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Who owns and plays an Hofner?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by barroso, Apr 11, 2002.

  1. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    Since i moved to Florence i started playing and listening a lot to Beatles again. i also discovered a wonderful little guitar shop that has a wonderful selection of "unusual" instruments. they have a hofner bass in stock, the owner of the shop owns 4 of them. i tried 2 of these basses and felt completely in love. they are pricey, dull sounding. but i like them a lot. all with flat strings, they have a sound that i really enjoy. the medium scale is for me unusual but comfortable too. they are made with high quality woods, but with a strange vibe. they are not comparable in quality to new basses, but they seem to be handmade due to humann imperfections. i want to know if other guys here like Hofner and if there is someone that uses Hofner as main bass. I'd like to know if there are famous players who uses Hofner too. I remember pics of the former Phish bass player Mike Gordon recording with Gov'T Mule and holding Hofner.
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I am very close friends with a collector/player who has an early 60s Hofner. It is worth a mint and is certainly a worthy part of the collection, but as a main playing bass, I wouldn't give him $50 for it.

    As far as tone, the bass is all mid. The short scale and hollow body rob any real bass it might have.

    It also has almost no sustain.

    IMO, McCartney's thumpy, riding style comes from playing one of these things.

    He plays with a pick, and that gives it a little bit of attack. With fingers, it has hardy any at all.

    I have never heard one strung with rounds. It seems almost bordering on sacrilege to suggest it.

    It really depends on your style and interest.

    They are a neat novelty, but I can't imagine attempting to use one to play modern music.

  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    They are great if you want to try to get Sir Paul's tone, but that's about all that they are good for.

    And the new ones are way overpriced in the USA. I can get a Lakland or Pedulla for what a Hofner goes for!
  4. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    I have the Gov't Mule CD. It's Chris Wood that playing the Hofner. Look at the song tiltle next to the picture. The song is Sco-Mule.

    I know for a fact Chris Wood, of Martin, Medeski, and Wood, plays a Hofner Beatle style bass. Cool jazz band BTW. His sound is more of an upright sound. For the context he plays it works and the tone sounds cool.

    For $2,200+/- there are dozens of other basses I'd rather have. If your really stuck on the sound though check out the Epiphone copy. It's about $450 and IMO it sounds better.
  5. craigers2


    Sep 26, 2001
    i think they are very cool basses to play.
    it almost feels like you are playing a "toy".

    personally, i don't think they are worth the money, but there are a lot of people out there that love them.

    there was a picture in vintage guitar magazine last year of a guy that had about 30 of them all lined up.
  6. maxoges


    Aug 23, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I have a -72 höfner with an active preamp. I use it in my 60/70-ties cover band. It is also cool to record with. It has almost an upright sound.
  7. I own one! Actually, mine is some kind of special - a 500/1M - probably built somewhere in the late '60s or early '70s. These are certainly not common, as I have never seen another in real life. This particular model is equipped with a "bass boost" together with a three-way switch, a small switch for the PUPs and the usual controls. There are probably some kind of early attempts to active electronics as well (I do not have a battery in it right now). The sound is - as mentioned above - pure mid with a whole lot of punch (played with a pick) and not very much sustain. There is almost no bottom at all. Anyway, I find it a joy to play with the short scale and the very light body! It almost feels like a toy. I think there was an auction for one of these on Ebay a while ago, but I'm not completely sure.
  8. maxoges


    Aug 23, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Sounds like the same model I have.
  9. I saw a local band and the bass player was playing one of those Hofner Beatle basses and his tone was just awful. It sounded like a real bass played through a bugle horn-- midrange and nasally.

    I did see the BeeGees on TV a few years back, during the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and Maurice Gibb was playing a sweet looking violin bass that was black. I'm pretty sure, but not certain, that it was a custom Hofner and I thought his tone was great.

