Up for sale, a 1978 Hofner 500/1 Violin "Beatle Bass" in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Ostensibly 100% original save for a replacement white pearloid pickguard, this bass has a unique feature set replicating circa 1964 spec, yet it is unquestionably a late '70s example given the stickered serial, 1978 dated CTS pots, untouched solder, and "Made in Germany" text on the back. Unique to this particular instrument and distinct from regular production 500/1s in '78 iare the staple pickups, teacup knobs, raised headstock logo, and white pickup switches.
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 a set of 45-100 flatwound strings.
There's a distinctive pluck, percussive cut, and hollow thud that this bass delivers even unplugged, with a broad sonic range between the two "staple" pickups. There's more nasally upper midrange cut and sweet growl from the bridge pickup and a girthy, broad thump from the neck position. 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 presence in the “Solo” position. Featherweight at 4lbs 10oz, this fully hollow instrument has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with comfortable action and accurate intonation.
The one-piece maple neck has a medium depth C-shaped profile carve with full shoulders in every register and a bit more overall heft further up the fretboard, measuring .825" deep at the 1st fret and .940" at the 12th. The rosewood fretboard retains the original slender frets which have their full height and well-rounded crowns, showing only very light wear on frets 1-5, extending beneath the A and D strings to fret 7. The bass plays cleanly up the 30" scale with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The fretboard width at the zero fret is 1 9/16", forward of the nut. On the headstock, the original Hofner raised logo is intact (there's no evidence of a '70s-style silkscreen ever being on the headstock), and the original pearloid button tuners turn smoothly and hold pitch well. The small stickered foil serial number sticker is also intact.
The electronics work as intended, with solder that appears untouched and CTS pots that date to the 47th week of 1978. All silkscreened text on the control plate is intact, and the teacup knobs are by all counts original, with a tiny bit of patina on the gold caps. The nickel plating on the staple pickup covers and tailpiece shows light, uniform surface patina. The original ebony floating bridge is intact too.
The warm Sunburst gloss finish is a unique burst gradient for this year of production, much lighter and more "Ice Tea" in its appearance than a typical late '70s Hofner burst, also faithful to '60s spec. Tight curly flame figuring extends liberally across the back, and there's a bit of isolated finish checking at the waist on both the top and back. Cosmetic wear is limited to an area of buckle rash on the treble side upper bout on the back, and a few additional light finish scratches and small dings on the body as a whole, largely on the back.
The original form-fit black hardshell case is included.