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Hofner Violin Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SanchoPansen, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. SanchoPansen


    Jun 4, 2014
    Hello there,
    first post - hope I'm in the right place. So, I've had this bass hanging on my wall for more than 25 years now. It appears to be an original Hofner Violin Bass and from checking the internet it might be dated between 1963 and 1966. What really puzzles me is the distance between the bridge and the PU, the bridge (looks different) and the missing fret...
    Is there anybody who has a good guess what this beauty is? When has it been built? Does it look original? Any signs it is a copy? I am aware that taking it apart and checking the pots might reveal some further info, but for now I just wanted to check if it's worth to get some professional tlc.
    Thanks for you attention!

    001 Front. 002 Back. 003 Plate. 004 Headstock Front. 005 Headstock Back. 006 Headstock Back Side.
  2. Hi Sancho, it looks right for 60s, or maybe early 70s before they moved to the blade pickups and a decal for the Hofner logo. If you want to be sure, unscrew the control panel and look beneath it. There should be a Hofner label with the date of manufacture and the serial number inside on the body (like a violin).

    Sadly, I'm pretty sure leaving it on the wall caused it to dry out, and the cracking on the face may be fatal, or at least very expensive to repair.
  3. SanchoPansen


    Jun 4, 2014
    Thanks for your fast reply! I will unscrew the control panel and have a look. Luckily the cracking is only on the surface/painting ;-) It's been in my living room, so it's been very well climated all the time.
  4. SanchoPansen


    Jun 4, 2014
    I just realized how bad these cracks look on the pictures. Don't know why they look like the grand canyon on the pictures, but it doesn't look like this at all! Just a nicely aged finish.
  5. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    That bass is a '65-'66. Large pickup surrounds, one piece back, heavy finish prone to cracking. After The Beatles hit it big Hofner really started to crank them out and the quality dropped dramatically. Looks just like my Hofner I have had since '72 :). Btw the bridge and control knobs are not original. The finish cracks are nothing to worry about, I'd just get the correct bridge and knobs, clean it up and play it!
  6. SanchoPansen


    Jun 4, 2014
    Thanks Mr. Thunder. Actually I personally really like the look of the cracked finish. Any idea why it has a missing fret and the big space between the bridge and bridge PU?
    Thanks for the advice regarding the knobs and bridge!
  7. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    These basses are considered transition models. I can't say for sure why the pickup is not close to the bridge but the specs changed quite a bit between '65-'67. The missing fret has me stumped, maybe a factory oops?
  8. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    There should be 22 frets on the bass. Yours has 21. As Scott mentioned, quality control at Hofner during the 60's was almost non-existent. Having a (65-66) 21 fret 500/1 certainly makes it unique.

  9. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    The bridge is a floating bridge so it can be placed wherever it needs to be for intonation purposes. As mentioned earlier the bridge is not the original.

    I find the small "fretless" portion of the fingerboard to be an interesting detail.
  10. jimtone


    Feb 23, 2012
    It looks like 1965 Hofner may have been refretted and the rosewood fingerboard and binding shaved down a lot to refret. The side marker in the binding is shaved down and exposed thru the top edge. Just a guess since it didn't come that way and I've seen this on 50s Gibson Les Pauls with refrets mant times, but never saw anyone shave down to the bottoms of the fretslots without rmoving the binding and shimming the underside of the rosewood to bring it up to the original level? These also have neck joint failure and perhaps some clown reset the neck at an angle that made them have to shave the 22nd fret away? I'm guessing since I can't believe it came this way and you didn't show any full length photos of the fretboard or the binding and side markers.

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