Fancy a Beatle bass but are deeply concerned about the environment and the impact instrument making may be having on it? Germany’s Hofner shares your concern – in fact it got there early and has been producing its Green Line range of classical guitars for 20 years. Now it has added a familiar looking bass to its array – the H500/1-HGL.
Originally designed by Walter Höfner, the 500/1 bass was launched at the Frankfurt Musikmesse in 1956 and found its way into the hands of Paul McCartney in 1961. Within a few years it was an icon. The new ‘Green’ version is described by Hofner as being: ‘Inspired by a bass made for Paul McCartney in 1963’ and features a fully hollow body, ’63 neck profile with a two piece neck. and the original “Staple” pickups. Naturally, it’s also available in a left-handed version!
What makes it environmentally friendly? Hofner says: ‘One of our aims with this instrument has been to eliminate as much plastic as possible and to use an environmentally friendly finish whilst retaining the looks and sound of the iconic Violin Bass. To this end the plastics used in the headplate, truss rod cover, heel plate, nut, pickup surrounds, scratchplate, dot markers and body binding have all been replaced with non-endangered walnut wood. The tuners and buttons are now metal which can easily be recycled. We replaced the ebony bridge with one crafted from walnut. The bass is finished in a light wax coat which is not poisonous to the environment and also very easy to repair should that be needed in the future.
‘Perhaps the biggest change we have made is with the fingerboard. For this we have also used walnut to replace the traditional rosewood (which is now on the CITES list as an endangered species). We have tested the walnut and believe that it provides equally good tone, wear and playability’.
Definitely not to be confused with the factory produced Hofners that have been (and still are) available, this Green Line version is handmade in Germany and will set you back an impressive £2,299.