Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Love, Love Me Don't

I dearly love seeing people making things.

It's jarring to see the juxtapositions of fine and heavy work. Half-way through, the thing already looks like a delicate instrument, and then all of a sudden guys with hammers and nails and drills and files start whaling on the thing like it owes them money when it gets to their work station.

Hofner is a German company, of course. Their info page ominously notes Beijing along with Bavaria now, so one wonders what everyone in the video is doing for work now. Their violin bass is simply known as The Beatle Bass where I'm from. Paul McCartney played one and that's that. You can dry your tears with a kleenex after xeroxing something you read on your iPhone after googling it  if you don't like it. Get a coke out of the frigidaire; you'll feel better.

I've played rather a lot of electric basses in my day. I've owned a few, too --a no-name mess hand-me-down from my brother I took apart to try to refinish and couldn't reassemble; a four-hundred-pound Peavey that my lower back still talks about; a G&L P-bass (there's that generic thing again) I still own; a Pedulla fretless that sounded amazing, even with me playing it, that gave me an aneurysm trying to sing and play at the same time and that I eventually sold to buy food; and a graphite-plastic Steinberger that I rigged to spin in a circle like a propeller. I liked the Steinberger best -- it was good in a fight, and since it didn't have any wooden parts, you only had to tune it every January 12th.

So besides all the stuff I've owned, I've played Fenders galore, and Rickenbackers, and Ibanezes, and all sorts of other electric doghouses. And without question, a Hofner Beatle Bass is the worst musical instrument of any kind I've ever encountered. Paul McCartney said he only bought one because he couldn't afford a Fender, and the thing looked about the same upside-down. I don't know what everyone else's excuse is.


Sixty Grit said...

I got a coke out of the frigidaire, except it was a Pepsi and a Hotpoint. Yep, Hotpoint refrigerator - there's a name that makes sense.

Thank goodness my google is Bing.

As for the rest - Paul's point about looking about the same upside down - I had never heard that before. But my Rickenbacker had fenders, I do know that much.

Anonymous said...

When Macca figured out it was time to get "cool," he switched to the obviously cooler Rickenbacker. Then when he lost his cool and went all nostalgic on us, it was back to that stoopid-lookin' Hofner. All that said, he was one helluva a fine bass player on either one...and when one listens to the Band On The Run album (on which he played virtually all of the instruments), one realizes that he was a helluva fine guitar player and drummer, as well. Oh yeah, he could write some sweet tunes, too. And sing. Too bad he wasn't better lookin' - coulda made something of himself.

Thud said...

He played one with a union jack paint job for her madge on monday night...looked rather spiffy.

T.K. Tortch said...

I've got a friend who owns one of those Hofner basses - the action's pretty terrible but it does get a nice tone. What I find weird about it is how light it is - definitely no good in a fight.

And sheesh Hofner - People say Rickenbacker and Vox are only around today because of the Beatles - but what about Hofner!!

Anonymous said...

Agreed. My first bass was a Hofner Beatle, and that only because I didn't have one, and borrowed it from a friend to learn on. As soon as I had the money saved up, I got a Rick 4001S and never used another bass, ever. (Once, when the Rick was at the doctor, I borrowed a Kramer or Alembic - don't remember which, but it was uber-trendy at the time - and halfway through the gig our drummer said, "So... when are you getting your Rick back? 'Cos this one sounds like ass.")


Anonymous said...

Well one can better understand the difference in sound from say a P-bass when you see how radically different their construction is.