Any opinions on "Beatle Basses"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I have a great, multi-tone 5-string bass, and am looking to add a 4-string. What are people's opinions of the Hoffner style basses? Can you get decent tones out of them? Are they versatile at all?
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Honestly the only one I liked was the Epiphone. I liked it over the real deal actually... it was heavier and had a denser sound.

    IMO it was pretty good for slap as far as tone, but the body shape was too wierd for me.
    Plucky The Bassist likes this.
  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I have only played a Hofner, and I loved it. I am a huge McCartney fan and this bass gave his tone with minimal tweaking and no palm muting.

    Not a bass to buy if you looking for a ton of different tones, but if you like the few tones it is capable of producing then you will love it. I wish I could afford it's 2000 dollar price tag.


    -To fragile to be a gigging machine like a P or J.
    -Didn't try slap, (had stock flats) but I don't think it is capable of making a good slap tone.
    -short scale, if you don't like that
    -Funky Neck, really deep front to back (felt deeper then my Vette) yet tight string spacing on a small neck width (smaller than a J, I think)

    Hope that helps
  4. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I have never played one, but I have heard some bad things.

    As mentioned above, the neck not well set in the body.
  5. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    No... Although I have never played one myself, but all of those I have seen and heard were not versatile at all and the tone sucked... Unless you are a die-hard Beatles fan, i would not recommend it... even if oyu are, then I would recommend a Ric or a Wal, cause McCartney played those, too
  6. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Yeah, I dont want to sound like a jerk (especially since I have never played one), but from what I have heard, I think you should save your money. Heck, even Paul admitted that he bought one back in the day because he couldn't afford a P-bass....
  7. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I don't know anything about Rickenbackers or Wals, but I do know that it would take a fair amount of palm muting and boomy eqing to get a solidbody to sound like a hollow body. Not that it isn't possible, just that when I played the Hofner it's sound was totally different from everything else in the store.

    This is not a bass to do a Victor Wooten impression on, it was not designed with that reason in mind. What it does do great is thumpy fingerstyle and pickstyle. It has a great a solid sound for solid playing, and probably wouldn't lend itself well to playing super fast showoff type playing.

    Also the hohner I played listed at about 2000 new, but a Wal will set you back a lot farther than that. Probably enough to get the Hofner and then buy another great high level production bass like a Streamer or a Cirrus.

    Also On some drumming festival video, the bassist playing with Mike Portnoy was playing one, but they were doing beatles covers. He sounded just like Sir Paul, it was pretty good to.
    El Pelusa likes this.
  8. MyDogBo


    Aug 25, 2002
    i have a short scale Model 1 Turner (featherweight) that is fantastic - the last thing you can compare it to is a j style bass - it's not a slapper but a great tapper - i tend to play it more like a guitar sometimes - sound is largely a factor of combination of woods, chambering (in this case), design and electronics - i get Paul and a great Rick sound out of it if tweek the gain, piezo and bucker settings -tons of tonal quality. Is it numbero uno? .. it's one of them .. i think you'd have alot of fun with one if you can find a lower cost knockoff version of a hoffner - i see them on ebay for a few hundred all the time -
  9. MyDogBo


    Aug 25, 2002
    ok - im not getting defensive just a small challenge to your statement..

    Now Sir Paul can afford anything he wants - but still tours and play his hofner for most of his sets .. venture to guess why..?
  10. Fred312b

    Fred312b What if I want to play jazz precisely? Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    possibly because it is the beatle bass? i would guess he plays beatles songs too (not that there's anything wrong with the beatles (apparently they've influenced a few people over time ;) )). a side note- one of my roommates used to get the awful magazine "entertainment weekly" and one week they had a headline "do the beatles still matter?". i wonder what britney would say?
    Jhclark likes this.
  11. Because he's Paul, and that's what people want him to play. He's probably pretty nostalgic about it as well. I still play my first bass even though it's garbage, and I have enough basses, but I've had it for 20 years.

    Sidenote- when I saw him last year he tossed that bass from center stage to the side. More than likely the most expensive bass in the world and he's tossing it around like nothing.
    iunno likes this.

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    I personaly have a thing for Hofner basses , they get as close to the upright tone then anyother electric bass i have played. They are a one trick dog though.
    El Pelusa and Jhclark like this.
  13. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    They're decent enough basses, but like it was said above, they are very fragile.

