16th June, 2015

New: Höfner loan four one-off replica guitars to the Beatles Story

New: Höfner loan four one-off replica guitars to the Beatles Story

The award-winning Beatles Story is proud to announce that guitar brand Höfner has loaned four one-off replicas of guitars used by Paul McCartney and John Lennon in their Albert Dock site as part of their 25th birthday celebrations. The 1964 Vintage 500/1 Bass, the Paul McCartney 500/1 Backup Bass, the Jubilee 500/1 Bass and the Club 40 John Lennon re-issue Guitar went on display in the Paul McCartney and John Lennon solo rooms in the Albert Dock on Monday 15 June. These spectacular items are on loan to the attraction and each guitar tells its own story. As The Beatles took the world by storm, conquering the USA in early 1964, every bass player wanted a Vintage 500/1 Bass, just like the one now featuring at the Beatles Story exhibition and made famous by the great Sir Paul McCartney himself. In fact, the 1964 example of the bass is very similar to Paul McCartney’s. During 1964, Höfner worked hard to try and keep up with demand for the bass, with sales of the example model reaching an unprecedented level that year. In 2009, Höfner were commissioned by Paul McCartney to produce a 500/1 Backup Bass for him. The request was for a bass built to the same specifications as his 1963 model that he uses for all concerts and for recording. It was built to exactly the same dimensions and used the same hardware. Only two of the Backup Basses were made, one of which is of course with Paul, the other is retained by Höfner for very occasional exhibiting such as this. The bass will never be sold and there are no plans to produce any more. The third item in the selection, the Jubilee 500/1, is a Violin Bass with the Union flag sprayed on the top. Hofner made this especially for Sir Paul when he was the headline act for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee concert in 2012. Two were made (a backup is always produced) and one of these sent to Paul just before the concert. The photos of Paul McCartney proudly holding the guitar aloft became one of the defining images of the event.

Subsequently, a very limited edition of the Jubilee 500/1 Bass was produced and soon sold to collectors worldwide. The bass featured at the Beatles Story is the second of the two originally produced. A careful look and you will see just how hurriedly it had to be sprayed in order to meet the deadline for that famous concert! It will never be sold and there are no plans to produce any more. Last in the selection is the Höfner Club 40, which was the first electric guitar owned by the legendary John Lennon, bought on hire purchase from Hessy’s music shop in Liverpool in 1959. Prior to this, he had played an acoustic but clearly needed something that could be amplified, so he pestered his Aunt Mimi until she agreed to accompany him to buy a guitar. She put down a £17 deposit and co-signed the hire purchase agreement and John came home with a shiny new Höfner. This guitar is a limited edition (120 examples) re-issue of the 1959 Club 40 as once owned by John. All have a reproduction of John’s signature on the scratchplate. John kept his Club 40 for about one year and then purchased a Rickenbacker “Capri”. He loaned the Club to Paul for a short while and then he sold it, probably in Hamburg. It has never been seen since.

Martin King at the Beatles Story in the Albert Dock said: “The loan by Höfner is an extremely welcome addition to the Beatles Story and our visitors will just love these. It is particularly fitting that we have them in a few days before Paul McCartney’s 73rd birthday too. The fact that they are so rare will really appeal to Beatles superfans and we’d like to thank Höfner for the loan.” Nick Wass Marketing Manager at Höfner GmbH added: “We are delighted to have been invited by the Beatles Story to be part of their 25th anniversary celebrations. We have been associated with The Beatles and the great city of Liverpool for many years and it is brilliant to still be part of this wonderful heritage. Happy Birthday from Germany!”

The Höfner guitars will be on display from 15 June 2015 until 5 September 2016 in the solo section of the exhibit at the Albert Dock. Buy your tickets here.

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