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In the summer I bought an excellent MIJ Squier Bullet Bass from Gareth of this very forum. And it really was excellent. It recorded beautifully and looked handsome, which always helps. But I ended up having difficulty playing it for long due to the state of my left shoulder, neck and back problems and this made me move towards something short scale and hollow bodied. I'd planned to sell the 34" scale Squier Bullet and buy a 30" scale hollow body bass, before emigrating on the 17th of December. I'd advertised the Bullet on here but it didn't sell so I was resigned to taking it with me but still getting another bass before I moved to France. And then maybe buying something online from Thoman.fr or Le Bon Coin once I'd moved.

On the night of the 14th I googled 'Hofner Violin Bass' just out of curiosity and the search results threw up a load of results but at the top of the first page were a load of ads for Hofners, from Thomann, Absolute Music, Guitar Guitar etc. And among them was an Ignition series Hofner Violin Bass at a stupidly cheap price with 48hr delivery so I hit the buy-it-now button and hoped for the best. Me and my wife were fully occupied, still packing up boxes of our belongings for the move, so I didn't have much time to think about it but hoped it would arrive before we left for France.

On the 16th I had a mate come down to Brighton to buy my old 1960's Philips organ. He's a pedal-steel player by trade but he's just got a studio space in north London and before he set off for Brighton he was looking for a bass on the Facebook marketplace in East Sussex. He hadn't found a bass but he did collect a Fender Twin from somehwere on the way. Then he got to our place and he saw the Bullet bass, picked it up, said "God, how light is this?!" and fell in love with it and we did a deal. While he was playing the Bullet, the doorbell rang, it was the courier guy with the Hofner Bass. When he handed me the box I thought it was an empty box, that's how light these things are. Even double boxed with bubblewrap it still felt empty. When I opened the boxes and got the Hofner bass out I was surprised at just how light it was. I don't have any scales so I didn't weigh it, but it's probably about the same as two packets of crisps or something daft like that. Big packets of crisps obviously, but you get my drift.

Our move was being co-ordinated and handled by Douglas a.k.a. @Dad3353 and he knows a fair bit about Hofners so I handed it to him and he said, yeah they're all usually pretty light. Didn't have a lot of time to spare before the morning of the 17th so I boxed it back up ready for the move. I was sad to see the Bullet go but at least I knew I was going to a good home, and I did mates rates on it because I've known him for years and we'd done sessions together etc. All good.

Anyhow we did the drive from Brighton to South of France (well @Dad3353 did, I just looked out the window and drank fizzy pop) and the day after we settled in I got the Hofner Violin Bass out, plugged it into a little practice amp and fell in love :)  - It's such a funky sounding little thing, super light, and has more bottom end than it looks like it should. Couldn't stop playing it, didn't want to put it down. The neck is so easy to get used to, and the pickups are great. It has more sustain than I was expecting but flats and a bit of foam at the bridge should sort that. The whole feel of it is superb for the money, I can fully recommend the Ignition series violin bass if anyone is thinking about one, they're ace. 

I removed the guard as I prefer the look without one, and I couldn't get on with the roundwound strings that came with it though, so tried putting on a used set of Roto black nylon flats I had hanging about. But the E string was too big to fit into the tiny little guitar machine heads that the Hofner has. No problem, I've got a set of D'Addario Chrome flats that I'd had on my last Mustang bass, I'll just put them on. But no, the gauge is still too big for the tuners. Fergling little Bergstedts!!! 😡😆

So I've ordered a set of Hofner Contemporary flats from Thomann. They haven't arrived yet so I'm still making do with the roundwounds, but once they arrive I'll get them straight on and record some clips. Meanwhile, here's the obligatory pics:

image00002.thumb.jpeg.82adcb74a9ef5256861213715e2c0b92.jpeg

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And because @Len_derby asked for a pic of it in the sunshine I took it out onto the balcony of our apartment and took a quick pic. It's not my best photo, but the sun was out and it was 14 degrees here. I was even wearing shorts but of course nobody wants to see that 😂 Anyway here's the bass in the sun:

image00006.thumb.jpeg.98f3d99fc262ed50e691c55429ae9e51.jpeg

If anyone is on the fence about buying one of these, or can't quite make their mind up, all I can say is the one I got is brilliant. Wish I'd bought one years ago. If you see one at a decent price go for it 👍

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That was a bit wordy wasn't it? Here's the TLDR version:

I bought a Hofner Violin Bass, it's excellent, here's a pic:

image00007.thumb.jpeg.0621342766616e2354451f7c8b4e6ff0.jpeg

All the best for New Year -

Lee :) 

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Great little basses. 

I like how they 'encourage' me to play differently than a standard bass. 

Enjoy the your bass, and France. BTW, that fizzy pop you spoke of, if that's the empty box in the outdoor picture then you might want to go easy on it. 😉

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5 minutes ago, Maude said:

Great little basses. 

