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Hofner President Bass

Here is a post about our bass player John's Hofner President bass guitar. Here's what he has to say:

I believe this is from late 1965, or early ’66. Hofner guitars and basses were very popular with beat groups in the early 1960s. We all remember the distinctive Hofner Violin bass played by Paul McCartney of The Beatles. American makes were very difficult to obtain in the UK at that time. As the likes of Fender and Gibson became more readily available from the mid '60s onwards, Hofners lost their popularity.

hofner president bass ricky cool and the in crowd
John playing his Hofner bass at a recent show

This model debuted in 1963, but at the beginning of ’65 they started to

manufacture them with the wider pick up surround that mine has, and by ’67 they

had a completely different pick up installed. Having said that, there were always

crossover periods as the factory used up stock components, and Hofner was always

renowned for doing odd things anyway…

Hofner basses have a very distinctive tone – the 'thump' that they are known for, allied to a surprisingly low fundamental frequency gives them this sound. The body is completely hollow and very resonant, which creates a problem at higher volumes, as they are prone to feedback. On the other hand, it’s light and comfortable. The strings are closely spaced, so much so it takes some getting used to from the playing point of view.

At first I had it strung with black nylon tapewound strings, which suited it very well,

giving more of the Double Bass kind of tone. More recently, I’ve changed to

flatwounds to give a more consistent feel with my other basses, but in retrospect I

feel the tapewounds are probably the way to go.

I bought the bass in a poor, unplayable condition and had it restored by my local

luthier, Bob Barry. I obtained replacement pickups from the factory, as the originals

(which I still have) were not working. I intended to have the originals rewound and

re-installed but I'm happy with the replacements.

To find out more just click on the video below.

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