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opinions of current violin basses needed

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by iamjethro, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. iamjethro


    Jul 1, 2015
    My son is in love with the violin bass idea. Huge beatle fan (raised him right), he thinks that is the direction he wants to go.

    He has tried out the Hofner budget bass and looked at the Epiphone. I know Rondo has the
    Douglass bass. Which is the way to go for him?

    He like the Hofner best so far, prob for the name on the bass. It did have some rough fret ends after frets meet body. The Douglas reads similar to the Epi, but no way of trying one out. Is there 150 difference in the Hofner or Epi over the Douglas? We are also not going to be too good at setup other than string height and intonation, so take that into consideration before making suggestions.

    nixdad likes this.
  2. blacktocomm


    Feb 19, 2013
    I have an Epiphone Viola wearing Chromes I use to play 60's covers (Monkees, Shondells, Kinks, etc...) and I have no problem getting a sweet vintage thump from it. Fit and finish are both top notch. I can't speak on the Hofner or Douglas, but the Epiphone is a great little bass.
    Pyrat likes this.
  3. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    the budget hofner has a lot of the classic hofner sound - the epiphone comes closer to a solid body in sound, and it's also heavier, so i suspect it's not quite as hollow. i've played lots of both and owned the hofner. for me it was worth the $150 extra to get the hofner over the epi because it had the tone i was looking for, and btw, i'm not particularly a beatles fan and have no history of preference for hofner.

    might be worth price shopping a bit - a few weeks ago hollywood GC had the hofner violin bass with the union jack on it for $295.
  4. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I have heard surprisingly good things about the Rogue from musicians friend, but I've not played one. I have had one in my cart a couple times though
    Plectrum72 and nixdad like this.
  5. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    I have a Tanglewood Violin Bass and love it, it has been my main gigging bass since the day it arrived in May 2015. I went from a G&L L-2500 to it so a bit of a step change. It fits the band image and is about half the weight of my G&L.

    I played is a Hofner Ignition in a shop for a few minutes but not really long enough to get a decent comparison. One thing that put me off the Hofner was the guitar style tuners, the buttons (apparently) have a habit of breaking off. You can be sure that if they were going to fail on me it would be at a gig so I passed on the Hofner and went for something with full sized but heavier tuners.
  6. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Get the Hofner. The Ignition sounds very very close to the German one, and come resell/upgrade time, you will do a bit better with the name.
  7. b_carville


    Jun 26, 2008
    I own a white Douglas.
    It's built solid and the intonation was spot on out of the box. Seems identical to the Epiphone and it's a lot cheaper. I think it has a block down the center inside where the pickups are mounted. The white finish is really well done. The Hofner might be hollow and sound more authentic. I put a set of La Bella Beatle bass flats on my Douglas and it's got that old school round thump down.
    Old Blastard likes this.
  8. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    blue4 likes this.
  9. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I play bass in an 8 man acoustic-themed Beatles band. I split bass duties with another member who plays a Rogue strung with Thomastik flats (I play a Rickenbacker strung with the same strings.)

    The Rogue does the job quite nicely, and it's a very affordable bass. The best thing about it is that although it's a violin bass, the way the neck joins the body feels more like a standard solid body, which is very familiar feeling (some of the others may have this trait as well.) Hofners are built more like a violin, so the neck sits higher off the body (I've owned 2 in the past) and tend to feel more fragile.

    You've raised him right. Good luck with the bass.

    Fab 8 Photos
    Plectrum72 and MobileHolmes like this.
  10. iamjethro


    Jul 1, 2015
    He seems stuck on the Hofner. Thanks, guys. It is his life, gonna let him do the choosing.
  11. I believe I read on another thread that a large majority of these are built in the same factory. If he wants a Hofner I believe the ignition will suit him fine. I don't own one but every time I go to a music store I'll grab one and noodle around on it. They are fun and nostalgic for me because my first bass in 1972 or thereabouts was a Japanese violin bass called the Blackjack. I learned on it for over two years!
  12. blue4


    Feb 3, 2013
    St. Louis area
    The Hofner will get him the Beatles tone he wants, the Epiphone will get him far more variety than that. IMO, it's a better overall bass.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  13. pbassjbass


    Jun 21, 2013
    Just use a nice fine toothed file to touch up any really problematic fret ends. I suspect the current inexpensive Hofners actually have fewer problems than the
    '60s versions did.
  14. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    I own a Douglas. If I had to do it again I would buy the Rogue. That center block does not let the bass sound like a true Hofner. It depends on what you like for tone. I'd try as many as I could before I purchased one if I were you. The Douglas and Epi look to be the same bass to me. The Rogue is a steal.
    Plectrum72 and nixdad like this.
  15. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Of the basses you mention, the Hoffner is the only one constructed like the German Hoffner bass. Similar to an double bass construction. That is a hollow sound box that weighs nothing and gives you that signature plunky Hoffner sound made famous by Sir Paul, especially with a set of flat wounds. Unlike the the others which are essentially a solid body electric basses in the shape of a beatle bass. As has been stated, the Ignition sounds like the more expensive German Hoffner. FWIW
    carl h. likes this.
  16. Odinbass


    Dec 6, 2006
    Cleveland, OH
    My 2c. Just pick any old violin bass as long as it is in decent condition. Hofner is the name brand of course but any violin with flatwound strings and a pick will get you there.

    Hofner hopes that people forget they were a budget brand when Sir Paul picked one up for £30.

    I had a Galveston Violin bass and it was just fine for that sound.
    cheechi, nixdad and Gilmourisgod like this.
  17. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    If he wants the Hofner, and has the scratch, go for it. Just realize he is paying a huge premium for that little piece of plastic logo that doesn't translate into a better bass than a number of less expensive options. Basic life lesson, I suppose. Why are women willing to pay twice as much for an identical bag that says "Gucci" on it?
    nerkoids and delta7fred like this.
  18. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Nacogdoches, TX
    Whatever he ends buying, THESE are what will make the most difference in sound between any of the choices. Cannot recommend these strings enough.
  19. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    Just an FYI; it is spelled Hofner. There's ONE F. Reading this reminds me of all the SQUIRE posts.

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