Plugging in, I noticed the side-by-side Fralin pickup approximates a conventional P bass pickup with very little noise. Checking out the setup with my little steel ruler, I found the pickup poles to be 1/4" away from the strings (when fretted on the last fret). A usual string-to-pole-piece distance is 1/8", and once you get much farther away from the strings, bottom end and volume start to diminish. Hahn explained that this was a design choice in the interest of getting more of an acoustic-like tone. I tested it with his setup, but then pulled the pickup and added a piece of foam under it to bring it up to a more conventional distance. The change in output and bottom end was obvious.

Other than the pickup height, the bass was set up just how I like it: Neck relief was minimal and string height was about 3/32" at the octave. The 6150 nickel-alloy frets were beautifully leveled, crowned, and polished. And the 9-pound weight was ideal.

Taking the Hahn into Action
I was fortunate to try out the Model 22 in a few performance settings. At a moderately loud blues jam (with guitar, keys, sax, harmonica, drums, and vocals), it needed a little extra volume bump on an Ampeg SVT-3PRO (with a 1x15 cab) to keep up. I also found myself playing harder than usual, but I was surprised that the Hahn handled the extra attack without rattling or going out of control. It was one tight-playing bass, and the highly focused tone helped the Model 22 cut through the very muddy acoustics of the club.

In a small studio rehearsal (with guitar, harmonica, and vocals), the finer, more subtle tone characteristics were more noticeable. Running into my small Euphonic Audio head and a 1x12 cab with tight low end, the clarity and ringing, piano-like sustain were very apparent. By adjusting the tone control and varying right-hand technique, I could coax loads of tones out of the Model 22. Interestingly, few were what I’d consider definitively vintage-Fender tones, but this a truly multivoiced performer all the same.

The Verdict

The Hahn Model 22 is an instrument of the highest quality from top to bottom. Its design elements produce a modern-sounding instrument in an understated, vintage-looking package. If you’re looking for a trusty workhorse that can thump out a fat foundation for blues, rock, or roots music, there may be cheaper alternatives. But if your musical endeavors take you to where purity, sustain, and definition are essentials, the Model 22 is a potential match made in heaven.

Buy if...
you need a super-high-quality, painstakingly constructed bass with tone that stands out from the herd.
Skip if...
affordability is more of a concern than stellar tones and top-shelf quality.

Street $3200 - Hahn Guitars -