Following Extensive Testing For a New Fingerboard Material, Höfner Released a Limited Edition Model of Their Famous Violin Bass.
The fingerboards on these new basses are made from a composite material that’s more enviromentally sustainable, which has also resulted in some interesting new colour options, with the Ivory model we have here offered with a blue fingerboard. In keeping with many vintage basses, the neck is glued in rather than bolted to the body and feels nice and secure. It’s constructed from two sections of maple, each separated by a layer of beech. The iconic body shape makes a refreshing change from more slab-like bass designs and features a spruce top with flame maple back and sides. Höfner has used quality materials here. The two humbucking pickups are wired to individual volume controls and three slide switches for selecting either pickup on or off, and a solo/rhythm switch that boosts the output volume. The bridge consists of two separate parts – a trapezoid tailpiece to anchor the strings in place and a floating bridge unit that allows you to customise string height and intonation. The control panel is instantly cool, and coupled with the Ruby ball tuners, zero fret and the mother-of-pearl base to the strapbutton at the neck joint, the Eco model is a winner even before you plug in. This is a really likable instrument that’s hard to find fault with. It’s unusual to see this kind of styling and attention to detail on a bass.
The Violin Eco model has heaps of stage presence at a gig, and a tone that really cuts through. It lacks the same kind of sustain offered by a solid-body bass, but is capable of producing some really characterful bass sounds nonetheless. The acoustic nature of its design means that the bottom end and the mids can be a little harsher than you might be used to, but for jazz, blues and rock ’n’ roll it’s ideal. If you’re in search of traditional bass sounds that wander into McCartney/Höfner 500/1 territory, they don’t get much better than this. The on/off slider switches are a little confusing at first, but you’ll soon figure out how the different settings relate to the sound. Either pickup can be selected independently, so it’s up to you to find your preferred combination, and if you add in your own physical technique then the sonic options soon begin to add up. Selecting the rhythm setting adds a bit of extra brightness, making the top end more responsive, but it’s worth remembering that this is a passive instrument, so changes are subtle. Selecting both pickups makes for a smoother, more rounded sound, with a deeper low end and an increase in output. The fingerboard feels as near to wood as you might expect and the mix of old and new features is a successful one, resulting in a reliable and great-sounding instrument. For more info visit www.hofner.com
Built in: Germany
Scale length: 762mm (30-inches)
Neck: Flame maple
Body: Spruce top, maple back & sides
Pickups: Höfner Diamond Nickel Humbuckers
Controls: 2 x volume, slide switches for rhythm/solo, bass pickup on & treble pickup on
Machine heads: Ruby ball single plastic buttons
Weight: 1.8 kg (3.9 lb)