Because I am a Beatles freak, and because I played the bass guitar in bands for years, it has been a dream of mine for a long time to own one of these guitars. There’s not a bass player alive that can’t tell you what it is right off the top of his head. Most people feel that the “violin”style is so closely associated with Paul McCartney they won’t even play one in public because they just don’t feel worthy of the instrument, but they will hang it on their wall or put it in a glass case.
Master violin maker Karl Hofner founded Hofner in Schonbach, Germany in 1887. Hofner quickly gained a reputation for quality, craftsmanship and innovation. Hofner’s Son Joseph joined his father in 1919 and brother Walter joined the family business in 1921.
In 1955 Walter Hofner invented an amplified short scale semi-acoustic bass. This bass evolved into the famous 500/1 Hofner bass which was launched at the 1956 Frankfurt Music Fair. Hofner was relatively unknown outside Germany until the late 1950’s when a UK Distributor, Selmer began promoting Hofner. Hofner’s awareness grew exponentially after Paul McCartney and the Beatles became 60’s music icons. McCartney bought his first Hofner bass in a music shop in Hamburg Germany. The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 and millions saw Paul McCartney’s Hofner 500/1 bass. Fans nicknamed the 500/1 violin bass the “Beatle Bass”. McCartney’s 500/1 Violin bass was used on many Beatles songs and became a 60’s pop culture icon.
Today, Hofner continues to build high quality basses and guitars using old school quality craftsmanship. New generations of players now appreciate Hofner hollow body guitars and basses.