Here is a vintage 1970s Hohner XK-251 “Black Widow” fretless electric bass guitar. This particular Made in West Germany example is in excellent 100% all original condition.This Hohner-era example was actually manufactured after the original Bartell production had ceased. Though some sources claim that both Hohner and Acoustic continued production under the supervision of Paul Barth’s company, Bartell, the entirety of the story isn’t quite that simple. In fact, most associate the Black Widow model with the Acoustic moniker. Jimi Hendrix appeared with an early production Bartell Black Widow guitar in 1969/1970, and even though there was enough interest and momentum for production to be shifted from Bartell’s shop to the Matsutmoto Moko factory in Japan in the early ’70s, the exact history is diluted with guess work and confused details. For those whom are especially interested in the Southern California school of vintage guitar builders, then the Black Widow will always be of intrigue, considering it involved both Semie Moseley and Paul Barth, meanwhile, it is also a very interesting bass as it fills the fretless hollowbody niche, a design which few others even attempted, let alone offered. It’s a particularly cool bass that sounds unique, looks incredible, and is actually very enjoyable to play.
Though slightly difficult to photograph, this bass has an exceptional 3-piece flamed maple top. Incredibly attractive in person, it absolutely presents better than most Gibson’s with AAA tops.
Based upon the features of this particular Hohner bass, it is clear that this example is a Made in (West) Germany version, produced prior to those made in Japan using the Acoustic brand. It features: Gotoh, Schaller-style tuners, while the first examples used actual Schallers. It has entirely German-made hardware, and does not have binding like the later examples, does not sport the easily identifiable Acoustic amp knobs, has f-holes, and has (2) mis-matched metal pickups, including; one single coil and one humbucking. It is missing the original chrome bridge cover, but it is otherwise 100% all original and intact.
It is currently strung with Rotosound black nylon tape wound strings, and while most would think they just look good, they actually sound great, especially for fretless instruments. With a slim neck profile, playability is incredibly easy, and the action is low. The truss rod works fine, and the neck is resultantly straight. It weighs 10 lbs. 6 oz., and sounds good both acoustically and when plugged in.