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McCartney's Bass Strap Setup


J.B. Lee
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Okay, so I know his Hofner didn't come stock with strap buttons. And I pretty much understand how he dog clipped one end of his strap to the bridge. But what the hell is going on with the other end? Every picture/description I've seen seems to suggest around the heel and UNDER the fretboard. How do you wedge a strap under your fretboard? No guitar I've ever seen would allow that to occur physically. Anyone know how he did it?

 

63hofner.jpg

 

roofhof.jpghof66.jpg

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I have a 500/1 Beatle bass and a 502 Club and there is absolutely no space for a strap between the top of the body and the underside of the fingerboard/neck. Maybe Paul's '63 and the earlier one had a big gap there. Go to the Hofner community web site and ask the Hofnerhounds forum: http://www.hofners.co.uk

They may have an answer. I never wanted the Hofner strap on my basses because of that steel dog latch attaching to the tailpiece. I thought that it would scratch the body.

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Originally posted by J.B. Lee

Okay, so I know his Hofner didn't come stock with strap buttons. And I pretty much understand how he dog clipped one end of his strap to the bridge. But what the hell is going on with the other end? Every picture/description I've seen seems to suggest around the heel and UNDER the fretboard. How do you wedge a strap under your fretboard? No guitar I've ever seen would allow that to occur physically. Anyone know how he did it?

 

63hofner.jpg

 

:)

 

check out the blow up...could the strap be fixed with screws to the body..

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From:

 

http://www.thecanteen.com/mccartney4.html

 

63view.jpg

 

The '63 Hofner today. McCartney had strap buttons added so he'd no longer have to "dog-clip" one end to the tailpiece and tie the other end around the heel and under the fretboard. This old workhorse still has the set list from the '66 tours taped onto it; it reads "Rock & Roll," "She's a Woman," "If I Needed," "Tripper," "Baby's in Black," "I Feel Fine," "Yesterday," "Wanna Be," "Nowhere Man," "Paperback" and "Long Tall."

 

jpcontrast12.jpglargebassmanshot2.jpg

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Well I'm glad I posted this. Fascinating subject, no?

 

As near as I can figure the Hofner's neck was not glued to the body at the heel in the traditional manner. Rather, they left a small gap, with the neck being attached between the fretboard and the front of the body. This would seem to be a rather delicate situation in terms of sturdiness, but after 40 years it's still his main bass! Seems like it would've been a hell of a lot easier to just put a couple of strap pins on though.

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I see the gap and I understand what you mean but if you look at the photos the strap looks much higher up so I don't see how it could be jammed up there, at least not that high.

 

It would seem the bass neck would have been removed and the strap placed then the neck is replaced?

 

Very interesting observation. ;)

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  • 4 months later...
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Originally posted by J.B. Lee

Well I'm glad I posted this. Fascinating subject, no?


As near as I can figure the Hofner's neck was not glued to the body at the heel in the traditional manner. Rather, they left a small gap, with the neck being attached between the fretboard and the front of the body. This would seem to be a rather delicate situation in terms of sturdiness, but after 40 years it's still his main bass! Seems like it would've been a hell of a lot easier to just put a couple of strap pins on though.

 

The only suitable spot to put pins is where he wound up with one...on the heel of the neck. It's not a great spot, and it's relatively easy to 'peel' the strap off by tilting the bass.

 

Hofners are very delicate, and it cost a lot of time and money to keep McCartney's main Hofner going all these years. I've always said they would have long ago been only a memory if not for him.

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On 1/5/2005 at 7:22 AM, M-1 Fan said:

I have a 500/1 Beatle bass and a 502 Club and there is absolutely no space for a strap between the top of the body and the underside of the fingerboard/neck. Maybe Paul's '63 and the earlier one had a big gap there. Go to the Hofner community web site and ask the Hofnerhounds forum: http://www.hofners.co.uk

They may have an answer. I never wanted the Hofner strap on my basses because of that steel dog latch attaching to the tailpiece. I thought that it would scratch the body.

Your bass must be an ICON or Ignition model which both have a different neck ount and there is no cantalevered extension of the neck and fretboard over the body (no gap). Maca's 1963 500/1 has the gap which is about 3/16" tall extending under the 18th thru 22nd frets. Paul's 500/1 does have a strap button at the tailpiece mount and he attached his strap with a folded piece of leather the goes thru the "D" shaped ring on the strap end and the folded leather has 2 key holes that slip over the body strap button. The neck end of strap has a rawhide string that ties to the leather strap after slipping under the neck cantelever. I believe Paul's 63 bass now has a strap button on the neck end of the body. He also would sometimes attach the strap clip to the top side of the tailpiece.

 

On 1/5/2005 at 7:22 AM, M-1 Fan said:

I have a 500/1 Beatle bass and a 502 Club and there is absolutely no space for a strap between the top of the body and the underside of the fingerboard/neck. Maybe Paul's '63 and the earlier one had a big gap there. Go to the Hofner community web site and ask the Hofnerhounds forum: http://www.hofners.co.uk

They may have an answer. I never wanted the Hofner strap on my basses because of that steel dog latch attaching to the tailpiece. I thought that it would scratch the body.

 

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