Up for sale, a 1973 Hofner 500/1 Violin “Beatle Bass” in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order. Indelibly linked with Paul McCartney and the Beatles, this genuine vintage 500/1 captures the round, pillowy thump and definition inherent to the iconic Beatles sound, with a fully hollow body and blade pickups.
There's a distinctive pluck, percussive cut, and hollow thud that this bass delivers even unplugged, with a broad sonic range between the two pickups. The bridge pickup has more nasally upper-midrange cut and sweet growl, and the neck position has a warm, broad thump. Controls include individual Volume knobs for each pickup as well as a two-way Rhythm/Solo tone switch which adds a tic-tac cut and punchy presence in the “Solo” position. Featherweight at just 5lbs, this fully hollow instrument has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with D’Addario Chromes 45-100 flatwound strings, comfortable action, and accurate intonation.
The maple neck has a round, substantial C-shaped profile carve, measuring .880" deep at the 1st fret and .970" at the 12th. The rosewood fretboard retains the original slender frets, which are practically perfect, and the bass plays cleanly in every register with a straight neck and responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The scale length is 30", and the fretboard width at the zero fret is 1 9/16", forward of the nut. On the headstock, the Hofner gold silkscreen text is present on both sides. The original sealed back tuners with white hexagonal buttons turn smoothly and hold pitch as they should.
The electronics function as intended, and the Hofner-embossed blade pickups are wired to the original harness with Preh pots that date to the 47th week of 1973. Plastics comprise the trio of switches and stock white teacup knobs, and the elevated white pearloid pickguard retains the Hofner silkscreen logo. The chrome plating on the Hofner-embossed pickup covers is bright and clean, and the original nickel trapeze tailpiece has a very faint dusting of surface patina. The original ebony floating bridge is intact.
The original Sunburst gloss finish highlights tight, dimensional flame figuring extending liberally across the bookmatched maple back, with more subtle flame on the rims. The finish shows limited broad checking, largely concentrated along the rims and edges of the top. Cosmetic wear includes a handful of minor dings on the spruce top and along the lower bout perimeter, an area of light buckle rash on the back central to the waist, and a few faint scratches in the clear coat on the body as a whole. The gloss finish on the neck profile is smooth and clean, with a scant few shallow marks on the bass-side shoulder in the upper registers that have no impact on playability.
A modern Hofner hardshell case is included.