    I get the feeling you need some experience with amplification and e.q.-ing to get them to sound good. I don't think they are your average "plug and play" type bass.
    El Pelusa likes this.
  10. IIRC - Chris Wood has to tune his hofner at the 7th fret so the upper notes aren't horribly out of tune because the intonation is so awful.

    wouldnt pay more than $50 for one.
  11. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I was stuck with one throughout my high school years many years ago. I despised it. They are not professional quality bass instruments, IMO. If Macca hadn't been left-handed (and apparently broke) when he bought his many years ago, I doubt seriously these basses would be considered anything other than what they are: poorly constructed, lousy sounding junk.
    trothwell likes this.
  12. dfarr


    Feb 9, 2001
    Lakeland, FL
    I bought one of the 63 reissues a couple of years ago ($1,100 on Ebay) mainly because I always wanted one. Very lightweight and small, which makes it kinda fun to play. But it is tough to play, especially for finger-style players because the string spacing is tight and the thicker body puts the wrist at an odd angle. Mine was strung with round-wounds when I got it and it was way too twangy, but new flat-wounds brought back the original thumpy sound. There are no markings on top of the neck, which is why you'll see Hofner players flipping the thing up so they can see where they're playing. I did play it on a couple of gigs through my SWR rig, just plugged it in with the settings as used with my Jazz, and it rattled stuff off the top of the rack case. Very full sound. But I wouldn't use it as my main instrument.
  13. vaumac


    Jul 4, 2010
    I own a Hofner and I love it :hyper: for what it is, an easy to handle, light and thumpy sounding bass. It fits my style and gives me all I need for most of what I play. I agree though that if you want a punchier sound you'll want something with more sustain. The Hofner CT has a sustain block built in and may serve your purpose while still giving you that Hofner look and feel at a cheaper price. Bear in mind though that it's a Hofner SANCTIONED copy not made in Germany. It is made well enough for the money and has many german made parts but still at a cheaper price range. Be sure to replace the "slinky" strings they come with, with a good set of flatwounds. I like the "La Bella "Deep Talkin'" Bass Guitar Strings. There are many preamp foot pedals that can add punch for you eletronicly if you want more. I also own a Pevey for those special tunes that a hofner just can't handle, like slapping for instance. But you can get some of the Hofners on ebay for a cheaper price if you take care to research a little who it is you are purchasing from. Be sure to get one that offers the case with it. Purchasing one after the sale can easily cost you $100 dollars (US) or more if purchased seperately. These happy little machines need the protection. You'll find there are a lot of GOOD "Sellers" out there and Ebay has Buyer protection as well. PS: I checked out the Epihone version at a local music store and it was pretty to look at, but for the money, you can get the Hofner Icon which at least keeps the look of the famous "Beatle" version and many times at a cheaper price.:bassist:
    rockinrayduke likes this.
  14. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Inactive

    Jun 30, 2010
    For years I wanted one just to have one because they look so damn cool and they're light as a wiffle ball bat, but it seemed so impractical. Now that Hofener is re-issuing them for about $300, I figured, what the heck.

    I LOVE IT. I certainly wouldn't use it in a serious playing situation, then again, I wouldn't use a Rick or even a '62 Precision. They're iconic tools that have a very distinct personality. And once you play a Hofner, it's like " Aaaah, THAT'S the sound."

    Yes, they are "toys." That's what makes them so much fun.
  15. Last time I saw Israel Vibrations, Flabba Holt played a Hofner bass and the tone was what you would expect from Reggae... Bombastic!

  16. odysseios


    Jan 18, 2007
    Sardinia, Italy
    It was a custom Epiphone.

    For a reggae Hofner bass, listen for Robbie Shakespeare playing bass with Peter Tosh.
  17. Rob Martinez

    Rob Martinez

    Sep 14, 2005
    I play a Hofner Icon and love it. I love the hollowbody tone with flats. It's REAL bass! Works for me.
    Tubeampegbas734 likes this.
  18. I've owned vintage and the new asian reissues... I'd save the cash and pickup an icon etc.. you may have a few things to tweek (and lire in the bank)
  19. I've had one since 1982. I loved playing it back then because of it's weight and look mostly. With the right amp and settings, you can tame the low boomy, thin high tones.

    I do love the deep, woody tones on the low end. I have TI 344 Jazz flats (short scale Hofner sized) on them currently, which accentuate the unique, natural tone.

    I played it in a rock-a-billy band (I thought of it as a convenient version of a stand-up bass) in the early 80's (when they were not seen much), and it drew a lot of smiles and compliments. Great if you like to move and dance around on stage.

    Today, with so many more options in sound shaping technology, the Hofner violin bass can add to your arsenal.

    It's condition has also held up well over the years, no issues at all.

    Great vintage Hofner site. http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/cont.html
  20. cioppo


    Jun 15, 2010
    Prato, Italy
    Ben Shepherd from Soundgarden uses it
    Tina Waymouth from Talking Heads uses it
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