Harley Benton B-550FL BK Progressive Series


5-String Fretless Electric Bass

  • Body: Alder
  • Bolt-on neck made from Canadian maple
  • Modern D profile
  • Fretboard: Black walnut
  • Scale: 864 mm (long scale)
  • Nut width: 45 mm
  • Double action truss rod
  • Pickups: 2 humbuckers with active preamp
  • 1 Balance, 1 bass, 1 treble and 1 volume knob with push/pull function (active/passive)
  • Black hardware
  • Die-cast machine heads
  • String gauge: 045 - 130
  • Colour: Black, high-gloss
Available since December 2013
Item number 317319
Sales Unit 1 piece(s)
Lefthand Model No
Colour Black
Number of strings 5
Body Alder
Neck Maple
Fretboard Black Walnut
Scale Long Scale
Pickup System HH
Elektronic Aktive, Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
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183 Customer ratings

4.5 / 5

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145 Reviews

first impression B-550FL and two weeks later.plus gigs.
Anonymous 24.06.2014
There are not many reviews, it's a new model.
Got mine after 6 days on monday, it feels longer if you want it in the weekend...

Anyway, the bass looks good. The Thomann picture was not of the original bass, when i got mine, and mentioned it to them, they changed it to the right ones. In real life it's a nice professional looking Bass. (My other basses are a great Spector NS2004 and a trusty JazzBass.)

The neck and body sound tight, not hollow as some cheap woods can sound like.
The strings are roundwound. Not very good ones. I had a set of Daddario chrome flat wounds. They are 35-40 euro, depending were you get them.
Really old school ;) they feel good on this bass. This set might last for ever ;)

First oiled the fretboard. Dunlop lemon oil. It liked that a lot. Then straightened the neck a little, trussrod works very wel.

The bridge is a bit strange for me, but it works ok. Interesting.
Set-up intonation was ok!
The battery has a special battery holder. Clever.

The position markers on the side of the neck are right in the place were the note should be, on the third, fifth etc fret position.

Functions: four rotating knobs are: 1-master volume, 2-neck and/or bridge pickup, 3-bass,4-treble.
Pickup-blend and tone knobs have a slight dent in the middle position. No visible markers.
Since the web description of the bass was inaccurate when i bought it, it was a surprise the volumepot is a push pull switching potmeter. It bypasses the active system, has a nice sound of its own and you can still play when your battery is dead. When not in active mode, the bass pot gives hardly any change in lows, the treble pots functions as with any other bass. The push pulls pot gives a very loud click through your speakers and tweeter so beware. (Had to resolder the joints and fix a possible short circuit with a loose wire to fix: extreme noise but no disconnection of the active circuit when switching. First production bass i guess.)

sound: the original round wound B string and the 130 Daddario B-string sound a bit like a very loose bass string, but usable enough. Lots of lows.

The Jaco mwaahs can be made, didn't play very loud yet. Edit, with high volume also good.
Sounds really fretless, like Jaco, Paladino, and the bass player on "Boy in the Bubble from Paul Simon.

It is a good modern bass, with new strings it's about 200 Euro. That is not a lot of money!

Edit: because of the really hot weather on and of, the neck was not stabile, after initial setting up, it became too concave. I hope the neck is factory dried enough, and remains stable for now. next week after live shows i'll report back;)
**And i'm lucky, the neck stayed ok, in- and outdoors.
The active preamp gives a rounded extra bass/low and brighter highs. My Spector goes twice as loud, so i had to really turn it down to switch bases. Spector can handle it splendidly of course.. Nonetheless, time for an AB switch.

As with all new gear, in a few weeks /month i'll know if the sound will last.
My HB P90 gold top passed this test already, gave me confidence on the HB guitar brand.

Extra: Still was not really comfortable with the bass after one year of use. The bridge could not be lower enough for my taste. When i took the neck of for a shim, i found out it was factory shimmed... when i took it out the bass was perfect again.
My band members like the sound of fretless. Not the half notes i'm off sometimes of course ;)


