Silver Laughter’s Secret to the Hofner Strap

McCartney on Sullivan

McCartney on Sullivan – zoom in and notice how the strap attaches where the body meets the neck

This is probably only going to be of interest to true Beatles fans as well as musicians who look at this site. However, it was Paul McCartney who came up with this idea. I found out the hard way why he attached his strap the way he did. At first I thought it was to be unique but later on I found there as a logical reason to do it this way. Click on the photo of Paul and then zoom in; you will see what I mean.

Here’s a quick explanation. The Hofner violin bass comes with two pegs to which the strap is supposed to attach, one at the base of the neck and one at the end near the tailpiece. But they are slightly smaller than those on other guitars (as are many of the Hofner features like the tailpiece and the tuning keys… but I digress). I guess those old German violin makers didn’t understand rock musicians!

In the beginning I would attach my strap to the pegs which are standard on the Hofner. Sounds all well and good, but during a rehearsal or performance, the strap would come off, sometimes sending the instrument crashing to the floor. YIKES!

Strap lock tailpiece

Strap lock on the tailpiece

After seeing a photo of Paul McCartney, I adopted the way he chose to set up his rig. Plus it helped to look more authentic when we did our Beatles Tribute. On the bottom end near the tailpiece there is a special lock which secures the end of the strap so it is impossible to accidentally come off. The other end is threaded in the space where the neck meets the body, under the pick guard and then around the back where the strap is secured to itself. If you compare McCartney’s setup with the photo I have of my Hofner, you can see what I mean.

The reason I am writing this is to remind myself of what to do so I don’t accidentally damage my NEW bass!

Strap attachment

Strap attachment

Side note: Silver Laughter also took another cue from the Beatles. Notice how Paul has his cord through the strap at the bottom and then into the jack so that stepping on the cord does not pull it out. Imagine how many times the sound went out on our instruments only to realize we had unplugged ourselves while moving around on stage!

Like I said at the top, this is probably only interesting to other musicians or people who love Beatles trivia.

Mick Orton

Categories: History

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