Karl Höfner GmbH & Co. KG was founded by luthier Karl Höfner in the city of Schönbach in 1887.
(Then part of Austria-Hungary but populated by Germans)
After WWII (in 1950) the company relocated to Bubenreuth, Western Germany.
During the 1950 and 60's Hofner products were distributed by Selmer.
In 1994, Höfner became part of the Boosey & Hawkes Group.
In 1997, Hofner moved from Bubenreuth to Hagenau.
After financial trouble in 2003 Boosey & Hawkes sold Höfner to The Music Group
In January 2005, The Music Group sold the company to Klaus Schöller.
In 2005, Höfner's USA distribution was picked up by Classic Musical Instruments.
The Beatle Bass, Paul McCartney & The Beatles
is best known for producing what is widely known as the "Beatle Bass".
The Beatle bass is in fact the Hofner model 500/1 and although it is the most commonly known of the violin shaped bass guitars, Hofner was only one of many
companies that built violin basses. More important perhaps was the Gibson EB (electric bass) introduced in 1953. (The 500/1 was designed in 1956).
See the Violin Basses Category in Bass-Aholic for more information on violin basses.
In the early sixties Paul McCartney bought a Hofner 500/1 bass.
Not because it was the best bass, but
because he couldn't afford a Fender bass. And, also because you could turn it up-side-down (he is left handed)
without it looking "daft" as he put it. A lot of information about his basses can be found
McCartney's first '61 500/1 was stolen around the time of the Let It Be (in 1969) sessions and has never been recovered. He continues to play the '63 today.
The interesting thing about the 500/1 was that it was initially quite inexpensive. But with The Beatles popularity the prices are
now through the roof for the premium series basses. To combat other look-a-like
basses Hofner produced the Icon series bass at about one eighth the price of the V series bassses.
Karl H�fner GmbH & Co. KG