Tuesday, 5 June 2012

McCartney's Union Jack Höfner

Paul McCartney surprised everyone tonight at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert by using a Union Jack Höfner bass guitar during the closing number, Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da. The Union Jack Höfner is an original design from Höfner (Product #514179 from 2008), based on Paul McCartney's 1962 Violin Bass, but has since been discontinued. You can see pictures of the model here. Now that Paul has used one in concert, I'm sure the used ones will start commanding high prices on ebay.
Here's the McCartney performance, from YouTube.

4 comments:

Nick said...

The Union Jack bass played by McCartney was in fact specially made for the event. The one from 2008 is one of only two or three made. It was never a Hofner regular product line.

az said...

I've had quite the saga in attempting to order this "special" item. I'd actually bought two, from two sellers, but I've gone ahead and canceled one. The rarity of this item hasn't been the problem; there's some bizarre attitude about what these things will actually look like, as well as shipping costs. Bear with me here:

I can get a Hofner CT in the states for $800 with case, 'burst or black. I spoke with Hofner directly via Facebook, and they're saying there's no case with this bass, which I find pretty deplorable for a supposed collectible that costs about $400 more than the standard issue bass. Furthermore, I've been conversing regularly with each of the two sellers, and they seem pretty nonchalant about offering a case, as though this bass will be just so darn precious that they don't even need to bother to throw me a bone a ship this thing across the pond in some sort of case or gigbag.

Speaking of shipping: There is a UK-based seller of Hofner CTs who claims to be able to ship them for 10 British pounds — about $15-$16. I shot them an email asking them how they can manage that; I can't believe they can do that price and that the instrument would be insured. But I'd asked my two Union Jack sellers what their shipping rates were to the U.S. because they don't even bother offering the USA option in their checkout process. One seller told me flat out that I needed to deposit another 125 pounds by midnight of my purchase or he'd give the instrument to someone else. Why the pressure if you know you've got a line of people who want the bass? I then asked a friend of mine in the UK to take shipment of the bass while I figured out a more reasonably priced shipping solution. The seller who gave me the midnight ultimatum said he would only ship to the confirmed Paypal address and wouldn't answer me when I said I'd cancel the Paypal transaction and simply give him my CC and the alternate address —*so I sucked it up and paid the $200 extra to keep that bass, since he's offering it at about $100 less than the other seller and says he's got the first 25 serial numbers. Curiously, the other seller didn't have a problem with sending the bass to my UK-based friends; they charge 7 pounds to ship in the UK (the other seller ships free in the UK).

All in all, not a pleasant experience in the least. Between the snippy sellers and the snippy people at Hofner who won't even confirm the color of the back and sides of the bloody instrument or offer a case, I'm left feeling pretty cold and not at all excited about owning one of these "treasures." All I wanted was a Hofner that looks a little different than the traditional 'burst.

Meantime, I've shot an email to Musical Distributor's Group in New Jersey, which is apparently Hofner's new U.S. agent. I'll be real curious to see if there's a second run of these wunderbasses.

Thank God for my Ricks. Sorry for the rant, but just had to vent I guess, and see if anyone else had similar experiences dealing with Hofner or UK-based instrument sellers. It's almost as though they don't want a Yank to own one of these ; )

Roger Stormo said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, az! Here's Hofner's page about the McCartney Union Jack special bass.

az said...

And ready for distribution. Blue, unflamed back and sides, a real sexy cardboard box to go with your limited-edition instrument, and, to avoid any reference to China, a "Designed in Germany" sticker on the back of the headstock. Ugh.

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