So far the Höfner 500/1 knock-off is still the front-runner, but in part that’s because I’ve had a hell of a time finding any other comparably-priced hollow bodied basses to play with. $1,300 Gretsches aren’t under consideration. The Rogue VB100, ordered from Musician’s Friend, is still the best deal I’ve found, at $230, but if I’m going for a viol-shaped bass I’m tempted by the blonde spruce-topped, purfled Jay Turser version which seems to be about $80 more. I just find sunburst paintjobs kinda tacky.
I’d very much like to locate one of Turser’s JTB-3’s locally — it’s a double-cutout archtop clone of the Höfner 500/7 “Verithin” — but so far have only found it available online from Instrument Pro, about whose shipping and customer service I’ve not read nice things.