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  • Rogue VB-100 Violin Bass (electric bass)

    Phil or anyone else interested,

    I noticed you in Ted's pics playing a Hofner or a copy. I think I also saw it in the guitar hallway pic.

    My wife wants me to teach her how to play bass, and since I suck soooooo royaly on the drums and I'm teaching my daughter guitar, well, this could be a lot of fun for the Knights.

    Last week I read a review of a Johnson Beatle Bass for around 300 smackers. I think a Beatle Bass might be a cool way for someone with little hands like the missus to learn on. My Jazz Bass is too big for her. (No jokes please)

    What do you think?
    What kind of bass is that of yours?
    You were playing it so you must like it. Right?
    __________
    Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
    Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
    Jesus

  • #2
    I'm not Phil, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    For $200--or just under--you can get a Rogue Beatle Bass from Musician's Friend. It gets high ratings.
    I've upped my standards; now, up yours.







    Originally Posted by coyote-1


    A soul, waiting to go to God, wanted a turkey sandwich.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by offramp
      I'm not Phil, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

      For $200--or just under--you can get a Rogue Beatle Bass from Musician's Friend. It gets high ratings.


      Thanks. I'll look into the Rogue.
      __________
      Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
      Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
      Jesus

      Comment


      • #4
        The Epiphone Violin Bass is rather good. I don't know if i'd recommend any of these for a beginner - unless they are really into early McCartney.

        The real Beatle bass is a Hofner - very expensive. Which is bizaare, because they were a cheap bass in their day. MCartney always struggled with intonation, and had to avoid the upper frets. That's what I hate about them - the bridge is very old fashioned and not accurately adjustable. Hate Hate Hate.

        When McCartney got his Ricky, that's when things got interesting.

        I would actually recommend a Steinberg bass for begineers. They are basically baseball bats - sold, thru neck, very adjustable. Great for small people or travellers.

        Comment


        • #5
          I purchased the
          Rogue VB-100 Violin Bass as a little "present to myself" a few months ago when they were on sale for $179. They're back up to $200 now, with free shipping. No case or gig bag is included at that price - those will cost you extra.

          The Korean built Rogue uses a short scale. I'm not sure if it's 30 or 31" - I've never measured it, and I've read both figures online. In any event, it's very comfortable to play. Due to the hollow body, the bass is just a tad "neck heavy" when worn on a strap, but not excessively so, and that's a problem with the basic design of a small hollowbody bass, and not exclusive to just the Rogue.

          The neck is not as thin, side to side or front to back up at the nut, as my Ibanez SR1100, but it still feels very comfy in my smaller than average hands, and the shorter scale makes it very easy to play.

          The build quality is pretty darned good. I was surprised by how good, considering the low price. The finish and binding on the plywood body are smooth and well applied, and the flame top and back, while not "Hofner-accurate", are quite nice looking. The frets are even and didn't need any dressing or polishing. The neck arrived straight and true, and I didn't need to do any truss rod adjustments... although the roundwound strings that come installed on the bass were the very first thing to get tossed - they're pretty bad. I would recommend that anyone considering this bass budget a few extra drachmas for a replacement set. Roundwounds on a violin bass are just WRONG - get a good set of flatwounds. I went with a set of Rotosounds, gauged 40 / 60 / 80 / 100. Not only do they sound better / more "appropriate" for a bass of this type, they're also easier on the fingers.

          The no-name, sealed gear tuners work very well, and the bass tunes up and holds its tuning just fine. The metal "butterfly" tuner knobs look a bit funky and definitely non-Hofner, but a pair of replacement banjo knobs from Steward-MacDonald helped with that a bit. I opted for the slightly larger pearlescent plastic (Stew-Mac part #0095) knobs, but if I had to do it again, I think I'd pay a bit more for the slightly smaller and more authentic looking ivoroid plastic knobs (part #3305), even though those cost a bit more. The knob replacement is quite easy - just pull the existing knobs off the stock tuners by removing the screw, put the new ones on and replace the screw. Detune the bass first though, because it will detune on its own when you remove the knob screw.

          Again, setup was pretty easy - however, you will have to remove the thin foam that they place under the bridge to avoid marring the top during shipment. And of course, because it is a removeable "floating" wood bridge (it looks like it's rosewood, as opposed to a Hofner's more substantial ebony bridge), you'll have to futz around with the placement of it a bit or have a bass tech set it up for proper intonation. Hofner bridges are available as a replacement part, and I may opt for one if and when the stock unit bites the dust, but they will require a bit of work to get their height correct when used on a Rogue.

