Hofner Ignition Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dbassmon, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    The Hofner Ignition is a very inexpensive Hofner Violin Bass manufactured in Indonesia. Retailing at about $400 (shop around), this bass is constructed in the same way and uses the same types wood as the German made version. A hollow sound box with very thin neck and tight string spacing and two humbuckers makes a unique sound.

    I bought this bass on whim because in all may collection of professional instruments, I have nothing similar to this instrument. I bought it expecting it be more of a novelty than a playable instrument. Having been inspired by McCartney as young boy, it seemed like something to have in my collection.

    The bass sports a spruce laminated top, and flamed maple laminated back and sides. Yes, flamed maple, not photo flame, and a rosewood fingerboard. I replaced the round wounds that came on the bass with Deep Talkin flats.

    Fret work is perfectly done, level and highly polished. Intonation is right on from the factory, truss rod needed to be tightened a little.

    The electronics are well..... weird! Not anything new to Hofner, they are weird. Switches labeled "on treble" or "on bass" on really mean, it shuts off the opposite pickup. Two volume controls, no tone control except a switch labeled lead or rhythm, which basically removes all tone and punch in the rhythm position. I think we leave that switch in the lead position. :smug:

    The tone of this bass has a thud to the initial string attack much like an upright bass. Understandable, as the construction is more similar to double bass, than a solid body bass guitar. The body of the instrument resonates and you feel the notes in way you do not with a solid body bass. The neck pickup has a silkiness and warmth that is very pleasing. The treble pickup is more useful as way to bring brightness and articulation when mixed with the neck pickup than by itself (at lease with flatwounds)

    This bass is challenging to play with a very narrow neck and narrow sting spacing. I find this is a bass that is better played with a pick at least until I get used to the very narrow string spacing.

    I used the bass on a gig last night and to my surprise, it cut through the rhythm section and sounded awesome for soul, and classic rock tunes. Not great for everything but where it works, it was just great. It just has such a unique sound and it moves air differently than any of my other basses.

    This may not be the bass to own as your only bass, but it is really well constructed and sounds great. It is an exceptional instrument at this price and it is very unique sounding.

  2. Hear,hear! I second that. I think you gave a very fair review. I consider my Hofner Ignition bass to be an exceptional sounding and playing instrument regardless of the very low price. I like it better than many German made Hofner basses I've owned.
    And congrats to you and your newest bass!
  3. avri62


    Jan 28, 2012
    Great review. I wondered how the ignition bass held up in a gig. I had an original Hofner (1972) and an Epiphone Viola. I liked the Hofner but it was hard to keep in tune. The tuning pegs were not the greatest. Once the Viola was set up, it was a great bass! Keep rockin'
  4. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    The bass held tuning, not a problem at all.
  5. Great review! I've had an Ignition Club for about 10 months and it's what I play mostly. I use roundwounds as I prefer the response to flats. I've had no tuning problem either, however, the tuners are a little sloppy so I installed Grover Staytite 18/1 tuners and am very happy with them.
    My 5 string is getting dusty.

  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Great review they are great instruments and a much better value than it's German counterpart. I had an Icon Club and now I have a beautifully modded CT with Pyramid Flats you can't beat that signature thump Hofners have.
  7. philtoler


    Dec 3, 2009
    Nice review. Are you using rounds or flats? I have just changed to Labella flats for Beatle Bass and the "upright" sound suddenly comes to life - something I never even noticed with the rounds. A very pleasing sound it is too.
  8. FunkyWilly


    May 10, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Did the Grover tuners install directly or did you need to drill new holes or make any other modifications?
  9. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    The narrow neck and string spacing make it very easy for me to play. I fact, I prefer the thinner profile, more narrow neck and string spacing of a Vox Hawk IV. I don't use a pick.
    123Nil likes this.
  10. I had to drill out the peg holes but not much, and the screw holes were nearly perfect. The minimum effort required was more than worth it as the Grovers look great and are far better tuners. download4112036.jpg
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  11. KrisHayes

    KrisHayes Guest

    Sep 30, 2012
    Yeah! I like 'em. Don't really think it's worth paying the big bucks for a real one, honestly. They were made as cheap basses from day 1!
  12. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    Zombie thread!

    I just got a new bass head and I've been playing around with it. Last night I plugged in my Hofner and was blown away. I have not played it in probably 6 months. I forgot how deep these sounded. Also I forgot how the switches worked and it took me a few minutes to figure that one out.

    These basses are more versatile than given credit for. It was sounding pretty good with a little overdrive.
    leftybass54 and ThinCrappyTone like this.
  13. brant

    brant Guest

    Jul 2, 2015
    Western New York
  14. I own a Hofner Ignition Club bass. I looked at them for quite a while. The Ignition, Violin or Club, is a hollow bodied bass. The Contemporary has a sound block that runs down through the body and costs nearly twice as much. It has a little better finish, but to me, doesn't sound as good.
    The Igition Club or Violin basses are identical other than body shape. I have looked inside all three basses and the Contemporary is the only one with a sound block. The German basses are hollow. I owned 2 German basses back in the '60s and '70s.
    Nomogram likes this.
  15. Boristhespyder

    Boristhespyder Guest

    Feb 12, 2016
    Ignition and German are hollow bodies. Contemporary is semi hollow with the center block. All have different sounds but all are great in my opinion. I have 2 German ones (62 and one with Cavern spec) and an Igintion (strung with LaBella black tapewounds). I sold the Contemporary to fund the 62 but want to get a CT Club bass for the extra sustain.
    leftybass54 likes this.
  16. Jck911

    Jck911 Guest

    Mar 12, 2013
    I bought an Ignition Club recently and the fret rattle is extreme.

    Looks like I’m the only one with this problem.

    Could this be because of the cheap roundwound strings it ships with?
  17. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Probably need a setup. Loosen the truss rod 1/4 turn to get a little more relief in the neck and get the strings away from the frets a few more millimeters. Should be no rattling or clanging on this bass.
  18. Jck911

    Jck911 Guest

    Mar 12, 2013
    OK, thanks for that.

    Can anyone point me to a tutorial on how truss rods work?
  19. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
  20. Jck911

    Jck911 Guest

    Mar 12, 2013
    Thank you!
    Dbassmon likes this.