Harley Benton GuitarBass VS Vintage Series

77

6-String Bass/Baritone Guitar

  • Vintage Series
  • Tuning: EADGBE - one octave lower than electric guitar
  • American basswood body
  • Canadian maple bolt-on neck
  • C neck profile
  • Roseacer fretboard
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Block pearloid fretboard inlays
  • Neck binding
  • 21 Jumbo frets (2.7 mm)
  • Scale length: 762 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Double Action Truss Rod
  • Pickups: 3 HBZ Custom Wound AlNiCo5 Vintage Voiced Single Coils
  • Volume & Tone controls
  • 5-Way toggle switch
  • 3-Ply Tortoise pickguard
  • Graphite nut
  • DLX hardware
  • Tune-o-matic bridge
  • Kluson style machine heads
  • String gauges: .024, .034, .044, .056, .072, .084
  • Colour: 3-Colour Vintage Burst
  • Matching replacement strings: Art.117274 or Flatwounds Art.507919 (not included)
  • Matching gig bag: Art.142777 (not included)
available since February 2017
Item number 402283
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Sunburst
Body Basswood
Neck Maple
Fretboard Roseacer
Frets 21
Scale Shortscale
Pickup System SSS
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
$195
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77 Customer ratings

71 Reviews

HL
A genuine Bass VI for $200?!?!? Wow!
Heath L (SC, USA) 07.06.2021
I have been a fan of "Bass VI" instruments since the 90's when I first tried out a Japanese "F" brand reissue at a local shop (still kicking myself for not buying it). A few years ago I indulged myself and bought the "S" brand "vintage modified" version, and aside from a couple VERY minor complaints it is damned near perfect. When I saw Harley Benton did their own take on this unique, inspiring instrument, I had to try it. And I am glad I did!

Aside from a slightly trimmed-down body, this is very close to my "S" branded VI. The neck, while a thicker profile on the HB, is visually similar, and insets into the body at the same place as my Bass VI. The inlays look nice, and mine came with well-finished frets and binding. The pickups sound good, and are in fact fiber-base AlNiCo pickups, not cheapo bar-magnet bottom-of-the-heap pickups. The only complaint I have is I do kind of miss the individual on/off switches for the pickups, and the "strangle" switch like my real VI has. The hardware is solid, and again, if I were to complain about anything, it would be the lack of a vibrato/vibrola/tremolo (some may actually prefer this hard-tail/stopbar configuration though).

So when I got my HB, I started by adding a tiny shim to the neck to even out the action a bit, and it plays like a dream now. I then decided on two other mods to make this my go-to gigging Bass VI (I've preferred to leave my "real" one in my studio). First I added a VibraMate V5 and a Bigsby B5 vibrato so that I get my wiggle-stick action going on this one like on my other one. Secondly, I replaced the volume pot with a 1M pot, and the tone control with a push-pull pot wired as a traditional tone pot, but with the push-pull function to act as a "strangle" switch (high-pass), similar to the original design. Now this HB is every bit as versatile as my "real" Bass VI, and it really makes me want to write more songs to perform on it instead of standard guitar.

Pros:
- Excellent bang for the buck
- Nice build quality
- Sounds great
- Good hardware overall
- Fit/finish is awesome

Cons:
- No vibrato/vibrola/tremolo
- No "strangle" switch
- Neck is a tad too "beefy" for smaller hands
- Pickguard is a little plain without the metal control plates of the original design
- Only one finish option

Overall, this was a terrific first instrument purchase for me from Thomann/Harley Benton, and I really recommend it for guitarists and bassists looking to inspire some "outside the box" playing/writing. You won't be disappointed!
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D
A different kind of riff stick
Decca 26.10.2021
As a guitarist I'm most interested in the lower end, often tuning down to C, but as a bassist I end up playing chords like a guitar. So this is exactly what I've been looking for! Right out of the box this thing plays perfectly. The GBVS has a simple setup of volume, tone, and a 5-way pick-up selector that gives a wide range of sounds. The stock single-coil pickups & strings can be a little thin, especially if you're expecting a traditional bass sound, but the tone knob gives a lot of variety. And you could always change to a heavier string gauge or install different pick-ups. Cosmetically I have zero complaints. I love the offset body and neck shape, and the finish is great and light on the neck so it's easy to move your hand around. No frills needed.

