Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass

It's hard to imagine Paul McCartney without his Hofner bass, one of the most recognizable symbols of the Beatles' look and sound. An iconic instrument from “Love Me Do” to “Now and Then”…

The 500/1 Violin Bass (also known as the “Beatle Bass”) is a hollow-body bass introduced by the German company Höfner in the mid-'50s. It gained worldwide fame during the turbulent years of Beatlemania. It became the most recognizable Beatles instrument since, in 1961, Paul McCartney purchased his first model (now known as the “Cavern”) from Steinway & Sons in Hamburg. From '63, Paul switches to a new model with pickups spaced further apart (“Mersey”). He exclusively uses it until '65 when he starts alternating it with the Rickenbacker 4001s, and he doesn't shy away from showcasing it for the historic Rooftop Concert with the infamous “Bassman” sticker. The same bass continues to accompany Paul for a long time, up to the Beatles' latest release in 2023, “Now and Then”.

Regarding Paul's first Hofner: Following the launch of last year's Lost Bass project, Paul’s 1961 Höfner 500/1 bass guitar, which was stolen in 1972, has been returned. The guitar has been authenticated by Höfner and Paul is incredibly grateful to all those involved. (paulmccartney.com - 15 February 2024)

The one in our photo is a Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass Vintage 62 “Mersey” made in Germany, identical to McCartney's main bass. You can see it in our videos for Now and Then, We Can Work It Out and Rain. Also featured is a Höfner 500/1 CT in the videos for Help! and Don't Let Me Down and modified in a “Rooftop” style for Get Back.


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