500/1 Guitars

1958 Hofner 500/1 "Violin" Bass

Color: Sunburst, Rating: 9.00, $7,500.00 (ID# 01821)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


A Fine and Totally Original 1958 Honer 500/1 Violin Bass


1958 Hofner 500/1 "Violin" Bass


This exceptionally rare and totally original 1958 Hofner 500/1 "Violin" bass weighs just 4.40 lbs and has a 10 3/4 inch wide 'violin' shaped full hollow-body with a two-piece spruce top, a 'flat' two-piece book-matched laminated maple back and triple-bound laminated maple sides. Early style (no truss-rod), thirty inch scale three-piece maple/beech/maple neck with a nut width of 1 5/8 inches and a really fat profile. Rosewood fretboard with twenty original 'jumbo' frets and mother-of-pearl dot position markers. 'Kolb' open-back strip tuners with engraved plates and squared-off pearloid oval buttons. Black laminated headstock face with vertical "HOFNER" logo printed in white and framed by decorative lines. Original single-ply 'tortoiseshell' pickguard with white edge. Two 'close-spaced' (2 1/4 inches apart) Hofner black plastic bodied single-coil 'bakelite' pickups with individual height adjustments and outputs of 5.79k and 5.82k. Two 'rotary' volume controls and three two-way 'slider' switches for "Rhythm/Solo", "Bass" and "Treble". Hofner white plastic 'teacup' control knobs with ribbed sides and metal tops, all on a 'wide' rectangular tortoiseshell base with white edging (stamped in black "D.G.M. cng"). The original potentiometers are made by 'Preh' and are all stamped "278" (July 1958). 'Floating' four-saddle ebony bridge with ebony base with four 'friction-fit' moveable saddles. Hofner specific nickel 'trapeze' style tailpiece. Apart from a few small insignificant surface marks on the top and back this fantastic bass is in exceptionally fine (9.00) condition. Housed in a fifties Gibson EB-1 four-latch shaped, brown hardshell case with pink plush lining (9.00).

This is a superb example of an early "Beatle" Bass… Walter Hofner conceived of the idea of a short scale violin shaped hollow electric bass guitar in 1955 and introduced the finished product at the Frankfurt trade show in 1956.
It was most certainly based on the Gibson EB-1 which was commonly called the Gibson Electric Bass. The measurements are very similar, the Gibson having an 18 7/8 inch long body (Hofner 18 inches); the Gibson body width 11 1/4 inches (Hofner 10 3/4 inches); the Gibson body thickness 2 inches (Hofner 1 3/4 inches); the Gibson scale length 30 1/2 inches (Hofner 30 inches). That famous bass was introduced in 1953 and also featured a 'violin-shaped' body - but was made of solid mahogany and featured a telescopic end-pin for playing bass upright style.

This rare 1958 example features the two Hofner black plastic bodied single coil "Bar" pickups, which are probably the most desirable pickups for collectors. After all, this was the type of pickup fitted to John and Paul's Hofner Club guitars in the early Hamburg days, and of course to Stu Sutcliffe's 500/5 Bass! These pickups were used only between ca. 1958 and 1959.

"Founded in Schonbach in 1887 by master luthier Karl Hofner, the company became the largest manufacturer of stringed and fretted instruments in Germany. Craft skills and business initiative laid the foundation for a reputation that, even before World War I, extended far beyond the borders of Germany. His two sons, Josef and Walter, joined their father's company in 1919 and 1921 respectively. They successfully expanded Hofner's worldwide market, enabling them to survive the years of recovery, which marked the phase after World War II and the related resettlement from the "Sudetenland" to Bavaria. In 1950, new production facilities were built in Bubenreuth.
To date, more than two million stringed and fretted instruments - from student to master models - have been produced, 75% of which have been exported worldwide, emphasising the outstanding position enjoyed by Karl Hofner GmbH in the world market.The product range of Hofner is extensive and not only confined to stringed instruments and classical guitars. In 1955, Walter Hofner, a creative businessman as well as a violin and guitar maker, invented an electrically amplified semi-acoustic bass. The distinctive 500/1 bass was launched at the 1956 Frankfurt Music Fair and subsequently rose to fame under a different name. In 1961, Paul McCartney bought his first Hofner bass in a shop in Hamburg and used it on many of the Beatles' most famous songs. Paul still plays his "Beatle Bass" live on stage today."

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