Tina Weymouth | Hӧfner

It is a common misconception that playing the bass guitar is easy due to the low number of strings, whereas in reality, a bass player forms the foundation of every great song; keeping the energy high and the rhythm moving – and this can certainly be said of bassist Tina Weymouth. A founding member of critically acclaimed 80’s rock band, Talking Heads, and co-founder of Tom Tom Club, Weymouth is an outstanding bass player and songwriter. She not only helped create a new rock age in the 1980s but being one of very few female bass players in the industry at the time, challenged the stereotypes and flew the flag for women everywhere who wanted to rock out.

After touring with an amateur musical group in her early teens, Weymouth discovered a love of singing and taught herself to play the guitar aged 14. After enrolling at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early 1970s, Weymouth met Chris Frantz and David Byrne, and together they formed a band called the Artistics, which was to later become the Talking Heads. Weymouth initially served as the band’s driver, but when they were unable to find a bass player, Frantz asked Weymouth to join and so she taught herself to play the bass guitar. Her innate musicianship and intense dedication led to Weymouth becoming an accomplished bass player in a matter of months and the band released their first single, ‘Psycho Killer’ (written by Byrne) in 1975. A contract with Sire Records quickly followed and they released their first Talking Heads album in 1977, followed by two further albums in the late 1970s.

When Weymouth and Frantz’s relationship with lead singer Byrne – who frequently dismissed Weymouth’s obvious musical talents and reportedly tried to take credit for many of the band’s collaborative efforts – became strained in the 1980s, Weymouth and Franz, who were now married, founded Tom Tom Club. This enabled the couple to collaborate with a plethora of artists, sound engineers and musicians (including Weymouth’s sisters), which produced various hit singles such as ‘Wordy Rappinghood’ and ‘Genius of Love’.

Weymouth has played a range of different bass guitars in her career. In the early Talking Heads days, her bass of choice was a Gibsons Les Paul Triumph Bass, whereas in later Tom Tom Club live performances she preferred a Fender Jazz Bass. However, although she has never limited herself to one brand, Weymouth has regularly played a Höfner Club Bass. With its lighter body and a shorter neck, this Höfner design is fun to play whilst still providing the same distinctive vintage sound – and that classic ‘Höfner end thump’ – so it’s easy to see why this was regularly Weymouth’s bass of choice. However, regardless of which guitar she was playing, her intensity and ability to combine minimalist art-punk basslines with funk-inspired riffs firmly secured Weymouth as one of the best bass players of all time, in our opinion.

Much like Weymouth, we like to mix it up a bit and keep a range of stunning bass guitars in stock. We’re a little short on Höfner basses right now though, so if you’re looking to sell a Höfner model, we’re buying!

Facts and links about Tina Weymouth

  1. Check out a live performance of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ on the Old Grey Whistle Test featuring Weymouth’s outstanding bassline here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzIuZ-mrIL0
  2. Learn some of Weymouth’s bass tricks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXw0UBf8tkA&t=80s
  3. Watch a tribute to Tina Weymouth by The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY_BfWwbCrw
  4. Read about the Höfner Club Bass here: https://www.hofner.com/guitars-basses/electric-basses/club-bass.html
  5. Many other successful artists play Höfner bass guitars; Paul McCartney has played a Höfner Violin Bass since 1961 and Paul Weller has used both the Höfner Violin Bass and Club Bass in his performances.