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Did Paul McCartney break the Hofner when he fell in the piano hole in 2005?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by KOLAD, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. KOLAD


    Feb 14, 2014
    New England
    Did Paul McCartney break the Hofner when he fell in the piano hole in 2005? I've wondered this for years.


    I've always suspected that no matter how many times they tell the world that the Hofner Paul uses live is still "THE ONE" that it just can't be.
    Think of the liability of having an asset of that high collectible and inherent value on a tour. (Customs, theft, insurance, legal responsibilities of the venues, etc). Poor John Hamel (his assistant). He'd have to carry it around handcuffed to his wrist.
    Paul's my hero and all, honestly, but I just can never believe that it's the real one up there live today in 2014.


    When Paul fell into that hole he piledrove the Hofner down so hard that it had to break that tiny skinny angled headstock.
    So whether it was "The One" before it or after it I'm just looking for any info.
    Anybody have any inside scoop if it broke or what?
  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    From what I understand he still plays it and it may be the "holy grail" to us Beatles fans but I don't think he sees it that way he has never been into his gear.
  3. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Supporting Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Jacksonville, Fl
    I could only imagine that he has it stored away somewhere for safeties sake. It would easily have to be the most valuable electric bass on the planet, so i imagine he uses his signature series of the BB live instead.
  4. Fluid Power

    Fluid Power Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2013
    Land of 10K Lakes
    At the end of the black and white hole video when he fell, he looks down at the bass which is probably in pieces. It looks to me. Ya, that's a big pile drive!
  5. Skokiaan


    Jun 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    Paul does indeed still use the 1963 Hofner. He has said that he knows people say it's iconic and valuable, but to him it's just an instrument he likes - a tool.

    Here's a recent picture of it along with a more recent model used as a backup. The 1963 is easily identified by the wear near the bridge pickup. The backup bass is in better condition and the control plate is mounted at a different angle. I have never seen a picture of Paul playing the backup.

    {Also in the picture are Paul's 1960 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop and 1959 Les Paul Flametop - both extremely rare as lefties}.

  6. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    Paul used to literally toss the Hofner to a roadie after some songs. And he has Detroit Redwings and Pittsburgh Penguins stickers on his 1964 Epiphone Texan acoustic. He apparently attaches no sentimental value to instruments. I equate this to a mechanic having a favorite lugwrench that he will use till it breaks.
  7. Peacefrog35


    Dec 26, 2009
    The only damage that was done that night is the jack was pushed into the hole. That has since been repaired. I have a pretty good pic saved on my hard drive of the visible repair made. I say he plays THE bass, that rosewood fretboard is very distinct on that one. Is it impossible for them to fake that kind of mark? Probably not, but....

    Ok, I decided not to be lazy and post the pic of the repair. You can see the enlarge hole repaired. This is a screen capture of THE BASS from a special that aired some time ago. All in this photo you can see repairs through the years, the control panel now has screws in all 4 corners since the wood wasn't holding well in the original 2 holes, Rolled up gaffers tap to hold loose control switches in place.. A lot of maintenance has been done to the bass through the years.

  8. Damn, this is all news to me. Paul fell pretty hard. He got off lucky with no injury and only a boffed output jack.
  9. KOLAD


    Feb 14, 2014
    New England
    Thanks for the replies guys.
    Keep em coming. :)
  10. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I saw him on that tour and he mentioned falling in the hole.
  11. I watched the video, and (not sure if I can say this on TB), though I'm by no means a religious person, The Hand Of God must have reached down and caught that Hoffner. It's about the only way I can figure that the bass didn't end up in pieces.
  12. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    God is a huge Beatles fan
  13. Thisguy


    Sep 28, 2013
    Abilene TX
    Eric Clapton does love him some Beatles. :D
  14. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Chris, not 100% sure that's a repair. My '63 and '66 's have that same red fiber washer as does my '59 Stu, all since day one. I recently saw some great shots of Macca's '63 when it was new, and it had the washer then, too. I'll try to get a pic up here of mine.
  15. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
  16. fabubass


    Jan 13, 2006
    The Beatles were more popular than God, or was it Rod?
  17. Mind posting those pics? I've been casually collecting rare McCartney hofner and rickenbacker moments over the years.
  18. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    I bet that if Paul had broken the Hofner we all would know that by now.
  19. If so, it would have also been fixed within a day, and been ready soon after.
    I'm sure any luthier/tech would JUMP on the oppurtunity to play that bass.
    I'd pay just to restring and tune it up.