Hohner HZ-FL [fretless jazz copy] Reviews
Parkway Music, Clifton Pk, NY.
$185 in barely played condition.
I have an old Hohner fretless P-type
and a Hohner fretless Steinberger copy
both of which feature "Ebanol" [resin composite] fingerboards. I've never
heard a wooden board whine quite the way
Ebanol can, and this HZ-FL has the same
fingerboard and was hanging there in
such really fine shape, I just had to
play it. I liked and it was cheap, so ....
As mentioned, the Ebanol fingerboard is the
heart of this thing. It's not a very woody sounding whine, but almost like a superloud
mosquito that hums along with your changes.
Also soundwise, this is a very deep bassy
ax, with no tendency to toward twangy highs
on the G string [currently D'Adario flats].
I also like it's looks, a Fender Jazz knock
off, black body, black fingerboard, a very
red but tortise-shelled pickguard, chrome controls plate, and natural maple headstock with chrome duck's feet.
It has the common shortcomings: a bit heavy,
two gain knobs rather than one-gain-with-
balancer knob. The tuning machines feel uneven, not smooth [my other Hohner is just the same] but I don't really have a problem using them, it's just an aesthetics glitch.
The neck is unlined, with dots, and it also
has edge dots, but the edge dots and front
dots do not coincide [!?!?]. Whoever was playing it before me definitley intoned only
by ear, as the saddles were all backed up
all the way [maximizes string length, but 4
strings were all differently intonated].
Seems solid, my older one is holding up well
so I'm not worried. The jack is primitive
but easily accessed if it needs tightening
and the access is equally easy if the pots
ever need cleaning. About the Ebanol board,
it's a respectable material. All graphite
Steinbergers, all aluminum-necked Kramers,
and various carbon-enhanced high-end basses
feature this on fretted and fretless models.
It has its own sound, and wears at least as
well as wood.
It's a front-routed body, with a seperate
chromed plate for the 3 knobs and jack. I
looked inside and since the body paint is black, I don't know if it has shielding
paint, but with all controls on the metal cover, it's easy to foil-line it myself.
Neck is maple with skunk stripe and appears to be one piece including the head. There
is a neck-tilt control, although if tilt is needed it's best to experiment using the tilt screw but then finalize by shimming instead. It had some tilt set when I got it but I've gone back to zero and am happy with my new setup.
Bridge is stamped, four screws, heavier than
the stamped bridge on my Mexican Fender. I
will probably replace it anyway
I've got it set up with almost no relief, a
middling string height, and the PUs a bit
higher than originally. I find this easy to
play and it has a very classic [motown] bass
voice accompanied by the baritone mosquito
of the Ebanol fretless. For me, very cool.
I find used Hohner basses are fairly common
where I live, and are always in good working
condition even when looking rather beat, so
they appear to be reliable in general. If
you've found a Hohner, and are considering
whether to buy, I'd say if you like the way
it plays and sounds, and it not been used to dig trenches, at $150 to $300 [depending on model and condition] you can't lose.
I'm rating this a 3, not to dump on it but
just how high can you really rate a basic
"good ax cheap" anyway ?Golem
rated this unit