c.2013 Epiphone Viola Electric Bass (Hofner Copy)

This is a friend's pretty much brand new Epiphone "Viola Bass" -- obviously a copycat of the old Hofner "Beatle bass" in an updated, import form. I have to admit it... for something that runs $300 new shipped to your door... this thing is pretty neat. It handily beats those old 70s import versions which tend to need a lot of finessing to get the most out of them.

A small adjustment at the bridge was all this one needed to play correctly (it was just slightly out of place and adjusted too low) and play it does -- well, with that short scale thump that's being filtered through a set of new $35 tapewound strings which gives it a real springy, rubber-bandy vibe that actually suits the two mini-hum style pickups mounted on this thing.

Both the top and back have flamed maple veneer for a flashy look. There's one finish crack near the control plate but otherwise the whole thing is as new. The control knobs are all replaced with nicer-quality ones as well.

Truss access and zero fret... just like the old Hofs. The zero fret was done right, too... it's not taller than the rest of them so the action is correct at the nut.

Rosewood board, pearl dots...

My buddy also upgraded the knobs for the control plate.

Yep, it's pretty.

...and it has a new Levy's fitted gigbag to boot. This seems like it comes somewhere between the durability/inflexibility of a chip case with the padding of a good gigbag. I'd use it for taking out to shows, for sure.