The following picture-sets of Hofner bass
guitars have been sent to me over the years by their owners. This has
allowed me to present a much greater range of models and vintages than
encompassed by my own collection, and maybe this will help other
visitors to the site to identify and date their own Hofner.
Click on the underlined heading for each guitar to view photographs of
that particular example.
HOFNER ELECTRIC BASS GUITAR -
SINGLE PICKUP (MODEL 500/3)
Selmer Catalogue No. 530 Blonde & 531 Brunette. Same headstock
(plastic Treble Clef fascia) as the Senator thinline but with 2.5" body depth. (Very last examples
- 2" depth) Rectangular Hofner control consul. (Very last
examples had separate rotary volume & tone controls) 21 Frets.
Sold by Selmer between about 1960 and 1963, when it was replaced by the
ELECTRIC BASS (500/3)
Blonde and fully original. Check out the single "toaster" pickup and
the Selmer inscribed Treble Clef headstock fascia. Now owned by Mike
Kennedy of Pennsylvania, USA.
ELECTRIC BASS (500/3)
A brunette in lovely original condition. This particular guitar was auctioned
as part of BBC TV's "Flog-It" programme in 2005. Photographs supplied by Geoff
Phillips of Durham, England.
ELECTRIC BASS (500/3)
Really a transition guitar between the 500/3 and the Senator Bass. This
one has the two rotary controls and the 2" deep body, but still retains
the 21 fret fingerboard and treble clef headstock. It must have been
produced just before Selmer decided to change the model name. Owned by
Rolf Startin of Dorset, England.
HOFNER ELECTRIC BASS GUITAR -
TWO PICKUPS (MODEL 500/5)
Selmer Catalogue No. 328 Blonde & 333 Brunette. Based on
a 2½" depth version of the 17¼" wide Hofner 4550 model body and with
an inlaid mother of pearl flower design headstock facia.
21 Frets, later increased to 22. Single dot fretboard markers. No neck
binding. Rectangular Hofner control consul. Sold by Selmer between
about 1959 and 1963. A brunette version of this model was used by Stu
Sutcliffe in the Beatles' early days.
HOFNER ELECTRIC BASS (500/5)
Another of the earlier examples (# 209) with a slimmer headstock than
those to follow. The blond finished bass is owned by Nigel Munro in the
ELECTRIC BASS (500/5)
Owned since 1962 by Derek Law of the Midlands, England. Also featured
is Derek's "modified" Selmer Selectortone Automatic amp, which has kept
the Electric Bass company all this time!
1959 HOFNER ELECTRIC
This particular guitar is a little unusual due to the black/dark brown
lacquer factory-finish on the body sides. Hofner hollow bodies do seem
to have been occasionally finished in this manner, but this is the
first 500/5 that I have seen with this feature. An immaculate original
bass owned by David Wojciechowski in New York City, USA.
1959 HOFNER ELECTRIC BASS
& FRAMUS STAR BASS
In late 1950's Britain, there was really only a choice between the 500/5
and the Framus Star Bass for players planning to change from upright
bass to bass guitar. The Star bass had been introduced at the same time as
Hofner's 500/1 Violin Bass at the 1956 Frankfurt Trade Show, The 500/5
appeared a year or so later, and was obviously intended to compete directly
with the Framus. By then however, the Star Bass had got a foothold in the
UK, and was used by the likes of Jet Harris and Shirley Douglas, followed a
little later of course by Bill Wyman and Heinz. The scales were tipped back
towards Hofner in 1963 when Selmer finally brought the 500/1 into the UK,
capitalizing on the fame of a certain Paul McCartney.
HOFNER ELECTRIC BASS (500/5)
In early 1960, the 500/5 model was given an adjustable truss rod in the
neck, and the pickups were changed to the "Toaster" type. This brunette
example is owned by John Espinosa in Sydney, Australia.
1960 HOFNER ELECTRIC
A blonde version of the above, which are generally much rarer than the
brunette 500/5's. Fitted with "toaster" pickups, this guitar is owned by Bob
Cocozza in Florida, USA.
HOFNER ELECTRIC 6-STRING BASS
GUITAR (MODEL 500/10)
Hofner produced the 500/10
between 1960 and 1968 for the European market.
