Hofner ignition Se strings problem

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fabfour, Jul 10, 2021.

  1. Fabfour


    Jul 10, 2021
    I just bought a hofner ignition Se bass. It seemed OK. I adjusted the bridge for correct intonation and got it in tune. Then I decided to change the strings for flat wounds as it comes with roundwounds and every place I've read they advise Flatwound. So I purchased Hofners own brand flat wound contemporary bass strings 40,60,75,95. These work out cheaper than LA Belle at £60 a pack and I heard these were just as good being hofner brand.
    Here is where the troubles began. No matter what I tried I could not get the bass in tune. I spent all day adjusting the bridge as it buzzed at certain frets and even though I got the intonation set it would be out of tune on different strings at different parts of the neck. I adjusted the truss rod and even adjusted the pickup height as it had awful overtones up the neck. It would sound like a tone with another tone slightly detuned.
    Adjusting the pickup height seemed to reduce this a lot but it was still there. However the main bug bear was not being able to tune it. In the end after much frustration I took off the flat wounds and put back the original strings. Bingo I could get it back in tune again.
    This puzzles me though. Why would another set of strings cause this? Everywhere I've read of people advising and swapping for flat wound yet this bass doesn't seem to like them. Am I doing something wrong? Is it the bass at fault? Is it a bad set of strings?
    If anyone has an answer or experienced the same thing I would love to hear about it.
  2. Clank Plank

    Clank Plank Inactive

    Dec 26, 2020
    You'll likely have toreset the intonation for the new strings. Do those have a one piece bridge? They can be a little tricky to get just so.

    I also find short scales to be very sensitive to tuning. All my long scale basses I can use a tuning fork or a phone app and thats easily good enough, but my shorties all really need to go through a tuning pedal to get them absolutely spot on.

    Also, Ive also found Hofner flat wounds take quite a while to settle down and take up the initial stretch compared to others.

    Finally, those Hofner tuners are pretty rank, and is the main reasons I went for the Epiphone Viola. Have the same tuners on my Hofner Shorty and they don't hold tune well. How Paul McCartney wasn't perpetually annoyed at them is anyones guess.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
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  3. Fabfour


    Jul 10, 2021
    Yes I agree with the tuners. They are a bit cheap and don't run smooth and I may upgrade them later. I did spend all day setting intonation and bridge height. Intonation was fine at the 12 fret but then the A string would end up sharp at the 2nd fret and the others in different places. However wacking on the original set of roundwounds cured the problems. Just don't get what's up with the flat wounds.
    Clank Plank likes this.
  4. Clank Plank

    Clank Plank Inactive

    Dec 26, 2020
    You will almost certainly need to reset the intonation for different strings, particularly those with a different construction.
  5. Fabfour


    Jul 10, 2021
    I did reset the intonation as I mentioned in my thread. It was fine. I tested it at the 12th with harmonic and it was spot on. Didn't cure the tuning issues of strings being out in different places on the neck though. A real puzzle.
  6. Clank Plank

    Clank Plank Inactive

    Dec 26, 2020
    Ahh, apologies, my bad. I'd read it as if you'd done the intonation, and then changed the strings, which would likely cause issues.
  7. Fabfour


    Jul 10, 2021
    No worries, no I always do intonation after a new set of strings.
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  8. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    A couple of ideas:
    • Do the nut slots accommodate the flats well? If the slots are too narrow, the strings may bind in the slots, making tuning almost impossible. And if the strings can’t sit all the way down into the slots, they will sit too high, making the first few frets sharp.
    • Have you set the witness points on the new strings?
  9. jpmcbride


    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    As @ctmullins said, check the nut slots. They may be too small for the flats and the strings are binding in them. You might need to get them filed a little larger for the flats.

