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beatle bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ryan morris, Dec 19, 2000.

  1. ryan morris

    ryan morris

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    i saw a pic of paul mccartney's bass. it was a violen shaped beauty. anyone know what kind he played with?
  2. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000

    Check here: http://www.hofner.com

    Click on Instruments=>Guitars=>Electric Bass Guitar=>Hofner=>Vintage `62...

    It's still available these days in left and right-handed versions.
  3. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Have seen cheaper Epifone versions in stores too.
  4. Musician's friend has a Rogue copy for only $250. I'm tempted to get one.

  5. ETHYL


    Dec 19, 2000
    Beware my Bass Friend. I bought one of those Rogue "Beatle" basses and was sorry for it.

    Tsal is right, Paul played a Hofner.
    (Wonder how THAT HOFNER really feels)

    As fas as the ROGUE version:

    Yes...it looks cool.

    No...you shouldn't gig with it.

    No...they'll laugh at you if you walk into a studio with it.

    Facts are: No bottom. Not phat...at all.

    Try it in a store...use your own amp, not thier best one on display...you'll see.

  6. NukeBass


    Jul 8, 2000
    Cornelius, NC
    I think he bought it because it was cheap. Makes me wonder why the reissue Hofner basses cost as much as they do.
  7. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    The Epi Viola is actually a pretty cool instrument with excellent tone thanks to its humbuckers. I had a late sixties Hofner and it didn't sound nearly as good as these Epi's. I bought mine used on EBay for about $250. The Rogue may well suck, as has been pointed out, however.
  8. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    I had an original '64. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how they made that bass sound like they do on the Beatles' records. On record, Paul's bass sounds round and rubbery, AND he played with a pick. My bass had no bottom and was almost twangy in its tone. Maybe it was the old tube amps, and tube recording equipment?

    I've seen the Rogues and Epiphones. They're a longer scale, which is probably why Epiphone refers to theirs as a "Viola" instead of "Violin". They also came with round wound strings. It kind of defeated the purpose, if you ask me. These have a completely different vibe than the original.

  9. Last year I bought a brand new 1961 Hofner Cavern reissue. I thought it would be cool given the fact McCartney was a "lefty" bass player and so am I. I paid big bucks for the thing. What a piece of junk! With the bigsby tailpiece and floating bridge you could never tune the thing even after I had a pro set-up done. The hollow body would feedback if you got within 10 feet of your amp. The first time I took it out of the case the pearloid pickguard broke off and I had to superglue it back on. The violin shape is extremely awkward and makes large indentation marks on your arm. How McCartney ever got that sound on the Beatle recordings is amazing. I eventually traded it for a brand new Fender American Deluxe Jazz bass. I lost a few bucks on the deal but I can actually gig with this one!
  10. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    American Deluxe Fenders! Definitely the best thing Fender has done in a long time!

    I don't know if anyone has heard the story about Paul using the Hofner again. He started using it again in 1989 when he was working with Elvis Costello. Paul said a lot of work had to get done on it, and in order to intonate it, the floating bridge had to be set at a very severe angle. From the pictures I've seen, he wasn't exagerating. He's continuing to use the bass with his most recent project which was '50's rock n roll.

    Actually, I think Paul's best bass sound (and playing) came from the Rickenbacker with flatwounds. That's the bass he should be using these days. He used that from 1966 through (at least) 1976 Wings Over America tour. He's best known for the Hofner because of its shape, but the Rick is the one he recorded his best bass playing with.
  11. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    Gotta agree with this. I've played around with Hofners before. For a small handed guy like me, it was very comfortable. But in terms of tone and value, exceedingly unimpressed in both categories. If it was your first bass and, by extension, the one you were most comfortable playing (which may partly explain Sir Paul's re-discovery of the Hofner), you might want to spend money to put new pickups on it. Otherwise why spend all that money on a bass and then spend hundreds more for new pickups?
  12. ryan morris

    ryan morris

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    yeah, i was considering buying the epi. viola (EB-1 frettless) from musican's friend. it looked cool, was frettless and has some telescoping stand so you can play upright. for only about $360.
  13. Paul's best bass recordings were, in fact, done with the Rickenbacker. It was a ctually a really sweet-lloking one, which you can see on the video to "All You Need is Love". Recently PBS put on Paul McCartney Live at the Cavern (he had David Gilmour playing guitars). For that he used the Hofner. Like you all said it didn't have an extremely deep tone...but it sounded pretty good. He was running it through two 1 X 15" Mesa Boogie cabs and a Mesa Boogie head (I don't know what model)...maybe that was why his tone was strong.
  14. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    I'm such a huge McCartney fan that it kind of bums me out that Paul has re-adopted the Hofner to the extent that he has. For many years, he rejected almost his entire Beatle history, including the Hofner. Then in 1989, he included a large selection of Beatle material for his concert tour, and the Hofner made a reapperance.

    Someone mentioned the PBS broadcast of the Cavern show. In that tape, he's not even using his original anymore. He's had at least one reproduction made, maybe two. (There's a quick shot of one backstage in a rack when they come back out for an encore.)

    I love what the Beatle bass meant, but everyone who has chimed in on this thread knows that it's an instrument from the past. I love that Paul is now able to embrace his Beatle past, but he's got to put the importance of that instrument in proper perspective: it wasn't the instrument that made his playing special.

    He's been using the Mesa rig for at least the last 10 years. Kind of out of place with the Hofner. My point is that he's not using the Hofner for it's sound or playability, which should be the two determining factors. He's using the bass for nostalgic / image reasons; and to me, that's kind of sad.

  15. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Heads up, Ryan. The Epiphone EB1 (both fretless and fretted) is NOT the Viola bass discussed here! The EB1 is a copy of the original Gibson solid body bass from the fifties (EB). The Viola is basically a Hofner copy with humbuckers. Two totally different instruments.
  16. ryan morris

    ryan morris

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    boogiebass, the EB-1 i am talkin about is definately viola shaped with a sidewinder humbucker. unless they don't have the bass labeled correctly in the mag. i don't know what you are talkin' about.
  17. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    The EB-1 is a solid body bass. It is an Epiphone reproduction of an old Gibson design. The original had a stand so it could be played upright, much like Ryan is describing. To my knowledge, Paul McCartney never played this instrument. (This is how the thread started).

    The "Viola" bass is a relatively new design based on the Hofner Beatle bass, which is a hollow body "violin" bass. It has a trapeze tailpiece and floating bridge, much like a violin. The "Viola" has a longer scale than the original Hofner.

  18. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    You're right guys, the EB-1 is not the "beatle bass" and may just be mislabled in the catalog. The EB resembles a bigger Gibson SG, like Angus plays. BTW, I have some obscure studio pics of the Beatles, where Paul is playing a *gasp* Fender Jazz Bass. Don't know if that take made it to vinyl or not! Most of the tracks were laid down with a Rick, and as most of you probably know, he was one of the first to record direct.
  19. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    Yes, Paul used a Jazz Bass too. He even took it on tour with him during Wings Over America as a backup. I can't say specifically which Beatle songs have him playing the Fender, though. However, John and George definitely used a Fender Jazz Bass on Beatles' records on those songs where Paul was playing piano.

  20. NukeBass


    Jul 8, 2000
    Cornelius, NC
    In McCartney's defense of using his Hofner, he did lay down Day Tripper and Nowhere Man with it and numerous other good Beatle bass lines. I saw in an interview where he started playing it again because it was light and he was bouncing around with it on the roof top at Abbey Road.
    The jazz bass came into the picture around The Beatles time frame and I'm pretty sure Harrison used it on Helter Skelter, but I don't know anything else about when it was used.

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