However it was also supplied to Selmer for distribution in the UK for a
period around 1960/61. Less than 200 of these basses appear to have been shipped
to Selmer, making this version a rare find.
This single pickup archtop bass appeared in the UK in 1963 and replaced
the Hofner Electric Bass Guitar (500/3) as a cheaper alternative to the
also new twin pickup President Bass. The major
difference between the Senator Base and the 500/3 was the change from
the Hofner consul mounted controls to two rotary controls for Volume
and Tone, together with a reduced body depth of 2" compared to the
500/3's 2½". The Senator bore little resemblance to the Senator six
string archtop, which did not even have a body cutaway at that time. In
1964, the Senator Bass was revised slightly - the headstock decoration
was changed from the "Treble Clef" fascia to a "Dagger" motif.
HOFNER SENATOR BASS An interesting example - this Senator Bass has
been fitted with a President Bass neck! Being one of the last Senator Basses
made, Hofner could have run out of Senator necks and rather than produce
another batch, they appear to have used a President neck instead. Owned by
Doug Burns in California, USA.
1968/69 HOFNER SENATOR BASS ....and another of the last Senator
Basses made, with a very different specification to what one would have
expected in this period. This example has a "Treble Clef" headstock fascia,
Type 511 "Staple" pickups, and the old-style" exposed gear "Catshead" tuners
- all fittings that were several years out of date when this bass was
shipped from Bubenreuth. I believe that this is yet another result of
Hofner's attempts to supply Selmer London with the very low quantities of
the Senator Bass that Selmer were calling up by the late 1960's.
HOFNER PRESIDENT BASS GUITAR
Introduced into the Selmer range in 1963 to replace the Hofner Electric
Bass Guitar (500/5). The President Bass differed significantly from the earlier bass
in that it had the same body as the President Thinline guitar, i.e. a laminated
spruce top as opposed to the spruce top of the 500/5, and body dimensions of
16¼" width by 2" depth instead of the 500/5's 17½" width by 2½" depth. Four
rotary control electrics were fitted instead of the rectangular consul, and 24
frets as opposed to 22 on the 500/5. Also the triple dot fret markers and
fingerboard binding of the President guitar were introduced. A
brunette finish only was now offered in the Selmer catalogues, although it would
appear that some of the very early examples were finished blonde. The President bass
disappeared from the catalogues in about 1967, considerably earlier
than its Senator stable-mate.
1964 HOFNER PRESIDENT BASS
A similar bass from the same period, owned by Paul Berry in Liverpool,
England. This guitar was played in and around Liverpool during the 1960's -
it even has a Liver Bird on the headstock!
1966/67 HOFNER PRESIDENT BASS From
mid-1965 the President Bass, in line with the other Hofner electric models,
was fitted with wide plastic surrounds. This bass is an example of one of
the last President Basses made. Owned by Rimi Pitman in Brisbane, Australia.
HOFNER VIOLIN BASS
The 500/1, which had been produced by Hofner for only European
consumption since 1956, was finally introduced into the UK by Selmer in
1963 as the Violin Bass, obviously prompted by the Beatles' success. It
was identical to the 500/1, except that it had a Selmer serial number
stamped onto the rear of the headstock. It appears to have disappeared
from the catalogues in about 1972. A few have been brought into the UK
after that date, right up to the present day in-fact, but these would
have been sold as 500/1's, not as Selmer's "Violin Bass".
1963 HOFNER VIOLIN BASS
(500/1) The earliest Selmer distributed Violin Bass (Serial # 109)
discovered so far, and probably the 9th one made for Selmer's original
order. This has a two-piece neck and "hydrant" single tuners. It
also has an original Selmer tweed case! Owned by Clement Cachot-Coulom in
1963 HOFNER VIOLIN
Another early importation by Selmer, being Serial No.
198. It is fitted with a three-piece neck and single "cats-eye" tuners - it would
appear that Hofner had moved away from fitting the two-on-a-plate type to the
that time (maybe influenced by Selmer's requirements?) A beautiful
instrument owned by Marc Sabatier in France. Also take a look at the "Melody Maker" advert
for this actual bass being sold second hand to Marc in 1979.
