The pages where other people's Hofners are featured.
HOFNER BASS GUITARS
EUROPEAN & US MARKET MODELS: 1956 to 2000
The following picture-sets of Hofner bass
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.
Two Excel spreadsheets containing details
all the 500/1 bass guitars registered on this website can be found HERE
(500/1) and HERE
(Selmer Violin Bass). To
register your own 500/1, click HERE.
Otherwise known as the Violin Bass or Beatle Bass. Produced from 1956
up to the present day. Used, then and now, by a gentleman called Sir Paul
1956 HOFNER 500/1 BASS GUITAR When
it made its public debut at the 1956 Frankfurt Music Fair, the 500/1 had its
pickups widely spaced apart in the neck and bridge positions. Also, the 1956
catalogue in which the bass first appears shows a bass with that same pickup
configuration. It therefore seems reasonable to assume that the very first
500/1 basses made had their pickups in the neck and bridge positions. This
lovely example of such a bass was owned by Dieter Serowy, who has supplied
the photos. It is now owned by David Heslop in South Australia.
c1956/57 HOFNER 500/1 BASS GUITAR
Working on the assumption above, this must be a slightly later bass as it
has the pickups closer spaced towards the neck. As with the example above,
the ebony headstock fascia with mother-of-pearl star inlay. White bakelite
control knobs are fitted, which were actually used by Hofner on their
archtops prior to the introduction of the "teacup" knobs fitted to
the earlier bass above. All rather confusing! It's owner
is Mike Kolleth in Zurich.
1956/57 HOFNER 500/1 BASS
Perhaps a slightly later version of the one above (?), with the "teacup"
control knobs. It still has the stamped-in Hofner logo adjacent to the
bridge, and the inlaid ebony headstock fascia. Photos courtesy of Graham
Stockley of Hofner Hagenau, Germany.
1956/57 HOFNER 500/1 BASS GUITAR
This particular guitar is historically very important. It was one of the
very first bass guitars,if not the actual first, to be purchased in the UK
(by Ronnie Watt of "Ronnie Watt & the Chekkers" in 1957). Also......it is
almost certainly the first 500/1 ever seen and examined by Paul McCartney
(when he was on tour in Scotland with the Silver Beetles and Johnny Gentle
in May 1960). The bass has now been handed down to Ronnie's son-in law,
1959 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS
A beautiful example of a 1959 bass, with rectangular control console,
black-bar pickups, vertical headstock logo, and black body binding. Note
that the all-plastic pickups are now slightly closer together than on the
earlier examples. Owned by
Henning Schreiber in Denmark.
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
This bass is in superb condition! It has the Hofner rectangular control
console, and it must have have been one of the last fitted with the
black bar pickups before the toasters were introduced. Being a 1960 bass, it has a neck truss-rod. Owned by
Case van der Linden in California, USA.
1960 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS
spaced "Toaster" pickups near the neck indicate that this unusual
violin bass was made around 1960 or early 1961. Note that
black binding and a tortoiseshell console was still being used when this bass
was made. Owned by Barry Frost in Surrey, England.
1960/61 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS
You don't see many blonde 500/1's about, but here is one! I have received authorative information that
only about 10 blonde 500/1s were ever produced. (Strictly speaking I suppose,
this bass should be referred to as a 5000/1 which is the designation used by
Hofner for all natural finish violin basses. However, in 1960/61, the 5000/1
as we now know it hadn't been introduced!) A rare bass guitar indeed, owned
by Henning Arnesen.
Late 1961 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS
GUITAR This bass still has the closely spaced "Cavern" Type 3 pickups with no
exposed polepieces. However, by this stage, Hofner were moving on to
the headstock with the small Hofner transfer logo, and the back of the
bass is domed. Photographs of this guitar have been supplied by Dieter Serowy,
who has recently sold this guitar.
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS
During 1962, Hofner seem to have discontinued the Type 3 "Cavern"
pickup and fitted the 500/1 basses with the Type 510B "Diamond Logo"
pickup. They also moved the "treble" pickup down to a new location
adjacent to the bridge at this stage. This is an example of this fairly
rare version. Photos supplied by Craig Gemmel from New Zealand.
1962 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS Another
example from the same period as the one above, but fitted with some unusual
tuner buttons, which are probably original. This bass was originally sold in
The Netherlands and hence has a Van Wouw serial number. Owned by Jaap
Nieveen in The Netherlands.
1963 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS
A very interesting bass, which has a combination of features from different
periods between 1961 and 1963. Although I believe it to be fully original, it should not be
taken as a definitive example of a 1963 bass! It has a solid spruce carved
body top (dated June 1961), with a bowed back. "Rugby Ball" tuners are fitted to a
headstock with a black, gold decal logo fascia. Type 3 "Cavern"
pickups are fitted but the pot code is "13", indicating a
potentiometer manufacture date of the first week in 1963. My own
view is that early 1963 was a period when Hofner weren't selling many 500/1
basses, but they were flat-out producing other models, particularly for the
likes of Selmer. Being Hofner, they would not make up any models that they
didn't have order for at any particular time, but they would have partially
made bits and pieces which would be knocking about in the workshop. I
would say that an order came in for a single, or maybe two or three 500/1
and so they scoured the workshops for the necessary pieces to assemble in
order to meet the order. A beautiful and fascinating bass, owned by
Greg Feo in California, USA.