    You might also try some lubricant in the nut slots. I just changed the strings from rounds to flats on my short scale Stingray and was having some tuning problems until I lubricated the nut slots. The stings were sticking in the slots, particularly the E string.
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  10. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    My son changed out the rounds on his Jay Turser Hofner clone for Labella DTF, and it took a couple weeks for the tuning and intonation to settle in as they stretched, but it was very minor. The binding at the nut sounds like a good possibility. Might be worth trying some "Nut Sauce", or even a bit of pencil lead. That should be easy to check. In a pinch, you can use the rounds themselves as a low budget nut file, but it takes forever.
  11. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    strings at those Hofners may need time to settle. on mine I did experience tuning issues for a while after strings change. new strings were okay at 12th fret, but low on other frets. within several weeks the strings settled and came in tune on all frets, I didn't need to adjust the intonation.

    I didn't experience this with a heavy set though (La Bellas 50-100), but experienced with Super Brights SS 45-105 (those are soft and low-tension).

    P.S. probably you already know it, but you can change string height at bridge as well. you might need it as well when tuning action.
  12. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    This is very important. Sounds like the typical problem when the witness points are not set.
    mongo2 likes this.
  13. If I recall correctly, whenever Sir Paul was playing the Hofner while in WINGS, he never played it more than two songs. Even during the Super Bowl - two songs and it was gone. I've never heard a better explaination other than two songs are about as long as it will stay in tune.
    Clank Plank likes this.
  14. Fabfour


    Jul 10, 2021
    I did set the witness points by pressing them into the slots. There was no binding and being flat wound they looked slimmer than the roundwounds and fitted in the slots fine. With the flats I had to raise the bridge as up the neck it was giving terrible over tones. Like a tone with a faint secondary tone out of key.
  15. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    One of the mod I made to my old Hofner Club bass was to have the nice folks at Hipshot make me a set of REAL tuners! They are awesome and also great looking. WELL worth the investment. They have made it a regular product and will make them for you if you ask.

    IMG_0496.JPG IMG_0497.JPG
  16. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    wow. if I knew that before ordering regular Ultralites for my Beatle Bass.
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  17. YJDv.gif
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  18. Just my experience: I have an Ignition and a CT Hofner 500 bass. I tried the inexpensive Hofner branded flats and found they were terrible. Same experience as you. These were the Chinese made strings, not the expensive German made ones. I couldn't tune them. They were rubbish. After a few days, I took them off, put them in the bin, and replaced them with LaBella light gauge flats for Beatle bass, which fit perfectly. They are ever so much better.
    My CT bass tunes very well and holds the pitch, but the Ignition is much fussier and with all my adjustments it's a matter of finding a point where it's acceptable and playable. I use the LaBella flats for Beatle Bass, light gauge, on both basses. I live on an island, and find that the humidity and temperature changes really affect the Ignition bass, but the CT version doesn't seem as dramatically affected.
    McCartney can do a 2 1/2 hour concert with is German made bass, and doesn't seem to have any problems with it.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  19. Fabfour


    Jul 10, 2021
    Thanks for the info. I was under the impression the branded Hofner strings were German made. My mistake. I bought them at the same time as the bass £22. I didn't go for the expensive Labella ones incase I couldn't get on with the base for any reason and needed to return it. However, I'm glad someone else had the same problem as me. They are impossible to get in tune over the fretboard. Lesson learned by me. Screenshot_20210711_185939.jpg

    Attached Files:

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  20. Supposedly Paul uses the LaBella's every though it is said,
    Paul McCartney on Bass uses Hofner H1133 B Bass nickel flat-wound strings in gauge 045, 055, 075, 095. as well as Roto-sound strings including RS88 Black Nylon bass strings gauge of 065, 075, 100, 115.

    I'm trying to find the interview that says he switched to LaBella strings because of the intonation issue. I think there was some talk his bridge was pinned to improve intonation.


    For strings, McCartney favors La Bella Beatle Bass flatwounds, gauged .039, .056, .077, .096. His picks are heavy-gauge oversize Fenders. Other basses in his collection include his �65 Rickenbacker 4001S (dubbed �Rickey�), a newer Hofner, his Wal 5-string (�I love the sound of the low B, but I�m a 4-string boy at heart; I expect there to be an E on the bottom!�), and Elvis Presley bassist Bill Black�s upright, which boasts a gold-sprayed top, white bindings, and unknown strings.


    For Sale - Paul McCartney Bass Player Mag Oct. 2005
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
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