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Hohner B2B Headless 4 String...?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Superconductor, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. Anyone own/played one?

    Been looking into them lately...

    I was always a fan of the Steinberger XL Series, how does the Hohner hold it's weight? Worth the money?
  2. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    I have an XL2A (my main bass), a Hohner B2ADB and a B2V. I also had a Hohner G3T guitar a while back and sold it, but I'll get another one day when I see one at the right price.

    On the 4 strings the neck shape and feel is about the same in my hand relative to the XL2. Jazz bass width across the neck and a flatter radius though the neck depth is quite chunky and round. The Hohner is painted which gives a different friction under the fingers but doesn't bother me.

    Very strong and well made. My -ADB hasn't needed a neck adjustment since I did a full setup and fret dress a couple of years back. It didn't really need the work either, I just had a luthier friend willing to loan his tools and show me how to do it and this was one of the guinea pigs used in that process. The finish is very thick and durable. No issues with hardware or electronics in mine.

    My B2V came off Aus ebay with a brass single ball headpiece and bridge jaws. The aluminium ones in all the Steinbergers "can" strip so the previous owner made some replacements anyway. No issues with my 4 strings so far, either graphite or wood. My XL2 will get some of Andy's replacements next batch as a precaution. There's also a guy in the UK that sells them on ebay for the originals. Not sure if they fit the licenced copies.

    Physically they're the same size, but ergonomically there's one major difference: on the XL's, but not the XP, you have the pivot plate set at the balance point and placing the strap pins affectively the fret 17 and the front edge of the neck pickup when the PP long arm is parallel to the neck. look at the attached pic of the pivot plate, and rotate it about 180* to get it in the position I'm describing. On the Hohners/Spirits the strap pins are at the bridge end of the body on either side of the bridge, and at the neck heel on the rear of the body. Compared to my XL2, this moves the playing position about 6-8" to the left and sets it much more horizontal than my preference for my XL2.

    There are two alternatives for getting around this issue. First is a simple metal extension similar to the NS Stick image attached. It does involve a bit of experimentation and drilling some holes, but as this isn't a collectable nor particularly valuable instrument, I did it to get back the utility I need esp with a bung left shoulder. My version of the NS Stick hanger is L shaped like the XL2 PP, but a but longer so it reaches further up the neck and still has the 'bridge end' strap pin in a similar place to the PP. Cost about $5, and some time experimenting and driving to the hardware store.

    The more expensive alternative is to buy one of the new Steinberger Boomerang attachments, an insert for the back of the bass and drill a hole.
    I have one of these in transit for my XL2, and will be installing the inserts on the back of the two Hohners as well. Andy Yakubik (of Steinbergerworld and Yahoo Steinberger group) got Ned to produce some modified versions to fit the XL2, and this is what I have ordered. See this auction or contact Andy through SW.
    Not sure if I'd spend this much money for one just for the Hohner when the hardware store bracket is so much cheaper.

    As for 'worth the money', depends what you pay. Any decent XL2 is gong to be upwards of $US1200, a neckthrough B2 somewhere under $US500, probably closer to 300. I wouldn't bother with the bolt ons. The 'bodied' wooden Steinbergers just don't do it for me either. For sub $US400 depending on the model and the condition etc, if they fit you or you're willing to modify the ergonomics to my suggestions, I reckon they're good value.

    I'm not going to comment on tone as that's so personal and open to interpretation, and I've never found anyone, myself included, able to satisfactorily describe it in writing. MP3's are just as vague IME too. There are a number of alternative pickups that will fit in the -HB sized holes and some minor routing should take them out the EMG 35 and 40 sized if you so desire.

    All of them take double ball strings and these are easily available online at decent prices, but are less common in stores and tend to be expensive in the stores. I order online and use Ken Smith or Status (excellent variety, prices and service) strings. Juststrings have a big range.

    Steinberger make a single ball string adaptor for their basses and it looks like it'll fit on the Hohners. Sometimes they actually have them in stock in the parts section. Also available on ebay sometimes. Not used the Steinberger model, but I just keep a stock of the DB strings on hand. Quick to change, stay in tune and seem to last a long time.

    The B2 / Spirit cricket bat / paddle shaped basses comes in a couple of different versions. The neckthroughs (NT) are all 3 piece hard maple with rosewood boards.

    - B2A. NT, EMG HZ pickups (guitar HB size), active pre with V,P,B&T.
    - B2ADB. As above with the drop tuning bridge for the E string.
    - B2AV. 5 string NT with 2 x J pickups. Not sure what size the J's actually are. Seems to have the same pre as the earlier B2's.
    - B2B. Bolt on with P&J pickups, passive.
    - B2V. 5 string, 7 string guitar HB shaped sized pickups, Hohner branded but probably HZ's, passive. 44mm zero fret and 16mm bridge spacing.

    The Hohners are out of production, but can still be found new on ebay and probably in some stores. Hohner USA still have this page up with details

    Steinberger Spirits
    These are theoretically available new, just that Musicyo never seem to have any in stock, and the secondhand prices reflect this shortage.Allegedly made in the same factory, and I've no reason to doubt this, but I've not liked the couple I've played over the Hohners. Can't explain why and it might simply be my bias because I own Hohners. Basically the same as the B2, B2ADB and B2V Hohners, but all passive and with EMG Selects.

    There are a myriad of other licenced copies from Cort etc, and 'similar' models from the era like Westones, Washburn Bantams, Ibanez Axstars, Yamaha BX1/BX5 etc. Not owned any of these so no comment except that the Ibanez and Yamaha bring good prices on ebay.

    I think that covers it. Anything else you want to know, just ask but the management takes no responsibility for errors or omissions, nor is there any warranty implied or real from the use of this information.

    Attached Files:

  3. Very informitive reply. Thanks!
  4. I have the B2A, in rough shape. I bought it used and use it as a practice bass (at work) as it is easy to transport. A great bass all in all!
  5. dumbdrum


    Sep 19, 2006
    I just scored a b2av (5string N/T). I was definitely impressed with it for the money. I got it as a travel/practice bass and it really is quite good. I have some strings on order from Status and can't wait to try them out.

    The only thing that it is missing to me is some mass which is a positve and a negative. Negative for sound but positive for my needs as a travel bass. A singlecut headless with a narrow body = More mass and better strap placement. If I could buy/build this, I think my "travel bass" would double as my main.

    BTW, DharmaBass how are people stripping those jaws?? I don't have to unthread the tuning rod all the way to get the strings out.

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