Fantastic value 5 string fretless
Anonymous 09.03.2017
I was looking for a budget 5 string fretless when I came across this. I mainly wanted a backup for my 5 string fretted and we do a few numbers where a fretless adds something. I could not believe the price and thought it would be a waste of money. However I read whatever reviews I could find and given Thomann's 30 day return policy and 3 year guarantee, I thought it would be worth a look so I bought one. It is not the best bass in the world, but then you would not expect it to be. There are 1 or 2 minor issues - the nut is a bit rough, the control knobs all have different levels of resistance, you wouldn't find the machine heads and pickups on a £2,000 bass. Not much else really. Good points - the neck joint looks a really good tight fit. It has push/pull active/passive switch on the volume knob. It has a quick change battery box. With the addition of a small amount of effects, I was able to get a decent fretless tone. Given the dozens of basses I have owned, I would put this in the £400-500 bracket. Not expensive but punching way above its £126 price tag. Obviously if you are a virtuoso fretless soloist, this would not be the bass for you. However I would not let the price put you off if you have similar objectives to mine. My understanding is that Thomann have these made in China directly for themselves (er . . doesn't a certain other well known bass manufacurer do this?). Factory to website, no middle men, no expensive marketing etc. etc. If you are looking for a work horse bass, I doubt very much that you will be disappointed. With Thomann's oustanding customer service policies, what have you got to lose?
UPDATE: the more I use this bass, the more I like it. In my case at least, the action is fairly low and suits me nicely and the intonation seems fine. I use a Zoom B3 with it and after a bit of experimentation with Chorus, Reverb etc. I have managed to build a few patches which make this fretless sound really good. I've had a few people ask me about it after gigs and it seems to impress. I had specific objectives when I tried this bass and I have to say I am very happy with my purchase. I still can't believe they can make & sell a very useable 5 string fretless for that price.


Great value, unexpected quality!
cutedaddy 25.12.2016
When i bought this ¤ 150,= fretless bass, i hoped to get a decent spare instrument for guest players, and for the fretless experiment. When you buy a low priced (probably Chinese manufacture) product you don't expect to get great quality with perfect finish. However, that is what i got: the guitar not only is quite handsome to look at, it also is technically well designed (German or British design?) and manufactured and assembled with great eye for detail.

It plays unexpectedly comfortable and easy, stays in tune (also depending on your string quality of course), and pre-set parameters are perfect: string action and spacing, intonation, etc. It has an attractive sound to it, which could perhaps be a bit more specifically fretless. This might also have to do with the pickups, or the strings i have mounted (d'Addario ECB81-5 fatwounds).
Update 17.10.2017:
Now that i'm playing it through a BBE BMax Bass Preamp since a few months, the Jaco Pastorius sound is finally there, so even if the bass itself is not particularly fretless sounding, it doesn't prevent you from attaining that sound either, without use of specific effect devices. Just find the right preamp and the right settings for you, and this bass will give you a LOT of playing fun for an incredible price!!

Played the bass for many months now, very few drawbacks so far:

Wear on the fretboard. This wood seems a bit soft (sensitive to wear by string friction), but it 'll be okay for some years of non-intensive use i suppose, when using flatwounds. These don't cause as much wear on the fretboard as roundwounds do. When going fretless on a cheap bass like this, flatwounds are the strings of choice. If i were Thomann, i'd sell this bass with flatwounds standard issue, because the rosewood fretboard was visibly damaged in the first month of playing roundwounds.

In active mode, the battery drains even when the bass is disconnected. Whenever you forget to switch the volume knob to passive position, the battery will run out in about a day.
Pulling the volume knob (passive mode) prevents this battery drain, but i tend to forget this or accidentally push it into active mode. At any rate, when your battery is out, you can still play in passive mode.

A bit annoying, even though the bass is so charmingly priced, is the fact you cannot adjust the intonation while your strings are mounted and in tune. The tiny bolts that keep the (individual) bridges in place can only be reached when you loosen or remove the string, meaning you have to adjust your intonation several times by the trial and error method, until it is exactly right. This of course only happens every time you switch to different strings, so once set you are relieved of this time consuming task for quite a while.
If you don't like to spend an hour on this task that normally just takes five minutes, you could mount a Shaller 3-D5 B replacement bridge available at Thomann.. that one looks very good and from what i can see precisely fits this guitar. Considering the upgrade...

Conclusion: have been playing it for almost a year now and still quite happy!

Addition 17.10.2017: DUNLOP Lemon oil seems to protect the fretboard pretty effectively. Since i treated the board about a year ago, the flats mounted thereafter have not caused any visible additional wear.


Great fretless bass for beginners
Alvaro Caceres 30.01.2021
My sister is a double bass player, and I've always been amazed by the expressivity/tone of the instrument and the ability to play microtonal stuff/alternative tunings... this, together with listening to Cynic, Exivious and Spiral Architect, made me want a fretless bass really bad!

I'm extremely happy with this instrument. From the perspective of a beginner, the bass sounds great and it's easy to play. Once you get used to the tone controls, you can get close to a more "jazzy", warm fretless sound. It stays in tune for a long time, and the strings are fine. And especially... it's super cheap! I believe this has a great quality considering its price.

If anything, I would say that the bass gets distorted easily with the B string, and if not you have to play it very softly which sometimes doesn't match the dynamics I'm using on the other strings. I'm not sure if this has to do with the electronics, the neck bolts or the string itself.