          The electronics are set up in the traditional Hofner manner, with one volume control and on / off switch for each pickup. A third, "solo / rhythm" switch is also included - just like on a Hofner. Like a Hofner, the switching can be a bit confusing at first. The neck pup's switch is actually the MIDDLE switch, and it is "on" when pulled towards you. Same for the bridge pup switch, which is located closest to the neck - which is rather unintuitive, but also "Hofner accurate". The switch closest to the tailpiece is the "rhythm / solo" switch, which gives you about a 6 dB reduction in volume when in the "rhythm" position. Like a Hofner, there are no tone controls on the Rogue.

          Problems? Only a few. The metal nut for the output jack comes loose fairly easily - a little Locktite should clear that up, although I have not gotten around to applying any yet. As I mentioned, the bridge doesn't look as hefty and substantial as a Hofner's, but so far, it's held up just fine.

          The biggest "problems" with the bass are actually cosmetic, and those are really only an issue if you're going for maximum Hofner-esque vibe. Not that the cosmetics are bad, but they're not dead on Hofner accurate. The headstock shape is very Hofner-esque, but of course it proudly proclaims "Rogue" instead of "Hofner". If you really want to change that, there are dealers online who can sell you a replacement Hofner headstock decal, although you'd need to refinish the headstock face in order to put one on, and frankly, it's a Rogue, not a Hofner, and I'm not trying to pass it off as one.

          I didn't really care for the two black plastic volume knobs. Not only do they look a bit funky, but they're a bit small... so I replaced mine with a pair of Hofner "teacup" knobs, which are a little larger and sit a little higher up off the bass, making them easier to grab in a hurry. That added another $32 to what I have "into" the bass, price wise. The good news is that the teacups fit the stock Rogue potentiometer shafts just fine.

          The switches are black, as opposed to a Hof's white switches. They work fine, but they're a bit smaller and feel a little more flimsy than a Hofner's switches. I don't know how well they'll hold up over the long haul. Time will tell, but so far, so good.

          The body shape is pretty close to a Hofner's, but like all the Hof copies, it's a little different. IMO, it looks "closer" to a Hof's shape insofar as the side cutaways on the body, being less rounded, with more defined "points" than the sides of say, a Jay Turser. The Turser looks more accurate insofar as the color of the plastic parts - the pickguard and control plate. The "mother of pearl" parts on the Rogue are much "whiter" than the more yellow toned Hofner parts. I don't believe the Turser parts are available seperately, and if you wanted to use Hofner replacements, you'd probably have to rework them to fit. The non-flame top finish on the Turser more closely approximates the standard Hofner finish color too, but again, with the body shape differences, it's a bit of a toss up as to which one looks closer to a real Hofner.

          Speaking of the competition, there are several Violin basses on the market. Of course, you could drop about ten times as much ($1,900 "street price") on a real Hofner. Epiphone also makes a violin shaped bass, but considering Gibson's fairly long history of making violin shaped basses and the significant cosmetic differences, I really consider those to be seperate beasts and less of a Hofner copy / clone. There is also the aforementioned Jay Turser J2B-2B, which currently sells for $269, and Rondo Music also sells the Brice HVB-600 for $249. I've seen Tursers and Brices available with white and black finishes, while the Rogue is only available with a flametopped sunburst finish.

          But for me, the sound and feel of the bass are more important than nailing the cosmetics, and this is where the Rogue really shines. After you get the strings replaced with flatwounds, the sound really comes close to a Hofner. Due to the hollow body, the unplugged acoustic sound of the instrument is surprisingly loud; plenty loud enough for practicing "unplugged" if there isn't a lot of background noise happening in the room you're in. Because the bass sounds so good "unplugged", I want to experiment with sticking a mic in front of the body and tracking it sans pickups to see how that sounds, although I have not done so yet. One of my friends, folk-rock musician / singer / songwriter extraordinaire
          John McGill, thought that the Rogue sounded very similar to a upright bass, and wished for a fretless version. A good tech could pull the frets from the rosewood fingerboard and replace them with wood fretmarker inlays if that's something that someone wanted to experiment with.

          Through an amp, or direct through a Groove Tubes Brick preamp, the bass blooms and thumps like a Hofner, with a thick, woody tone that has a surprising amount of bottom to it. Much moreso than any short scale Fender bass I've ever owned. I generally prefer the "Paul approved" settings, with the neck pup "on", the bridge pup "off" and the rhythm / solo switch in the "solo" setting. Play Penny Lane, Come Together, or She's A Woman on this bass and you'll be surprised how much it sounds like what you've heard for years on those Beatles records. IMO, there's no other way to cop those tones other than using a hollowbody Violin bass, and if you've struggled to nail those tones, adding a Rogue to your gear arsenal will get you there. I also noticed that with the sound and feel of the Rogue, Paul's bass parts suddenly make a lot more sense from a playing standpoint. After struggling with fingerings and trying to nail that tone for years, I was pleased with how quickly everything "gelled" when playing those parts on the Rogue.

