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Looking for some guidance please...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by McThud, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    Fellow TB-ers:

    I've been in the market for a short scale, semi or full hollow body bass, and I've since become fascinated with all these manufacturers from the 60s who built their own versions of violin style and other similar basses with really cool designs that seem as if they'd fit the bill - many seemingly ridiculously affordable.

    However, I know very little about which would be better to consider, and others that I should avoid. I'm a full time gigging bassist, so it will get its share of stage and studio time. Examples of some brands I've seen are Vox, Univox, Eko, Sekova, Teisco (and Teisco Del Rey - is this different?), Harmony, Greco, etc.

    I'd appreciate any ideas or direction anyone might offer about how to begin looking or narrow down my search. Thanks in advance for your help!

    EDIT: I realized that I never gave any budget or other parameters: Ideally, as this would be an addition that would be played, but perhaps not as often, I'd like to keep this to under $800 USD. And while I'd love a German-made Hofner Club, new or used, that ain't gonna happen. Plus I like some of the quirkiness of the designs from the less popular builders. I hope this helps responses!
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
    ThePresident777 and Stumbo like this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  3. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    From what I've read, the Hofner blade pickups (70s era, I think) can be really nice, and they don't seem to command the price of the 60s McCartney look-alikes. The Eko 995 has also caught my eye--looks pretty cool. And while the name makes it clear it's not vintage, Hofner's Contemporary (CT) series is excellent in every regard, and it has the classic look and sound. (EDIT: Can be found for around $800 new, less used.) I love mine; it's my main bass.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
    pudgychef likes this.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  5. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    I'm a fanactical advocate of Guild Newark Street Starfires (semi-hollow) re-issues, but maybe you either find that body too wide for your taste or the price tag too high.

    The Lakland Skyline 30 hollow has a smaller body than the Guild and seems to get a lot of love. But again, the price might be more than you care to spend.

    Starfires at reasonable prices seem to show up on the used market much more often than the Laklands.
    Stumbo likes this.
  6. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    The Guild M-85 seems a bit more obscure than the Starfire, but it's basically the same except for a smaller body size.
    M-85 Bass in Black – Guild Guitars

    Great bass, but it's a solid-body.
    mpdd likes this.
  7. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    For those that have responded, please see my recent edit to the OP. Thanks!
  8. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    If you are willing to spend a good deal of money and can find a used Jerry Jones Longhorn (kind of a high end high quality clone of the Danelectro Longhorn), I can't recommend it enough.

    They were a little over 1000$ from new, and I don't think the price has changed much used, if you are lucky to find one, might even have gone up for all I know, since they are not in production anymore.

    I owned one once but was stupid enough to sell, plays and sounds just amazingly nice.

    It's a standard 30" short scale semi hollow bass with relatively narrow neck and relatively flat fretboard radius.

    Here's a link to the old Jerry Jones site where you can see the specs: Longhorn Bass4

    I had a black one.

    It can do your typical warm woody uprighty kind of thing, but it is also possible from stock to swap to the 2 lipstick tube pickups run in series connection which gives it a bit more bite and punch and with rounds makes it suitable for rock as well.

    Together with my Ampeg B-15S all tubes 60W with a 15" cab it sounded just astonishing beautiful.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  9. ThePresident777


    Oct 6, 2013
    I'm thinking Eastwood Guitars.

    McThud likes this.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Go for the older stuff! Those brands you mentioned are all very cool. You may have to put a little work into them, and you may have to overlook some quirkiness...for example, my late 60's Realistic (yes, the Radio Shack Realistic) violin bass has a slightly twisted neck and a couple tuners that rattle if I don't regularly squeeze them with vise grips and put a drop of super glue in them...but it's got a character of tone that my 2005 Jay Turser doesn't. This same bass was also sold under the Univox and Greco names, which is common for a lot of those Japanese makes of the day. Now if less futzing around with that kind of stuff appeals to you, the newer basses are definitely better built, but I greatly prefer my Realistic over any new violin bass.

    Groove Doctor, McThud and mpdd like this.
  11. raluxs


    Jul 14, 2016
  12. jaymelewis


    Jan 6, 2010
    Fillmore, CA
    I love my Guild Starfire - it slays! Very particular, but I'm positive it'll give you what you're looking for. Here's a few clips of me using it (sorry for the shameful self-promotion, but I think these examples will help):

    David Jayne, McThud and fermata like this.
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That bass kills! And great playing to boot, Jayme! But he ain't gettin' one for $800 or less :D

    Is that a new one or an old one?
    McThud likes this.
  14. Richie Se7en

    Richie Se7en Presently distractivated Supporting Member

  15. pudgychef

    pudgychef In Memoriam

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
    Great bass...but I believe OP specified short scale..

    But Epiphone does make the Allen Woody sig...also a killer bass that is SS...
    Epiphone Allen Woody Rumblekat Bass
    I prefer the JC...but if I played SS the AW would be on my list...
    McThud likes this.
  16. Richie Se7en

    Richie Se7en Presently distractivated Supporting Member

    You are correct... my bad. For whatever reason, the fact that he wanted a SS totally eluded me or the Allen Woody probably would've been my recommendation. :thumbsup:
    pudgychef likes this.
  17. There's also the Hofner Club bass, if you don't want the McCartney look:


    And if you want to explore the violin shape, knock yourself out here.
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  18. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I've got an Epiphone Viola bass I'm very happy with. Found it at GC for under $300 in absolute mint condition.

    I also love those old weirdass short-scale basses from back in the '60s.

    I've played Grecos and Tiescos and a few others I don't remember the names of. One had a green sparkle finish you'd have to have seen to believe. (As in: "My eyes! My eyes!!") I would have bought it in a heartbeat except the guy that owned it wouldn't even consider an offer. It was his. End of discussion. :cool:

    About the only advice I can offer is try before you buy. Because while most of these ugly ducklings will sound great with todays amps and effects, the playability is something you may need to worry about. Most of these basses weren't particularly well taken care of. And the build quality on most wasn't that great to begin with. So pay attention to the neck and the body join. Most playability problems can be addressed by a better setup or some new hardware. But some of these poor basses are simply ruined. So just be sure to shop carefully and you won't be disappointed.
    mikewalker and McThud like this.
  19. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    I used to own an early to mid 60's Greco Violin Bass. It was useable (was the bass I started on) and I thought it was quite cool, but eventually I bought a Jazz Bass and realized I like solid body 34inch or so Fender basses better for my playing... I eventually sold it and haven't even thought about going to buy another... Totally just my 2 cents you shouldn't have to pay more than 250-300 bucks IMO
    McThud likes this.

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