HOFNER 500/1 BASS GUITAR
This guitar is one of the first to have the Type 511 "Staple" pickup
fitted. A superb example, complete with original case, that has
spent most of its life in a glass display cabinet in Germany! Tony
Capizzi of New York, USA now owns this very desirable instrument.
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
Now here's one for you 500/1 fans to ponder over - a '63 bass with a
vine leaf headstock inlay!! It is almost certainly original, and it is
the only one that I have seen. A rare guitar, owned by Rob Folkard of
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
Bound fingerboard, plastic raised logo on headstock, large surrounds to
the "staple" pickups, and a very short tailpiece are the features of
500/1's made between 1965 and 1967. Matteo Rorato in Italy is the owner
of this bass.
1967 HOFNER MODEL
1967 was a year of considerable change for the 500/1. This particular example
has the new Type 512 "Blade" pickups, but it still has the white plastic
headstock logo which was superseded in 1967 by the decal type. It also has one
or two unusual but original detail features. Owned by Oscar Decker in Texas,
1967 HOFNER MODEL
500/1B BASS GUITAR
Fitted with active electronics incorporating a "Bass Boost", this model
like the "Sound Mix" version further down this page, was only produced
for a few years in the late 1960's and early 1970's. This particular
example is owned by Stuart Cooke in London, England.
1968 HOFNER MODEL 500/1M BASS GUITAR
This guitar is in mint condition as it has not been played since being
purchased new in Hong Kong in 1970. It is in a time-warp! The lucky owner is
Hank Gibson in California, USA.
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
The large control panel, enclosed machines, and the small decal on the
headstock date this bass to the 1967-70 period. A very nice example,
owned by Bob Jacobson of Tennessee, USA.
1960's HOFNER 500/1 BASS GUITAR
An unusual example in that strip type fret markers have been factory
fitted instead of the usual dots. Picture supplied by Michael Stanley
Pedersen of Copenhagen, Denmark.
c1970 HOFNER 500/1 BASS GUITAR (ROTARY
CONTROLS VERSION) Apparently sometime
around 1970, Hofner made a few 500/1 basses with rotary controls rather than
the usual rectangular console. A volume pot for each pickup is provided with
a single overall tone control. Owned by Stuart
Lorriman in Nova Scotia, Canada.
c1972 HOFNER 500/1
BASS GUITAR - SPANISH-MADE
Between 1963 and 1973, Hofner allowed five hundred 500/1 basses to be
made under licence by the Keller Company in Zarauz, Spain. More
information on this can be found in the "Made in Spain Fact
File" elsewhere on this site. This example of a Spanish-made
Hofner is owned by Xosé Crisanto Gándara in Spain.
1970's HOFNER 500/1M BASS GUITAR
A fairly rare bass. Hofner produced two active electronics versions of
the 500/1 for a few years from 1967 (Bass Boost circuit) and 1968 (Sound Mix
circuit) into the early 1970's. This "M" for "Sound Mix" version is owned by Bob Smith in Virginia USA.
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
Somewhat of a transition guitar, with the earlier enclosed tuners with
white plastic buttons and Type 513B pickups with the Hofner logo, but
with the later silver headstock decal. Owned by Brian Morton of
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
From about 1979/80 onwards, Hofner put silver logos on the headstocks
of the 500/1. They also removed the Hofner logo from off the pickups.
This guitar, owned by Robert Dreher of "The
Heepheads", exhibits those characteristics.
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
A similar bass to the one above, but this one has been fitted with some
unusual tuners. It also displays what I believe is probably a Sorkin
serial number. Owned by Lauro Meller in Brazil.
c1984 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 - ASSEMBLED FROM
HOFNER KIT Between late 1983 and early 1988, Hofner offered a kit of
parts from which a complete 500/1 bass could be assembled by the purchaser.
Kits were also offered during the same period for a classical guitar, the
Hofner Shorty model, and two grades of violin. The bolt-on neck identifies
this as being a kit bass. Presumably Hofner wanted to make assembly as
simple as possible, and so steered away from a set-neck as used on all other
types of 500/1. This example has been completed and finished to a very high standard.
Owned by Mike Upchurch in North Carolina, USA.
c1988 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 - ASSEMBLED FROM
....and another example of a Hofner 500/1 assembled from factory kit. This
particular one was supplied with Type 511 "Staple" pickups as
opposed to the Type 513 "Blade" pickups supplied with the earlier
kit above. The body has been finished in a very unusual and attractive ebony
stain, with the neck in natural lacquer. Owned by Mike August in Virginia,
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 "1964 - 1984 ANNIVERSARY" BASS GUITAR
The bass was issued by Sorkin Music who were the exclusive distributors
of Hofner in the US at the time. They wished to commemorate their 20
association with Hofner which commenced in 1964. Frank Trevino
remembers that as well as the engraved truss-rod plate, a yellow banner
saying something like "Anniversary Hofner 1965-84" was included in the
case, together with a small folder with Paul McCartney on the cover and
a brief history of Hofner and Sorkin Music inside. Don Burkhardt in
Maryland, USA has owned this bass since 1985.
