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You McCartney bass historians - can you answer this for me?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AndyPanda, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. Whenever I stumble onto an magazine article or forum discussion about Paul's Hofner, they always say that he bought the Hofner because it was what he could afford and that it's symmetrical body didn't look daft when played upside down as a lefty.

    But the pictures I've seen shows both Hofners built as left handed basses - so he wasn't playing them upside down. So the motivation to buy a Hofner doesn't make sense to me - unless he meant he went shopping for a Hofner because it was symmetrical, expecting to buy a righty and play it upside down, and out of sheer luck they had a left handed model in stock. And apparently he borrowed Stu's Hofner for a week or so - he would have played that upside down.

    Any chance that he actually asked them to special order a lefty for him?
    Or was his original Hofner a righty that later got converted to lefty? (are there pics of him playing a righty Hofner upside down?)
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  2. RED J

    RED J Lol

    Jan 23, 2000
    I think I remember this being the case.
    Aqualung60 likes this.
  3. Yes, I had read those (and other) articles before I posted here. Those articles are the whole reason I'm asking the question. They say he bought a Hofner because it wouldn't look daft playing a right handed one upside down --- but his are not right handed and he didn't play them upside down, so that reason doesn't make any sense. (unless he meant it wouldn't look daft if he loaned it George or John to play)

    I was just wondering if he:
    A) specifically requested a left handed bass and waited for them to get it for him
    B) just got lucky and they happened to have a lefty in stock
    C) bought a righty that we have no pictures of and had it converted to lefty (no)
    D) just gave that reason in an interview years later because he couldn't remember the 60's at all
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
    Will_White likes this.
  4. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Paul started playing in the 50's. There weren't many bass guitars in existence. Left handed ones were probably really hard to get. I'd bet what he played was driven mostly by availabilty. He couldn't order a left handed Sadowsky or Lakland, he had to go with what he could get.
    Bass_guy_2008 likes this.
  5. tbplayer59


    Jan 20, 2013
    I'm pretty well versed in Paul history, and I've come to conclude it's D. Just something he misremembered, and the quote got repeated and repeated.
    Ekulati, cdef and AndyPanda like this.
  6. His full quote is (according to this site anyway):

    "I remember going along there, and there was this bass which was quite cheap. I couldn't afford a Fender. Fenders even then seemed to be about £100. All I could really afford was about £30 . . . so for about £30 I found this Hofner violin bass. And to me it seemed like, because I was left-handed, it looked less daft because it was symmetrical. Didn't look as bad as a cutaway which was the wrong way. So I got into that."

    I don't know for sure, but maybe he simply meant that it looked less daft, while hanging on the store wall, than the other lefties that had cutaways going the "wrong" way.
  7. Oh, that is brilliant and hadn't occurred to me at all.
  8. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I think he first saw a right-handed Hofner and thought it would be good enough for the reason stated but when he was ready to actually buy it after going back to the store to try it out, the shop owner noticing Paul playing it upside-down told him: "We happen to have a left-hand model too, in the back room."
    Very simply, every pic I've seen of Paul holding the Hofner with the earlier pickup placement has been a left-handed bass.
    RedVee and AndyPanda like this.
  9. consectaneus


    Sep 23, 2016
    In the '90s he gave an interview where he said that in 1961 he found a shop in Hamburg that had a Hofner for sale for about $45. He insisted that the bass was a righty, but as the interviewer notes, there are no pictures of him playing a flipped over right handed Hofner from that period.

    tbplayer59 and AndyPanda like this.
  10. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    Thread needs a pic... This photo is from 1961:

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  11. According to Andy Babuik in his great book "Beatles Gear", 2015 edition: Paul bought his first bass in 1961 from the Steinway & Sons shop in Hamburg (and quotes the salesman, Gunter Hoper) for 287 Deutschmarks (about £25 at the time). Paul had seen the Hofner 500/1 bass, and the shop MADE A SPECIAL ORDER for a left-handed model to be made. Paul bought it on an instalment plan. Here is a quote from Babuik "The chances of finding a left-handed Hofner bass on display in a music shop in 1961 was next to impossible."
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  12. This completely fits what my common sense has been telling me.
    RedVee and jd56hawk like this.
  13. I also read on a blog a few years ago (not on TB?) a fan's theory that Paul's first Hofner may be the ONLY bass guitar he has ever bought! All others are borrowed (Stu's Hofner), or possibly gifts from the manufacturer (2nd Hofner, Ric, Fender Jazz) or gifts from Linda (Wal 5)...
  14. What about Elvis' (Bill Black's) upright? Surely he had to pay for that didn't he? :) Oh ... you did say "bass guitar" so the upright doesn't count.

    That's interesting and plausible that the first was the only one he ever bought.
    design likes this.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Linda bought him the upright, didn't she?
    design, tbplayer59, lvbass and 3 others like this.
  16. It must suck to have all that money and not be able to spend any of it buying basses.
  17. RedVee


    Dec 24, 2014
    I think Paul is quite happy with the situation.
    BassLover668 and design like this.
  18. Most interesting factoid from the Beatles Rarity link posted by 'Mellowinman' back in 2011:
    Beatles Rarities

    Paul McCartney in 1961 with his Rosetti Solid 7 guitar (converted to bass).
    Note that Paul is playing the instrument upside down with three piano strings.
    That’s an 18-yr old George Harrison in the background.

    After seeing that, I'm less concerned about what strings I use and what type of bass I have and
    more concerned about what and how I'm playing.
    hrodbert696, ak56, lvbass and 8 others like this.
  19. I think that Paul is such a good musician, and multi-instrumentalist, that he could even make that Rosetti sound good!
    RedVee, lvbass and Rocker949 like this.

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