I was in the market for a travel bass for a while and was close to buying the original Höfner Shorty, but Höfner shared an image on social media of their prototype Shorty Violin Bass so I decided to hang on until they released it.
On the post, Höfner asked their fans for feedback on the prototype. In the comments, people suggested they move the pickup from the standard shorty position to near the neck for a mellower sound and to fit a pickup more like the type you’d find on a violin bass as the one on the prototype was the same pickup you’d find on a shorty.
I didn’t hear any more about it for about two years, but then one day I was checking out the basses on Thomann and found that Höfner had released it! Not only that, but they had changed the design to be more to what their followers had requested.
Suffice to say, I’m glad I waited. I placed my order and waited a few weeks for the stock to come in. The bass arrived and it exceeded my expectations.
The bass has a neck that is comfortable to play with a satin finish on the back which feels smooth and doesn’t impede playing. The sound is pleasant, mellow but doesn’t sound muddy or disappear in a mix with other instruments. The tuners are robust and do their job perfectly, I’ve clocked hours of play on this now and it hasn’t slipped out of tune once.
It’s a joy to play!
As you would imagine for an instrument in this price range, a little bit of setting up was required to get it playing perfectly, but it still played quite well out of the box. There was a little bit of buzz coming from the frets due to the neck being completely straight, a very slight truss rod adjustment fixed that and Höfner had even supplied the required allen keys to do both truss rod and bridge adjustments (you will also need a screwdriver though). The nut slots were cut perfectly and the action and intonation were dead-on already, so 5 minutes work and I was ready to go.
If you need advice on how to set up your bass, just check YouTube for some videos. It’s really easy, Thomann have made a few themselves.
The gig bag is suitable for carrying, but won’t protect the instrument, so treat it with care. There’s also a pocket for accessories, I treated myself to a Höfner strap to go with the bass and I keep mine in there.
I travel to play music with a friend who lives a few hours away and I drive a small car, so I really just wanted a bass that wouldn’t be a hassle to transport. The Shorty Violin Bass does everything I needed it to, but I’m so taken with mine that I’ll likely use it for recording too and maybe also some gigs.
I’d definitely recommend the bass, you can’t go wrong for that price.