I like how they 'encourage' me to play differently than a standard bass. 

Enjoy the your bass, and France. BTW, that fizzy pop you spoke of, if that's the empty box in the outdoor picture then you might want to go easy on it. 😉

I’m strictly an Orangina man these days. Been alcohol free since my bipolar meds were changed at the beginning of the year. The beers were for our neighbours, they were gonna come over for new year’s but they cancelled this afty so they’re up for grabs to BC’ers. Free collection only though :) 

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Oh and btw, if anyone needs to move house from Brighton to the South of France, and they need someone  to drive the truck full of all their stuff I can absolutely recommend @Dad3353.

He’s an honest bloke, he’s just done three years in Parkhurst and you can trust him. Lovely man ❤️
Total dude. The best!

93C61425-CE96-4905-BC01-480795A487DF.thumb.jpeg.b1a5db53ad4ed9cb3c2f18e1e571e276.jpeg

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A word of advice from someone with one. Cancel the Hofner strings, they aren’t very good! The E in particular is so....dead it’s buried. Otherwise a good bass for the money.

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17 minutes ago, Grahambythesea said:

A word of advice from someone with one. Cancel the Hofner strings, they aren’t very good! The E in particular is so....dead it’s buried. Otherwise a good bass for the money.

Ah right. I only ordered the Hofner flats because I knew they were definitely gonna fit in the piddly little holes in the tuners. I’m not usually one for much sustain anyway - I usually have foam at the bridge and palm mute as well - but I’ll be interested to see how they work out. I had a MIJ Fender Mustang bass for a while and the E was always pretty dead sounding, regardless of what strings I put on it. Hopefully it’ll work okay for me. Appreciate the tip-off though 👍

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21 minutes ago, Grahambythesea said:

It looks like yours is similar to mine. The nut is nut badly, the G is too close to the edge on the fretboard.

You know what, I hadn’t even noticed that! Shows you how low tech I am - I just plug ‘em in and play. It hasn’t felt like a problem so far, but I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you man. 👍

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I recommend using TIs short scale strings - they sound very authentic, and are nice and compliant to play. :)

571028453_Hofner002(2)_edited_RE.thumb.jpg.2d788d436412ed6c834162a2e4b9d4b0.jpg

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Thanks for the info. Nice looking bass that!


Because the tuners on these things are so much smaller than a regular bass I wanted to make sure I bought something that would definitely fit. It’s good to know there are other options. If the Hofner strings turn out to be underwhelming I now know what to look for 🙏🏻 Thank you.

My 1st choice would be black nylon flats but I’m not sure I can find any in a light enough gauge to fit the tailpiece and bridge. Happy to be proved wrong, mind.

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The E string on that bass fits fine through the bridge and in the tuner. However, if you click to enlarge the photo, you may notice that the strings are a bit too long for this bass. (Not much is left of the silks on the E and G.) I think that's because the set is also suitable for 32 inch scale basses.

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20 minutes ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

The E string on that bass fits fine through the bridge and in the tuner. However, if you click to enlarge the photo, you may notice that the strings are a bit too long for this bass. (Not much is left of the silks on the E and G.) I think that's because the set is also suitable for 32 inch scale basses.

As long as they work I’d be fine with that. 👍 Appreciate the knowledge!

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2 hours ago, Maude said:

I've got LaBella flats on my Club. They're the set designed for the Violin bass so will definitely fit. 

Not too high tension but definitely not low either. I really like the feel but I do prefer a stiff flat to a flexible round. They sound great though. 

https://www.labella.com/products/760fhbb-beatle-bass-stainless-flats-50-100/

OEx0z18.jpg

Ah thanks man, I appreciate the knowledge 👍

I’ve got some La Bella Deep Talkin Bass flats on my little Tanglewood bass and they are perfect in tension and tone. I’ve had their Mustang flats sets before back when I played  Mustangs and they were a bit variable to be fair, which surprised me. Am always happy to try them again if the Hofner Contemporary flats aren’t up to the job though. 
Cheers, and happy new year to you.

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Posted (edited)

I love it when a story ends well, both the move and the new bass. Don’t we need a few more!?

 Thanks for the photo as requested. Ironically, we had sunshine too - only it was -1 degree with a hard frost.

Enjoy the Hofner  and France.

Edited by Len_derby
Spell checker changed Hofner to Hefner! 😹
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1 hour ago, Len_derby said:

 

 Thanks for the photo as requested. Ironically, we had sunshine too - only it was -1 degree with a hard frost.

Oh man, even the thought of minus one degree and hard frost makes my cobnuts go back indoors. 😂I’m from Hartlepool and I remember what cold winters were like when I was a kid. Never again! (I hope).

