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Finished restoring my beatle bass copy

edited April 10 in Off-topic

I got this national beatle bass copy about a month ago and have been working on it little by little. The neck is really comfortable on this, with a 1.5 inch nut and almost no taper as you go higher up.

Changes made:
-I changed the tuners because the ones that were on it were shot.

  • german hofner pickups replaced the stock pickups, which were buzzing pretty badly
  • New electronics, a combination of the german wiring, caps, and resistors, with an allparts control plate, pots, and switches. This originally had a different control layout than a hofner would have, with a volume, tone, and on/off switches for each pickup.
  • New ebony hofner bridge to replace the worn out one that was on here (and was a much softer wood)
  • A zero glide nut to give a zero fret
  • Fret leveling, crowning, and polish.

All I know is it’s fun to play, sounds great on a track, is super light, and was less than $400 all in.

Enjoy the pics. Pardon the mess of cables, I’m in the middle of tracking a song, you know how it gets!






Comments

  • Sweet!
    Great job!

  • edited April 10

    Thanks!

    The pictures seem to randomly pick orientation, anyone know how I can get the one of the full bass to be vertical?

  • nice one B) :+1:

  • What a beauty. I see that Genz Benz hiding back there too.

  • @Ben said:
    What a beauty. I see that Genz Benz hiding back there too.

    I caught that too - I've got a Genzler amp myself, which is Jeff Genzler's (founder of Genz Benz) current company.

    Looks sweet - did you add the teacup knobs yourself or were they stock? Regardless, looks great.

    So.... Soundclips?!?!?

  • Very nice work!
    Last year I picked up a Rogue knockoff Beatle Bass during a MF blowout for $110. I immediately took off that stupid elevated pickguard, replaced the strings with flat wounds, switched out the knobs, and then had a luthier friend set it up.
    I love the thing. It is so much fun.

  • @mrufino1 that is badass. Now you know how these short scale Hofner like basses are sleeper studio instruments. A bit too fragile to take out live too often but perfect for recording. My Eko Barracuda bass is pretty much a Hofner copy with an ES-335 body instead of the violin shape (like a Gibson EB1). Same black tape wound strings, zero fret, 30 inch scale...they’re great. Congrats on yours, great refurb...

  • edited April 11

    @JRSIV said:
    @mrufino1 that is badass. Now you know how these short scale Hofner like basses are sleeper studio instruments. A bit too fragile to take out live too often but perfect for recording. My Eko Barracuda bass is pretty much a Hofner copy with an ES-335 body instead of the violin shape (like a Gibson EB1). Same black tape wound strings, zero fret, 30 inch scale...they’re great. Congrats on yours, great refurb...

    Oh man, that eko is awesome!! I have labella beatle bass flats on mine but I’ve used tapes in the past and it’s a cool sound.

    You’re right, I probably won’t bring it to many gigs once there are gigs again. My main band is a motown band so not really the right sound and I can’t see this getting knocked around in a gig bag very often. I use a mustang p/j with flats as my main bass, no complaints with that instrument at all.

    @JeffChasteen yeah, I could have purchased the rogue last week for $80, I had $51 in musician’s friend “points.” I have heard those are well done. Did you use the labella flats on it or a different kind? I tried the hofner flats and chromes on the club bass copy I had, they were both terrible. Once the labellas went on it felt and sounded so much better.

    @Ben and @Daveypoo Yep, I LOVE the streamliner, it is louder than I will ever need and the tubes actually do something, they’re not starved plate. I have tried one of the genzler amps and it is really nice. For recording, sometimes I take the preamp output of the genzbenz into the 5 watt monoprice tube amp that you see next to it, then into a bass cab, sounds great for recording.

    The cab under the genz benz in that photo is a little 110 I made from a car sub box and an inexpensive parts express speaker, based on a talkbass thread. I use it for gigs where space is limited and I’m going direct. I have to fix that cab that’s holding up my rack in the shot, it’s a rebuilt epifani 310 cab that was cheap on Craigslist, but right now the speakers are making a little noise. It’s probably better holding up a rack now anyway...ha!

    Good to know there are so many other bassists on this forum! Bassists make the best producers and engineers.

  • edited April 11

    @Daveypoo said:

    @Ben said:
    What a beauty. I see that Genz Benz hiding back there too.

    I caught that too - I've got a Genzler amp myself, which is Jeff Genzler's (founder of Genz Benz) current company.

