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?