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Hofner finish aging

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Axelorox, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. Axelorox


    Mar 31, 2014
    Are the finishes on German-made Hofner basses supposed to get darker with age? All the old ones I see tend to look rather darker than most of the modern production ones. For example, compare photos of Paul McCartney's '63 500/1 vs the stock photo for the modern 500/1 V62 reissue (based on the specs for Paul's bass).



    By comparison the modern ones look more yellow and washed out, with a thinner brown section around the edges.

    I have often seen it asserted that these basses get darker with age but am uncertain if this is the case. Maybe they just painted them darker back in the day? From what color photos I can find Paul's bass was not so pale even back in the 60s.

  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    If it is finished with nitro, it will age in a similar fashion. If it is poly, it will not age the same way. I cannot find out what finish they use on German basses but all Chinese Hofners use a poly finish. I hear @Peacefrog35 is the resident expert, maybe they can provide an answer.
  3. upload_2018-11-15_19-53-52.
    My May 24th 1964 Hofner Violin Bass.
    Axelorox likes this.
  4. Axelorox


    Mar 31, 2014
    The German reissues are finished with nitro. But interesting that the finish could get darker with age. For example, when I think of nitro finishes my mind goes towards Gibson Les Pauls, which are infamous for fading with age.
  5. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    They finish them lighter, since 2000. Likely it won't mellow to the caramel color on the 60s basses. My '63 is identical in color to Maccas, and my oldest reissue, already 25 years old, is not heading in that direction.
  6. Axelorox


    Mar 31, 2014
    Good to know. I have heard that modern nitro finishes in general don't age like the old ones.

    I recently received a V62 500/1 reissue that checked quite badly during shipping. Since it needs a refinish I figure I could have the luthier change the colors to be more like the 60s ones. I wasn't sure if having him paint it as dark as they are now would lead to overkill several decades down the line when the instrument actually ages. But seems that's not too big of a concern?

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