Up for sale, a 1966 Hofner 500/1 Violin "Beatle Bass" in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with a 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 D'addario Chromes 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. This is the last version of the 500/1 to feature the famed staple pickups essential to the early Beatles sound, with the "blade" pickups introduced by '67. Featherweight at 4lbs 6oz 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 a round C-shaped profile carve with generous shoulder, measuring .875" at the 1st fret and .999" at the 12th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard is a notably dark cut of this tonewood, retaining the original frets which have well-rounded crowns and good meat, showing no wear. The fretboard measures 1 9/16" in width just forward of the zero fret, 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, with untouched solder joints on the harness and original Preh pots that date to the 14th week of 1966. Stock plastics comprise the pair of teacup knobs and original white pearloid control plate. Hardware includes the original nickel trapeze tailpiece and a modern replacement Hofner rosewood bridge. The bass also benefits from a fresh neck reset, meeting the body at an ideal angle.
The original gloss Sunburst finish highlights flame figuring across the back, with prominent vertical lacquer checking across the entire body. Cosmetic wear includes some small nicks on top and light pick scuffing on the treble side of the body, with just a few additional nicks and finish scratches on the body as a whole. There is one finish chip through the gloss on the back, and all surrounding finish is stable. The maple neck retains its smooth gloss, and there are some small shallow marks largely clustered behind frets 9-12 that don’t distract the palm while fretting.
A vintage black tolex hardshell case is included.