1986 HOFNER "NEW SPECIAL" BASS GUITAR -
JAPANESE MARKET MODEL - ADVERTISEMENT SCAN From around 1984 onwards,
Hofner worked closely with various Japanese companies to produce versions of
the 500/1 bass specifically for the Japanese market. This relationship still
exists to the present day. In effect, these were the first re-issue basses
produced by Hofner, and the Japanese assisted by initially providing
"staple" pickups, and pickguard/control panel laminates, etc.
These guitars were referred to internally by Hofner as the "New
Special" model. This evolved closer to the 60's basses over the years, with changes such as
the one-piece neck with flush heel being replaced after a year or two.
final evolution of this process was the "Vintage 58 Bass" model,
which was supplied to Japan from around 1989/90. Hofner continued to also supply their "standard" 500/1 bass fitted
with Type 513 Blade pickups and enclosed tuners, etc to Japan, (and from
1994 the '63 Re-issue), in tandem with
the "'58 Vintage" basses. The name " '58 Vintage" seems to
have stemmed from a mis-understanding as to when Paul McCartney first
purchased a 500/1 bass! A useful source of information on Japanese-market
basses can be found at Katou
c1986 HOFNER "NEW SPECIAL" BASS GUITAR
- JAPANESE MARKET MODEL
This would appear to be an actual Japanese market bass which was referred to
internally by Hofner as the "New Special", which preceded the
"Vintage '58" model. It is doubtful whether this particular
guitar was ever sent to Japan though. The dating has been obtained from the Japanese market
serial numbers contained in Michael Naglav's excellent
book on Hofner guitars. Re-issue features such as (Japanese-made) "staple"
pickups, open "catshead" tuners, no neck binding, and raised plastic
headstock logo, have been combined with a contemporary one piece neck
and the "flush" neck heel. A very interesting bass which is now owned by Paul
Jenkins in Gloucestershire, England.
1988 GRECO VB-165 MODEL BASS GUITAR (HOFNER
500/100) - ADVERTISEMENT SCAN Hofner were commissioned by Greco in
1988 to produce a small quantity of violin basses with the Greco label on
the headstock. Greco also asked for a laminated flame-maple top on the body
of these specials, rather than the standard spruce. These basses were then
sold in Japan alongside Greco's own copy of the 500/1 bass - the Greco V-65.
Hofner's internal workshop designation for these basses was 500/100.
c1989 HOFNER MODEL
500/1 BASS GUITAR
This bass is an example of one of the later standard 500/1 basses
produced before Hofner reverted to producing 1960's re-issues as the
standard model in the mid-1990's. It has been factory fitted with black "skirted" control
knobs and Japanese made tuners. Also during this period, the pickguard is
attached by means of two screws into the body top, as well as the side
bracket. The bass has been owned from new in
1989 by Xavier of France.
Late 1989 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
A superb example of the "standard" 500/1 violin bass produced
around 1990. Because Hofner were having problems sourcing materials at that
time, they were fitted with a bright-white pearloid pickguard and control
console cover produced in Japan. The control console itself and the Gotoh
tuners were also Japan sourced - an consequence of the large number of
Japanese-specified violin basses being produced by Hofner in Germany for
sale in Japan. Owned by Martin Berka in Finland.
c1988-90 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
Another violin bass fitted with Japanese-made hardware, including the
"catshead" tuners, the screwed-down pickguard, "wide" control panel,
and.....the Type 511B "Staple" pickups made by the Japanese for fitting to
the guitars supplied by Hofner to Japan at that time. Maybe Hofner had run
out of supplies of the Type 513B "Blades" fitted to their Standard basses at
that time, or perhaps more likely they were fitted by mistake. Owned by
Philippe Dopchie in France.
Early 1990's HOFNER
MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
A late 1980's bass, courtesy of Matteo Rorato of Italy. This bass is
fitted with a wide control console with black volume knobs and small
white switches. Also by this time, Hofner were fitting the Type 513B
pickups do not have the Hofner logo, and had returned to using the open
geared "catshead" tuners.
c1992/93 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
An example of a "Standard" 500/1 bass guitar of the period, except for one
thing.......it is fitted with the Japanese-made
"Staple" pickups fitted to the Japanese-market models.
The bass was probably sold new in Paris, so my guess is that for some reason
the usual "Blade" type 513s weren't available, so Hofner dipped
into the Japanese stock. By the this time in the early 1990's, Hofner had
reverted back to a narrow control console, although still with black knobs
and switches. Owned by Stephane Edy in Brittany, France.
