Best affordable Beatle Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Cornelius Dawse, Nov 28, 2013.


  1. Cornelius Dawse

    Cornelius Dawse

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    Hellow!

    Sorry if this question gets asked often, I did search, but did not find what I was looking for!

    So, here's my issue.

    For my next bass, I would like to have that amazing boomy thumby tone that hollowbody basses have, and ideally, a Viola-shaped one because I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE how they look! (Not specificly a Beatles fan, and when I am, I prefer John, but I do am a CRAZY fan of Tame Impala) Anyway, I know that in the price range I am looking for there are some amazing Beatle basses (around 200-300-400$), looking mainly at the Epiphone version since it's the cheapest and seems to be very versatile (I'd like it to be!), but I'm also looking at the Jay Turser ones (which are a bit more expensive) and the Hofner one (Ignition, same price as JT)

    Do you guys have any experience with good cheap Beatle Basses? Or experience with the Epiphone Viola, since I'm really aiming more to that one?
  2. Pimpernel Smith

    Pimpernel Smith

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Location:
    In the Pond
    For about $460.00 (US) you can buy a splendid Hofner Ignition violin shaped "Beatle Bass" with case. Put on a set of Hofner/Pyramid flats and you get the classic tone and playability.
  3. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    I have the Rogue one which I bought pretty cheaply used ($100 including hard case).
    It's similar to the Jay Turser in quality/sound/features. In fact they look pretty identical for the reason mentioned below.

    I've played the Epiphone for a week - it's pretty good similar in quality but has no pickguard, and has three knobs instead of the knob/switches combo of the the Hofner , Rogue or the Turser. Similar to the Epiphone is the Douglas available through Rondo music for $169.95 new. http://www.rondomusic.com/wvebvs.html
    Great thing about the Douglas is that you can get a fretless version if you want. None of the other non-Hofner basses mentioned above have come out with one.

    That being said, I've tried the Rogue, Epiphone and Douglas- really, they all sound pretty similarly and from what I've read, reason is that they're all made in the same factory with differences in styling (Epiphone and Douglas are viola bass variants of Hofners rather than copies of them)
    If you can swing it though, I would opt for a Hofner as it's in a whole different level in terms of quality and sound.

    I love having a viola bass in my collection as it adds it's own unique qualities that none of my other 14 basses have especially if you use flatwounds. Very comfortable to play on.
  4. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    These basses are amazing. There's one in a nice deep blue at the GC local to my college. Sounds and looks amazing with flats.
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  6. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Queens
    I briefly had the douglass fretless beatles bass from rondomusic. It was excellent. I'm sure the fretted is just as good. $170 for a damn fine bass. http://www.rondomusic.com/wvebvs.html
  7. GM60466

    GM60466

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Location:
    Land of Lakland
    Jay Truser bass is a darn good bass for the $$
  8. IvanMunoz

    IvanMunoz

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Location:
    Northeast Pennsylvania
    Hofner Icons are absolutely fantastic, also alot of other "Beatle Basses" don't have the correct shape and look all wrong.
    I recommend spending a little more than the cheapest and going for an icon.
    Just don't judge the sound until you run flats on it, thats when it really comes to life.
  9. CnB77

    CnB77

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    NJ
  10. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Location:
    Durham NC
    Rogue.

    I have played or owned many of the basses in this category. They all are pretty much equivalent build and sound-wise. Get the one that is the least expensive.
  11. IPYF

    IPYF

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    The Hofner Ignition is really rad for the price. I also liked the old Epiphone Viola which I thought was a smashing instrument for the money. They don't quite have the look though....
  12. Immigrant

    Immigrant

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Location:
    West of Stumptown, USA
    Jay Turser. I have one floating around here. Not bad. Lotso fun.
  13. Cornelius Dawse

    Cornelius Dawse

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    Woah! Thanks a LOT for the answers, guys!

    Yeah, the Epi is slightly different looking, but it's got its unique look that is great, but I have to say the Hofner looks a bit cooler!
    Something that sucks A LOT is the fact that, being from Quebec, Canada, I cannot order from Rondo without having 150$ in charge for shipping. SUCKS. So, I'm mostly gonna have to go with either Epi, Jay Turser (my main axe is a Turser with Fender '62s in them, INSANELY good bass!) or Hofner, there's a detaillant nearby!

    So, here's my other question/criteria: Are they good for heavier types of rock? Will they sound good if I put rounds on them for that extra edge?
  14. IPYF

    IPYF

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    The Beatles were a rock band. Some of their songs were pretty metal. :D

    Honestly though, this particular line of instruments has a really defined purpose and I envision that a Beatle bass would get lost in a high gain mix but YMMV. I would suggest you're best off letting it do what it does well and using a different instrument with a more modern sound for your rock tone.
  15. RandomBox

    RandomBox

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Location:
    Kentucky, United States
    The Höfner Ignition is a great bass. I owned one for about a week (mainly got rid of it because it just wasn't my style) and it was a fine bass for the price. The black finish on mine was more greyburst, and it was beautiful.

    I put some Rotosound 77 Shortscale flatwounds on it, and it sounded great.
  16. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    Another vote for the Hofner Icon. I like the one I have, nice fun bass to play.

    Have played the Epiphone, didn't feel as good as the Hofner.

    I have LaBella Beatle Bass Flats on mine. Has that classic tone.
  17. Cornelius Dawse

    Cornelius Dawse

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    Haha! Sadly, their metalest tunes were on a Rick, which is my dream bass. By ''Dream bass'', I mean ''the bass I'll never afford.
    And, for that, I have my Precision!

    I'm just wondering what would happen if, say, I rock a Beatle Bass with a pick through an overdriven amp or through a Big Muff (I do these a lot), wouldn't it sound fat and great? As I said, I'm very fond of Tame Impala, and I believe some of his track has a lot of saturated Hofner, which sounded amazing (although the clean tone is marvelous!)

    Whadayathink?
  18. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Only one way to find out. Do it! Only problem I can see is potential for feedback.
  19. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Disclosures:
    FireMelon
    Bob Daisley recorded "Flying High Again" with Ozzy with a '63 Hofner viola bass.
  20. Cornelius Dawse

    Cornelius Dawse

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    Yeah, I kinda expect that as well. Gonna need a noise gate or something if it happens!

    And, just listened to ''Flying High Again'', and I don't quite hear the kinda tone I'm looking for... I think the sound that's closer to what's in my mind can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0jqPvpn3sY

    But the song that made me realize ''Geez, I want a Beatle bass'' was this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wycjnCCgUes

    This, and extensive listening to the Beatles shortly before that!
  21. Timpala

    Timpala Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    IOWA
    Just 2 days ago I was at the guitar store and played 2 Hofner violin basses. Both were black and looked the exact same. The price difference was about $400 different though. I picked up the more expensive one and it sounded really good. I then picked up the cheaper one (Ignition series) and instantly noticed that it weighed way less and felt like it was put together very cheaply. Even through the amp it didn't sound as good. I don't mind cheap basses (I own Danelectros), but it just felt crappy to me compared to the other one. Just my 2 cents worth.

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