Late 60's/early 70's Greco VB
I've been on a bit of a Violin bass kick lately with a couple of Guyatones and a couple of Firstmans heading over to the shop (more coming) so I thought I should do a blog on this wonderful Greco version.
This is most likely a Greco VB-360 from between '69 and about '74. I say "most likely" because Greco has made an awful lot of VB's over a VERY long period and some models are very similar in specs and very to tell without the original model sticker. I've covered the "Beatle bass" and it's popularity and brands in previous posts so I won't bore you with that now.
The VB-360 however was part of the original 60's series and while Fujigen had made Hofner style violin basses for a couple of years these were a VERY close copy as apposed to an inspired by. The VB-360 ran all the way to the very late 70's while other versions were dropped along the way. It was popular and cheaper than the higher end set neck versions like the VB-500 or the later and also very popular VB-80 and 90.
Starting at the VB-200 in '69 this more accurate Hofner copy was a pressed laminated arch top and back body with binding front and back. The body is quite solid being so small and arched but it still has a small bridge block inside to control feedback. Unlike the Guyatones previously (and other inspired by brands) this body follows the Hofner size and shape perfectly.
The neck is a bolt on three piece maple in a slim, typical Hofner feel with very little taper as you move down the neck. The rosewood fretboard is nice and is bound with dot inlays. The headstock is pure Hofner (it's a great headstock shape) and the tuners on these are nice and work well.
The pickups are the Hofner staple type pickups as used by many Japanese manufacturers for both Hofner copies and others. They're a simple great sounding pickup and cheap to manufacture. As the model range got higher the pickups changed to pole piece and smooth cover mini humbuckers.
The bridge is a Hofner copy with the floating two piece adjustable base and bridge and uses slots and fretwire for saddles, just like Hofner. The tailpiece is a simple tarpeze style as used on the originals.
The controls are Hofner as well. Cheaper versions (200-300) had two slider switches for pickup on and off but the 360 up also had the tone slider switch like the original Hofner, which to be honest isn't very nice when engaged. Apart from that it's master volume for each pickup.
This one is in GREAT condition and still has it's original scratchplate (rarely intact) and original yellow lined hardcase. It plays and sounds great, really. I've owned many "Violin basses" over the years from many different brands and even with this one being from the cheaper end of the range, it's a great bass in all original condition. A very cool Beatle bass indeed.