HOFNER MODEL 500/1 "CAVERN" BASS REISSUE - MUSIC GROUND PROJECT
In 1994, Music Ground in the UK commissioned a series of 500/1 Cavern
re-issues from Hofner. It could be said that these were the first accurate 500/1 re-issues produced,
(although the Japanese-market Special Vintage '58 model was the first in
1984), and they no doubt encouraged Hofner to continue making re-issues through to the present
day. Many of the Caverns supplied to Music Ground had solid carved spruce tops,
but laminated top versions were also supplied. This one is the second one made and is owned by Ron
1995 HOFNER MODEL 500/1 BASS GUITAR
Shipped from Bubenreuth in November 1995, this beautiful "leftie"
bass is an excellent example of one of the last "standard" violin
basses made. Owned by Norbert Boekhout in The Netherlands.
1995/96 HOFNER 40th ANNIVERSARY 500/1 BASS -
JAPAN ADVERTISEMENT SCAN
A limited-edition model brought out by Hofner in 1995 to celebrate the 40th
anniversary of the 500/1 by Walter Hofner in 1955. This appears to have been
based on the '63 Re-Issue model, but perhaps with selected timbers and a
carved solid body top? The
advertisement shown would indicate that, in Japan, an option of having
"Cavern" pickups was offered.
1996/97 HOFNER 500/1 "STANDARD II
LIMITED EDITION" BASS GUITAR
In 1996, Hofner wished to consolidate the 500/1 range, with the intention of
deleting the "Standard" basses and simply offering just the new
re-issues. In order to utilise the stock of single-piece necks of the type
fitted to the Standard basses, these were paired up with what were
essentially '63 Re-Issue bodies fitted with re-issue electrics and pickups
and marketed as the "Standard II" Limited Edition of 200 basses. Production of these
lasted for less than two years, although shipping continued for a few years
longer up to the year 2000. This particular guitar was shipped in 1997 and
is owned by Pavel Nepivoda in the Czech Republic.
HOFNER MODEL 5000/1 BASS GUITAR
The deluxe version of the 500/1 Bass, with blonde finish as standard,
beautiful flame maple back and sides, fancy body binding, and on later versions,
gold-plated hardware. Most 5000/1's up to the
1990's seem to have been fitted with active electronics - either a
"bass booster" (B) or
occasionally a "sound mixer" (M) circuit being incorporated. Also
marketed in the US during the late 60's/early 70's as the "Model G500/1
Super Beatle". Introduced in 1968/69, and still being produced by Hofner
in standard (non-active electrics) 5000/1 format.
c1969 HOFNER 5000/1 BASS GUITAR One
of the first Deluxe Violin basses made, complete with lovely rose
flower-design headstock inlays in mother of pearl and brown pearloid binding
with matching pickguard and control console plate. Note the unusual
(although probably original) control knobs and the extra-large size console.
HOFNER 5000/1 BASS GUITAR
This bass is also fitted with the standard electrics - i.e. the Hofner
rectangular control consul. It is owned by Anthony Porcarello. Note the change
from the more ornate rose design headstock inlay on the guitar above to the
simpler bellflower design on this later bass.
c1988 HOFNER 5000/1 BASS
GUITAR - BLACK SCHALLER PICKUPS It has been confirmed by the Hofner
Company that a very small number of 5000/1 basses (no more than five) were
produced in the late 1980's fitted with black Schaller pickups. This is one
of those rare and interesting basses. Owned by Siegfrid Dobat in Germany.
HOFNER MODEL 500/2 BASS GUITAR
The bass version of the Hofner Club Semi Acoustic guitars (Model
125/126/128). Really a 500/1 with a "Club" single cutaway body.
Produced between late
1964 and 1970, but Hofner have recently been marketing a re-issue.
c1964 HOFNER MODEL
500/2 BASS GUITAR
A very interesting instrument which was probably made as a prototype,
prior to main production of the 500/2 commencing. Owned by Joe Raffel
1964/65 HOFNER MODEL
500/2 BASS GUITAR
A superb example owned by Harry Stimac in Kansas, USA. Also, take a
look at some of Harry's other goodies, such as his c1966 Vox AC100, T60
Amp and cabinet, and 1964 500/1 Bass!
HOFNER MODEL 500/2 BASS GUITAR
This lovely example has been owned since new by its current owner. It
is fitted with the wide control console, which began to appear during
thanks to Massimo Gatti of Milan, Italy for supplying some very classy
HOFNER MODEL 500/2 BASS GUITAR
One of the first to be fitted with the Type 512 "Blade"
pickups, but it still has the plastic headstock logo. A lovely example
owned by Antonio
HOFNER MODEL 500/2 BASS GUITAR
One of the last ones made, and owned by John Snell in California, USA..
Fitted with "blade" (Type 512) pickups and enclosed tuners, this 500/2 is in
HOFNER MODEL 500/3 BASS GUITAR
Produced from around 1960 through to 1964 as a single pickup version of
Hofner's longer lasting 500/5 model which is described below. Both these large
bodied basses were not initially marketed at all strongly by Hofner in Europe,
unlike Selmer in the UK who had the 500/5 in their catalogues from around 1958
onwards and the single pickup 500/3 from 1960. They were not even included in
the main Hofner European price list until 1961.
