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best strings for hofner violin bass

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by skinzz, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. skinzz


    Aug 7, 2008
    London uk
    hi im new to bass guitars, just bought a hofner hct 500/1 violin bass for £380 and was wondering which would be the best strings and which grade to get the best vintage sound from the guitar, im not sure what strings it has on it when it came from the factory, and also what grade and how long before i would have to change the strings
  2. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    I believe you're looking for absolute answers in areas where there are very few, if any. Sorry to say.

    As with a lot of "bests" this is going to be matter of a lot of personal preference and experimentation to the point where there is really no "best" and the only "best" it can be is what's "best for you."

    The Hofner bass already has a vintage sound to it, insofar as it's not a design that is modern/high-tech like some Sadowsky, Zon and other basses. Players have used both roundwound strings, halfwound strings and also flatwound strings on these basses. All of these types are good. None of these string types is going to turn this bass into a high-tech sounding, non-vintage sounding bass. That's about the only absolute here, that I can imagine.

    I don't know what strings this bass came with, but more importantly, if you like the tone, then it's good. Keep the strings. When they don't sound good to your ear, take them off. But keep them. Don't cut them off your bass. Pull them out of the back of the bridge and save them for later in case you don't like the new strings you bought, or your taste in tone changes, you'll have the old strings to go back to.

    The intervals for string changing depends on your preference in the sound of the string to a large extent, though at some point it may be best to change the strings even if you never want to.

    I have basses in which I never have changed the strings, and some basses in which I boil (clean) the strings before every gig. Neither way is right or wrong. It's preference. I prefer both!

    Roundwound strings tend to have the most "zing" to them. Flatwounds tend to have the least "zing" and the most muted sound to them. Halfwounds split the difference. I hesitate to say which one is "vintage." Why? John Entwisle (The Who) in those old recordings could be said to have a vintage sound, but that tone is up-front and treble-y. On the other hand, James Jamerson (Marvin Gaye, etc...) has a much more muted tone which is not treble-y, and yet that is a vintage tone as well.

    I hope this helps.
    El Pelusa likes this.
  3. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Pyramid Gold flatwounds. Expensive, but legendary. According to Rick Turner, they have a roundness without twang, unlike many other flats. And I believe it's what Paul used on his Hofner.
    Pantone 333 likes this.
  4. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I read some time ago that the Hofners need a light gauge string. Putting standard gauge strings on can damage the necks.

    I looked at the factory Hofner strings and went with the TI FLats, short scale on my Club Bass. My repair guy also recommends these for the hollow bodies. Amazing strings and my neck is staying true.
  5. tomersg


    Aug 6, 2007
    i installed the Thomastik infield flats for Hofner and they are second to none!
  6. LaBella makes flats especially for 'Beatle Basses'. They are fabulous and affordable.
    gsgbass likes this.
  7. cripula


    Dec 20, 2006
    Pyramid Gold nickels on my old Club and newer beatle bass. Love 'em - they're pricey but nicey.
  8. mario222


    Dec 12, 2007
    Roto Tru bass 88's black nylon short scale. Got them on mine, pretty cool.
  9. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Hofner branded strings (which are what are installed at the factory) are Pyramid Strings. Hofner has been installing Pyramids on their basses for decades.

    They are expensive, but not as expensive as some of the other brand of flatwounds that are made to be used on a Hofner.

    Personally, I perfer roundwounds on my violin basses, because it helps give the bass tone definition and eliminate the thump or muddy tone that flatwound strings tend to create on a short scale semi-acoustic bass. Recently I installed a set of S.I.T. 40-95 short scale roundwounds on one of my violin basses. For $17.99 you can't go wrong and they fit perfectly and sound great on the bass.

    If you're interested you can buy them online here;


  10. Kyon`


    Aug 17, 2007
    Boston, MA
    I'm going to have to agree with Thornton Davis on rounds. On my Klira I've mostly used flats up till this last month. While I love the thump and bottom felt kind of limited in what it could do. I've been using short scale rotos myself and it's actually rather nice. Though for that more Beatles Paul sound, flats seem to nail it perfect.
  11. boomba


    Feb 13, 2008
    Buffalo NY
    The strings will not damage the bridge but anythong heavier than I believe 100 Gauge will not fit through the holes in the bridge. I second the use of the Labellas.
  12. skinzz


    Aug 7, 2008
    London uk
    I actually called hofner today and they told me that they install their own branded strings on the violin basses, and they are roundwounds 0.40 0.60 0.75 0.95 (not pyramid golds), i checked thomann's site and they do pyramid golds which are slightly different gauge for the hofner, and they are flats, glad i actually know what strings im using now, im a beginner but still had a feeling they were rounds because of the zing to them
  13. If you want that Hofner Beatle sound, go with flats. The Pyramids or the TI's would be my recs.

    But, I can't stand rounds on any bass, so I am partial.
    Pantone 333 likes this.
  14. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    I like having rounds on mine.
  15. rickfan63


    Dec 5, 2006
    There aren't a lot of choices for a Hofner since it is a short scale bass. I use SIT Power Flats(50-105) on my Brice Hofner copy, and I love them. But the Brice is a medium scale bass due to the short tailpiece. The SIT's are long scales cut down to fit. Real bright strings don't work for me on a bass like this, as the G and D strings tend to sound like a banjo if they are too bright. The TI's are medium scales(JF324). I've never used them due to the price. But I've heard nice things about them. If I were to get a Hofner, I'd go for the Contemporary, since it has the sound block to enhance the tone, and reduce feedback. If I can sell off one of my basses, I might do it, and see how the SIT's would work.
  16. mr sprocket

    mr sprocket

    Jul 31, 2006
    The LaBella sets are made for the beatle scale. Once broken in they are great with a classic sound. Even the beatle clones come to more life with the flats. It was day and night the quality of sound difference. The flats seem to get the bridge on top vibrating more, you can feel it on the back while you are playing.

    When the LaBellas start to wear which may be a long time I might try the TIs.
  17. It may be worth noting, and this may not be the case any more, but back before Boosie and Hawkes took over the Hofner company, the "beatle bass" had relatively soft fretwire. I found roundwounds would easily grind away the fretwire and cause problems later on. Low-tension flats seem to be best, although the Roto tapewounds are great on it.
  18. ForestThump


    Jun 15, 2005
    I use an Epiphone Rumblekat which is a short scale chambered bass like the Hofner Club. I use GHS Boomers for a vintage sound with presence.
    It does take a few days at least for the string to break-in.
  19. tifftunes

    tifftunes Guest

    La Bella strings are fine, but do NOT have a vintage Hofner tone. The only string I can recommend for this is the Hofner. If its made by Pyramid, then that would be a very good alternative. I have 2 vintage Club basses with La Bella on one and Hofner on the other... FWIW...
  20. If you want that boompity boomp Abbey Road sound then it's gotta be Rotosound 88 tapewounds.