Down the rabbit Hohner 2

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Down the rabbit Hohner 2


Down the rabbit Hohner is also about Hohner stuff, but completely unrelated to this one.

In 1994 I bought a bass that I really enjoyed. It was a Hohner B2B. A very light and compact headless bass manufactured by the German company Hohner. It was a wooden licensed copy of the Steinberger L-series basses (those were made of a mix of carbon fiber and graphite). The Hohner sounded very good to my taste and was super convenient to carry around.

The old Hohner B2B

I bought it, to the best of my knowledge, "third" hand. I think the first owner was the bass player of a relatively popular band in the region where I lived. I had seen them playing when the bass player still had that bass and it stood out to me. I think he then sold that bass to a friend of a friend, who eventually sold it to me.

That bass had a little inconvenience, though, which might explain why I was the (at least) third person to buy it, and was the sole reason why I sold it: it was very difficult to find strings for it. The strings for those bases are special, as they have to be "double-ball" ones. Being headless and practically bodyless was ok, but stringless would have been pointless. That was pre-commercial Internet era. At that time imported instruments were not very common, let alone that niche one which required non-standard strings. There are actually adapters that allow single-ball strings to be used, but I didn't know about them back then. I don't actually know if they even existed back then -- probably not something that I could have easily bought anyway, and it didn't occur to me that they could have been hand-made.

So late 1995/early 1996 (can't recall precisely) I ended up selling the Hohner to the guy who substituted me in the band I was playing back then. Not an easy decision, as I really liked the bass, but the string situation was getting out of hand.

After selling the Hoher I bought a five-string Aria Pro II bass, which I still have to this day. Five-strings were also a bit unusual in that era and place, but getting strings for it was definitely easier than getting the double-ball ones. I ended up playing five-string basses for more than 20 years, most of the time with that Aria Pro II. After some years, when the import of instruments became more common (thus the availability of double-ball strings), I tried to buy the Hohner back. I contacted the guy who I had sold the bass to, but he had already sold it.

Then I moved to Germany, the land of Hohner. I thought here I could easily find the same beloved bass model I had. I actually found many of them on ebay/ebay-kleinanzeigen, but none of them the exact same model as that I had. The model I had sported a PJ set of pick-ups, and the ones I was finding had soap-bar humbucker pick-ups. I found that intriguing -- I was in the country where those basses were manufactured, but could not find the same model as the one I had in Brazil. Maybe that was an export-only model? Unlikely.

I kept searching that model for years on ebay/ebay-kleinanzeigen, but never found it.

Some weeks ago (as of the time of this writing, April 2023), my wife and I went to Zurich over the weekend. Walking around the city center we find a music store. We entered the store to take a look at the instruments and I found it interesting that they only had a few basses, and most of them were Aria Pro IIs. That was a bit unexpected to me, as that brand is not very common here. I was looking at the Aria Pro IIs and suddenly my wife says "Look!". I was a bit confused for some seconds and asked "Look what?", when I saw a black Hohner B2B with PJ pick-ups right behind the Aria Pro IIs I was looking at. That was unbelievable. The bass I had been looking for for years and had never found was right there, before my eyes, in mint condition. The thrill was gone immediately when I looked at the price tag, which showed a totally unrealistic price. My wife insisted that I bought the bass, regardless, but there was no way I was going to pay that price. So we just moved on. Still I was a bit shocked to have found the bass I have been for so many years looking for. Also, coincidentally, in a store which was selling mostly Aria Pro II basses -- the brand I bought after I sold the Hohner.

The next day we returned to Germany and, as part of the nearly daily ritual of checking ebay-kleinanzeigen for headless basses, the unimaginable happened: a bass identical to the one I had seen the day before in Zurich was announced for sale! The ad had been posted the day I returned to Germany, just a couple of hours before I arrived back home. That was surreal. I had been looking for that bass model for years without success. Then I randomly found one in Zurich, in a store that sells the brand of bass I bought as the successor of my former Hohner. I passed the Swiss Hohner because it was too expensive, and then the next day I find the exact same model on ebay-kleinanzeingen, also in mint condition, for a fair price. It felt unreal. It was so good to be true that I got hesitant at even checking the possibility of buying it. I showed the ad to my wife and she said "you have to buy it!". So I contacted the seller and checked whether it was possible to send me the bass (it was quite far from where I live). Fortunately, the seller was nice enough to sell me the bass and send it to me via a package delivery company.

So, after almost thirty years, I'm again happy to have a Hohner B2B with PJ pick-ups. It's still not exactly the same model that I had, though -- the one I had was neck-through (if I remember correctly -- or maybe glued?), and the one I've gotten has a bold-on neck. Strictly speaking, I still haven't found the exact same model I had. And the one I had was red, the new one is black. Still, a good approximation. :-)