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Hofner control panel - works for me

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by piedpiper, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. piedpiper

    piedpiper Commercial User

    Aug 8, 2010
    Fairfield, Iowa
    owner, Pied Piper Productions
    When I got my '66 Hofner 500/1 Beatle bass I noticed the control panel seemed to be wired wrong. Being an audiophile purist, I decided to try bypassing the control panel switches altogether and wire the pups directly to the volume controls and from there to the output jack. That way, I could roll in the bridge pickup as much or as little as I wanted and not have to worry about any other loading of the pups or degradation of the switches. After happily playing it this way for a while, I found that I really preferred the sound of the neck pup by itself and decided to try wiring it directly to the output jack with no bridge pup and no volume control even. Not loading the pup at all produced a noticeable difference in transparency of all aspects of the tone.

    I recently had a mishap where the bass fell sideways from its stand and broke the neck block glue joint. I had been putting off getting the neck reset and now was my opportunity. I called master Hofner luthier Dan Dachel out in Colorado to get advise about the neck reset. He very kindly offered to work me into very busy schedule on short order and also advised me on how to sus out the viability of a more local luthier a couple hours away in Des Moines called The Luthier Shop, a place I had stopped in on months before to check them out as a possibility for the neck reset long before the fall. As it turned out, I was due to do a gig a block away from that same shop a few days later so I called them up. After discussing it with them I made an appointment to have them take a look. They felt confident they could do a proper job and were able to fit me in immediately. They assured me that they would be happy to call Dan if they had any questions and Dan had graciously offered to make himself available for same. A week later I was able to pick up the finished bass. Tim, who did the work, was really impressed with the sound I was getting. I'm happy to be limited to what I consider to be a superior clarity of tone, where the acoustic qualities of the sound really shine through. And I wanted to acknowledge both Dan and Tim for their kindness and expertise.

    BTW, loving my '66 more than ever now that the action is right. I had gotten quite used to the high action prior to the neck reset. I had cut the bridge down quite a bit to make it playable. Now it's a dream...

    Also, the above mentioned mishap took place at a fairly high profile concert towards the end of sound check and I was now stuck for a bass. I called a friend that had recently gotten a Chinese made Hofner Icon Beatle bass at my suggestion a few months prior. I had set it up for him at the time, and he was happy to drop it over, a god send since I didn't have time to go get it even though he was only a few minutes away. Although it was a far cry from my '66, it was gratifying to be able to jump right back into the gap with something that was remarkably similar within context. Had to get used to those nasty stock round wounds though...
  2. Jose M

    Jose M

    May 26, 2013
    Orlando Florida
    I came across this thread while searching for Hofner 500/1 electronics;
    I too have a '66 500/1 which I helped purchase back in '67. The rhythm guitarist bought it but I went to the store with him to help him buy it; A year ago, and after 40 years, I met with him and asked him about the Hofner, which to my surprise he still had. He asked me if I wanted it and I said "HELL YEAHH!" So I end up with the Hofner;

    Here's the trouble: I am left-handed but play with the strings right-handed, the Hofner is right-handed, so far so good, BUT the Volume controls are under my left arm and I constantly "move" them while playing; I need a fix for this, but not gluing them in place; :)

    I understand your modification but I would like to have access to the Bridge pickup too, both pickups are good and they sound awesome, so I need switching. Bypassing the controls is not an option.

    So here's the question: How can I fix the Bass pickup's volume control in-place, so it doesn't get moved? (I am not planning to buy a lefty 500/1, I don't have that kind of dinero at my age).

    thanks for any tip.
  3. waltgdrums


    Apr 4, 2015
    Realize this is an old post. I had the same problem. What I did was place a small rubber o ring at the base of the pot stem and pressed my tea cup knob down on it. Provides a good amount of drag/friction so the volume knob stays put but can still be adjusted when necessary.
    Jose M likes this.
  4. Jose M

    Jose M

    May 26, 2013
    Orlando Florida
    great idea, I will do the o ring mod. Thanks. I also have the problem when I play my Strat !!
  5. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Interesting idea, bypassing the control panel. Like @waltgdrums, I like being able to dial in the bridge pickup. What I'm not finding much use for is the Bass/Treble switching. Or more specifically, I'd like to be able to switch in the capacitors without shutting off the alternate pickup.

    I posed the question and circuit diagram here (before seeing this thread): Hofner Control Panel (Re)Wiring Question

    Here's the circuit diagram, if anyone knows which wires to snip.