1958 Höfner 500/5

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Stuart Sutcliffe was the original bassist for the Beatles from 1960 to 1961. During his brief time with the band, Sutcliffe used his 1959 Höfner 500/5 bass guitar.
Bill Harry, a mutual art school friend and founder and editor of the Mersey Beat newspaper, introduced John Lennon to Sutcliffe when all three were studying at the Liverpool College of Art. In short order, Lennon and Sutcliffe became great mates.
In late 1959, Sutcliffe sold one of his paintings. Lennon and his musical band mate, Paul McCartney, persuaded Sutcliffe to use his new found money to buy a new Brunette colored Höfner 500/5 bass guitar on hire-purchase from Frank Hessey's Music Shop.
The Höfner 500/5 was developed from a 2½" depth version of the 17¼" wide Höfner 4550 model body and featured an inlaid mother of pearl flower design headstock fascia; 21 Frets, later increased to 22; single dot fretboard markers; no neck binding; and a Rectangular control panel. By 1959, the 500/5 model had the Höfner logo on the headstock, and the "black-bar" pickups had an all-plastic case. This version of the bass guitar is affectionately referred to as the “Stu Sutcliffe bass.”
Sutcliffe was versed in music and his friends needed a bassist. So, in early 1960 Sutcliffe joined Lennon, McCartney and their lead guitarist, George Harrison. In August 1960, the band would add drummer, Pete Best, settle on a new name, The Beatles, and leave for their first residency in Hamburg, Germany.
Sutcliffe's playing style was elementary, mostly sticking to root notes of chords. While he is described as appearing very uncomfortable onstage, and often playing with his back to the audience, Best recalled Sutcliffe as usually good-natured and animated before an audience. Beatles friend from their Hamburg days, Klaus Voormann, also regarded Sutcliffe as a good bass player.
Sutcliffe's popularity grew after he began wearing black Ray-Ban style sunglasses and tight trousers. His feature spot was singing "Love Me Tender", which often drew great applause.
In 1961, Sutcliffe decided to leave the group to concentrate on painting. He briefly lent McCartney his 500/5 bass until McCartney could earn enough to buy a specially made left-handed Höfner 500/1 bass guitar of his own.
While living in Germany with his fiancé Astrid Kirchherr, Sutcliffe began experiencing severe headaches and acute sensitivity to light. In early April 1962, he collapsed in the middle of an art class after complaining of head pains. Doctors performed various tests, but were unable to determine the exact cause of his headaches. On 10 April 1962, Sutcliffe was being taken to hospital and died in the ambulance on the way. He is one of several people referred to as the "Fifth Beatle.”
We are honored to present the 1959 Höfner 500/5 bass in our collection. It is identical to Stuart Sutcliffe’s bass right down to the single saddle bridge used on just a minority of 500/5 basses.61_hofner.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0
Stuart Sutcliffe, on far right, with his 1959 Hofner 500/5 bass guitar posing with The Beatles.

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