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Buying vintage hofner beatle bass, what to look for?
Old 10th November 2013
  #31
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Just got myself a Hofner made in Germany reissue 500/1 bass. It is absolutely beautiful and the sound is so characteristic! But then again because the character is so strong it is not an all round bass. If you only want one bass then this is not the one to go for. What am I complaining? I got it for a silly price
Old 10th November 2013
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah330 View Post
I have one of the handmade German ones from a few years ago. It's an amazingly light and unique sounding bass. I usually run it through an old Marshall Plexi. It's a really fun bass to play. Don't count out the handmade version!
I agree, fantastic bass.
Old 20th November 2013
  #33
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noah330's Avatar
Def!!!!

Old 20th December 2013
  #34
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Hello all. I'm new to this forum. I jus started looking for a vintage Hofner Beatle bass and I've been watching a few on eBay ...... Mostly mid 60s with a price range of $1,400 to $2,300 (that don't seem to be moving at those prices). Since the necks seem to be the weak point of these guitars, what's the consensus on the new vintage models? How's the quality and sound compared to a true vintage bass? Are they worth the $2,800 plus or is it wiser to get a true vintage guitar?

Any thoughts or help would be appreciated!
Old 20th December 2013
  #35
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I would buy 2-3 new P or J basses before I spent $3k on a new Hofner. Not that they are bad, but if you want vintage bass tone and can get it for less, do it. I do not think the new ones will hold their value as good as a great old one.

They play weird. They sound unique. They feedback when cranked.

I liked mine enough, but I don't miss it.
Old 20th December 2013
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e3p0 View Post
I would buy 2-3 new P or J basses before I spent $3k on a new Hofner. Not that they are bad, but if you want vintage bass tone and can get it for less, do it. I do not think the new ones will hold their value as good as a great old one.

They play weird. They sound unique. They feedback when cranked.

I liked mine enough, but I don't miss it.
I agree that's there's no real practicality in buying what was originally considered to be a budget or "mid-line" guitar for anything close to 3 grand but you said it, they sound "unique". There's no chance in hell I'll ever be using this in a live situation ... only in the studio so a P or J bass wouldn't fit the bill. And it's a bucket-list-Beatles thing for me. It's hard to put a price on that.
Old 21st December 2013
  #37
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They do have some "mojo" or something. I had mine for only a couple of weeks. Played it at one band practice, recorded one song with it, and sold it. Cool enough, but I am in more of a guitar mode right now. Since the 500/1 I have bought a Les Paul and traded it for an Explorer.
Old 21st December 2013
  #38
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I own the hand made replica of the original 500/1. It's definitely got the sound IMO. I never played a bass that is so light and was also new to the flatwound strings, but you get used to that very fast. And it is simply a beautiful guitar to look at, also not unimportant
Old 21st December 2013
  #39
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FFTT's Avatar
 

In a way, seeing McCartney with a Hofner is part of his whole stage persona,
much like Bo Diddley with his box shaped guitar.

Today when Brian Ray takes over on bass, he's using a Gibson EB or Guild Starfire Bass and it sounds perfectly fine.

If a Hofner is so critical to the sound, then why isn't Brian using another Hofner
or just borrowing one of Paul's for the songs where Paul is on piano?

Yes a Hofner looks cool and the originals are beautifully made, but you gotta
keep in mind in 1966-67, a New German Hofner 501 sold for $99.00 (400DM)
Old 22nd December 2013
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
In a way, seeing McCartney with a Hofner is part of his whole stage persona,
much like Bo Diddley with his box shaped guitar.

Today when Brian Ray takes over on bass, he's using a Gibson EB or Guild Starfire Bass and it sounds perfectly fine.

If a Hofner is so critical to the sound, then why isn't Brian using another Hofner
or just borrowing one of Paul's for the songs where Paul is on piano?

Yes a Hofner looks cool and the originals are beautifully made, but you gotta
keep in mind in 1966-67, a New German Hofner 501 sold for $99.00 (400DM)
Why I don't necessarily disagree with you, I would like to make a couple of points. First off when Brian Ray takes over on bass, the overall sound of Paul's band doesn't have quite the "sparseness" sonically that those Beatle (or even Paul's lesser produced solo albums) have therefore in my opinion you're not going to hear that hollow, woody, thumpy sound that Hofners are known for. From the concerts I've heard, Paul's mixes are huge compared to the original versions. When there's less to compete with, I personally feel that the sound of the Hofner works best. And the other comment you made is probably more of the truth .... the Hofner IS Paul's signature and his stage persona. That's reason enough to not have anyone using one.

