I'm not sure what type of wood the neck of the Hofner 500 is made out of, but it has a great feel to it and is really easy to play. You can see why McCartney liked it, because it is easy to play all around the neck and to play actively moving bass lines on this. The body is shaped like a violin, which makes it distinguishable from any other guitar and makes it an extremely light guitar. The inherent sound is full and unique and is easy to get a nice sound from it.
The Hofner Guitars 500 Bass Violin is great for all types of music, but especially for playing pop and rock songs and all Beatles songs and for songs of that type. When I record with this, I usually record direct, but overall it is probably best suited for use on the stage because of the light size and the awesome look to it. Plus, I can definitely think of some better sounding bass guitars for recording, like a Fender P-Bass or Jazz Bass. The sound is more than usable and the controls do provide for some deal of control over your tone as well.
I've been using the Hofner Guitars 500 Bass Violin bass guitar for about three years and have found it to be both unique in look and in tone, which makes it a great bass guitar to have around. It will always have the connection to Paul McCartney and the Beatles, which is part of the allure of this bass and will be what drives people to this guitar. This being said, it is a great bass guitar at a reasonable price and is definitely worth a look whether you are a Beatles fan or not.