    Looks sweet - did you add the teacup knobs yourself or were they stock? Regardless, looks great.

    So.... Soundclips?!?!?

    Oh, yes, teacup knobs were added by me, I forgot about that.

    I soloed the bass and drums from the song demo I was working on today, it gives an idea of how it sounds. DI and amp tracks, not much mixing done, played with a pick.

  • Awesome. Love hofners. I have one of the chinese ones. I must have lucked out because it is pretty much flawless and sounds great, holds tune well, intonates up and down the neck etc. also have the labella flats on. Just made a few cosmetic changes. Swapped in some other knobs (will go teacup at some point but i had these). Eventually i want a better bridge and tailpiece but it works great for now.

    Confused about your mentioning of the zero fret though. Seems like you added a long string tree but you still have a regular nut and no zero fret. That would just cause another place for tuning issues. A friction point. A zero fret (which i would like as well) doesn’t touch the string until you press down in the first fret.

  • @stemshade said:
    Awesome. Love hofners. I have one of the chinese ones. I must have lucked out because it is pretty much flawless and sounds great, holds tune well, intonates up and down the neck etc. also have the labella flats on. Just made a few cosmetic changes. Swapped in some other knobs (will go teacup at some point but i had these). Eventually i want a better bridge and tailpiece but it works great for now.

    Confused about your mentioning of the zero fret though. Seems like you added a long string tree but you still have a regular nut and no zero fret. That would just cause another place for tuning issues. A friction point. A zero fret (which i would like as well) doesn’t touch the string until you press down in the first fret.

    Nice!!

    A zero fret should always be touching the string, it makes open strings “fretted.” The string tree is probably unnecessary now, I was getting some rattling but I think it was from something else. I haven’t had any issues with it though, still tunes with no problem. I probably will have to redo the zero fret again. I saw a post from someone on YouTube where he used the zero glide To make the zero fret, but didn’t use the nut part- he sanded that flat, then put another nut behind that so it was in line with how the German hofners do the nut.

    How do you find the neck on your bass? I haven’t tried one, but the dimensions listed are the same as the club bass copy I had and I found that neck to be very uncomfortable for me. This one has a 1.5” nut width and almost no taper as you go higher.

  • @mrufino1 said:

    How do you find the neck on your bass? I haven’t tried one, but the dimensions listed are the same as the club bass copy I had and I found that neck to be very uncomfortable for me. This one has a 1.5” nut width and almost no taper as you go higher.

    Well, i’m no bassist, but have had a few jazz basses, and precisions. It is super comfy for me. have not played others but for someone that switches from guitars it is comfy. The only uncomfortable thing for me is playing standing up my forearm sits on the edges. But i hardly play it. And when i do it’s mostly sitting. Just to record things here and there. I used it here:

    And i just looked at your pic again and noticed The zero fret. Hadn’t seen it well. Should it be that close to the nut? I usually see a space.

  • @stemshade said:

    @mrufino1 said:

    How do you find the neck on your bass? I haven’t tried one, but the dimensions listed are the same as the club bass copy I had and I found that neck to be very uncomfortable for me. This one has a 1.5” nut width and almost no taper as you go higher.

    Well, i’m no bassist, but have had a few jazz basses, and precisions. It is super comfy for me. have not played others but for someone that switches from guitars it is comfy. The only uncomfortable thing for me is playing standing up my forearm sits on the edges. But i hardly play it. And when i do it’s mostly sitting. Just to record things here and there. I used it here:

    And i just looked at your pic again and noticed The zero fret. Hadn’t seen it well. Should it be that close to the nut? I usually see a space.

    That’s the zeroglide nut, which allows a zero fret when there wasn’t one originally. Normally it would be further back, you’re correct. That’s what i was describing that the other person did- he only used the zero glide nut to hold the fret but filed the nut down to be even, then put another nut behind it.

  • Cool. Enjoy! :). Might look into one of those zero frets. I’m always planning a rewire or new tuners or whatever but have left it mostly as is

  • @stemshade said:
    Cool. Enjoy! :). Might look into one of those zero frets. I’m always planning a rewire or new tuners or whatever but have left it mostly as is

    For the hofner the blank one for acoustic guitar is what I used. I have one on another bass from a few years ago and it was plastic and is now broken, but it looks like they are now bone. The two I installed recently were much nicer than the older one.

