Epiphone Viola vs Hofner Icon Violin, how do they compare?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by benjammin420, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. I was playing one of the Epi Viola's yesterday, and was really impressed by it. I don't want to rush into purchasing anything though, I want to play the field. I see that Hofner has a model that is about the same price as the Epiphone, but there's nowhere near me that I can try one out. Are Hofner Icons similar in quality? Are they worth going out of my way for? Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated
  2. xjeremiahx


    Apr 19, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    No longer a slave to GC.
    IME, the Epis feel a bit better constructed. It's not hollow like the Hofners, so it's got a more solid FEEL to the bass. I feel that the Hofners have a "toy-like" quality to them...
  3. the Epiphone is semi-hollow/chambered? I didnt realize it wasnt hollow
  4. odysseios


    Jan 18, 2007
    Sardinia, Italy
    Exactly. Epiphone Viola is more well-constructed whereas the Icon (from 2009 named Ignition) is made by poor quality woods, bindings, paint etc.
    BUT: Icon, being completely hollow-body, if strung with the proper strings (Hofners or Labellas) sounds very close to a german 2000$ Hofner.
    Consider also the control panel of the Viola is completely different from the Hofner one, which is very particular having only volume and no tone pots and switches, just like an Hofner must be.
  5. I got a chance to look inside the body of the Epiphone by unscrewing the control plate, except for a small beam under the bridge, it was all hollow.

    I'm really liking it, I think I may get it. Is there anything about those models that is problematic that I should be aware of before purchasing? All 3 at the store are marked used but look like new, kind of suspicious.
  6. BillyC


    Jun 11, 2007
    Epi violas are hollow with a 1" soundpost under the bridge,Douglas Beatle basses at Rondomusic are made in the same factory with a different headstock,both are excellent basses.

    Just be aware the bridge is floating,so if you take all the strings off at the same time it'll fall off..and they take medium scale strings not short scale.

    Put LaBella Beatle bass flats on it and you'll never have to change strings again.
  7. thanks for the info. I actually like the Douglas headstock better, and its half the price of the Epiphone, hard to argue with that :D
  8. rockscott


    Aug 28, 2010
    I purchased the viola last weekend, it's really nice. Great action, so easy to play and the low end tones are diverse and heavenly. I'ts the perfect bass for blues. I was amazed @ how full the tone range is, you can really get some bright sound if you wish. I was looking for a nice short scale, this is the one, check it out!
  9. I have the Viola and it is a fine bass with no issues save intonation, which is the same with all Beatle clones. Way better made than the cheap Hofner, whic I owned briefly. I have a newer one and one from ten years ago when they were $469. No difference; if anything, the new one has a higher output. The switches on the Hofner can be problematic.
  10. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    I played a Hofner Icon yesterday @ GTC. I was not impressed with the tone & the knobs made noise when turned. My Kay Pro 162 thoroughly kicks it's ass in all respects.
  11. odysseios


    Jan 18, 2007
    Sardinia, Italy
    You should check the Icon when properly strung, not sure with the factory strings which are only "cosmetic".
    With Hofner strings, his sound would be like this:

    The Icon (really an Ignition) you see in the video hasn't any pot/switch rumour. Bad constructed as i already wrote, but no rumours.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    From the comparisons I've seen, the Epi, Douglas and Rogue (and maybe some others of the same design) are all essentially the same bass and with the right strings (Labella Hofner Flats) sound the same.

    I have the Rogue VB-100 and it's a great little bass. Note the pearloid tuner knobs from Stew-Mac to complement the pickguard.

  13. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    Yeah, it had rounds on it. I'm sure it would have sounded different with flats.
  14. I've been borrowing an Epi Viola, and really like it, but I'm noticing the pickups have a bit of a hum/buzz problem. I've come across a few other comments like that, is that a common problem with these pickups? Is there a way to relieve that? I like the sound of otherwise, I dont necessarily want to swap pickups, and there are no direct replacements that I know of (I have been wondering what it would sound like with a Dark Star or 2 it...)
  15. Rob Martinez

    Rob Martinez

    Sep 14, 2005
    Depends on your wants and needs. If you want a "violin bass" just get the Epi. If it has to be a Hofner, get the Icon. I bought an Icon and would not trade it for any other violin bass. With LaBella Beatle flatwounds, it thumps for miles and is perfect for what my band plays.
  16. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    I have an Icon. It is no secret around here. I think it is junk- double dog junk. With the case it was a $400 waste of money.
  17. RonChase


    Aug 15, 2008
    I find that you can have a good or bad in anything,you heard the term monday morning car,I own 2 icons and they are superb,on past threads I talked about how they are wound in the pickups and other stuff.I even figure that my Black cherry Hof is a freak,someone wanted to trade the music store owner even up for a german hof.I did play a new icon in the store and it felt cheep comparec to my 2 icons.Maybe the limited edition colored one are built with more pride who knows.That said I had a Epi viola last year it went out in a package deal with a Ashdown combo bass amp.The difference is the epi has regular knob configuration compared to those pesky switches and the epi has a zero fret and the finish to my eye anyway seemed better than th hof finish,if you get an icon maybe a colored one is the way to go I feel they are a little tighter.All this rambling makes me want another epi so pick your favorite color and check out a colored icon on ebay
  18. If anything, keep the case. I think it will fit the Epi. I just got a used one with D'addario flats (unless there is another brand with the color-coded ends). I got one last week and love it.

  19. No one else has issues with buzzing? This one must be a bad model, I think I saw a few more at the store the last time I was there

  20. rockscott


    Aug 28, 2010
    I just restrung my viola with halfrounds, it sounds awesome!
  21. Primary

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