What a glorious bass. I'll say it again . . . what everyone else has been saying . . . I seriously cannot believe I got this great sounding of a bass for $138 dollars. I have played for 30+ years. I played professionally for several years, and have some mid-to-high dollar basses. I have not played an “inexpensive” bass in years. Maybe decades. And I’ve NEVER bought a bass this cheap in my life. But what a surprise this bass has turned out to be. It's fantastic. I’ve wanted a bass with this blocked/bound rosewood board look for a long time. And it scratches that itch on the cheap.
The HB is surprisingly comfortable to play. The neck is straight and smooth, the body is solid, paint and finish look great. The satin neck is fantastic and easy to slide around on. I took it down one star because the fretwork is a little lacking. But I would by no means complain about that at this price point. I’ve played worse. I love the blocks and binding. The neck is a bit thicker (front to back) than the jazz neck on my Lakland, which I like. I need a little more meat for my big garden rake-sized hands to hold on to, and the HB fits the bill. It is a little heavy, but not as shockingly heavy as I expected it to be based on many reviews and comments I’ve read. I don’t have a scale to confirm this, but just holding one bass in each arm, it feels a little heavier than my Lakland 5-string jazz, but not overwhelmingly so. It plays great sitting down. Maybe just a liiiitle neck dive. Some lightweight tuners might change that. But it’s not enough for me to worry about.
The pickups pack a ton of punch and warmth. When I first got it, the bridge pickup was way higher than the neck pickup, and it sounded thin and weak. Once I evened out the pickups, it sounded warm and full. Interestingly enough, so far they're dead quiet. I live in an old house with ungrounded wiring where I practice, so everything buzzes. Passive/active/split/single coil. It doesn't matter. But the HB buzzes less than my Lakland. And the single coil Roswell pickups don't have the same 60-cycle hum I was getting out of the Lakland pickups. It's fascinating. When I solo one of the pickups on my Lakland, even just a little, I get some hum. It's to be expected from single coil pickups and is part of their inherent tone and charm. But when I solo one of the Roswell pickups, even all of the way, I get no hum at all. Maybe they're wired to somehow defeat the hum. I don't know. The only negative tone-wise is that I do find the bass to be a very “clanky” with the pickups and tone knob on full. Way too much high end coming through. I have to roll the tone knob down quite a bit to calm the clank, but once I get it dialed in, it's perfection. And it makes my Tech 21 YYZ pedal absolutely sing. Of course, it's no Lull. That would be silly. But it will likely kick my Lakland (a bass that costs about 10x as much new) off the top jazz spot in my arsenal. I am thrilled with the purchase.
My only other complaint is not about the bass itself, but the shipping process. I do intend to let Thomann know that the box was completely destroyed in places when the bass/case arrived. The bass did not escape unscathed. But there was surprisingly little damage compared to the utter destruction of the box. Just a chunk taken out of the top of the headstock. Not enough to return the bass for, but certainly enough to be frustrated by. Especially given the number of complaints I’ve read online about their basses being damaged by overseas shipping to the US. They have GOT to start packing them better. It will save them money on returns. The bass had poked through both the top (by the top of the headstock) and bottom (by the strap pin) of the box, damaging the top of the bass. There was little to no padding inside, despite being double-boxed. I decided when I ordered it that if I liked this bass, I was going to order another, but I don’t think I will now, because I don’t want to risk it. If you’re local, or at least on the same continent, it would be far less of a concern.