  • @mrufino1 said:

    @JRSIV said:
    @mrufino1 that is badass. Now you know how these short scale Hofner like basses are sleeper studio instruments. A bit too fragile to take out live too often but perfect for recording. My Eko Barracuda bass is pretty much a Hofner copy with an ES-335 body instead of the violin shape (like a Gibson EB1). Same black tape wound strings, zero fret, 30 inch scale...they’re great. Congrats on yours, great refurb...

    Oh man, that eko is awesome!! I have labella beatle bass flats on mine but I’ve used tapes in the past and it’s a cool sound.

    You’re right, I probably won’t bring it to many gigs once there are gigs again. My main band is a motown band so not really the right sound and I can’t see this getting knocked around in a gig bag very often. I use a mustang p/j with flats as my main bass, no complaints with that instrument at all.

    @JeffChasteen yeah, I could have purchased the rogue last week for $80, I had $51 in musician’s friend “points.” I have heard those are well done. Did you use the labella flats on it or a different kind? I tried the hofner flats and chromes on the club bass copy I had, they were both terrible. Once the labellas went on it felt and sounded so much better.

    @Ben and @Daveypoo Yep, I LOVE the streamliner, it is louder than I will ever need and the tubes actually do something, they’re not starved plate. I have tried one of the genzler amps and it is really nice. For recording, sometimes I take the preamp output of the genzbenz into the 5 watt monoprice tube amp that you see next to it, then into a bass cab, sounds great for recording.

    The cab under the genz benz in that photo is a little 110 I made from a car sub box and an inexpensive parts express speaker, based on a talkbass thread. I use it for gigs where space is limited and I’m going direct. I have to fix that cab that’s holding up my rack in the shot, it’s a rebuilt epifani 310 cab that was cheap on Craigslist, but right now the speakers are making a little noise. It’s probably better holding up a rack now anyway...ha!

    Good to know there are so many other bassists on this forum! Bassists make the best producers and engineers.

    D’addarios.
    Thanks for the heads up on the Hofner strings.
    I must say it again...you did a beautiful job on yours!

  • @JeffChasteen said:

    @mrufino1 said:

    @JRSIV said:
    @mrufino1 that is badass. Now you know how these short scale Hofner like basses are sleeper studio instruments. A bit too fragile to take out live too often but perfect for recording. My Eko Barracuda bass is pretty much a Hofner copy with an ES-335 body instead of the violin shape (like a Gibson EB1). Same black tape wound strings, zero fret, 30 inch scale...they’re great. Congrats on yours, great refurb...

    Oh man, that eko is awesome!! I have labella beatle bass flats on mine but I’ve used tapes in the past and it’s a cool sound.

    You’re right, I probably won’t bring it to many gigs once there are gigs again. My main band is a motown band so not really the right sound and I can’t see this getting knocked around in a gig bag very often. I use a mustang p/j with flats as my main bass, no complaints with that instrument at all.

    @JeffChasteen yeah, I could have purchased the rogue last week for $80, I had $51 in musician’s friend “points.” I have heard those are well done. Did you use the labella flats on it or a different kind? I tried the hofner flats and chromes on the club bass copy I had, they were both terrible. Once the labellas went on it felt and sounded so much better.

    @Ben and @Daveypoo Yep, I LOVE the streamliner, it is louder than I will ever need and the tubes actually do something, they’re not starved plate. I have tried one of the genzler amps and it is really nice. For recording, sometimes I take the preamp output of the genzbenz into the 5 watt monoprice tube amp that you see next to it, then into a bass cab, sounds great for recording.

    The cab under the genz benz in that photo is a little 110 I made from a car sub box and an inexpensive parts express speaker, based on a talkbass thread. I use it for gigs where space is limited and I’m going direct. I have to fix that cab that’s holding up my rack in the shot, it’s a rebuilt epifani 310 cab that was cheap on Craigslist, but right now the speakers are making a little noise. It’s probably better holding up a rack now anyway...ha!

    Good to know there are so many other bassists on this forum! Bassists make the best producers and engineers.

    D’addarios.
    Thanks for the heads up on the Hofner strings.
    I must say it again...you did a beautiful job on yours!

    You should try the labella beatle bass strings on it, huge difference from chromes. The high tension on chromes doesn’t seem to agree with these Basses. I have labella low tension flats on my mustang too, those are now my favorite strings I’ve ever tried, they sounded broken in right away. The beatle bass strings are similar in tension to those.

    I know two bassists who sub in the temptations show on Broadway (or did, before everything shut down!), and they said they have to play the 5 string p bass with Jamerson flats on it and that it’s tortuous. I had those strings once, they are like telephone pole cables!

