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This article was originally published in issue #41
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Before we start, a word about names. Any reader born before 1834 (like our Editor) might be a bit puzzled by the name 'Verythin' because back when Hofner first sold this range of instruments during the 1960s it called them 'Verithin' - which was a bit strange but it stuck. So, no, the gremlins haven't set attacked our typesetting (hang on - do you 'set type' in an online mag?!) 'Verythin' with a 'y' is what the company calls them now.
As the name suggests , this is a long scale instrument based on the original 500/7 short scale bass of the same name. For those who prefer a long scale instrument but still want to enjoy the sounds and styling of the original 1960's classic, this is for you.
Back to that name for a bit. The body of the instrument is indeed 'very thin'. 1.25” of ‘thin’ Hofner tells me. I guess there is a tendency to think that thin body means thin tone - well, you’ll just have to check out the video to see what you think, or rather be surprised to find that this isn’t the case. Those Hofner pickups are of a pretty hot output and the front pickup alone deals up a veritable fat bottom end which is in part due to its position, as well as the juicy low end it naturally imparts. Proof being that even the second pickup is capable of the same punch in that mid/bridge position.
Under the thin top and back is a spruce centre block, to which the two piece bridge and neck are fixed, providing strength and integrity to the instrument, despite those super lightweight facings suggesting otherwise. Yes, the instrument is hollow and acoustically it imparts a nice woody tone. It's not particularly loud of course, but nice for playing quietly at home alone. The top back and sides, as I read from the specifications, are flame maple wrapped in a dark cherry sunburst which is framed by binding around the front and back edges as well as up the neck sides.
Speaking of neck, we have a 22 fret rosewood board capping a beech and maple laminate neck. Nut width is 42mm so expect more of a Precision bass width there, but front to back the bass neck is skinny between 22mm and 24mm 1st fret to last. It’s not a chunky affair by any means to my mind - quite inviting actually.
Headstock, well, two-a-side small tuners sit either side of the Hofner ‘torch logo’ and of course the script at the very top sets the classic look off nicely.
The Verythin bass opts for a volume and tone control for each pickup which is handy if you like to ‘EQ’ each separately though as I have said in other reviews, I’m still a ‘one master volume’ type guy. That certainly won’t detract from the instrument though, it’s a nice piece and will reward you with some great vintage tones; something different from modern hot rod machines for sure!
So who will want one? Well, tribute bands, for sure! It may also have some appeal to Indie players who would rather walk on stage with a broomstick than the sort of bass a Prog Rock or Heavy Metaller would carry. You could also see it looking the part in a Jazz setting or maybe even in a Country or Folk context. It is not, of course, going to look the thing in a Black Sabbath tribute band where, in any case, it has to be said that a semi-acoustic design is going to struggle more with feedback issues than the more usual solid bodied instrument.
The price is fine for what is on offer and the Hofner Verythin was a joy to have in, so I’d suggest giving one a try if you are browsing in the near future. For the right player in the right band it could be, um, the right thing and would make a very difficult choice if up against a similar semi-acoustic Epiphone, for example.