          And it really is a blast to play this thing. I don't think I've had more fun with any new instrument purchase in years... and for $200, that's a bargain.

          The Rogue Violin bass gets high marks from me, and I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a good playing, great sounding bass. Especially if you're trying to cop that Brit-Invasion sound and vibe on a tight budget. Two thumbs WAY up!

          **********

          "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

          - George Carlin

          "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

          - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

          "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

          - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

          Comment


          • #6
            Hey Phil,

            My session at your place last spring didn't inspire you to pick up the Rogue did it?
            Engineers are retarded. They have some kind of brain damage that allows them to not have social skills so they can concentrate long enough to write code.

            Jim Reeks

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kiwiburger

              The real Beatle bass is a Hofner - very expensive. Which is bizaare, because they were a cheap bass in their day.


              Yery true. IIRC, Macca paid 45 Pounds for his Hofner, which was pretty inexpensive at the time, although that was in the early 60's.

              MCartney always struggled with intonation, and had to avoid the upper frets. That's what I hate about them - the bridge is very old fashioned and not accurately adjustable. Hate Hate Hate.

              While it's true that the bridge doesn't feature individual adjustable saddles, a little careful adjustment of the positioning can get the intonation happening very well, up and down the neck. I can play "Penny Lane" on this bass just fine and without cringing at the intonation - and since I have perfect pitch, I'm really picky about intonation.

              The one thing to remember with a Hofner or any clone is that the bass really requires a bit of a lighter touch than you might be used to if you've spent a lot of time playing other basses. That's not a criticism, just an observation.

              When McCartney got his Ricky, that's when things got interesting.

              I love a good Ric - they're great basses. And of course, Paul's aquisition of the Ric corresponds with some significant changes in their recording situation. Geoff Emerick took over the first engineering duties for the Beatles at around that same time, and he was apparently more willing to "push the boundaries" a bit more, and would try to give the Beatles the "louder bass" that they were seeking and that they admired so much on the Motown records of the day.

              Of course, while the tone of the two basses is quite different, there were, IMO, plenty of "interesting" bass parts that Sir Paul used the Hofner on - even after he got his Ric. A lot of Abbey Road was played on the Hofner, and IMO, that's some of his best bass playing.

              **********

              "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

              - George Carlin

              "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

              - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

              "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

              - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm still amazed at Macca's bass tones on Abbey Road - I have a folder of short samples of classic bass reference tones, and Come Together is one of them.

                I never knew he used the Hofner that late - I should get myself a good clone. I've only really played the Epiphones, and I rate them fairly highly.

                You need the Rotosound Trubass black nylons for Abbey Road stuff. Even on a Jazz, they will get you 90% of the way there.

                But there is something extra deep and yummy which i'm thinking is due to Studio 2 and the mic techniques used ...

                These little short scale bass are incredibily phat ...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by gearmike
                  Hey Phil,

                  My session at your place last spring didn't inspire you to pick up the Rogue did it?


                  Not really Mike.

                  I've wanted a violin bass for years and years, but the prices on new Hofners and vintage violin clone basses like yours have always put me off. But I figured that $200 was not much to risk, so I took a chance on the Rogue, and I'm very glad that I did. It's not going to completely replace my '89 Ibanez SR1100, which is still better for certain types of (and has a wider variety of) sounds, but I do find that I reach for the Rogue more often than I reach for the Ibanez... and considering the price difference between those two basses, that's pretty amazing.
                  **********

                  "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                  - George Carlin

                  "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                  - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                  "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                  - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kiwiburger
                    I'm still amazed at Macca's bass tones on Abbey Road - I have a folder of short samples of classic bass reference tones, and Come Together is one of them.

                    I doubt he would have been able to play the roller coaster bass lines on "I Want You / She's So Heavy" with the Ric... it's a LOT easier on the Hofner.

                    I never knew he used the Hofner that late - I should get myself a good clone. I've only really played the Epiphones, and I rate them fairly highly.

                    He switched betwen the two basses quite a bit, even on Pepper, The Beatles and Abbey Road. Of course, most of the Get Back / Let It Be sesions were done with the Hofner - as you can plainly see in the movie and on the "rooftop" performance.

