Cool and classic basses: Hofner President Bass 500/5

Legendary basses profiled from Fender, Gibson, Warwick and more

Hofner President Bass 500 5
As played by Stu Sutcliffe in Hamburg

The earliest examples of these basses were imported into the UK by Selmer Music in London's Charing Cross Road, and were sold simply as the Hofner Bass Guitar.

Selmer soon gave the different models names rather than using their designated numbers. The President or 500/5 originally had Hofner Black Bar pickups. Over the course of time this model has become known as the Stu Sutcliffe as that's what the artist/bass player used during his time with the Beatles in Hamburg.

The earliest models had an elliptical control plate and featured a hollow body with no centre block, making it extremely light in weight. The body depth was reduced by the mid sixties, and thanks to a trim short scale neck it was an easy bass to master.

The Toaster style pickups appeared around 1960 but by the end of the decade these were replaced by the Type 512B pickups. Also a larger control plate was introduced for some whilst on others the controls were set into the body surface. The bridge is Hofner's usual wooden design with fret wire saddles, and sounds like most of their hollow bodied models, full and fat, with good thump and a nicely balanced output across the strings. The President is still very popular in the new Contemporary Series made in the Far East.

Read our full Hofner President Bass 500/5 profile