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Höfner Ignition SE


Electric Bass

  • Spruce top
  • Flamed maple back and sides
  • Maple one-piece neck
  • Jatoba fretboard
  • Top and back feature white binding
  • Scale: 76 cm (30")
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • 22 Frets
  • Pickups: 2 Höfner Ignition Staple humbuckers
  • Individual machine heads with pearloid plastic buttons
  • Original Tea Cup potentiometer knobs on the control panel
  • Colour: Sunburst
  • Includes a certificate of authenticity and a "Bassman" sticker
Available since January 2020
Item number 484469
Sales Unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Sunburst
Soundboard Maple
Neck Maple
Fretboard Jatoba
Frets 22
Scale Shortscale
Pickups HH
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
Top Spruce
Body Maple
Back and Sides Maple
Neck Width 42,0 mm
Pickup System HH
Mechanics Höfner
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B-Stock from $308 available
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In stock within 7-9 weeks
In stock within 7-9 weeks

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A little piece of music history

Höfner Ignition SE violin bass, front view

Höfner is synonymous the world over with high-quality, German-made guitars and basses that have helped to shape the history of modern music, and at the vanguard of these legendary instruments is the 500/1, better known as the "Beatle Bass" thanks to its inextricable ties with its most prominent user, Sir Paul McCartney. Höfner's Ignition Series, which is now in its enhanced second generation, was created in order to allow a wider audience of musicians to get their hands on this legendary instrument. The key characteristics of the Höfner 500/1 design - a semi-acoustic construction, a compact body shape, a short scale length, and two humbucking pickups - have remained unchanged since it was first introduced in the 1950s, and the Ignition Series SE bass gives players all of these features as well as the associated cult factor at a very attractive price.

Front view of the Höfner Ignition SE bass body

A violin among basses

Soon after it first appeared in 1956, the Höfner 500/1's design earned the bass its famous nickname, the "Violin Bass". The Ignition Series SE bass features a maple body with a top made from spruce, and the neck (also made from maple) features a 22-fret jatoba fingerboard with a scale length of 76cm (30"), which is a full 10cm (4") shorter than that of a conventional long-scale bass guitar and provides enhanced playing comfort. The bridge also takes its cues from those of classical stringed instruments, and the two Höfner humbucking pickups are governed by passive electronics that comprise two dedicated volume controls and three tone switches, providing an extensive palette of vintage and retro sounds. The authentic "Beatle Bass" look is completed by a timeless sunburst finish, white binding on the front and back of the body, and a white pearloid pickguard.

Flamed maple back on the Höfner Ignition SE bass

Back in style

It goes without saying that the Höfner 500/1 will have a place in the heart of any Paul McCartney fan - they don't call it the Beatle Bass for nothing, after all - but fans of Liverpool's Fab Four are not the only ones who will find this bass interesting: Its light weight and compact dimensions also make it a blessing for bassists who don't want to shoulder anything too heavy, while guitarists looking to make the transition to bass will in turn appreciate the short scale length. Short-scale basses in general have been enjoying something of a comeback in recent years, so this classic bass is once again "en vogue" - helped all the more by its eyecatching looks, which make it the perfect bass for players looking to take a break from the mainstream with their choice of instrument.

Höfner bass headstock with four machine heads

About Höfner

The Höfner company has a long tradition and was founded by Karl Höfner in Schönbach at the end of the 19th century. Initially, the product range consisted mainly of bowed string instruments, and the first guitars were added around 1930. After the Second World War, the company was relocated to Möhrendorf in Bavaria. In the 1950s, the company flourished thanks to new musical trends, and basses were now introduced in addition to guitars. Legendary models were created during this time, such as the President, the Committee, and the 500/1 short-scale bass, which made music history a short time later with the Beatles. The subsequent boom in Beat music quickly brought Höfner enormous demand and enduring world fame. Today, Höfner is one of the best-known and largest manufacturers of bowed string instruments and of archtop, semi-acoustic, and solid-body guitars, as well as a wide range of basses.