The 500/3 followed the general trend of most of Hofner's archtops, with a
rectangular console fitted up to mid-1962, and simple volume and tone rotary
controls from then on.
MODEL 500/3 BASS GUITAR One of the last ones made. Fitted with a
single "Staple" type 511 pickup and two rotary control knobs (Volume & Tone).
Owned by Bruno Regnier in France.
HOFNER MODEL 500/4 BASS GUITAR
version of the Hofner 4572 6-string model. Fitted with a bass version
of the Type 511(iii) single coil pickup, and Schaller bass tuners.
Produced from 1969 through to 1988.
Developed from the Hofner mid-range 6 string archtop Model 4550 with its 17"
wide but slimmer body (2.5"), this is the bass, which in Selmer "Electric Bass
Guitar" guise, was made famous by Stu Sutcliffe in the Beatles'
formative years. Produced between c1957 and the late 1970's, (although
it was replaced in the UK by the President Bass in the UK Selmer
catalogue from 1963).The European/US market 500/5 is often incorrectly
called the President Bass.
The 500/3 was the single pickup version.
1957 HOFNER 500/5 BASS
Must be one of the first made - it's certainly the earliest that I have
seen. There is no Hofner logo on the headstock on the first version of this
model, and also rosewood "black-bar" pickups are fitted. A nice blonde bass owned by Colin
1959 HOFNER 500/5 BASS GUITAR
By 1959, the 500/5 model has the Hofner logo on the headstock, and the
"black-bar" pickups have an all-plastic case. A lovely sunburst bass owned by John
Espinosa in Australia.
500/5 BASS GUITAR A fabulous looking 1960 example, with twin
"Toaster" pickups and a truss rod; both of which Hofner started fitting to
the 500/5 from very early 1960. Owned by Andrea Colletto in Turin, Italy.
1960's HOFNER 500/5 BASS GUITAR
This 500/5 is fitted with the later Type 513B
"blade" pickups. Strangely for a mid-range quality Hofner of this period,
it still retains the early open-gear tuners. Owned by Gerard Beuzon in
Late 1960's HOFNER 500/5B
BASS GUITAR From the same period as the one above, but this one has
been factory-fitted with the optional Bass Boost active circuit. A very rare
bass owned by Bob Cocozza in Florida, USA.
Late 1960's HOFNER 500/5 BASS
GUITAR A similar bass to the above with Type 512B pickups. This one
however has the the three rotary controls/single pickup selector switch
arrangement that was used by Hofner on many of their archtop models in the
mid-late 1960's. The truss rod cover has changed to the "bell"
type with cross-head screws, which indicates that it this bass made after
the above example. Owned by Mario Bollinger in Germany.
HOFNER MODEL 500/6
Based on the Hofner Model 4600 6-string semi, and therefore featuring a
very thin 1.25" depth body with twin double cutaways. Unlike the true
Verithin models however, this guitar has curved body edges, and hence
no body binding. Usual finish is a striking black/red two tone
sunburst, but a three tone black/red/yellow sunburst option was also
available. Bolt-on neck. Two pickups with either four rotary controls
and no pickup selector switch, or later three rotary controls and a
three way pickup selector switch on the top bout. Produced between 1966
1966 HOFNER 500/6 BASS
The earlier version, fitted with two Type 511B "Staple" pickups. Soren Koch of Copenhagen,
Denmark owns this immaculate example.
Based on the Hofner Model 4574 six-string thinline, and featuring a
double-cutaway body with a 1.25" depth. The similar "Verithin Bass"
was produced for Selmer from 1963. Hofner must have then decided to market a
similar bass for the European and US markets, which they did as the 500/7 model from
about 1966 onwards. Production ended in 1971.
Don't get the 500/7 confused with the 500/6, which was based on the
Hofner 4600 six string semi. The 500/6 has a similar very thin (1.25")
and double cutaway body as the Verithin and 500/7 models, but the body sides are curved,
and the neck is a bolt-on.
500/7 (?) BASS GUITAR - NETHERLANDS VERSION
This rare 500/7 look-alike is fitted with a 50mm (2") deep body instead of the
usual 30mm for the 500/7 model (1�"). It would appear that Hofner produced the
equivalent 6-string guitar model 4573 and this bass only for the Netherlands
initially. I am assuming at present that Van Wouw, the distributors for
Hofner in the Netherlands, marketed this bass under the 500/7 designation,
but that still has to confirmed. Owned by Jos Wehrens in The Netherlands.
1960's/1970's HOFNER 500/7 "SPECIAL" BASS GUITAR - THREE PICKUPS
This very unusual bass was possibly made as a special order, or maybe
for a trade show. It has the three pickups and electrical circuits of
the Hofner 4575 6-string semi. I have never seen another like
it, neither in "the flesh" nor in a catalogue. It is owned by Silas in
Germany, who has restored the bass back to its original red body finish.