It's an ideal rhythm instrument that has a distinct timbre from a bass or guitar that can give you massive backing tracks and low-end lines. Famously used by Peter Hook in New Order, Robert Smith on "Disintegration", and Glen Campbell in "Wichita Lineman", there's a lot of sonic possibilities available. I bet this would be killer for a 2-piece band, or a looper-based solo project!
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The most affordable 30" baritone and it surprisingly good!
x1055x 04.05.2022
After band Loathe came out with their baritones it totally changed metal guitarist community. After seeing pros of these guitars i knew i need one. Squiers were discontinued, aftermarket was way too overpriced i went to thomann and fount this!
I looked at the specs and they weren't that different from what i was looking after.
I bought it and within week and a half it came to local post office i grabbed it and went home unpacking. It was shipped in double box so that no damage is taken during shipping.
The guitar even though is quite affordable ships well-packaged - frets and headstock were covered in foam so that strings can't do any harm by accident.
The first day i immediately re-recorded guitars for my metal track and it was a big wow for me. Since i was working in-the-box with plugins, i had no troubles with single pickups and it's low output. I even preferred that sound over my 8-string active SD-Blackouts guitar. I think because of the tension that this scale lenght provides. All the low notes sounded well-articulated and tight. And i primarily used it at home for writing and learning. The whole guitar is made decent but it needed some minor adjustments such as truss-rod adjustments and saddle moving and few sharp fret edges but nothing critical it didn't cut hands just felt little itchy. I went little too far since i was luthier and i leveled the frets by myself and it become even better. But again, nothing major were done with that.
It's now just over 2 years i own it. And i finally decided to do the only thing that bothered me about this guitar - i've changed electronics.
As been said singles were low output and the guitar coudn't stand live applications such as metal gigs. When adding more and more gain the sound became more hissy.
What i did recently i made another pickguard (with mirror look) which has only Humbucker socket, small 2-way switch for on-off volume and jack. And now i'm finally happy with this guitar. By the way i've never been upset about it. All the regular use cases it went through it performed really well, i just couldn't stand making it little better.

Pros:
- Great shipping packaging
- Well tuned
- Paintjob and varnishing is made perfect
- Tuning stability is awesome because of great tuners used. Guitar literally never came out of tune by itself (note: string tension is way higher than on a regular scale guitar)
- Pretty lightweight for that of a scale length (subjective, my other guitar is an 8-string)
- Price

Cons:
- Few sharp fret edges
- (subjective) Low output singles (but guitar is considered to be in a vintage series so be it)
- Because of the neck lentgh it neck-dives but it's easily solved by swapping the strap button to a furniture hook with a carabiner on strap

The whole guitar is awesome for that price. All the changes i made to it were completely optional and not necessarily needed to one that considers it to buying.
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Good value
SharpEleven 26.05.2018
Unfortunately the first Guitarbass had to be returned to Thomann with a large number of faults of which one was very serious. Thomann Customer Support was very good and paid for the return carriage and sent a replacement at no extra cost to me. So this rating and review is solely about the replacement.

I really liked the idea of an inexpensive Bass VI without a tremolo arm. I had previously tried out a Fender Squier Bass VI, but the tremolo put me off completely. Plus I thought the layout of the knobs and switches, whilst authentic enough, looked rather fussy. Whereas the Harley Benton suffered from none of these disadvantages and had a much lower cost.

The finish was excellent - a lovely sunburst front and back albeit with a few inconsequential tiny lacquer splashes. The fret edges were not rough and the fretboard block inlays were nicely done. The action out of the box was reasonably good - certainly quite playable. There were no problems with the sound other than a very slight probable ground loop hum - almost imperceptible. The middle pickup seems to be reverse wound reverse polarity which is very good. However the single coils do not seem to be prone to picking up noise unless deliberately provoked and I do not think they would benefit significantly from upgrading.

Considering the very low price this was a good instrument. But of course almost any guitar or bass can be improved :)

I took the Guitarbass to my luthier to change the strings and do a set up. I like flatwound strings and chose LaBella - actually they are the only manufacturer of Bass VI flatwounds as far as I know. The correct set for this instrument is the HC6F set (for Schecter Hellcat VI) which fit perfectly for length. The 767-6F set is too long but can be made to work although far from ideal. These strings transformed the instrument for my style of playing which is mostly jazz. In particular the low E .095" string was an enormous improvement on the original .084" roundwound low E - both in terms of intonation and feel. I have another short scale (30.3") bass and use a .110" D'Addario flatwound low E on that - however the .095" LaBella flatwound holds its own in comparison.

All the new strings fitted through the tailpiece with no need to drill to a larger diameter. They also fitted through the nut with no widening required. The nut depth was very nearly spot on which is quite unusual with an inexpensive guitar. Some adjustment was required to the bridge saddles for the bottom two strings.

The luthier also changed the volume and tone pots, jack socket, and 5 way switch for higher quality components and replaced the original unshielded wiring and rather poor soldering. He did some work on a few frets including removing and replacing one. After which the action was really superb - as low as one might wish for on a guitar and no buzzing whatsoever.

He also replaced the rather thin original neck screws with genuine Fender neck screws and at the same time corrected a slight misalignment of the neck so that now the two E strings are perfectly positioned relative to their fretboard edges and the pickup polepieces. The original alignment was not terrible but in the pursuit of perfection these things have to be done.

One issue was that the channel for the truss rod wrench does not easily allow the wrench to be fully inserted into the adjustment socket - it can be achieved but great care is needed. A solution is to use a wrench with a shorter arm or to cut the supplied wrench's short arm even shorter. In any event the truss rod adjustment socket looks to be made of rather soft metal so it may be wise to take all the load off the neck before making adjustments.

Following these improvements I now have an excellent Bass VI and am very satisfied. It's a very versatile instrument which can function purely as a bass or extend up into baritone territory. It's perfectly possible to pay chords on the upper four strings above about the fifth fret. The only question mark might be on consistency of quality between individual examples as the first instrument I received was very poor.
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