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Best bass for Beatle songs.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HAWKINS, Mar 7, 2008.



    Nov 10, 2003
    South Carolina
    I recently read an article about Jack Bruce. In it, he stated that the Warwick was his favorite bass. However, when he did some stuff with Ringo Starr, it didn't do well with McCartney basslines, maybe because the Warwick is fretless.

    So, you Beatle freaks.....what works best for their music? Hoffner? Rickenbacker? Gibson? Fender?

    Or is Bruce to picky?
  2. Well, I'd say if you were joining a Beatles clone act, I'd say have a Hofner and a Ric ready.

    Seems like the right tools for the job.
  3. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Yoyo's Hurt When You Crank It Into Your Face

    Feb 18, 2007
    Cleveland Ohio

    and a lefty :) hahaha
  4. It's really a matter of personal taste, but Ringo Starr has always had a really bright and snappy sound to his drums, so I'd try to pick something with a big thick sound to offset it.

    Of course, the reason I'd think like that in the first place is probably from years of listening to Beatle records, so to each his own.


    Nov 10, 2003
    South Carolina
    The Hoffner and/or Rick would be necessary for "the look". I've not played either. Just made me wonder if the instruments plus McCartney's bass style was a critical combination that added to the magic that was the Beatles. (I always thought that Gretsch/Rick/Vox combo that Lennon-Harrison used was critical.)
  6. :D
  7. mattfong


    Jan 14, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    You'd need something really thumpy. The Hofner violin bass would do it (obviously) or maybe one of those Gibson SG basses with the massive humbucker.
  8. smakbass

    smakbass Smakkin basses for 25 years..

    Aug 6, 2002
    Vancouver Canada
    or a Wal :D


    Nov 10, 2003
    South Carolina
    I'm impressed. Gotta love it.
  10. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Just about any bass should work as long as it or the amp has a tone knob. Paul used the Hofner because it was affordable...it's what you do with it, not what it is.
  11. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I use my Jerry Jones Longhorn with flats to cop that vibe, pretty effectively IMHO. Short-scale helps if you're talking trying to sound Hofner-esque. Flats for sure.
  12. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    Is there any other answer? A Hofner of course!
  13. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    That was not my experience.
    I play bass in a Beatles tribute band, and yes, I play a Hofner, Rickenbacker, and Fender Jazz. Sometimes, on gigs we fly to, we rent the backline. Once, several years back, in Salt Lake City(I remember it well), the bass amp provided was an SWR head and 4-10 cab. I couldn't get a decent tone with the Hofner at all.
  14. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Yes, and no.
    There were several basses used on Beatles recordings.
    Hofner (2)
    Fender Jazz (2)
    Fender VI
  15. SuperSnake2012

    SuperSnake2012 floppy b strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    Bronx, NY
    A Hofner-type bass works best IMO... they have a huge bottom end. IMO his lines don't translate well on a Fender because of the lack of the bottom.
  16. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    I have always found it interesting that there is no P Bass anywhere in the Beatle's recordings.
  17. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
  18. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    I went to a Fab Faux show last year, and Will Lee switched off back and forth with a Hofner and Rickenbacker dependingon the era tune they were playing. His live tone was absolutely the same regardless of which bass he used. I'd guess they had all the eq settings figured out prior, but I was shocked that there was no tonal difference. Maybe both were set to Will's preferred tone.
  19. MaccaMan1964

    MaccaMan1964 Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Moved to Miami
    Okay - so this is my sweetspot! :D

    Paul's sound (as is anyone's) is a combination of factors. It's the bass, the amp/speakers, the stings, the plucking technique and the player. Recall Paul almost always used a pick - still does today! It adds significant attack which gives more punch to his sound - to my ears.

    In terms of importance, I think the Hofner is the #1 key and the flatwounds second and his tube-driven Vox with 15" speakers third and his use of a pick fourth.

    I have a '65 Fender P-Bass with flatwounds, and it does have a nice thump. But it would not be mistaken for a Hofner on a recording...at least IMHO.

    I also have a Hofner - '63 reissue. When I played it through my Ampeg SVTIII Pro and an Ampeg 4x10 bottom, it sounded reasonably close to McCartneyesque. But, when I put a Line 6 POD in front and fired up the Vox model - EUREKA! That was it! It was the Beatles sound. Nailed.

    As with everything in life - what YOU like is the best. So, take all these opinions and go listen for yourself. See what your ears tell you. And MOST IMPORTANTLY - HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!

    Best regards,
    Paul :bassist:
  20. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Line6 Variax.

    Hofner? Rickenbacker? Gibson? Fender? Yup!

    Not just "Hofner," but a '63 with flats, and not just "Rickenbacker," but a '63 4001 with flats and horseshoe pickups, plus several Gibsons and Fenders and a dozen others, too.


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