  • @mrufino1 said:

    @JeffChasteen said:

    @mrufino1 said:

    @JRSIV said:
    @mrufino1 that is badass. Now you know how these short scale Hofner like basses are sleeper studio instruments. A bit too fragile to take out live too often but perfect for recording. My Eko Barracuda bass is pretty much a Hofner copy with an ES-335 body instead of the violin shape (like a Gibson EB1). Same black tape wound strings, zero fret, 30 inch scale...they’re great. Congrats on yours, great refurb...

    Oh man, that eko is awesome!! I have labella beatle bass flats on mine but I’ve used tapes in the past and it’s a cool sound.

    You’re right, I probably won’t bring it to many gigs once there are gigs again. My main band is a motown band so not really the right sound and I can’t see this getting knocked around in a gig bag very often. I use a mustang p/j with flats as my main bass, no complaints with that instrument at all.

    @JeffChasteen yeah, I could have purchased the rogue last week for $80, I had $51 in musician’s friend “points.” I have heard those are well done. Did you use the labella flats on it or a different kind? I tried the hofner flats and chromes on the club bass copy I had, they were both terrible. Once the labellas went on it felt and sounded so much better.

    @Ben and @Daveypoo Yep, I LOVE the streamliner, it is louder than I will ever need and the tubes actually do something, they’re not starved plate. I have tried one of the genzler amps and it is really nice. For recording, sometimes I take the preamp output of the genzbenz into the 5 watt monoprice tube amp that you see next to it, then into a bass cab, sounds great for recording.

    The cab under the genz benz in that photo is a little 110 I made from a car sub box and an inexpensive parts express speaker, based on a talkbass thread. I use it for gigs where space is limited and I’m going direct. I have to fix that cab that’s holding up my rack in the shot, it’s a rebuilt epifani 310 cab that was cheap on Craigslist, but right now the speakers are making a little noise. It’s probably better holding up a rack now anyway...ha!

    Good to know there are so many other bassists on this forum! Bassists make the best producers and engineers.

    D’addarios.
    Thanks for the heads up on the Hofner strings.
    I must say it again...you did a beautiful job on yours!

    You should try the labella beatle bass strings on it, huge difference from chromes. The high tension on chromes doesn’t seem to agree with these Basses. I have labella low tension flats on my mustang too, those are now my favorite strings I’ve ever tried, they sounded broken in right away. The beatle bass strings are similar in tension to those.

    I know two bassists who sub in the temptations show on Broadway (or did, before everything shut down!), and they said they have to play the 5 string p bass with Jamerson flats on it and that it’s tortuous. I had those strings once, they are like telephone pole cables!

    labellas it will be!

  • That's a beauty. The new pickups and ebony bridge look great - didn't realize they still made 'em in Germany (Schaller?). Zero fret - you do that yourself?

  • @Sequencer1 said:
    That's a beauty. The new pickups and ebony bridge look great - didn't realize they still made 'em in Germany (Schaller?). Zero fret - you do that yourself?

    The pickups are Hofner pickups, as is the bridge, as far as I know they’re both German parts.

    The zero fret is a product called the zeroglide nut, so yes, i installed it myself but it’s a cheating zero fret. It works though.

    https://goldtonemusicgroup.com/zeroglide/

    I bought it on amazon.

  • Here’s a shot of it from the reverb listing when I bought it so you can see the “before” picture.

  • @mrufino1 said:
    I know two bassists who sub in the temptations show on Broadway (or did, before everything shut down!), and they said they have to play the 5 string p bass with Jamerson flats on it and that it’s tortuous. I had those strings once, they are like telephone pole cables!

    Those strings bended all my basses necks except a P-Bass 57 Reiusse from Japan (which was larger, but still way off the original bassball bat format), no trussrod could stand them.
    My favourite low tension strings are Thomastik JF344 (a shortscale version likely exists), tone is rather close to acoustic bass, despite the electric PU.

  • @mrufino1 said:

    @Sequencer1 said:
    That's a beauty. The new pickups and ebony bridge look great - didn't realize they still made 'em in Germany (Schaller?). Zero fret - you do that yourself?

    The pickups are Hofner pickups, as is the bridge, as far as I know they’re both German parts.

    The zero fret is a product called the zeroglide nut, so yes, i installed it myself but it’s a cheating zero fret. It works though.

    https://goldtonemusicgroup.com/zeroglide/

    I bought it on amazon.

