Building the Hofner "Beatle" Bass

The process of manufacturing the Hofner violin bass hasn't changed much over the last 50 years.
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Karl Hofner began making stringed instruments in 1887, but his company really took off one day in 1961 when Paul McCartney walked into a Steinway shop in Hamburg, Germany. McCartney later recalled:

"So… I found this Hofner violin bass. And to me it seemed like, because I was left-handed, it looked less daft because it was symmetrical. So I got into that. That became my main bass."

He also acknowledged that it was much less expensive than a Fender.

Over 50 years later, building the Hofner Beatles Bass hasn't changed much:


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Tech Bench: Bridge Building

AS I BEGIN THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES ON BASS modifications, let me first publicly apologize to the victims of my obsessive quest for tone—P-Basses routed for J pickups, the Stingray I thought would sound great with a P pickup in neck position, the Jazz Bass I thought would improve with molten lead poured into holes cut beneath the bridge … Over the years, thousands of dollars were spent, and thousands more have been lost by desecrating what would now be vintage instruments. Forgive me, Leo.