Hohner B2A electric bass
A rather different Steinberger copy, in that it comes with the blessing of Ned Steinberger, the man who invented headless basses. Yes friends, this has the patent Steinberger tuning system legally licensed to Hohner.
One could of course draw a number of conclusions from this. Could it be that Steinberger proper were having trouble getting in the sacks of money, so saw the license as a way of (a) getting some, and (b) putting some halt to the tide of unlicensed jap copies?
Or, of course, we could just say hurrah that here's a good, well-priced, playable bass. In fact, yes, we'll go with that.
Because that's just what it is. But what else can we tell you? The aforementioned patent blah blah blah has the distinct advantage of being dead simple: the tuning thingies are down on the end of the body; the double ball end strings rest in slots up at the headless end and in the moving string retainers back down on the body. So you slot them in, twirl the very effective (40:1) tuners, and there you are. Twenty seconds to change a string, reckon Hohner. A little bit more, reckon us. But not much.
Pick it up and play it, you scream, reasonably. OK then. To play it on your lap, you flick out a little knee rest. Sweet. And it feels a little unbalanced like this to me: unless I sort of lodged it, the neck end went downwards. Which meant I had to hold it up with my left hand as well as fret notes. Much better on a strap. Fine, in fact.
And the noises. There are two pickups, and (wait for it) active electronics. I couldn't tell you the serial number of the transistors or the specific wiring configuration inside, but I could tell you that I would have liked a separate bass and treble control to maximise the potential (as they say) of the range offered by active electronics. As it is you have two volume controls and a single, all-over tone control. What the experts call a Jazz Bass set-up. What I call jolly good on a passive bass but a little limiting on an active bass.
Despite that niggle, the sounds are powerful when you flick into overdrive (or active as Hohner would say), and given the slightly-thicker-than-run-of-the-mill-Jap-necks feel of the neck I was quickly running around all over the fretboard and pretending to passing folk that I was indeed a superb bassist. The air of professionalism is also heightened by the presence of an XLR connector next to the normal jack socket, but quite honestly I've never owned an XLR plug and wouldn't know where to plug the other end. Maybe the B2A thinks it's a microphone. It certainly shouts PLAY ME very loudly.
Review by Tony Bacon
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