Purchased from: Steve's Music Center, Rick Hill, NY
Features — 10
Hofner 500/1 CT Contemporary Series Beatle Violin Bass. 1964 model. This amazing bass was made in China with some parts from Germany. I believe the wood was supplied by Germany and assembled with metal, plastic and electronic parts from China. It doesn't matter much because this bass is superb in every way. Don't know why Hofner made the choice to produce this bass stock with black knobs instead of the classic ivory teacups. I do like the black switches though, instead of the ivory ones as on McCartney's classic versions.
Sound — 10
Used to play a German Hofner Beatle Bass from the early 1970's. This new Hofner 500/1 CT Contemporary Series Beatle Violin Bass sounds astoundingly similar and even better than the German original in my opinion. The deep thump that I love about the Hofner Violin Bass is so solidly made by this new version. It's so much better than the original. The addition of the wooden slab down the middle of the body makes all the difference. The instrument now has balance when you're holding it. The German version is neck heavy and will always fall because the body was so light. Now with the addition of the slab the body has weight to it. This not only increases sustain and tightens the thump but increases balance. Fantastic. This bass can also be used to play a style more associated with guitar or baritone guitar - classic spaghetti western, Hugh Montenegro kind of music. Just reduce the lower frequencies (bass control), crank up your amp's spring reverb. The Hofner Violin Bass does this quite beautifully.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
My Hofner 500/1 CT Contemporary Series Beatle Violin Bass came out of the box nearly perfect. Action was just right. Had to adjust the intonation a little by sliding the bridge around but this is part of the fun of this bass for me. Frets are smooth, neck is elegant, tuners work easily and electronics work just like the original. I removed the pickguard for looks and replaced the black volume knobs with ivory teacups like McCartney's. Looks better that way to my eye. The finish is so exquisite. It really has a special kind of allure.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This Hofner 500/1 CT Contemporary Series Beatle Violin Bass 1964 model is an elegant instrument and should be treated as such in my opinion. It's somewhat delicate and requires care. The sound that it produces should inspire one to want to care for it appropriately. This instrument will last literally decades if cared for responsibly. Some instruments look good when they're beat up. The Hofner 500/1 CT Contemporary Series Beatle Violin Bass 1964 is like sculpture and is easily appreciated in that context. Treat her right and she'll reward you for decades to come.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is an actual improvement on the original which is one of the most iconic instruments ever. No other instrument really sounds like it or feels like it. The palm mute sound is something that can truly inspire a person to rethink their sound and individual approach to playing. Additionally, the 3/4 three quarter short scale of the Hofner 500/1 CT Contemporary Series Beatle Violin Bass 1964 is a much easier transition for guitarists who move from guitar to bass during recording or gigs because of the easier finger reach. Much more comfortable than full scale in my opinion.