Beatle Basses: Reissue vs. Vintage

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ironfingers80, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. ironfingers80


    May 4, 2004
    I've been trying to get my hands on an original Hofner beatle bass for quite some time now. Can anybody out there compare and contrast for me the similarities and/or differences between the reissue beatle basses and the originals from the 60's? The reissues look beautiful but do they replicate the sound, tone, playabiltiy, etc. of the originals? Thanks!
  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Yep. Cant get worse than that, They both suck

    Sorry, couldnt resist.
    I just dont get this "Beatle Bass Tone" issue.
    IMO their tone is very bad
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Paul's bass playing and tone both took an enormous leap forward when he switched to Rickenbacker and (shh) Fender.

    You can actually get a good Hofner vibe (but still have intonation) by using flats on a P and muting (either with the ashtray or a sponge). Roll down the tone, don't crank the bass on the amp (it's mostly lower and upper mids), and squash it with a compressor that breathes.

    Or, if you want the hollowbody vintage look but want something that sounds and plays much better for much less money, the Lakland Skyline hollowbody is super cool. As would be an Epi Jack Cassidy bass.

    I'm listening to "The Word" as I type this, and it has a great great bassline, but nothing tonally that couldn't be reproduced with a P.
  4. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    AND when he switched to Wal.
    AFAIK he only plays that Höfner live, because he is so associated with it
  5. main_sale


    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    I have serial number 97 that was purchased for me in Germany back in 1965 for $129.00. It has served me well, and sounds great through a good tube amp. It is very light, easy to play, and might be the best $129 I ever spent. Obviously I don't agree with the above poopoohers, but everyone has a right to their own opinion.
  6. Yea, I dont agree with the above beatle bass bashers. I borrowed a late 60's one from a friend, and it sounded and played great. From what I hear the new ones, are even more well made and more solid than the originals. It might not be the tone some people are looking for, but they are still well made basses that look WAY cool.
  7. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    I think he had a really long break of no Hofner for some time, but then he picked it up again and remembered why he loved it, because it was damn light and maybe he said it was easy to play.
  8. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I also remember reading his BP cover story in the mid-90's in which he mentioned that Mandolin Brothers of New York did some major repair work on his Hofner. Previous to that, it couldn't be intonated and therefore played in tune.
  9. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    I remember reading somewhere that you can't really intonate it unless you take the pickguard off because the pickguard blocks the bridge from coming far enough forwards to intonate, or something like that.
  10. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    I've owned many 65-66 500/1 Hofner's over the years. I've also owned two reissues a 62 and 63.

    My advise is, if you can find a clean 65-66 that has had the neck reset and is resonably priced, buy it. If you can't, then buy a new reissue.

    I visited the Hofner factory 4 yrs ago, and had the opportunity to spend a day there and ask alot of questions about the difference in manufacturing technics used then compared to now.
    Bottom line is, there is no difference. The 500/1 is made the exact same way today that it was during the 60's, by the very same skilled Hofner employees using the very same materials (except for one very important one, read on) and the very same machinery.

    The problem with mid 60's 500/1 basses is that the glue in the neck pocket dries out and becomes brittle. When that happens the neck begins to move. The neck/body joint can't hold the tension that's being created by the strings, so the intonation and string height (action) changes for the worse.

    The glue that is used today is far superior to the glue they originally used in the 60's, so the neck/body joint should never be a problem again.

    Hofner really got their act together once Boosey-Hawkes took them over 10 years ago. Quality control has dramatically improved. The instruments being made today are amungst the finest that Hofner has ever made IMO.