HOFNER VIOLIN BASS (500/1)
Another one of the first 500/1's to be imported into the UK (Serial No.
203), but unusually for the 500/1's supplied to Selmer, this bass has a
two piece neck. Owned by Yoshida Atsushi in Japan.
HOFNER VIOLIN BASS (500/1) Probably one of the last Violin Basses made in 1963 (Serial No 345),
and still in excellent condition. Owned by John Snell in Claifornia,
1964 HOFNER VIOLIN
BASS (500/1) 1964 saw a bound neck on the Violin Bass, together with a new-style plastic
Hofner logo on the headstock. This lovely example of a 1964 bass is owned by
Jeremy Davis in Oklahoma, USA.
HOFNER VIOLIN BASS (500/1) - LEFT HANDED This bass left the factory as a "leftie". It was rather crudely
converted to a right-handed instrument by a previous owner, and has now
been fully restored back to its original left-handed glory. Owned by
Joe Baiardi in Texas, USA.
BASS (500/1) Serial # 712 has passed through several hands during the currency of
this website, but it is now owned by Yohsuke Yamamoto in Japan. The photos
show the various date information on the bass - i.e. a pot code, and
stamped body date, together with the serial number of course. A superb
Early-1965 HOFNER VIOLIN BASS (500/1) The serial #1874 of this bass indicates that it was shipped to Selmer
London in early 1965, just before the wide control console and large pickup
surrounds were introduced. It still has its original case, which is actually
a black-covered Winter case. Owned by Jurgen Burdorf in The Netherlands.
VIOLIN BASS (500/1) A later Selmer-distributed bass, with the large pickup surrounds and
wide control console. Owned by Graham Forsaith in Australia.
HOFNER VERITHIN BASS GUITAR
Based on the Hofner Verithin six string semi, and hence featuring a
double-cutaway body with a 1.25" depth. In the UK Selmer catalogues
from 1963 until 1971. Single dot fret markers and unbound fingerboard
was used initially (according to the catalogue illustrations), followed very soon by a bound neck and bar type
fret markers as on the 6 string Verithin. The European/US equivalent
was the Model 500/7.
HOFNER VERITHIN BASS
Serial No 294, now owned by Stephane Edy in France. Fitted with Type
511B pickups, tt displays the narrow pickup surrounds typical of those basses
made prior to mid-1965.
1964 HOFNER VERITHIN BASS This is a
Verithin Bass that has been a workhorse all its life, and still continues to
be gigged regularly by its owner, Santiago Azpilicueta Garcia in Spain. It
still retains most of its original fittings, although the cherry red finish is
now showing signs of wear.
HOFNER VERITHIN BASS
A near-mint example, owned by John Berbuto from Surrey, England. Fitted with the
"wide" plastic pickup surrounds.
Serial No 681, which was the last one delivered to Selmer in the year
1971. Perhaps the last one delivered ever? Fitted with the Type 513B "Blade" pickups, this bass has a brown sunburst finish more appropriate
to certain examples of the European/US market 500/7 of that period. By
1971, Selmer were selling very few Hofners, and that may account for
this and maybe other bassses of the period being supplied in finishes
convenient to Hofner rather than in Selmer's traditional cherry red.
Maybe.... Now owned by Geoff Walton in Australia.
HOFNER COMMITTEE BASS
Introduced in 1963 as the bass version of the Committee 6 string
guitar. All the Committee guitar's attributes were incorporated into
the bass, including exotic binding/purfling, mother of pearl flower
inlays to both headstock and fretmarkers, and the beautiful birdseye
maple back and sides. However, unlike the guitar version, only a
brunette finish was available for the bass. The Committee Bass had been discontinued
by the end of 1965.
c1964 HOFNER COMMITTEE BASS GUITAR A
guitar owned by Ralf Lothar in Berlin, Germany that has lost its body label.
This could be perhaps that Hofner produced more Committee basses than Selmer
London could sell, and hence the over-production may have been sold
throughout the rest of Europe, after first removing the Selmer body label of
course. Just a theory of course........
