Best travel bass? Hofner Shorty, Steinberger Spirit, Rogue Violin?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bioflava, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. Hofner Shorty

  2. Steinberger Spirit Bass

  3. Rogue VB 100 Violin Bass

    0 vote(s)
  4. Traveler Guitars TB-4P

  5. Traveler Guitars Ultralight

    0 vote(s)
  6. Kala U-bass

  1. Bioflava


    Feb 14, 2016
    Heya TB,

    I'm looking for your advice on the best travel bass for <$500.

    This bass will mainly go on car trips when I don't want to bring my main ax, so overhead bin size is not critical.

    I'd prefer something that's close in feel to a 34" scale J-neck if possible, but I threw the Kala into the mix because it looks fun. Playability is more important than amplified tone -- but if it sounds good, that's great too.

  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Steinberger (although I'd go Synapse or Radius rather than Spirit even at higher cost - shop used...).
    Rigid neck, not fragile, 34" scale.
    That said, I was surprised that my Synapse in its Steinberger gig bag was only a couple of inches shorter than my 35" Roscoe in its gig bag...
    Bioflava likes this.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    The best travel bass is to enjoy your trip and play when you get home.
    lug likes this.
  4. ahadl2500

    ahadl2500 Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    Greenwood, IN
    I would vote Steinberger or the Kala.

    I used to have a Steinberger Spirit XT-2. I was never impressed with it and it was one of only two basses I have sold over the years. With over 20 years of playing and a closet full of basses, if I sold it I didn't like it (and I only don't like it if I don't play it). A Synapse on the other hand would be a solid option, though likely more than your $500 limit. For me the limiting factor on the Spirit was not feel, I never liked the tone of it. This could be fixed with a pickup/electronics swap, but the bass never seemed worth that to me. I actually enjoyed the feel of the bass quite a bit and have considered purchasing an old graphite Steinberger or Synapse because of it.

    I currently have a Kala U-Bass. It is my go to for throw in the car bass if I am just playing to have something to play (i.e. not band practice/gig). No need for an amp if you are just playing it to play. Plugged into an amp particularly through a decent preamp and they sound amazing. I use a Fishman Pro EQ Platinum Bass when I run mine through an amp. The little thing sounds like an upright and it is beautiful. Definitely not an everyday gigging bass, but for the right song/sound they are definitely playable as more than just a gimmick or travel bass (part of why they are so popular).

    Ultimately I voted Kala, but if you need a bass that you could use as a backup/main bass get the Steinberger. If you really just want something to play when you are not near your main bass(es), get the Kala. The Kala travels easy (get the hard case though) and adds a new tone to your bass collection. It also has the added benefit of not requiring an amp when you are away from one.
  5. JakobT


    Jan 9, 2014
    Oslo, Norway
    My vote goes to the Traveler TB-4P. It's the closest I've found to a full-scale bass, it sounds great through an amp, has a built-in headphone amp, and still goes into an overhead compartment on a plane without a murmur. Oh - and it looks and plays like a proper bass as well. :)
    Lesfunk and cavemanbass like this.
  6. Bioflava


    Feb 14, 2016
    Thanks for the input folks... @ahadl2500 do you have a fretted or fretless? The Kala is very tempting for exactly those reasons: gives me another tone/feel and also easy to travel with... Going to check one out... @JakobT awesome thanks for that too... TB-4P is still in the running!
  7. KohanMike

    KohanMike Gold Supporting Member

    Bioflava likes this.
  8. ahadl2500

    ahadl2500 Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    Greenwood, IN
    I have the fretless version. Seems more appropriate for the tone of the instrument and I was a little worried about intonation on the fretted version. Not sure if my worries are founded in reality though. I have played a few versions, but all have been fretless. The models with the built in preamp sounded better to me (when ran direct to amp), but for the price difference (bought open box at Sweetwater Gearfest) I opted for the one without onboard EQ. I use the Fishman external EQ that I mentioned before and I find this combination sounds better than the built in Pre version.

    While I did play fretless before purchasing the U bass, I have never found fretless (particularly with ghost lines) to be difficult if you are willing to spend the time playing it. If you have not played fretless before, the U Bass should still be playable.
    Bioflava likes this.
  9. If you are looking for something to toss in the car and play at outside parties or camp grounds yes, go with the Ubass. No amp (aka no power ) needed. The Ubass is small, light and has a big sound. I play a Rogue and a Hofner violin bass.. I would call them a travel bass .. short scale yes but not sized like the Hofner shorty ..
    There is nothing like a Ubass .. even a low end uke has a fun sound ... IMG_20190128_115754958.jpg my twin siblings Pearl and Sunny Hofner + Rogue
  10. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    I have the Traveler P Bass and like it.
    Got it to try 32" scale but now use it on gigs.
    6.5. lbs. & size of a Stratocaster guitar.
  11. cavemanbass


    Nov 5, 2010
    +1 for tbp4
    Plays and sounds great, headphone amp with aux input, if I remove the neck, the whole bass fits into my carry on (a bit lumpy on one end)
    I don’t care for the tuner setup, would prefer Steinberger style bridge. But on the upside, you can use long scale strings. Just not Labella they break due to the extreme bend.
    I haven’t got along with any of the uke size basses. 32” is ok, 30” feels cramped, 23” and below fuggedaboudit… obviously works for other folks though.
    Felix Lopez likes this.
  12. Felix Lopez

    Felix Lopez Mettā

    May 15, 2018
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