Hello there!

I am a guitar player... but now I'm really into picking up the bass! I don't know much about bass guitars (yes, I've done my research on the Web, but now I just want your opinion on this dilemma I'm faced with )

I have a budget of around 280 euros (which is about 370$ or 230£ --> this is for the guitar only, so without the amp.

Two basses caught my attention: the epiphone thunderbird and the höfner ignition. Now here comes the question: How versatile are these things? I'd like to play a lot of different styles going from jazz and blues to rock and funk. So which bass would fit me best?
(I know that, rationally speaking, I should go for a versatile Squier J-bas, but I like the thunderbird and hofner ignition more... I admit that I am being deceived by the looks, but who cares )

So, what are your thoughts about these guitars? what are the limits of each of them?

Thank you very, very much!

kind regards,
I've heard that Epiphone basses are terrible.

No personal experience though. I would recommend a squire.
haven't got any experience with any of them but the thunderbierd has got a bad reputation everywhere i look... if yo uliked them more than a jazz, then it is not important what we may think. i'd just pick the one with better feel to your hands/body...
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Gee, thanks for all your extraordinarily helpful answers ("arse or balls")... hahaha

Well, can anyone tell me what the exact, specific problems with these basses are? Why does everyone seem to hate them this much?
Epiphone basses tend to be extremely muddy, the tonal clarity is lacking and thunderbirds also have terrible neck dive which makes it a pain in the arse to play.

I'm not too familiar with Hofners.
Thunderbirds have a really dodgy bridge and as mentioned above they are very muddy and prone to neck diving. The Thunderbird Pro fixes some of the issues, it sounds better, has a better bridge but is still prone to neck diving.

Cheap Hofners just aren't worth buying unless you like the sound of a cardboard box.
I have to say that people saying the Thunderbird is muddy need to try one out rather than jumping on the bandwagon of what other people have said. They are actuallyvery bright sounding and I'm sure the idea that they're muddy was spread about due to people demoing them in shops where the strings have been deadened. (I don't mean to be harsh, I was like that too until I bought one). Having owned one, past tense, I can say that Thunderbirds are crap. I like their look and feel BUT there are few usable tones that you can get out of it without expensive and expansive modding. It does a great rock tone and a passable funk tone but, beyond that, there's nothing. It also has the obvious neckdive problems and a crappy Gibson bridge. Do not buy unless you have a lot of cash and time on your hands.

The Hofner? All I can is that I hear complaints about the build quality even on the highest priced models.

On that budget: Squier, Ibanez, Yamaha and Peavey.
Last edited by Spaz91 at Apr 13, 2012,
I owned a Epi T-bird for about two years. They're muddy.
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My Thunderbird tone isn't particularly muddy, but i do cut my bass frequencies a bit and push the mids to compensate for the bassy tone, but I wouldn't exactly call it versatile. The head dive is a massive pain in the arse and makes it difficult to play live, and that 3 point bridge was designed by a Monkey. I mean seriously, a bridge that falls off the bass without strings on and saddles that also fall off without string tension? Really?

Hope that helps, but I don't know much about the other bass. Maybe look at a Squier VM, or a low end Ibanez.
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Stay away from an Epiphone bass. They make killer 6 string guitars. But it seems like they can't make a bass. I bought one a year ago and it fell forward of the stand and the neck split right at the bridge. Cheap cheap necks.
Spaz is right at least that Thunderbirds and EB-0s for that matter are for the price extremely lackluster, and require mods.

I always add 500k alpha pots and a smaller cap to every guitar and bass I buy, and that gives them a much better (personally usable) tone sweep. I've seen quite a few people use guitar rail style humbuckers for replacement pickups. You could with supplies and GFS.com and new strings get a sound improvement for under $100. Even ignoring the cheap odd bridge, the neck dive is atrocious.

The thing is you just need to test it, Flying V's have been used for blues, a thunderbird can be used for it too if you think the tone fits. I'm slowly finding versatility makes me fidgety, I played my friends strat and found myself always touching knobs and switch and never felt happy. I play my esquire, I just set it to full and never touch it or my amp and I am happy as a clam.

Hofner's also are kind of a odd ball to me, they were originally cheap ass basses and guitars, now they ride on a certain beatles fame and pass off the same craptastic fragile basses as class acts in the 1-3k range.

These basses are notorious for piss poor intonation and action and with a setup and flats get the best sound they can make a vintage thump ala Paul McCartney, who I believe never strayed past the like 7-9th fret and made his thumpy melodic style because he didn't dare stray past the money notes where he would be off.

In the end it's kind of weird that basses like the sting ray and rickenbacker are fabled as "love it or hate it holy grail tones" then the Tbird and the hofner are kind of thought of as one trick ponies then hated for it. Every bass has a million reasons to hate it, you just need to find the one you can love.