Hofner CT Contemporary Cavern bass questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fazeka, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. fazeka


    Jul 11, 2009
    Hi all,

    Thinking of buying a CT Cavern bass. Some questions as I research:

    1. Are these still in production? Are they limited?

    2. Are the necks/bodies built/assembled/finished in China and then shipped to Germany for final assembly/setup/inspection?

    3. Are all the electronics installed in Germany with German parts?

    4. Are the bridge and tailpiece German or Chinese?

    Of course, I also have the obligatory "German part upgrade" questions:

    I want to use one of these tuners to replace the factory ones:





    Any concerns/challenges? Do these work with the existing holes? Will the German bushings fit without modification? If not, what is involved with the modifications?

    Further, is the pickguard and control panel pearloid or faux (painted) "pearloid"?

    ICM likes this.
  2. Bass4LifeRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Hofner has a factory in China with Hofner trained personnel, I read. I had a cavern, the middle/back pickup sounded very nice!
    ICM likes this.
  3. fermata

    fermata Guest

    Nov 10, 2015
    Yep, that's the key: the Contemporary models are made by Hofner (at their own Chinese facility), not for Hofner (at some other factory), as the Ignition models are. CT models use German pickups; the rest, as I understand it, is made at the Hofner factory in China. I don't think they get sent to Germany (that would redundant, since the instruments are built by Hofner employees.) They're nice basses; I love my 500/1 CT.
    As for replacing parts, I'm not sure what's plug and play. @ICM might know...
    ICM likes this.
  4. fazeka


    Jul 11, 2009
    Thanks for answering my questions...? o_O :bored:

    ICM likes this.
  5. fazeka


    Jul 11, 2009
    Looking forward to the answers :hyper:!
    ICM likes this.
  6. ICM

    ICM Supporting Member

    Hello Chris, many parts are drop in!

    The German celluloid control panel and electronics will go in perfectly without any problems.

    The strip tuners from a V62 will require some filling and drilling, but Grover Sta-Tites for example will drop right in on a CT. You will have to wrap the Grover bushings in some masking-tape or shrink-wrap tubing to get them to stick into the slightly larger holes, but that's super easy, takes about a minute and stays stable; also, you wouldn't even know it was there.

    I cant speak from experience on those tuners you're asking about, however I'd wager to say they'd drop in since its a pretty standard distance between the screws. To be honest, I'm not crazy about the quality of German Hofner machine heads, they're not that stable and eventually the gears will wear down and tuning will become a pain. I'd highly recommend Grover Sta-Tite 18:1 nickel tuners. These will be guitar tuners, but Hofners use guitar tuners essentially. A hidden benefit is that when you order them, you get six, so you'll have two extras. This has come in handy for me since I once bashed my headstock and bent one of them. Just a quick swap out. Like I said above, they are drop in replacements for the CT, but you will have to wrap the bushings a little. Super easy job.

    The celluloid German pickguard will fit perfectly but you'll need to stick it into the side of the neck (you know the nail that inserts into the bridge on the pickguards, there's a sideways one that inserts into the side of the neck). It's not too big a deal but you will be nailing the pickguard onto the side of the neck. It's not in the same spot as the screw on the CT. I've done this and its quite simple, should take about a minute, just be careful with the nail since its thin and a bit fragile, as are many hofner parts (but thats the beauty of these basses!). Another good thing to know is that the pickup spacing is the same so you won't have to worry about that.

    Here's my CT, I've modded the hell out of this bass and haven't looked back, before I moved the pickups I did all the mods I described above and then some!

    I hope this helps, if you have any other questions, just let me know, I'd be happy to answer them!
  7. ICM

    ICM Supporting Member

    @fazeka P.S. ...If you could find a used one pre-2012 (the ones WITHOUT the serial number on the back of the headstock) do it. They're much better quality IMO.
  8. fazeka


    Jul 11, 2009
    Hi ICM,
    Thanks for your replies. Questions/comments in-line.
    Gotcha on the tuners. I'm not going to use the strip tuners, either the German individual tuners or the German "rugby" tuners...
    Understand what you are saying on the German pickguard being nailed into the side of the neck (I used to own a '65/'66 original).
    Don't see a German "cavern" pickup spacing pickguard available for sale anywhere?
    Moved the pickups?
    ICM likes this.
  9. fazeka


    Jul 11, 2009
    I'm confused... the Cavern CT press-release was sometime in 2013-14? If so, how would I be able to find a pre-2012 one?

    So, assuming you're talking about the "standard" 500/1, what is it about the quality of the pre-2012 CT Hofners compared with new CTs?
    ICM likes this.
  10. ICM

    ICM Supporting Member

    They're much tougher to find. Mine's actually from 1961, I saw it on ebay and had to have it!

    My apologies, I completely glazed over the fact that you were looking for a cavern specifically. I thought it was a regular standard CT bass.
    And yes I'm referring to the standard ones, I've played many in stores and the build quality and attention to detail is just less fine-tuned. Don't get me wrong the post 2012 are still great basses, but it's just tiny things like finish quality, uniformity and colour of burst, the plastics aren't cut as precisely and the neck and frets had more care put into them it seems. Also they stopped putting stock wilkinson tuners on and moved to a brandless alternative. IMO it's an overall lower build quality, not by much, but enough to notice. The devil's in the details and I'm a stickler for that stuff. It probably wouldn't bother most people but I figured I'd mention my personal experience.

    Yes, I've always wanted to convert it to cavern spacing, so when I bought the pickguard, the opportunity arose. I used the pickguard as a template as to where the pickup would go. That back pickup was originally in the bridge position and I didn't like the sound of it, I wanted the bass to be more versatile, so I moved it up and now that pickup sounds reminiscent of a P-bass/Rick since because of the sustain block. I usually only use the neck pickup anyway, but this bass roars with either the bridge on or both on when I need it. If you look near the bridge you can see a shadow of where the pickup used to be.

    EDIT: I made a post in this thread thinking it was the official Hofner thread...oops! I've moved it.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017