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Talking Hofner Price Points

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JohnMalay, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. JohnMalay


    Oct 23, 2018
    New Jersey
    Here in the US, there are three tiers of Hofners. Let's call one the "Ignition" level, very inexpensive, under $400, made in East Asia. The second price point I call the "Contemporary" level. Also, Chinese-made, around $700-800. Then, of course, there are the ones made in Germany, anywhere from $1,500 and up.

    I have owned a couple of the "Ignition" level basses and they have given me problems with electronics, neck bend, etc. Obviously I would expect the German-made ones to be much higher in quality, but what about the middle tier? I can't really justify spending the money for a high end Hofner, but I am wondering if a $700 investment would yield a better instrument.

    Does the spruce top and center block change the sound for the better? Do the "Hofner Staple" pickups soon better than the "Hofner Ignition Staple" pickups? Is the 3-piece neck more stable?

    Any thoughts?
  2. Skokiaan


    Jun 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    You call? Ignition and Contemporary are the actual product names.

    I have a Contemporary, which, though made in China, features German-made pickups. I love it, and prefer the sound versus the German line. I find it more versatile with more high end (when desired) than the German. The build is solid. The center block adds some sustain and makes the bass sound a little less woody, but it still sounds like a Hofner. It also weighs a bit more, but is still light.

    The finish colors on the Contemporary series is far superior to the Ignition line, which has a more cartoonish look to the finish (at least on the sunburst).
  3. shoulderpet


    Sep 24, 2015
    I am not making assumptions about your treatment of your bass or anything like that but just to let you know in case of the event that you do not know but Hofner necks due to being very thin tend to have a preference for very low tension strings like TI jazz flats, Labella 760fx flats etc. I put Rotosound flats on mine and while the neck was absolutely fine I had to tighten the truss rod to its max to get the relief where it needed to be.

    That being said the necks on the contemporary series are supposed to be a little more beefy than the ignition necks so I would guess this extra beefyness would increase the stability of the neck, I have not so far had any issues with mine, the cavern basses are also known to have slightly beefier neck profiles.

    I have not played an Ignition series so I can't do a direct comparison but my Contemporary series club bass sounds really good, looks great and I am generally very happy with it but would love to own a German made Hofner for that fully hollow tone

    Edit: the tuners on my Contemporary Hofner were awful so if you do get one you may want to swap these out, I did straight away
  4. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    I'm very happy with my Contemporary. The build quality is very good, and the German-made pickups sound great. Worth noting, the Contemporary line is built at the factory Hofner owns and runs in China (by Hofner employees), whereas the Ignition line is built for Hofner at a third-party factory.
  5. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've used Hofner Icon/Ignition for several years as my main gig bass and I've never had a problem such as you describe.
  6. JohnMalay


    Oct 23, 2018
    New Jersey
    Thanks for the info. Sounds like a reasonable compromise. I'm in a band that does a lot of Beatle covers, so I am under the gun to have a working violin bass.

    I made up category names based (!) on actual model names. So far as I know Hofner has no names for their various price points, at least not externally. And if they did, they'd be names like "HöherezentraleFichtenblöckeausHolz". ;)
  7. Skokiaan


    Jun 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    Hofner does indeed have names for their different lines: Ignition and Contemporary.

    I bought my Contemporary for a short-lived Beatle band and it was perfect. It even did a good enough job approaching Paul's Rickenbacker tone, which I doubt the true hollowbody German or Ignition lines can do. Now I use it for numerous other projects.
    jd56hawk likes this.
  8. bearfoot

    bearfoot SUSPENDED

    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny
    The names for those basses, and their price points, are right on the German website, in English and in German. :rolleyes:

    I think the website also answers the question "what is the best bass for metal"?

    Doctor Intrepid and jd56hawk like this.
  9. JohnMalay


    Oct 23, 2018
    New Jersey
    The only metal related to me at this point is silver (my hair).

    Despite the nomenclature side issue, I think my question has been answered, namely that the mid level Hofners are superior to the intro levels (notice how I side-stepped there?) and will work for me.
  10. My 2 cents: I had a Contemporary and I still own several German Hofners. The CT was a very nice instrument and, if I'm honest, not too far off from the German model in quality. I sometimes regret getting rid of mine. (It was tricked out with teacups and flats by the previous owner.) By contrast, I've never been excited by the Ignition basses I've played. The CT was a big jump up in quality, IMO.
  11. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Man, talk about pulling names out of a hat!
  12. I have played Hofner Ignition basses for years with no problems at all. VERY reliable.
  13. JohnMalay


    Oct 23, 2018
    New Jersey
    Then celebrate your luck. I was not as fortunate.
    Rob Martinez likes this.
  14. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The Ignition are no better than the cheaper Rondo and Jay Turser clones from what I’ve seen. My son has a Turser that is a little fancier than the Ignition, bound neck, a little better fit and finish, etc. The electronics were a bit shoddy, but that’s s cheap fix. The Contemporary a decent compromise. The real German Hofners are just absurdly overpriced, a nice bass, but not $2k nice.
  15. I shall.

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