Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 51

30" scale, was light, handy, and as McCartney
noted, pleasingly symmetrical. The look said
"bass" instead of "big four-string guitar," and
was an instant trademark.
Ironically, the 500/1 may have been a
copy itself; whether Höfner was influenced
by Gibson's 1953 violin-shaped EB is lost to
history. Even if so, with its arched, hollow body
and gentle curves, the 500/1 was a much closer
evocation of an upright. The heavy solidbody
Gibson was carved from a mahogany block to
a form more closely resembling a viola!
The 500/1 was not initially a big success, being produced in limited numbers
through the late '50s and sold only in
Europe; McCartney bought his first
in Hamburg in '61. It was added to
the Selmer line in early '63, when The
Beatles began to attract major notice.
Eventually, McCartney endorsed it
and Selmer included a "thumbs up" tag
with each, featuring the smiling Beatle.
It became so closely associated with him
that most British Beat group pros avoided
it; Tony Jackson, of Liverpool rivals the
Searchers, played a 500/1 for a while in '63, but
it was mostly seen with amateur players - the
relatively low price of 58 Guineas encouraged
that, given that a Fender or Gibson cost almost
three times as much.
Riding the Beatles wave, the 500/1 first
became a sensation in Europe, then in '64 was
shipped to America, Japan, and beyond. For

Klira's Twen Star. Not a Höfner, but close!
(Below, left to right) The U.S. Twen Star/Beat
Bass from a 1966 distributor catalog. The
glittering solidbody Eko 1150. Eko's second
try, the Model 995, as introduced in '64.

February 2018

51

VINTAGE GUITAR

thousands of players, the "Beatle Bass" was the
one. Orders soared, and Höfner was swamped
trying to fill them. As a stop-gap, it introduced
the 500/2 Club Bass, thrown together using
the 500/1's fittings on the company's LesPaul-shaped Club guitar bodies. It was a game
attempt, but in '64/'65, most players wanted
a Höfner like Paul's, in look even more than
sound. Höfner's U.S. distributor, Sorkin, made
out like bandits; in 1965, pricing the 500/1,
at $335 ($40 more than a custom-color Jazz
Bass)! Even taking into account the import
duties, that's a whopping markup. Other
Höfner variations - even violin shaped
guitars - were added to the line. Many
U.S. semi-pro bands like Fox Valley and
Wisconsin's She Five took to the Höfner
and other Beatles-y gear.
This did not go unnoticed on Höfner's
home turf. Klira - another of several
companies operating in the Bubenreuth
area of southern Germany - produced
its own twist. Showing a modicum of
originality, the company dubbed its
bass the Twen Star, but U.S. distributor
European Crafts knew where its bread was
buttered and called it the Beat Bass. Selling at
$250, it was similar to the Höfner including
a nearly identical body and distinguished by
a blockier headstock and scimitar-shaped
soundholes that looked cool but did not
help the stability of the top. It also had two
Schaller-made pickups, a wooden bridge,


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - February 2018

Contents
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - Cover
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - IFC
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 3
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 4
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 5
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 6
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 7
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 8
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 9
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - Contents
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 11
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 12
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 13
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 14
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 15
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 16
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 17
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 18
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 19
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 20
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 21
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 22
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 23
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 24
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 25
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 26
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 27
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 28
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 29
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 30
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 31
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 32
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 33
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 34
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 35
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 36
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 37
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 38
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 39
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 40
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 41
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 42
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 43
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 44
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 45
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 46
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 47
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 48
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 49
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 50
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 51
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 52
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 53
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 54
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 55
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 56
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 57
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 58
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 59
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 60
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 61
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 62
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 63
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 64
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 65
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 66
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 67
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 68
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 69
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 70
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 71
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 72
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 73
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 74
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 75
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 76
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 77
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 78
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 79
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 80
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 81
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Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 85
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 86
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Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 89
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Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 127
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 128
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 129
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 130
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - IBC
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - BC
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