HOFNER MODEL 500/8 BASS GUITAR
The bass version of the Hofner Model 4578/Ambassador. Hofner's only
bass featuring a double Florentine cutaway.
Factory option of either passive twin pickup electrics, active "M"
Sound Mix, or active "B" Bass Boost. Produced between 1969 and 1977,
but not for the UK market.
A beautiful example of a 500/8 fitted with passive electrics. This bass
is part of Adam Wojcik's collection in Poland.
1970's HOFNER 500/8M BASS
Another nice 500/8, this one being fitted with the active "Sound Mix"
electrics. Owned by Carlton Basham of Casnewydd, De Cymru (Newport,
The blonde finish version of the one above. Includes a photo of the
very complicated "Bass Boost" circuit. Owned by Alan Patrick of Berlin,
HOFNER 500/8BZ BASS
The other type of active 500/8 Bass, the "BZ" version had a Bass Boost
and a Fuzz Effect built-in. This one also happens to be a blonde
finish. Thanks to Music
Ground, Leeds, England for allowing us to photograph it
during our last visit.
HOFNER 500/10 SIX STRING
SEMI-ACOUSTIC BASS GUITAR
Produced for the European market between 1960 and 1968. A few actually
found themselves sold in the UK by Selmer, but only around 1961/62.
Basically a 500/5 with a thicker neck and two extra strings.
The first version of Model 182 was initially introduced as the bass version of
the 173 solid guitar, with a less-than-inspired body shape and a three-piece
neck set (glued) into the body. The option of one or two pickups was provided.
It appears to have been supplied predominantly to Selmer London from 1960, who
marketed it as the Hofner "Solid Bass Guitar". However, a few also were supplied
in Europe, but of course without the usual Selmer serial number on the headstock
rear. This appears to have occurred a little later than its introduction in the
UK, as the 182 only began to feature in Hofner's general price list in mid-1961.
Introduced simultaneously with Hofner Solid Bass (Version 2) in the UK Selmer
market in 1962, Version 2 of the 182 model had a bolt-on neck which was often painted
in black lacquer. The
Selmer bass always had a clear varnished neck and of course serial
numbers on the rear of the headstock, which the European/US market bass did not. The Selmer solid bass changed to
the one-pickup Professional Bass in 1963 when the Artist two pickup
bass was introduced. However, the 182 continued in the European and US markets
as a two-pickup model into the 1980's. All 182's were fitted with the Hofner rectangular
control consul, regardless of production date.
1960/61 HOFNER MODEL 182/E1 SOLID BASS
A very rare bass. These set-neck basses were in general supplied to Selmer
London, although it does now seem that a few were actually sold in Europe
also; this being one such bass. The basses supplied to Selmer were fitted
optionally with either one or two pickups. This bass has a single pickup.
Owned by Wolfgang in Germany.
1962 HOFNER MODEL 182 SOLID BASS This
is I believe one of the first bolt-on neck 182 bass guitars made (following
on from the set-neck basses that seem to have been supplied predominantly to
Selmer UK). It has the two Type 510B (Diamond Logo) pickups located close
together at the neck end of the body. This followed the normal Hofner
practice adopted when single coil units (Black Bar and Toaster types) were
fitted to their bass guitars, almost certainly to provide a sufficiently
strong output to produce a satisfactory bass tone when both switched in
together. The Type 510B units appeared at the end of 1961 and were more
powerful twin-coil units. It took Hofner a short time to realise that two
510B's working together was over-kill, and they may as well space them out
to give more choice of tone. During that period however, a few 182 basses
were produced with the old arrangement and this is one of those examples.
Owned by Jan Teertstra in The Netherlands, this bass would have originally
been fitted with a nickel plated cover over the tailpiece and bridge. This
was dropped on subsequent versions of the 182. (See the early Selmer-distributed
Solid Bass Guitars for more evidence of these early features.)
1962 HOFNER MODEL 182 SOLID BASS - SINGLE
PICKUP Like I said above, the 182 was a two pickup bass guitar.
However........it would seem that a very small number were produced with one
just pickup at the beginning of the model's production period; maybe because
Selmer UK wished to keep a single pickup solid bass in their catalogue. This
is one of those very rare bass guitars, owned by Mike Knowler in Alberta,
1962/63 HOFNER MODEL 182
SOLID BASS An early example fitted with twin "Diamond Logo" Type
510B pickups and finished in brown vinyl. Owned by Riccardo Abbondanza in
1962/63 HOFNER MODEL 182 SOLID BASS -
A very unusual bass - this is the only 182 that I have ever seen fitted with
rotary electric controls rather than the usual Hofner rectangular control
console, other than the equally
unusual Hofner Solid Bass
in the Selmer Bass Gallery. Perhaps these were prototypes made before the
185/Artist model was introduced? This red vinyl-covered guitar is owned by Max Junger of
Pyramid Strings in
Mid-1960's HOFNER MODEL 182
This one has the "wide" control panel, and hence dates from after
mid-1965, but prior to late-1967 when the Type 513B "Blade" pickup
was introduced, (See the one below.) It is finished in dark brown sunburst,
rather than in the vinyl of the previous example. Owned by Alan Patrick in
HOFNER MODEL 182 SOLID BASS
The 1970's & 80's
changes being made to the 182. A combined
bridge/tailpiece was fitted, as well as a large string retainer on the
headstock. This bass is owned by Riccardo Abbondanza of the Picxsel
Studio, Rome, Italy. It is equipped
Type 513B pickups and has very interesting looking open machine heads
which apparently were being fitted by Hofner at the time.