    My dad played one for a while in the 60s. His band was recording a commercial and some guy at the tv studio knocked the hofner off the stand and the body cracked, right where it meets the neck. My dad brought it to a music store and the guy there traded him cash plus a brand new fender jazz.

    So i guess the lesson is... if you're going to get one, be careful with it!
  14. MyDogBo


    Aug 25, 2002
    that does sound dumb of me upon review. i seriously think its a combination of things, sound, people wanting him to play that bass and the enjoyment he gets from it. they're very light, short scale and really easy to play. i saw him live and up close a few years ago and it does get tossed around, even his little dinky strap looks orig - god help his stage grip if he were to drop that thang! i think theyre great fun and everyone should get to enjoy one, they take gettting use to because of shape/size/feel but a blast once you dial in to them ....
  15. As everything has it's purpose (good points), the Hofner is really light, Paul (yeah, I can refer to him as "Paul" he's my good buddy... :p ) has said he plays that bass differently, and has a tendency to play higher up on the neck than he would with other basses. That being said, could you really distinguish the tone of say "Rain" and "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite?" After hearing Anthology, I could have sworn that was the Hofner, but it (supposedly) was the Ric.
  16. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    I've always wanted a Hoffner but wasn't ready to shell out the $$ for what would be a novelty bass for me. A one trick pony soundwise and short scale to boot - yet the nostalgia drove me on (it's because of McC that I'm playing bass at all).

    After doing some research I finally settled on a black Turser. I must say that I am astounded at the quality of this thing. Flawless finish, bound (straight no dead-spot) neck. Just don't popish the hardware ;) I put a set of Pyramids on it and I have no regrets at all. It cops the sound remarkably close and is really fun to play!!! It's not a Hoffner, but so cost $250 and has a lifetime warranty! It may be plywood instead of spruce, but I'm not afraid to take it out on gigs and I've fooled a good amount of people with the look and sound. I don't take it out very often but then again I don't feel guilty about having $2K sitting in the closet.

    I've got a good number of excellent basses but when I want to "See Her standing There" I like whipping this out.
  17. MyDogBo


    Aug 25, 2002
    NOPE .. I'm betting most mortals couldn't .. ;)
  18. MyDogBo


    Aug 25, 2002
    my Turner has some major boost and crazy electronics so its a different animal but did cost slightly more. I love picking up my short scale ... that's part of the fun ..

    this is precisely what I was suggesting to the originator of this post.. smart .. very smart..
  19. byrdsfan


    Feb 9, 2004
    I recently attended the Beatlefest in NJ. It had a Battle of Bands with 19 groups, and as you can imagine, it was more like a fake Hofner-fest. There were about two real ones and fakes, one of which belonged to the guy in my friend's band.
    I know the guy too but when he asked me my opnion of his just purchased Rogue, I realized i didnt know him well enough to say that to me that was one brand i would never consider. But that said, it was nice looking and sounded fine on stage. His concern was it going of tune because he bumped into somebody going on stage and it went out. He played the song without the "E."
    After that he had me hold it for him to keep it tune but they didnt make the second round. It felt nice and looked well-made, the neck was fine.
    The other fakes sounded ok on stage too but there was no mistaking the real Hofners, at least by looks.
    The best band there was A Nation Once Again and they were intense. They had the uniforms, the hair, the guitars, including the beautiful six-string Ric Lennon used. They even had, get this, a very professional fake nose for "Ringo." The had the sound and moves too. They came in second behind a NJ bar band that was heavy on the snyths.
    The show was carried live on the web and some of the performances were posted on the usenet because they were so horrible, like that American Idol guy. But my friend's band was also put up because i asked the poster to do it!

    As far as Tursers, i have an acoustic guitar from them and love it. Harmony Central posters rave about their psuedo Hofners.
  20. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Well, the Hofner has a distinct tone, as does the P-bass. Perhaps he wants to keep his tone consistent? Also, he could have just grown attached to the Hofner basses for whatever reason.

    As you said, he can afford anything he wants, so why doesn't he just play a Fodera or Alembic? The answer is that they DO NOT sound like a Hofner, and the beatles bass sound is Hofner.