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Hofner Basses: Need Advice and Opinions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ron Fearon, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. Ron Fearon

    Ron Fearon

    Nov 14, 2018
    Hello, this is Ron Fearon. I'm a semi-retired bass player in my sixties, veteran of over a dozen New England rock, top-40 and showbands through the years. I occasionally jam, mostly at parties with former band members and am available to sit in on gigs for emergencies. I arrange and record, mostly for fun. I have two basses left, a new Ibanez Micro Bass and an old S.D. Curlee. I've owned around twenty basses, one of the earliest being a Hofner "Beatle Bass" back in the 60s. It was the first bass I used on stage, and I really enjoyed its playability and extreme light weight. After maybe five years, I joined a showband and the Hofner didn't fit the scene, so I sold it (in mint condition). I can't imagine what it could be worth today if I'd kept it, dammit!

    In any case, I'm still into Beatles and love that nasaly Hofner tone. I'm looking to get a new Hofner, but the model choices are confusing and Hofner's website isn't very helpful. I much prefer the Club Bass design over the Violin Bass and I'd like to keep it under $1000. My dilemma now is choosing between the "Ignition" series and the "CT" series (if I've got that right), or perhaps finding a used, bargain-priced 500/2 high-end instrument.

    I've read and watch reviews online , but I'm still torn. I've seen the Ignition Bass described as a "student" or "entry" level, which turns me off. The mid-priced CT (Contemporary) model has that open-string fret a the nut, which seems like a great idea, as well as the attractive white fretboard edge binding like my old Beatle bass. It appears that all models are now stringed with round-wounds - why would they do that? Doesn't the signature Hofner sound require flat wounds?? And is only the high-end 500/2 model made in Germany?

    Looking for players' personal experiences and opinions. Thanks in advance to everyone who reads this and responds! -Ron
  2. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Yes, all CT and Ignitions ship with rounds. Just change them out to flats. The only 500/2 you'll get under 1k is the CT or Ignition. The Ignitions aren't bad at all. Lots of guys use them and don't consider them beginner basses. The CT seems to be the one that best fits your budget. I love mine, and it compares favorably with my German one. A pound or two heavier due to the center block, but still lighter than any solid body bass. Your 60's bass, had you kept it, would be worth around $1800-1900 now. ;-)
  3. Bassguy61


    Feb 28, 2008
    Pearl, MS
    Welcome, Ron!
    There are others that can probably do a better job answering your questions, but let me have a go based on my knowledge. There are, as you know, 3 levels of Hofners: Ignition, Contemporary, and German. They are all slightly different. The Ignition is made overseas with overseas parts, and is fully hollow. The Contemporary is made overseas but using German pickups, zero fret, and has a center block in the body so is semi-hollow. Then, of course, you have the German: handmade, hollow, etc... The Ignition and the CT comes with rounds, only the German comes with flats.

    I've had, at different times, an Ignition and a CT. I can tell you that the center block does change the sound, at least somewhat. It still "thumps", no doubt. The Ignition is designed as a "budget" bass, but don't let that put you off immediately. It still played and sounded great.

    I hope this helps at least a bit. Best of luck on you search!
  4. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    I have a Contemporary, and I find it a nicer playing experience than any of the Ignitions I've tried. Not to say Ignitions aren't good basses, but there is a cost-quality correlation; Ignitions are made for Hofner, Contemporaries are made by Hofner, at the Chinese facility they own and run. Plus, the CTs' German pickups are great.

    Hofner CT Club Bass - Contemporary Series Club Bass for sale
    Pet Sounds likes this.
  5. Ron Fearon

    Ron Fearon

    Nov 14, 2018
    Thank, Fran! Is the German one recent, and did it come from the factory w flat wounds? You've got me just about ready to order a CT Club. Have a great day. -Ron
  6. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    The German basses all ship with Pyramid flats. It's a 2005. Truth told, I kept the rounds on the CT. I have flats on 14 of my 16 Hofners, but I wanted one that would bark a little, lol. It'll still do the old school sound if I palm mute while picking, and/or roll back the treble on the amp, or use just the neck pickup. Don't be afraid to shop around though. New CTs seem to street price at around 750-800, but I've seen them as low as 500 used. Lots of guys get them and end up not bonding with the light weight, short scale or non standard ergodynamics. I'd check first with a nationwide scan of the Guitar Center Used search, or Reverb. You may get a steal.
  7. Ron Fearon

    Ron Fearon

    Nov 14, 2018
    S-I-X-T-E-E-N??!? Incredible!! I'd ask why, but I'm sure the reason won't make sense, either.
    How many are violin basses and how many club basses?
    Well, one thing's for sure - you must know your Hofners! Thanks again, Fran. You've made my choices much easier.
  8. Ron Fearon

    Ron Fearon

    Nov 14, 2018
    I appreciate the info!!
  9. Ron Fearon

    Ron Fearon

    Nov 14, 2018
    That does help, thank you!
  10. I have several German Hofner 500/1 basses, and formerly owned a CT. IMO, the CT is a significant upgrade from the Ignition and well worth the extra money. Slap some flats on it and you're good to go.
    If you can at all swing it, the German ones are even better, but I don't think you'd be unhappy with the CT. Not hating on the Ignition, but you get what you pay for.
  11. FYI, GC has a used CT Club for 549.99. Doesn't appear to have a case.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    It's a cool little bass, but I only had it for a short time. Too small for me, but I'm 6'2" with long fingers.

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