HOFNER 182 SOLID BASS
A similar bass to the one above, owned by Franck Etna in France.
Production of the Hofner 182 Bass was continued into the mid-1980's.
HOFNER MODEL 183 SOLID BASS
The bass version of a Hofner range which also included the conventional
6 string solids designated the Model 165 (2 pickup) and the Model 167
(3 pickup). The 183 was made between c1975 and c1983.
Produced between 1974 and 1980, when Hofner were in copying mode. The
184 was very obviously based on the Fender product, although it did
have the short 30" scale in common with most other Hofner basses. Unlike the 185
model, it had dot fret-markers instead of "bar" type markers, and also
a chrome combined bridge/tailpiece.
MID 1970'S HOFNER 184 SOLID
BASS A lovely example which has two pickup selector
slide-switches mounted on the scratchplate - just like the 185 model of that
period. Owned by Paul Evans.
Hofner's answer to the Fender Jazz Bass was the very stylish looking
Model 185, with its offset-waist. Introduced in late 1962 in the
European market together with a version called the Artist Bass for
Selmer customers. (The Artist differed from the 185 in that the
majority of Artists do not have the two pickup selector slide switches,
and they invariably have a clear
lacquered neck finish. The 185 had either a black cellulose or clear
neck finish, and only some very early examples were not fitted with the
selector switches. Of course, being a Selmer distributed guitar, the
Artist has a serial number stamped into the back of the headstock.) The
185 was often finished in vinyl covering as well as the conventional
cellulose. Production lasted into the mid-1980's.
1962 HOFNER MODEL 185
One of the first 185's made - it is fitted with "diamond logo" pickups.
The very first 185's were not fitted with pickup slide selector
switches. This red vinyl finished guitar is owned by Dan McGonigal of
Mid 1960's HOFNER
MODEL 185 BASS
A later 185, now fitted with the twin pickup selector slide switches,
and also in heavily textured red vinyl. Owned by Marius Egenes in
HOFNER MODEL 185 BASS - LEFT HANDED
A "Leftie" 185 is a fairly rare bass, and this one is a beauty! Hofner
have fitted a right handed neck to a left handed body, to provided a
reverse-headstock. Owned by Lenie Colacino from the "Beatlemania"
c1966 HOFNER MODEL 185 BASS
This rather nice sunburst finished bass is owned by Shaun Malott of
Chicago, USA. Being an early example, two volume controls are fitted.
Mid 1960's HOFNER
MODEL 185 BASS
Another 1960's 185, but this immaculate example is finished in white
and black vinyl. A very striking-looking guitar, owned by Olaf Poeter
1970's HOFNER MODEL
Later 185's were fitted with only one volume and two tone controls,
plus individual pickup slide switches. This bass, owned by Michael
Jacobsen of San Diego, USA, is such an example.
HOFNER MODEL 185 FRETLESS BASS
Either this is a custom-built bass for a special order, a prototype, or
Hofner must have produced a fretless version of the 185 which I have
never seen in any of their catalogues. Whatever, it is a rare and
beautiful beast! Owned by Paul Hunter in Middlesborough, England.
HOFNER MODEL 186 SOLID BASS
A bass guitar fitted with a "Telecaster" style body. The six string
guitar version was the Model 175. The 186 was produced between 1971 and
A fairly close copy of the Gibson EB3 bass guitar, with 30" scale
length. Introduced in late 1970, this bass lasted for only a year or so. It's place seems to have been taken by the Hofner 190
model in 1972,
which also relied on the famous Gibson SG shape for its design.
Hofner's unique "travel and backstage" bass guitar. Produced between
1982 and 1986, this instrument promised the ultimate in portability.
Coming complete with padded leatherette carrying bag, this was the bass
version of the 6-string Model 181 Shorty. Short 28" Scale, with strings
being fixed through the body. Equipped with a single humbucking pickup.
Finished in cute colours of yellow, red, white, or blue, plus a natural
mahogany finish for the more conservative traveller! This model was the
second to carry the 187 designation. An SG bodied medium-scale bass was
the first, produced in the early 1970's.
