violin Bass Vintage Beatle Bass w/ Staple Pickups & Case


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Up for sale, a 1964 Hofner 500/1 Violin "Beatle Bass" in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. The bass indelibly linked with Paul McCartney and the Beatles, this genuine vintage 500/1 captures the round, pillowy thump and definition of the Beatles sound. Strung with flatwound 45-100 strings, this bass has the dry thud and smooth growl associated with a violin bass, in many ways mimicking the response of an upright instrument. The fully hollow body gives the bass a warm, airy tone, yet the spruce and maple tonewood construction ensures an articulate top end and distinctive, clear note attack. The bass features a pair of Hofner's "staple" humbuckers, and the Rhythm/Solo tone switch on the control panel is a useful tool for further broadening the tonal range of the instrument. A variant only seen in 1964, this bass boasts the larger pickup surrounds, raised Hofner logo on the headstock face, and longer tailpiece. This is the last version of the 500/1 to feature the famed staple pickups essential to the Beatle sound, with the "blade" pickups introduced by '67. Featherweight at 4lbs 8oz and professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, we've dialed in this 500/1 with comfortable action and accurate intonation.

The two-piece maple neck has light ripples of flame figuring along its length, with a modestly slender C-shaped profile carve at the nut which offers generous shoulder in every register and a rounder shape as you travel up the fretboard, measuring .820" at the 1st fret and .990" at the 12th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard retains the original frets which have well-rounded crowns and their full factory height, showing virtually no wear. The nut measures 1 9/16" in width, and the scale length is an effortless 30". On the headstock, the original raised Hofner logo is in great shape, and the stock open-gear tuners turn smoothly with pearloid buttons.

The electronics work as intended, and both staple pickups are original and have just been rewound to original factory spec, with great care taken to use correct wire, carefully weighed and estimated for the proper number of turns to achieve the desired output and tonal characteristics. The control plate and wiring harness were substituted in the instrument's lifetime with a slightly later assembly circa 1970, featuring vintage pots, switches, and knobs. This plate is slightly wider than the original, requiring very minor enlarging of the control cavity route. The white pearloid pickguard is original, as is the floating ebony bridge and nickel trapeze tailpiece.

The gloss Sunburst finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, highlighting tight bookmatched flddleback straight flame figuring across the back. There is vertical lacquer checking on the spruce top, with wear otherwise limited to very faint buckle rash on the back with a few additional ancillary minor marks on the instrument as a whole.

The original hardshell case with textured black exterior and green felt interior is included. The case retains its original handle and functional latches.