Happy new year to you. 👍

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Meterman, I was playing a few Basslines to an old set list earlier and I think this is the same as your bass 🙂

 

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24 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

Meterman, I was playing a few Basslines to an old set list earlier and I think this is the same as your bass 🙂

 

Fantastic song, I love a bit of Sugar Minott!

Funny enough I missed out on a Hofner Violin bass from the late 60’s with those same blade pickups for £85 a few years back when I was living on the Isle Of Wight. It was on the island’s local online classifieds site advertised as ‘Hofner guiter’ and when I phoned up all determined to go and get it, the lady answered the phone and said “Sorry, it’s just been sold” and I was a fair bit gutted.

Couple of years later I was in mate’s place up in Ryde and I saw he had a couple of Hofner Violin basses and one of them had the blade pickups and it looked familiar. I said “Hang on, did you get that for £85 off a lady on the island?” and he replied “No, when I got there she gave it to me for £80!” 😂 I was glad he got it though because he’s such a nice guy and a monster player. So whenever I see one anywhere now with the blade pickups, I’m like “Damnnn, £80!!!” 🥲

Thanks for sharing the Sugar, and happy new year. Cheers 👍

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On 31/12/2020 at 20:46, Grahambythesea said:

A word of advice from someone with one. Cancel the Hofner strings, they aren’t very good! The E in particular is so....dead it’s buried. Otherwise a good bass for the money.

I can confirm this, I tried the Hofner contemporary flats and the E string had no pitch definition at all, sounded like a bass drum then as I took the strings off I felt the windings slip away from the core. 

The Labella Beatle bass flats are good though, TI's are good also but they may or may not fit through the tuners depending on how big the holes are on your tuning pegs (my tuners are aftermarket parts so I don't know if they fit the standard tuners). Also worth noting is that lowish tension/light gauge strings tend to work best due to the skinny Hofner necks

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7 minutes ago, shoulderpet said:

I can confirm this, I tried the Hofner contemporary flats and the E string had no pitch definition at all, sounded like a bass drum then as I took the strings off I felt the windings slip away from the core. 

The Labella Beatle bass flats are good though, TI's are good also but they may or may not fit through the tuners depending on how big the holes are on your tuning pegs (my tuners are aftermarket parts so I don't know if they fit the standard tuners). Also worth noting is that lowish tension/light gauge strings tend to work best due to the skinny Hofner necks

That’s interesting to hear another experience of Hofners flatwounds. Thanks for the input, much appreciated. Mine arrived yesterday and I put them on the bass last night. Instantly they felt and sounded better than the roundwounds that came fitted as standard. How long they will stay on the bass is yet to be seen.

My usual preference is for heavy strings, stiff tension and higher than usual action. But with the Hofner I’m having to reevaluate that slightly. I’d love to get a set of black nylon flats on it but I’m going to break in the Hofner flats first and see how they go.

Cheers 👍

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Congratulations on the new bass. They're wonderful little things. I've had mine a few years now and it's the happiest instrument I own. 

I normally play with a trebly, distorted sound, so when I pick up my Hofner I'm about as far away from normal as I can be, but it's such a joy to play and the thump it makes is like nothing else.

Mine wears Hofner flats and I've never had any problem with them. Mind you I want that massive bass thump from this bass - no need for top end or sustain here! 

 

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1 hour ago, Cosmo Valdemar said:

Congratulations on the new bass. They're wonderful little things. I've had mine a few years now and it's the happiest instrument I own. 

I normally play with a trebly, distorted sound, so when I pick up my Hofner I'm about as far away from normal as I can be, but it's such a joy to play and the thump it makes is like nothing else.

Mine wears Hofner flats and I've never had any problem with them. Mind you I want that massive bass thump from this bass - no need for top end or sustain here! 

 

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Thank you!

Yeah, sustain is not normally required for anything I do :) so flats and a piece of foam at the bridge always happens on any bass I own. And my main instrument is percussion so I’m always ‘hearing’ other instruments through a percussionists filter. The Hofner thump feels immediately like home to me. 
You are spot on about it being a happy instrument to play, it’s a joyful little thing and I can’t wait to record with it 👍

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9 hours ago, meterman said:

That’s interesting to hear another experience of Hofners flatwounds. Thanks for the input, much appreciated. Mine arrived yesterday and I put them on the bass last night. Instantly they felt and sounded better than the roundwounds that came fitted as standard. How long they will stay on the bass is yet to be seen.

My usual preference is for heavy strings, stiff tension and higher than usual action. But with the Hofner I’m having to reevaluate that slightly. I’d love to get a set of black nylon flats on it but I’m going to break in the Hofner flats first and see how they go.

Cheers 👍

Yeah it may be that I was unlucky, with the Hofner contemporary flats, they are very inexpensive for flats so it may be that the quality control is a bit hit and miss, if they are working well for you then no need to change them 

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