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Beer of the Bass

Hofner (or Hofneresque) curiosity

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Having a little money sitting in my PayPal account from selling an amp, I've inevitably started thinking about something fun and musical to do with it. One thought that's quite appealing would be to go for a little hollow, short scale thumpy bass. It would be a fun sofa bass while gigs and rehearsals are off, and there are a few things where it would be an interesting change from my homebuilt 5 string. The fact they're tiny and don't weigh much seems appealing too.

I wouldn't want to spend more than the Hofner Ignitions, though I'd also thought about the cheaper Harley Benton. I'm not a dedicated Beatles fan (I like 'em, but they're not a central part of my musical life), so either a Violin or Club bass could appeal. So the options I'm aware of so far are; Hofner Ignition Violin bass (either the Cavern version or the standard one), the Hofner Ignition Club and the HB Beatbass. Any thoughts on choice between those, or other similar basses out there?

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If playing sitting I'd suggest the club bass. The violin has pointy bits along the sides which dig into your leg and are uncomfortable. For a thumpy sound you'll need flatwound strings. If on a budget I'd suggest Status medium scale flats, really good strings for around £20 new! 😁

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Well, they all sound a bit different & feel a bit different. There are so many opinions about the various models it must come down to personal taste and that means trying out various makes. My experience has been:

Epiphone - good instrument, semi-hollow.

Tokai - disappointing

Alden - OK

Hofner Ignition - good sound, lightweight, tuners are a bit iffy.

My 2 keepers:

Hofner contemporary - semi-hollow, good quality all round, detailed tone, strong pickups

Tanglewood - good quality, detailed sound with more emphasis on the mid's than the HCT. 

I always fit Labella 760FHB2 flatwounds and have learned to do a reasonable setup myself. Also,  it takes time to get used to the short scale and narrower string spacing.

They are, along with my Mustangs, my favourite go to bass.

Edited by grandad
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15 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

If playing sitting I'd suggest the club bass. The violin has pointy bits along the sides which dig into your leg and are uncomfortable. For a thumpy sound you'll need flatwound strings. If on a budget I'd suggest Status medium scale flats, really good strings for around £20 new! 😁

Hmm, I did wonder about the ergonomics when sitting. I think I have a slight preference for the Club bass visually too, though it looks like finding a decent gig bag or case might be trickier.  I had noticed the Status strings are well priced in the short and medium scales, I'd be curious about the tapewounds too as I quite enjoyed some D'addario tapes a few years ago.

17 minutes ago, grandad said:

Well, they all sound a bit different & feel a bit different. There are so many opinions about the various models it must come down to personal taste and that means trying out various makes. My experience has been:

Epiphone - good instrument, semi-hollow.

Tokai - disappointing

Alden - OK

Hofner Ignition - good sound, lightweight, tuners are a bit iffy.

My 2 keepers:

Hofner contemporary - semi-hollow, good quality all round, detailed tone, strong pickups

Tanglewood - good quality, detailed sound with more emphasis on the mid's than the HCT. 

I always fit Labella 760FHB2 flatwounds and have learned to do a reasonable setup myself. Also,  it takes time to get used to the short scale and narrower string spacing.

They are, along with my Mustangs, my favourite go to bass.

Thanks for that. I think most of the brands other than the Hofner, I would probably consider if a used one came up at a particularly good price, but otherwise the Ignitions look most likely.

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10 hours ago, Beer of the Bass said:

I think I have a slight preference for the Club bass visually too, though it looks like finding a decent gig bag or case might be trickier.  

I haven't bought one yet but from measurements it looks like some Les Paul type cases should fit the Club. The couple of centimetres difference in length between brands makes all the difference though so it's a try before you buy scenario, which I haven't got around to. 

The Ignition pickguard and control plate (and tuner buttons) do look very cheap, very anemic, just something to be aware of if that sort of thing matters, I don't know if the Contemporary ones are better.  I made replacement ones for mine, but it also looks quite nice with the pickguard removed. 

Edited by Maude
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A nice looking sunburst Epiphone Viola has just popped up on Facebook marketplace, as new condition with flats and a quikkock stand, £200.

It's in Plymouth though, that's quite a long way from Edinburgh. 🙁

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I haven’t found the violin bass shape a problem when sitting. Getting the action down without choking and intonation right is much more challenging. I found GHS Brite Flats nicer sounding than Hofner flats (too dead). They are a bit of fun but I doubt I’ll ever gig mine.

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I think I'm going to sit on the idea for a week or so, and if it still feels like a good idea then I'll go ahead and order something. At the moment I'm havering between the Ignition Club, which I'd order from somewhere in the UK, or the Ignition Violin Cavern model, which Thomann have at a very good price even after VAT/fees.  I have a slight preference for the Club body shape, but listening to people play them on YouTube, it seems like the Cavern pickup spacing might have some more useful sounds with that middle pickup, and it looks like a good location for a thumb rest too.

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I had a Hofner Club Ignition.  At the same time I had a Danelectro '56 single cutaway which is ostensibly very similar but more expensive.  Thus I was able to do a fairly accurate A/B comparison and not rely on memory.  The Danelectro was a league above the Hofner in all respects.   A better class of thump.

Hard case - Pretty sure a Les Paul is going to be too small as far as the width of the body is concerned.  My Les Paul Jnr DC bass fits snugly inside but a short scale EB-3 won't.  You might get away with a hollow body guitar case for a 335 or similar but checking measurements is paramount.  

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5 minutes ago, Beer of the Bass said:

...... it seems like the Cavern pickup spacing might have some more useful sounds with that middle pickup, and it looks like a good location for a thumb rest too.

You don't realise it but you've just given an opinion on a dilemma I'm facing in my Hofner 185 thread. 

Thank you 🙂👍

 

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8 hours ago, Beer of the Bass said:

Oh wow, a US seller has the Club Ignition in green. If anyone over here had that colour, that would absolutely be the one!

Screenshot_20210123-113319_eBay.jpg

I didn't know they did anything other than sunburst and black. I like that green. In that picture you can see what I mean about the pickguard and control being too white, the binding is a nice aged white and looks good. 

If I can find a green one I know where there'll be a nice black one available. 😁

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I've never had a problem playing my Violin Bass sitting down as it weighs about as much as a box of tissues. It's an absolute joy to play.

 

I did replace the knobs though.

 

20190525_131949.jpg

20190525_132003.jpg

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