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Review

Hofner 500/1 Greenline

Issue #64

Top to bottom, the neck, body back and sides are all flame maple with a very natural finish. Up close the flame shimmers slightly under bright lights too. Wow!
Dan Veall

Höfner 500/1 Greenline

Guitar Interactive star rating: 4.5

MSRP (UK) £2299 (US) $TBC

  

PROS

Out of the custom case, it felt a quality instrument.

It’s not a P or a J!

Inspiring creatively to play.

High-quality handmade instrument.

 

CONS

If you’re on a tight budget, expect handmade instrument prices.

 

SPECS

Violin Bass Body Shape

Spruce Top

Flame Maple Back and Sides


Höfner 500/1 Greenline

For over 20 years Höfner has been producing the Green Line range of classical guitars, handmade in Germany. The H500/1-HGL bass is the first electric guitar to be added to the Green Line range and Dan Veall is here to give us the rundown.

 

Think Höfner and my first mental image is of course Paul McCartney, who according to the website blurb over at Höfner, has owned and continues to play his own Violin bass since 1961! The 500/1 Violin Bass we have here today was originally designed by Walter Höfner and launched at the Frankfurt MusikMesse in 1956.

 

My overwhelming feeling with this bass I have to say is of a pretty joyful one if I am honest. The Greenline range has been created and has been in operation for over twenty years - and I suppose this is the first time I have come in to contact with this Höfner line as we have previously covered different models in the magazine. What brings me joy? The Greenline has been part of Höfner production for over twenty years and Höfner’s intention is to make a truly recyclable instrument. Höfner, of course, aren’t expecting you to recycle this bass any time soon, but should that time come, well they are helping to look after our environment.

 

 

Something as simple as removing non-recyclables from the manufacture of this instrument, to my mind has actually brought the design aspects closer together. Everything just looks “right”, intentional, cohesive, if that makes sense. - Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of a candy apple red Strat with a white pick guard and a delicious maple fretboard, it’s iconic - but this looks like a real prestige piece of kit; it is.

 

The value is in the craftmanship; we are right down to small details here - pickup surrounds, knobs, heel cap.. all walnut. All beautifully finished on this example too. No signs of over-cut or unfinished edges.

 

Top to bottom, the neck, body back and sides are all flame maple with a very natural finish. Up close the flame shimmers slightly under bright lights too. Wow!

 

 

The binding you can see in the video is also walnut, which I imagine is more difficult to work with than plastic. No rough edges again.

 

The body top is Spruce, a great acoustic instrument tone wood, on to which the hardware is mounted.

 

Immediately, in hand, I am thrown by the scale length and string spacing. Yes, I have played 30” “short scale” instruments before, but coupled with the string spacing which I felt was around 14mm per string, (maybe it wasn’t that close after all); I certainly had a concentration provoking a change of technique - but, for plectrum use, it was superb! Having the strings closer together felt really comfortable after a while - more akin to playing my 6 string basses with a 16mm spacing, or indeed even reaching for a guitar.

 

 

Electronics come courtesy of Höfner once again and we have a pair of H513B pickups of the blade variety. Being at their furthest positions apart meant that there are very distinctive tonal differences when each pup is solo’d. No barking from each either ha ha! A smooth affair through today’s clean studio amplifier, an EA iAmp Classic and a mic’d NL112, should you wish to know! You’ll hear in my video me pulling back the levels each of the two pickups (a volume for each) so you can experience just a few of the available sounds from the bass. The two controls are augmented with a master tone control too that I felt only removed the very highest of frequencies when fully counter-clockwise leaving all of that woody tone intact. I like this so much I am thinking of converting one of my own basses to have a similar tone pot response!

 

 

 

The instrument comes with a custom fitted Höfner case to protect your investment and a full booklet detailing the instrument’s trip through production, photographs of the very luthiers that brought it to life and a certificate of authenticity. What a stunning attention to detail.

Also in the case, the 500/1 comes out of the workshop with Schaller Strap Locks as standard. A wise idea and a valuable inclusion I feel. I am a fan of strap locks on my instruments.

 

Given my initial struggles with my huge hands on this physically smaller bass guitar, I thoroughly enjoyed finding my way round it.

 

For more information, please visit:

bassdirect.co.uk/bass_guitar_specialists/Hofner_Jubilee_bass.html

 

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Issue #74

Jim Root

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