Hofner Basses and Guitars

Hofner Bass Guitar

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.

Hofner Links

Hofner links on 101 Basses

The Beatle Bass, Paul McCartney & The Beatles

Hofner Beatle Bass 500/1 Paul McCartney The BeatlesHofner 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 at Fabguitars

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.

Hofner Basses

Hofner 500/1 v63

Hofner 500/2 Club Bass  Another notable Hofner bass is the Club Bass.  I actually like the looks of this better than the 500/1

Even before McCartney played the 500/1, the Beatles original bassist, Stu Stucliffe, played a Hofner President.  Stuart Sutcliffe's Hofner President Bass...

The current re-issue 500/5 CT President Bass...

1962 Hofner 191 Double Neck

1968 Hofner Club Bass

Two Hofners for sale in a display window at Guitar Center on Los Angeles. 1966 Hofner Double Neck (Photo Terri Breeze - July 2011)



Karl H�fner GmbH & Co. KG
Egerlandstra�e 38
D-91083 Baiersdorf-Hagenau

Phone: +49-9133-77580
Fax: +49-9133-775858


Page History

Page History
Partial Rewrite: October 9, 2013
Updated: July 29, 2013
Updated July 24, 2012
Original Page August 22, 2011

Builder DataBASS Information...

Luthier/Builder Brand Name: Hofner
 This brand makes basses 
Other Info: Walter Hofner | Best known for the Beatle bass | Paul McCartney
Country of origin: de - Germany

Categories: Bass: 4-String Bass: Short Scale Major Manufacturer The Classics Vintage (prior to 1970) Vintage Re-Issues Violin Bass

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