1965 HOFNER COMMITTEE BASS GUITAR
Another one that does not have a body label & serial #, but the wide pickup surrounds show it to be one
of the last Committee Basses made. Owned by Oliver Smith in Paris, France.
SOLID BODY BASSES:
HOFNER SOLID BASS GUITAR (VERSION1)
The first solid bass guitar to appear in the Selmer catalogue - during
1961. Fitted initially with either single or twin toaster pickups
closely spaced near the bridge, and later with similarly placed Type
510 Diamond Logo units. This guitar was based initially on the first
version of the V3 Solid, and hence had a "set-neck", rather than the
bolt-on neck as with all future solid Hofner basses. It appears that for the
last few Version 1 basses made, the body was changed to a "Strat" type body (but
still with the "set-in" neck and angled-back headstock). All examples seen to
date have been finished in translucent dark cherry. It was replaced by the Version 2 bolt-on
neck bass in 1962.
Mid-Late 1961 SOLID BASS GUITAR
A very rare bass; this one seems to have been produced for just a few months
in the second half of 1961 as a transition between the old
"V-model" shape solid basses and the second solid bass version
with it's "Strat" shaped body. It still features the glued-in neck
and angled-back headstock, but has the new body shape. Owned by John
Kingsland in the UK.
Introduced simultaneously into the UK by Selmer with the Hofner Model
182 in Europe during 1962. The Selmer Solid Bass had a bolt-on one-piece maple neck and of course serial numbers on the rear of the
headstock. The Solid Bass changed to
the one pickup Professional Bass in 1963 when the Artist two pickup
bass was introduced. The Hofner control consul and either one or two
"Diamond Logo" pickups were
fitted, although a very few of the last ones seem to have had four
controls instead of the consul. Most, if not all, Solid Basses were
finished in red cellulose.
HOFNER SOLID BASS GUITAR
At last, we now have a picture of the Version 2 Solid Bass. It is a two
pickup version, and is fitted with a chrome cover over the tailpiece.
This seems to have been a hangover from the Version 1, presumably on
early examples only. The cover is not fitted on most of the other
Version 2's that I have seen. Pictures courtesy of Adam Holmes who
lives in The Potteries, England.
HOFNER SOLID BASS GUITAR
One of the very last to be produced in twin pickup format, fitted with
two rotary volume and two rotary tone controls. From my experience,
this is quite a rare bass. Owned by "J.J." in the UK.
HOFNER PROFESSIONAL SOLID BASS GUITAR
Very similar to the single pickup Solid Bass Guitar (Version 2), but
fitted with two rotary controls instead of the Hofner rectangular
control consul. Staple pickups seem to have been fitted throughout the
basses' production period of 1963 to around 1972. Always finished in a bright
red lacquer, the Hofner Professional Bass was designated the 182/E1 model for
Hofner's general European & World market.
Introduced in late 1962 into the Selmer UK market, simultaneously with
its European cousin, the Model 185. A stylish, "offset-waist" body, and
twin pickups made this a very attractive looking bass. The Artist was
generally supplied in bright red cellulose paint body finish, but some
early models had the red vinyl finish. It differed initially from the
185 in that the 185's two pickup selector slide switches were not
fitted. The Artist generally had a clear lacquered neck finish whereas the 185's
neck could have either a clear lacquer or a black cellulose. Individual
pickup switches were fitted to the Artist from about 1965 onwards. The
Artist was discontinued around about 1967. Have a look at my own 1963 Artist Bass.
1962 HOFNER ARTIST BASS GUITAR
An early example, fitted with the Type 510B "diamond
logo" pickups, and finished in the usual red cellulose paint.
Owned by Riccardo Abbondanza in Rome, Italy.
c1963/64 HOFNER ARTIST BASS GUITAR A
later example than the ones above, now fitted with the twin-coil "Staple"
Type 511B pickups and also a string tree on the headstock. This guitar is
almost certainly a Selmer-distributed Artist model as opposed to the
European specification 185 model equivalent, although rather strangely it
has not been given a serial number. It does still have its Selmer/Winter
shaped case though.
Selmer Bass String packet from the 1960's
- courtesy of Paul Hunter.