Hofner 500/2 Club Bass review

Hofner's Club bass may be less attention-grabbing than their Violin bass, but it certainly still looks the part

  • £1310
  • $2997
Hofner's Club Bass

MusicRadar Verdict

If you fancy a completely different feel and less weight from a bass guitar, the Club has a lot to offer. It has a really great sound, and with such a well-proportioned design it stands out in its own right; just make sure you study the control panel before you consider playing it live.


  • +

    Light weight. Comfortable body and neck. Solid sounds.


  • -

    You can turn the bass off accidentally.

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The look of the Club Bass is with its single cutaway may be less dramatic than the Hofner's famous Violin, but it still holds tremendous appeal. And if you love the sound of the Violin Bass but are anxious not to be considered a McCartney copycat, then the Club would be an excellent alternative.

It supports all the typical Hofner features: hollow archtop body with twin pickups, floating scratchplate and separate plastic control plate, while the single cutaway design has more in common with a Les Paul than any other Hofner bass. But while Gibson's own Les Paul bass looks a little disproportionate in terms of the size of its neck in relation to its body mass, the Club somehow manages to avoid this completely and really is an elegant-looking instrument.

The choice of gold fittings on a fully bound all-black body and neck gives this bass a particularly stylish air; although a sunburst/nickel model is available should you prefer. The pickups are of the 'staple' design - so called because of the four rectangular pole pieces used in conjunction with the regular screw tops. They possess a very solid response, and combining these with the flatwound strings it's easy to see where the overall robust sound quality comes from.

In use

While the Club is quite a light bass due to its semi-solid construction, it has a louder and more dynamic delivery than you might expect. The body shape is comfortable; and along with the light weight and down-sized scale length, it offers a sense of freedom of movement across the fretboard. The neck profile is much less 'broom-like' than on some of Hofner's early models, in fact there's a slenderness here that is exceptionally good to handle.

The Club features a complex and somewhat bizarre control panel (the same one featured on many Hofner basses), and you really have to master the control panel before playing in public. The individual volume controls are logical enough, but using the switches correctly is much less obvious. The bass and treble switches activate the appropriate pickups but, because of the way they're wired, when only one volume is active things get decidedly confusing and there are various ways you can actually kill your sound completely.

The rhythm/solo switch merely adds a little definition to the notes, so don't start thinking 'boost' here. Yet in spite of these authentic shortcomings and a somewhat limited overall tonal range, there are loads of subtle variations within the confines and it's just about impossible to get a thin or ugly sound - providing you don't turn yourself off...


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