This guitar was produced between 1963 and 1970 when 6-string bass
guitars were very much in fashion. Initially, the body and electrics
were based on the 175 conventional 6 string guitar, and marketed as having four machine
heads on top of the headstock and two beneath. After about a year however from
1964, a six-in-line machine head layout was shown in the catalogues, and very
soon afterwards the
electrics changed to those used on the Model 176. Interestingly, the 188 had a
28" scale length - somewhat shorter than the 30" scale of the Fender
c1963/64 HOFNER MODEL 188(ii)
6-STRING BASS GUITAR
An example of the next version of the 188, with 6-a-side tuners but still with
the 175 type electrics. This guitar has a red vinyl finish, black
scratchplate and red
marble headstock fascia. Owned by Riccardo Abbondanza of Rome, Italy.
Hofner's take on the F...er
Jazz Bass, produced from 1971 until 1983. Unusually for Hofner, it
had the long 34" scale. It was fitted with two "Hi Fi" pickups, each
with eight polepieces, instead of the standard Hofner units of the day.
MODEL 189 SOLID BASS GUITAR
This example has the more usual black headstock and white
pickguard. The body is faced with an attractive flame maple laminate.
Owned by Anders Damås.
HOFNER MODEL 190 SOLID
Another fairly obvious copy, but this time using the Gibson SB 400 Bass
pattern. As with the 189 model, it had the long 34" scale, and in fact
it was produced in parallel with the 189 from 1972 until 1981. Did Schaller's supply Hofner with
exactly the same hardware as they had been supplying to Gibson
the SB 400?? It does look rather like it!
1961 and c1964, this was a semi-solid instrument with two necks for
6-string and bass. The 191(i) was finished in tobacco sunburst, and
initially had a set-neck joint.
Later examples have a bolt-on neck. It had a single pickup for the bass
pickups for the normal guitar. There was a later (1964 - 70) version of
the 191 which had a fully solid body and strat-type cutaways.
This had two pickups for the bass and three pickups for the normal
The simpler version of the
191(i), named the 190, was produced around 1961.
Apparently it had a red finish and less body binding than the 191(i).
The twin pickup Hofner 189 model introduced in 1971 had more than a passing
resemblance to the Fe...r Jazz Bass, so I suppose that it was inevitable that
Hofner would produce a single pickup solid bass that looked rather like a
Precision Bass and had the long 34" scale length. The Hofner Model 192 was
that bass, and it appeared the year after the 189 in 1972. It couldn't have been too popular
however, because by 1974 it had disappeared from the price list.
The wind of change blew over Hofner in the later half of the 1970's,
and some very up-to-date, top quality guitars and bass guitars were
produced. The Model S7B was one such instrument included in Hofner's
"Professional-Line". It was the brother of the S7L & S7N six
solid guitars and the S7-12 twelve string. With a solid mahogany body,
full scale neck, and active electrics, this really was the business. A
single humbucking pickup was fitted, with a selection switch for twin,
single coil, or out of phase operation, plus a volume control, acoustic
filter, and bass booster tone control. The S7B was manufactured between 1978 and
CONTROL FUNCTIONS FOR HOFNER
MODEL S7B BASS GUITAR Hofner attached tags to these
basses at the factory which explained
what the electrical controls on the bass
did. In many cases, these tags have now been lost. Hopefully the scans on
this link will assist present day owners get the best out of their basses!
HOFNER MODEL S9B SOLID BASS GUITAR
The next "S" model solid bass to come along was the
S9B in 1982. This was the bass version of the already existing S9C six-string
guitar that had been introduced two years earlier in 1980. It had a three piece
maple/bubinga/maple through-neck running into a bubinga body, making it a very
striking instrument. Gold-plated Shaller fittings could only add to the overall
luxurious effect. The scale length was Hofner's favourite "Medium"
30inch, and twin humbucking pickups were fitted. The S9B was discontinued in
The final model in the "S" Bass series appeared in
1984 at the same time as the S2 and S2A six-string guitars were brought out. The
S2B was very much a no-frills bass guitar, with a single Fender-stryle split
single coil pickup and a "Long" string scale of 34". The body was
mahogany with a conventional bolt-on maple neck. Production of the S2B ceased in
Another highly inovative bass
produced byHofner for a very short period
around 1987. This rare beast, rather than using conventional pickups,
featured a piezo pickup for each string. Its sinister all-black finish
suited its radical style perfectly.
For those players of a more conservative/cautious nature, the Slap-Bass
was also offered with with a conventional humbucking pickup, in
addition to the piezos. This was called the Slap-Bass Plus.
particularly in Czechoslovakia, had produced solid
stand-up basses back in the early 1960's. Selmer sold such a Czech-made
bass under the Futurama label during 1960/61. Hofner started making the
much higher quality "Jazz" in the very early 1980's and offered them in
the catalogue for around ten years. These were expensive instruments -
back in 1982, the UK distributor Barratts were offering the Jazz for
sale at £759. That was over £200 more than they
were asking for the Hofner A2L Memphis Award!
It seems that during the 1960's, Hofner components were supplied to the Keller company in Spain, where these were assembled into complete guitars and
basses and then sold to the
Spanish market. See the Fact File
about the Spanish-Built Hofners