The Bass-ment

Building the Hofner Beatle Bass


This may be old news, but I was watching the Beatles' First US Visit cd the other night with friends who hadn't seen it before and one of them found this very cool 16 minute video of building the 500/1 bass. Gretsch should make a video like this.

Edit: this links to a different version as the one I saw had Beatles cover versions as a soundtrack; this has weird stately piano music. I'd listen to it playing "Live at the BBC" instead.



Makes me want a real one !!



Makes me want a real one !!

– RustyG

Same here! Great video, thanks for posting.


This was great! I imagine making a Gretsch guitar is a very similar process. I was surprised that most of it was handmade without the use of current technology.


And I was surprised to see that the guy cut the fret slots and drilled the holes for the fret markers free hand. I guess the wooden plank he pressed against the fretboard gave him some guidelines, but still ...


I think the guy doing the slots and dots is Dieter Fischer, who's been there at least 50 years, and was making archtops and violin basses when they were just 'what Hofner made', rather than retro or reissue stuff.

Nice to see a hand-finished neck-pocket - some have 'match numbers' on the heel and socket when you take them apart to re-make the hide glue joint. No big woodscrew required here, or bits of cardboard, or glue-and-sawdust.

Great to see some nice flamed maple too.


Nut slots freehanded too! Impressive...


And to think that Paul McCartney chose a Hofner because it was "cheaper" than a Fender....That and you could flip it over and set it up for left handed playing easier.


Wow. That's was great! Thanks for posting, lx.



I wonder if they have that very same music playing in the background at the shop . . .


Wow - first string it up, then install the pickups and electronics. And yeah, surprising that the frets and nut are cut freehand.


I've been to the original factory in Bubenreuth and to the newer one they opened in Hagnu in the late Sixties. It is still very much a hand built instrument even though they do have some more modern equipment/machines. The folks there are just wonderful to talk with and it would be a really great place to work if I lived in the Bavaria region. The lovely guy who started there when he was 14 in 1955 built almost all the 500/1 "Beatle" Basses in the early years. Last time I was there was in 2014 and he finally retired. I asked him in 2009 why he still came in most mornings and he said "I really don't know what else I'd do". I told him he should travel since he's quiet able to get around on his own. Almost all German workers get the month of August every year for their Holiday(besides another months' time over the course of the year). He told me he usually goes to different countries and sources wood for Hofner. Anyway, I'm a big Hofner fan!


A dear friend that was in my highschool band had 5 violin, and 1 club bass destroyed in a house fire. He replaced them all...

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