Hofner vs. Klira violin basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tightbidness, Dec 3, 2012.


  1. tightbidness

    tightbidness Supporting Member

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    There are a number of good threads about both manufacturers, but I'm curious if anyone here has directly compared the Hofner 500/1 and Klira violin basses (Twen Star). I recall reading somewhere that Klira instruments are more delicate but sound as good or better than their Hofner counterparts...
     
  2. funkytoe

    funkytoe Supporting Member

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    Maybe pm TB member Thornton Davis? He is very knowledgable about all things Hofner and Klira. In fact, I think he may be a Klira collector?
     
  3. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

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    Both are well made hand crafted instruments, which happen to have been made in the same small village in the south of Germany called Bubenreuth.

    There are no direct comparisons out there that I'm aware of on these two basses. Klira's are well made and in no way fragile IMO, and neither is a Hofner 500/1 from the 60's, again IMO. The Twen Star 162 (the first version of Twen Star, there were 3 before the 356 was introduced) and 356 were copies of Hofner's 500/1 with the main difference being that the Twen Star's had "Cat's Eyes" sound holes in the front, which were usually bound.

    There are definately other differences as well such as Klira used a bolt on neck with the Twen Star 356 while the 500/1 has a set neck. Both basses were 30" scale and have that deep chest pounding tone.

    Both basses produce old school woody tone especially with flatwound strings on them, but put a set of good roundwounds on either model and you'll still get that old school tone, but with an edge and better clarity.

    I've owned many Hofner 500/1 basses and a number of Klira Twen Star's. Both are equal in my eyes and to my ears.

    TD
     
  4. tightbidness

    tightbidness Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the responses.

    TD, do you have any thoughts about this version of Klira bass pickups?
    [​IMG]

    The look reminds me a bit of the Hofner toaster pickup, which sounds great IMHO...
     
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  6. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User Supporting Member

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    That bass has a Lowrider mustache.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

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    My first bass was a Klira 356, still have it :) my second was a Hofner, still have that to :) The biggest difference is in the necks the Klira is a bolt on neck, the neck is wider and beefier than a Hofner almost feels like a 60's Gibson EBO neck. Some early Klira's did have set necks with white single coil pups. The biggest difference is in the price! you can Get a very nice vintage Klira for around $500 even or less. Here are my three Kliras. My first one bought in '71 is on the right, unfourtunatley I "improved" it with Gibson SB400 pickups when I was a kid.[​IMG] And my '66 Hofner[​IMG]
     
  8. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

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    Nice bass to bad about all the holes :( I notice it has a Hofner bridge.
     
  9. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

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    The bass has Klira's humbuckers on it. They're very hot (compared to Hofner's 511B staple p/u's) and sound far better than the single coils p/u's that were on the Twen Star 162 basses that were made just a few years earlier. As Scott (godofthunder59) mentioned in his post, the bass has a Hofner bridge which works fine but it's just not original. If you look at the bridges on the 3 basses in Scott's photo of his Twen Star 356 basses you'll see what the original bridge looks like.

    Looks like someone put a couple of tub bars on the bass as well then removed them leaving the holes in the top of the bass. I would estimate the bass was made in 1967-68.

    I notice it has a set of black tape wound strings on it. This combination will produce some serious thump.

    TD
     
  10. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

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    I am still looking for a pair of those chrome humbuckers to put my first bass right!
     
  11. tightbidness

    tightbidness Supporting Member

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    Understandable, though I dig the look of the Gibson pickups.

    TD, I just found this page with (some of?) your collection. Both of the pickups you mention, as well as the 357 Super Star, with what looks to be large single coils.
    http://www.fuenfhunderteins.de/brandpages/klira.htm
     
  12. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

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    Yup that's my stuff. The pickups in the 357 Super Star are also Humbuckers just like the ones in the 356, but with a different case. Personally I never liked those p/u covers.

    FWIW, Twen Star 357's are quite rare. Not many were made because know one wanted to spend the extra cash for a "deluxe" version of the 356. Plus i've never been partial to its appearance.

    TD
     
  13. bbrains

    bbrains

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    Some of the Klira Twen Star violin basses were built with set necks. Several pictures may be viewed in google image search "Klira bass". I would agree that Klira violin basses are in no way "fragile". The body construction is 5-ply laminate throughout and very strong. Necks are made of good to very good quality maple, fretboards are rosewood.
     
  14. dirtybanana

    dirtybanana

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    i have a very rare twen star 162-II for sale. if someone is interested please pm me.
     
  15. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass

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    I used to own a Hofner, and stupidly I played a Klira two years ago in a store in Bloomington Indiana and left without it. Dumb me.

    The Klira, I think, was actually more acoustic, if that is a word. The two cat eyes really brought out the sound of the bass. Plugged in it felt almost like my old Hofner. I think of everything, the tuners were IMHO better then the Hofner ones.

    If it were my choice today, I'd buy a Klira. Made in the same town, by possibly many of the same people who made Hofners. So its like budget Hofner today.
     
  16. tightbidness

    tightbidness Supporting Member

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    Off topic, but I love the 20/20 Tom. Such a strange but cool bass.
     
  17. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

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    Feb 11, 2003
    :cool:

    I had a Kilra violin back in the late 60's my first bass.
    It was way cool, and as nice as a Hofner.
    Stupidly traded it, did not know what I had.
     
  18. nagarjuna

    nagarjuna

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    I had a Klira Twen Star as pictured above. It was a fabulous bass with great sound. Felt more solid than a Hofner, to me. I sold it for 300 more than I paid for it. I needed the dough or else I would have kept it around on a permanent basis. I love them!
     
  19. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

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    They were two very different companies that happened to have set up their factories on the same small German village of Bubenreuth. Framus and Pyramid also built factories there.

    My Klira collection.

    [​IMG]

    TD
     
  20. Pet Sounds

    Pet Sounds

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    Beautiful instruments, man.
     
  21. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass

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    Thanks. Yes it's cool and actually a great playing bass. A keeper...
     

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