                    You need the Rotosound Trubass black nylons for Abbey Road stuff. Even on a Jazz, they will get you 90% of the way there.

                    I have not tried those, but thanks for the tip. I think the recent issue of Bass Player Magazine with Sir Paul on the cover mentions his string brand / gauge preferences... I'll check on that and get back to you.

                    But there is something extra deep and yummy which i'm thinking is due to Studio 2 and the mic techniques used

                    Geoff Emerick always used a mic on Paul's bass cabinet. To the best of my knowledge, it was never taken "direct". And I BELIEVE the mic used was a AKG C-12. I seem to recall reading that somewhere in a Geoff Emerick interview. Again, I'll see if I can track that down for you too.

                    But I really think that a lot of that "extra deep and yummy" tone is due to the hollow body.

                    These little short scale bass are incredibily phat ...

                    Agreed. I have always liked the playability of a 30" scale bass, but I've never been wild about the sound of the Mustangs and Musicmaster basses I've owned - they just get too undefined sounding on that low E string and seem to lack the punch and bottom of a full scale bass, so I've forced myself to play long scale basses, even though it's harder on my dinky hands. But there's plenty of bottom end to the Rogue.

                    **********

                    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                    - George Carlin

                    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Rotosound make a big point about their Tru bass 88 strings being used on Abbey Road. I'm sure they couldn't claim that if it wasn't true - knowing a little bit about Beatles laywers.

                      But - I believe Macca didn't use Rotosound much, and was more likely to use La Bella. I think they make a set specifically for Beatle bass, which should be awesome.

                      I'm trying to get some LaBella flats for my P-bass, but things run a bit slow here.

                      I tried the Tru bass 88 and was very impressed at how they transform a bass. I find huge variation between the sounds of of bass string sets - even flat wounds.

                      If you have a bass that hums a little unless you touch the strings, you can't use Nylons (unless you ground yourself some other way). I also found that the binding can get in the way of standard Fender bridges. You can cut it off, or better still fit a Badass bridge.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        How is the pick up?

                        Is it warm and fuzzy like my Bruno?

                        I still love that sound we got...the harmonic structure of the hollow body is just full and goo-ey and spongy...
                        Engineers are retarded. They have some kind of brain damage that allows them to not have social skills so they can concentrate long enough to write code.

                        Jim Reeks

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks Phil! Wow, that was quite a response. You've answered my question and then some. And though I want this for my wife to learn on, there is a reason why I want to get her one of those besides just the short scale. Ahem...

                          I've been using the Roto Trubass on and off for years now and love them. Now that I'm past my gigging 5 nights stage in life, the Trubass' stay in the drawer. Then when I need to, just pop them on my Jazz and I'm Paul! Well, sort of.

                          Having my wife's new violin bass around will come in handy... At 2 bills the Rogue sounds like a steal.
                          __________
                          Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
                          Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
                          Jesus

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've been wondering if these copies would be in the ballpark. I've wanted a beatle bass for several years, and thought there was no substitute for the Hofner mystique. I've played Hofners and Tursers side by side and there was no comparison. If the Rogue really gets that sound and feel I'll check them out. Still I hope to find a beat up uncollectable Hofner that is cosmetically poor but structurally sound. So to ebay I regularly go....

                            Spencer
                            www.spencercapier.com

                            "A noble instrument," said Jack, and they talked about Boccherini, bows and rosin, copyists, the care of strings, with great satisfaction in one another's company until a brutally ugly clock with a lyre-shaped pendulum struck the hour."

                            - O'Brian, "Master and Commander"

                            ......_|__|__|_
                            ......_|__|__|_
                            ......_|__|__|__/
                            ~~~_o_o_o_/~~~~

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, since "clips" seem to be popular here on HC, when I finished my session tonight, I decided grab the Rogue, plug it into a Groove Tubes Brick, and also feed it into an Eden Nemesis bass amp (2X10's with a bullet tweeter), mic that with an RE20 off axis (at about 8") and feed it right into one of the Digi 002's preamps. No compression, no EQ, just straight in on both feeds, with the DI on the left and the mic on the right... or was it the other way around? You figure it out. Anyway, after I took all of two minutes setting everything up, I tossed on my new iPod Nano and played along with a couple of Beatles tracks. Whatever came out is what you get. And if it's sloppy or out of time, it's not because I was tired or any other excuse - it's because I suck.

                              They're too large to put up as attachments... does anyone want to host / post them?
                              **********

                              "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                              - George Carlin

                              "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                              - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                              "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                              - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                              Comment













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