Hofner Ignition Strap Issues

[I did a quick scan on the forum to see if this subject has been raised, and didn’t find it. Apologies if I missed it…]

Hey all, I’m a newbie but took Josh’s great BtBA late last year. Did that using a Squier J-Bass, which is a great entry level instrument. I recently also acquired a Hofner Ignition violin bass because a) I think the short scale is helpful for my late 50s left hand and b) I idolize Paul McCartney. The Ignition is the Hofner entry-level instrument, made in China but with Hofner oversight. It gets good reviews, especially considering it costs about 10% what the German-made Hofners do. I replaced the factory strings with LaBella flatwounds, which makes a PROFOUND difference in the instrument’s tone, and really does give you that McCartney sound. It is super lightweight and really fun to play. Yes, you need to learn the funky Hofner control board, but that’s part of the Hofner charm.

Anyway, my problem with the Ignition is the strap pegs. there is one on the body end, and another facing outward (toward you) at the top of the (hollow) body. These 2 locations make the guitar want to roll forward, so you have to brace it with your plucking hand to keep a slight upward angle. That interferes with play somewhat, and leads to hand fatigue. On German-made Hofners, the fretboard is actually raised over the body, like on a violin. You see guys like Sir Paul slip a leather strap through that gap and sometimes secure the other end around the tailpiece itself, which gives it the natural hanging position you want. The Ignition doesn’t have that fretboard gap, so I’m considering drilling a D-Ring location near the base of the neck. There is a bit of online discussion about this issue, but wondering if anyone here has encountered it and found a nifty solution (not real keen on drilling into the guitar…)

Cheers,
Tim

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Hey, Tim . . . :slight_smile:

I think I understand your problem, but can’t visualize what you meant by a “fretboard gap”. I tried looking it up, but with no success. Gibson SG’s also have the strap buttons in the same locations, but perhaps there is less roll with them due to heavier weight and body shape?

All best, Joe

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Hi Joe,

Attached is a photo that shows the strap placement that is possible with the German-made Hofners. I think the forward roll is probably less of an issue with guitars that have a substantial body, since the weight of your plucking arm naturally holds it back. The violin body of the Hofner doesn’t have much real estate so your hand has to do the work.

Cheers,
Tim

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Sorry, should have pointed out in the Macca photo above, you can see how the leather strap is fed between the body and the fretboard. That’s not possible with the Ignition version, which has a solid neck all the way down to the pickup.
Cheers,
Tim

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I’d use a Dunlop Straplok…

image

Where the red dot is…

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Yes, that’s what I was thinking, @timndebn . . . :slight_smile:

Thanks for the photo, I see what you meant now.

Looks like @Korrigan has a workable idea for you . . . :+1: If you’re reluctant to drill into your guitar (which I can appreciate), you may want to consider taking it to a professional luthier.

Keep us posted on how you make out with this!

All best, Joe

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Great idea, @Korrigan . . . that looks like it would work . . . :wink:

All best, Joe

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Yes, I believe @Korrigan has a sound idea. I will likely take it in to a local shop recommended by a semi-pro player but this strikes me as a workable (and cheap) solution. Will update in due course with how it worked out…
Thanks!

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Have your luthier clamp the strap to it (or you, if you have a clamp) to check how it will balance before actually drilling the hole. :wink:

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Welcome to the forum Tim! @timndebn

I don’t have anything to add, @Korrigan’s idea seems solid to me, especially testing with a clamp before drilling!

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After thinking more about @timndebn’s issue the past few days, it occurs to me that guitars with the strap button located on the back (e.g. Gibson T-Bird and SG) are also prone to “neck dive”.

Not sure if these Hofner violin basses have that problem . . .

@Korrigan, any thoughts on this?

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I’ve never had a problem with neck dive myself due to the fact that I “wear” my instruments up high and have the (bad?) habit of always resting my right forearm on the body when I play. But I keep it in mind for other people when I build instruments. Moving the nut-side strap button more towards the nut (longer horn for example) reduces neck dive, as does moving the bridge-side strap button up (north of center line).

Moving the nut-side button down to the heel could help a bit with neck dive but then the top of the body will want to tilt outwards. I made a 5-string git that way just because I didn’t think the strap at the end of the horn looked as good.

Notice my forearm (and gut, lol) are what determine my playing position.

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And here’s a tip for neck dive if you don’t want to modify your instrument…

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Thanks, @Korrigan . . . understood . . . :+1:

I saw a video or two about this problem, and wonder why Gibson didn’t place the strap buttons in those locations on their SG models in the first place? :thinking:

I suppose that the closer the nut button is mounted to the 12th fret, the better the balance a guitar would have. It’s hard to tell this from the pic of Paul McCartney with his Hofner above, though. Another reason I love my Fender basses!

Thanks very much for all your input, Joe :slight_smile:

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I’m guessing that the reason they don’t put the strap button at the point of the horn is that there isn’t enough wood to support the top of the screw shaft and that the stress on it, over time, would widen the hole in the wood or crack the horn.

Seems to me that by having the button quite a bit lower (at the heel instead of the horn) makes up for the fact that it’s a couple inches farther away from the nut. If I ever get an SG I’ll do some experimenting but I’d suspect that the balance would be about the same either way.

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