Up for sale, a 1966 Hofner 500/1 Violin "Beatle Bass" in excellent condition and in perfect working order. 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 D'addario flatwound 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 from 1965-66, this bass boasts the larger pickup surrounds, raised Hofner logo on the headstock face, short tailpiece, and slightly larger control plate introduced in the mid-60s. This is the last version of the 500/1 to feature the famed staple pickups essential to the Beatle sound, with blade pickups introduced shortly after this bass was produced.
The maple neck has a U-shaped profile carve with generous shoulder and a round, full feel, measuring .955" at the 1st fret and 1.020" at the 12th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard retains the original frets which have well-rounded crowns and their full factory height, showing only faint wear beneath the A and D strings on frets 1-10, and sparingly little wear further up the fretboard. 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, the stock tuners turn smoothly with pearloid buttons, and the original foil stickered serial number is present. The pearloid heel cap retains the original "Made in Western Germany" text.
The electronics work as intended, and the original wiring harness is intact, with Preh-branded pots that date to the 23rd week of 1966. 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 original teacup knobs and white pearloid control plate are present, while the lightly aged matching raised pearloid pickguard is a modern replacement. The original nickel tailpiece has light surface patina, and the original ebony floating bridge is intact too.
The gloss Sunburst finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, and the finish exhibits tight lacquer checking on top, with light buckle rash across the upper bout on the back, a few small finish chips on the bass side at the waist, and a few additional minor marks on the body parameter. Slight separation at the two-piece neck heel was recently professionally addressed, and the neck profile has one ding on the treble side fretboard edge at the binding on fret 5, along with a few nicks on the neck profile, yet nothing distracting to the palm while fretting.
This Hofner offers exquisite playability and tone, with a feature set only offered from 1965-66, and a professional setup with D'addario flatwound strings.
A modern form-fit black tolex hardshell case is included.