True vintage

Authenticity is very important in the world of music - and where instruments are concerned, this applies particularly to sound and looks. This bass's shorter scale length means that it delivers a bassier sound than a long-scale bass with the same string gauges, but the trade-off is that it sacrifices a certain amount of definition and sustain - ideal for 60s Pop, Rock, and Soul music, Blues, and other "vintage" styles in which a transparent and highly defined bass sound intrudes too much into the foreground and does not sit comfortably in the mix. Players who want to get REALLY authentic can string the 500/1 with a set of flatwound strings, which get even closer to that vintage sound heard on so many legendary 50s, 60s, and 70s recordings.

138 Customer ratings

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100 Reviews

Novelty Hofner on a budget
Bassface1 01.09.2022
I wanted a violin bass but didn’t want the expense of a German made original as it is a novelty instrument for me. The contemporary series were out of stock so I opted for an ignition. I was shocked at how bad the set up was out of the box. The fret board was so dry and part of the finish on it was cracking. The frets were so dull they scraped against the strings. Disappointingly came with round wounds strings meaning I had to spend another €30.00 for Hofner strings bring up the price further though I was aware I’d have to do this. I also had to pay for a pro-set up at my local music shop which I was not expecting. These two things considerably increased the price of the bass. Neck was far too straight and buzzing out and the intonation was haywire too. Neck is so thick on the Ignition SE it’s almost unbelievable. I did give serious consideration to sending it back!?! Now the good news-once the bass was set up it played great and with the flatwounds it took on a whole new character. It certainly looks the part and has a nice finish. There was a nice cert and a bass man sticker included and also a lovely high quality booklet. The SE comes with tea cup knobs and the tuners are excellent given the price point. The pickups and electronics are okay and the bridge and tailpiece may be getting switched out for original parts at some point. It sounded better than I expected to be honest. I’m quite fond of it now though. Overall a good bass at a fraction of the price of the German original. I would recommend the Hofner Ignition SE but be prepared to get a decent set of flat wound strings and a professional set up and add these into the purchase cost . Out of the box these things are unplayable. Happy I bought it but still annoyed at the issues on the fretboard. Average at best but the novelty and nostalgia factor (and a set of nice flatwounds) rescues it from a totally negative review. Overall, average value for money but with a great fun character and fantastic retro style and sound.


Good Bass
Kozzy 15.11.2021
I bought 1.5 year ago from Thomann. They shipped to Turkey. It reached to me without any problem and I play since that time. Many thanks to Thomann.

So its my first bass guitar. Im Beatles fan, I would like buy 500/1 bass but expensive for me. I don't have any bass amp then I using with my Scarlett 2i2. Its very nice. I can say the sound just like review video on YouTube. Im happy with my bass. This bass guitar not need any recommend or advise. If it possible buy 500/1 not exactly buy this one. I have advise only for Turkish customer, buy with hard shell case because in Turkey not available. I bought with hard shell case and also Im very happy with that.

Türkiye'den alacaklara tavsiyem kanki bizim oralarda taşıma çantası bulunmuyor birlikte alın ve taşıma Çantaları çok sağlam, kesinlikle birlikte alın.


The pursuit for the right string!
BABYBUFFALO 17.01.2023
I already knew before I ordered the Ignition SE, that change of strings was essential for it to sound better, because the default strings sound terrible. So I ordered a set of flat wounds, that were unfortunately too long for this violin bass. I had to reorder a set of medium scale, from the Hofner brand itself, and finally the bass was set up! It sounds amazing with the warm low end from the flat wounds, and the shorter neck makes it super playable. Let's not forget about the bargain you get for this price!


iamthewalrus 05.11.2021
I've dreamed of owning an hofner ever since I was a kid! I do recall bawling my eyes out when I first saw it at a store and couldn't bring it home with me (I was only 14 then). Needless to say, as soon as I got my first ever paycheck, this bass was the so-long expected gift for myself. And I couldn't be happier with it! Its sound is surprisingly brilliant (even though I might upgrade it to labella strings), and I do love the vintage details of this version. Worth the buy!


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