And yeah, they were cheap, mid line guitars but so are a lot of things that were made 50+ years ago that fetch top dollar in the vintage/collectible world. At that point, it's not just an instrument. There's a cool factor that you have to add to the equation when you're talking about the value of something like a Hofner.
Old 13th November 2015
  #41
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So, with all this said about original Hofners and re-issues going for $2000 plus US dollars, what is everyone's opinion on the Hofner CT Cavern Bass?
Old 13th November 2015
  #42
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For the kind of money you have to spend today for a Hofner R/I,
as a vintage Hofner owner who also owned a Rick 4001, I'd go to a Rick 4001-4003 with flat wounds or go to a Gretsch semi-hollow bass also with flat wounds.

You need to try these guitars and feel how the string tension and string spacing affects
how the guitar plays.

Getting the tones is really not as challenging as people might think.

As much as I have a sentimental bond to my '66, my first bass, in all honesty the Gretsch I tried recently felt better, played better, had more accurate intonation and it had that hollow body sound as well.

In the stores they are strung with round wounds, but put a set of flats on one and I think
you'd be quite happy with the sound.
Old 13th November 2015
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houndog328 View Post

It's a cool bass but there's a reason why there's only one famous guy who played one
Robbie Shakespeare played one.
Old 14th November 2015
  #44
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Everything has already been said, but can I just reiterate that while those pickups shaped like a black wine gum were OK-ish on the regular guitars, they were horrible on the basses.
Go for ANY of the later pickups if possible.
Old 14th November 2015
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The5thBeatle View Post
So, with all this said about original Hofners and re-issues going for $2000 plus US dollars, what is everyone's opinion on the Hofner CT Cavern Bass?
Compared to other Hofner Beatle basses, or compared to other basses?

Compared to other Hofners, I saw one on the wall in a store, supposed to be "just like Paul's Cavern bass," but at least the knobs aren't -- it's got those cheap little black ones. Compared to other basses, if I wanted that sort of sound and had that ballpark of money to spend, I'd probably get either an Epiphone Jack Casady (big body, long scale) or Allen Woody (smaller body, shorter scale, half the money).
Old 16th November 2015
  #46
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All things considered, if I was looking for an old Hofner 500/1 bass only an old Hofner 500/1 would do. I would look for one that doesn't need any work done to it. And I would look for one near me or within a day's driving distance so I could try it out to be sure that it doesn't need any work and that I like how it plays and sounds enough to want to buy it. I would regularly look at the inventories of every guitar store that I think might occasionally have an old 500/1 in stock. And I would also check Craigslist regularly. I might also check eBay. And if I saw one that looked interesting I would ask the seller where he is located. If it is near you see if you can make arrangements to go try it out. I might even post a Craigslist ad stating that I am interested in purchasing an old Hofner 500/1 bass. And just keep looking until you find one you like.
Old 16th November 2015
  #47
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Yes, taking out a CL ad might work, thank you!
Old 17th November 2015
  #48
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I'd recommend the contemporary series. I swapped my Ignition for one and the look and build quality are a magnitude better.
Aside from looks and quality though, the best reason for me to get the contemporary was its sustain block. With this (and decent flatwounds) the bass is capable of the classic Beatles thump but also can happily cope with funk, rock etc.
It's actually a pretty amazing instrument for the money. Playable, versatile and gorgeous.
Old 18th November 2015
  #49
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They have a new Cavern Model out now with the close pickups, I believe it's the CT 500/2? Any opinions on this configuration? Scott
Old 18th November 2015
  #50
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Sorry, the model is a Hofner 500/1-SB-0 righty violin bass in Sunburst resembling the 61 bass Paul played before they hit the big time!
Old 30th January 2017
  #51
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I play 2-1/2 year old Hofner Contemporary 500/1 that was brand new when I got it. We wanted to play classic rock so we picked this up for not large money. I think with any instrument you buy you will most likely need to have it setup to your specific needs before it will really suit you, which I immediately did. I also play tenor uke (yup, RnR uke) and guitar, so transition from one to another matters, and the short scale is an easy transition. It is light, an easy player with upgraded electronics, and the Contemporary version is much more solid than the Ignition series. I have had no problems with this bass at all. It maintains its tuning for days on end and nothing has affected it except what amp I put it through - and I never use crappy cables. To date, the amp I like best, as small combo amps go (40 watts), is a VOX T-60 - tough to find but worth the hunt; not as versatile as some, but very articulate and seems to suit the Hofner extremely well; great combination for smaller gigs.
Basically it comes down to the sound, and what you want to do with your bass. I think Paul went to other basses as the music the Beatles were writing became more complex and sophisticated; also, players just like to do different things and of course he could afford anything he wanted; but he seems to still pull the Hofner out and enjoy it from time to time. Hofners absolutely have a very specific tone (amp depending) so if that's what you're looking for, a new Contemporary series is not expensive and to my mind a very nice bass. No frills; it is what it is, as with many icons. I wouldn't spend the money on an old Hofner and would love to have a new German-made; but that being said and not having loads of bucks, I like mine A LOT. If I ever want to play jazz or blues, etc, I might have to expand the stable; but for now this bass is perfect.
Old 30th January 2017
  #52
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Correction on my previous post - the VOX T-60 is 60 watts.
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