    Looking good! Thanks for the link to the Zeroglide - following all the latest guitar tech products/novelties is fun.

  • edited April 12

    Very cool, I always wanted one. Is the Hofner a 30" short scale? Nice bass!
    Oh, and the Thomastik JF344's are indeed really good.

  • I believe the labella beatle strings are like mid scale, due to the tail piece etc. a little longer. I’ve got my action pretty low with no buzzing.

    That black control plate on the original was so wrong. Looks great now.

  • @fritzm said:
    Very cool, I always wanted one. Is the Hofner a 30" short scale? Nice bass!
    Oh, and the Thomastik JF344's are indeed really good.

    Yes, the Hofner and my copy are both short scale.

    The beatle bass string are in fact medium scale to account for the distance from tailpiece to bridge.

    I have used the thomastiks in the past, GREAT sound on the right bass.

  • edited May 20

    My friend found a “johnson” bass (Yeah, there will be much infantile humor on sessions and gigs with this one) in the garbage in Brooklyn and I restored it so the national has a sibling. This one has ghs preasurewounds on it and sounds brash and powerful.

    And yes, that is a guild thunderbass 80 watt tube amp that my friend gave me recently- it sounds fat and warm, like bass should. The genz is on the shelf until live gigs start again.

    EDIT- I’d still love to know why my pictures show up sideways on this forum.

  • @mrufino1 Here I flipped it over...

    Man it's interesting to see the body shape differences. The National is almost a perfect copy of a Hofner body, I mean it's like they used a tracing or something. The Johnson is more spread out and not as angular, that shape is the same as the Epiphone Viola and the cheaper Rogue brand that Guitar Center sold for years.

    If anyone's in the market for a Hofner on the cheap I'd totally go with a well made older copy from a miscellaneous company than those Hofner branded "Ignition" basses out of China. Nothing against China, it's just the quality control and build on those that I've seen were really disappointing.

    If you had to have a Hofner brand bass the Contemporary Series is where it's at. It's made in Asia as well but is much nicer; it's just like the German bass, same pickups, hardware, etc. just it's got different (i.e.: cheaper) wood quality and instead of being 100% hollow it has a center block that can give it more "contemporary" tones, thus the branding.

    I worked in a music store and got to mess with all the versions of Hofner made basses, the Ignition, Contemporary and German made '62/"Hamburg" I think they call it now. That cheap Ignition was shit, but I loved the Contemporary almost as much as the real deal. I've wanted one for years but since my Eko is such a close approximation I never made the jump.

    If I saw a National in that condition? Man, I'd have to seriously consider it...

  • @JRSIV said:
    @mrufino1 Here I flipped it over...

    Man it's interesting to see the body shape differences. The National is almost a perfect copy of a Hofner body, I mean it's like they used a tracing or something. The Johnson is more spread out and not as angular, that shape is the same as the Epiphone Viola and the cheaper Rogue brand that Guitar Center sold for years.

    If anyone's in the market for a Hofner on the cheap I'd totally go with a well made older copy from a miscellaneous company than those Hofner branded "Ignition" basses out of China. Nothing against China, it's just the quality control and build on those that I've seen were really disappointing.

    If you had to have a Hofner brand bass the Contemporary Series is where it's at. It's made in Asia as well but is much nicer; it's just like the German bass, same pickups, hardware, etc. just it's got different (i.e.: cheaper) wood quality and instead of being 100% hollow it has a center block that can give it more "contemporary" tones, thus the branding.

    I worked in a music store and got to mess with all the versions of Hofner made basses, the Ignition, Contemporary and German made '62/"Hamburg" I think they call it now. That cheap Ignition was shit, but I loved the Contemporary almost as much as the real deal. I've wanted one for years but since my Eko is such a close approximation I never made the jump.

    If I saw a National in that condition? Man, I'd have to seriously consider it...

    Cool, how did you flip it? Nothing i did works.

    I found the national on reverb, it had good bones but I did have to replace almost everything else.

    Im Pretty sure this Johnson bass and the epiphone viola are the same bass from the same factory. It’s semi hollow, but set neck. The National is hollow but bolt on. The Johnson really roars, and i have ghs pressurewounds on it right now, so definitely brighter than flatwounds but not as rwangy as rounds.

    Ive heard that the contemporary basses are great. I know they are semi hollow too, but supposed to be very well made.

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