Harley Benton PB-50 SB Vintage Series

674

Electric Bass

  • Vintage Series
  • Poplar body
  • Bolt-on neck made of Canadian maple
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • C neck profile
  • Fretboard inlays: Dots
  • 20 Frets
  • Scale: 864 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Double-Action truss rod
  • Pickup: 1 Roswell VTN4 Vista Alnico-5 PB-style single coil
  • 1 Volume control and 1 tone control
  • Classic PB-Style machine heads
  • Deluxe chrome hardware
  • Standard chrome bridge
  • Stringing: D'Aaddario .045 - .100
  • Colour: 2-Tone high gloss sunburst
available since September 2013
Item number 307763
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Sunburst
Soundboard Basswood
Neck Maple
Fretboard Maple
Frets 20
Scale Long Scale
Pickup System J
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
$91
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a
honest review
audra 18.01.2017
Having been a guitarist (6 String) for about 30 years i decided to dabble into bass for a new challenge. i own a few basses, mostly i prefer short scale because it just suits what i am used to. have owned a few long scale Ps and Js but never got on with them due to finding them difficult . having taken one last gamble on a longscale i decided to choose this guitar (mainly due to price and looks). here are the findings after receiving , unboxing and playing the bass.
1. the instrument arrived before i even expected it , and it would have been less protected if it was wrapped in lead (ok slightly over egged , but it was wrapped very very well !)in a box within a box with loads of bubble wrap and polystyrene to keep it safe.
2. oh god its pretty ! its absolutely faultless as far as looks go. not a blemish, mark or defect.
3. set up is acceptable. i use the word acceptable because we all have different tastes and playing styles , so having a guitar to your liking is only possible if you have a guitar built or set up to your particular specifications or you are extremely lucky and find one that was made with your name on it from the start. My particular preference was a lower action, half a turn with the supplied allen key on the bridge saddles got me the desired action with no buzzing.
4. the sound is far beyond its price. plugged it in to my HB CBX110 amp and after adjusting the settings that i use on my eb0 bass a bit, it sounded fantastic ! warm and defined lows right through to clear but still punchy highs.
5. The neck. it comes fitted as standard with a special magic neck ! every time i look at it i see a long scale neck , but when i look away and start playing it magically seems to transform in to a nice low and easy short scale neck ! I cant even remember playing a guitar this naturally easy ever ! my fingers just seem to know the fretboard without trying.
so in short its very very good . will not tell you that its worth 5, 10 15 times more than its price , or sounds as good as a ?? because im not that experienced in bass to give an informed opinion on stuff like that. but if you are looking for a new purchase i will urge you to part with a small sum of money for a unbeleivably well made bit of kit. well done thomman 23,1.19 i will update this post . having owned this bass for 2 years now , and i will testify that this bass is still played as much as it was done when i first owned it. i now own much more expensive basses , but the sound and the playability of this bass makes it my "special one" i have since ordered another 3 harleys , and dont regret a single purchase. once again thank you for MY special bass.
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Totally Worth The Price Tag
Chords 21.09.2018
First up, this is my first purchase from Thomann, great website, good communications and delivery. The guitar was well packed, box in a box padded with loads of airbags (recyclable too), thus far a very positive experience.

I have played bass for the past 8 years or so and have a couple of UAS Fenders, I wanted to learn how to fix things and set up guitars properly but didn't want to set about my expensive gear until I knew what I was doing so was looking for cheap bass to learn on. I had been looking for a 50s style P Bass for some time and came across this example. Having read the previous reviews I felt confident that this was going to be a good purchase and I can report that I am not disappointed. Everything said here is in reference to the price, just over £100, its important to keep this in mind.

The first impression on unboxing was very good, a nice shiny guitar that looked the part, the finish on the body is high gloss and without flaws, the clear coat is a little on the thick side but that is not a deal breaker, the wood is not going to be high end tone wood so that wouldn't impact the sound in any meaningful way, will most likely stand up to a bit of heavy handed treatment too! The wood grain is a photo laminate on the back and front, hides what I suspect is a multiple piece body typical of cheap guitars, not that obvious unless you look hard, this would not "relic" well so will be kept stock (I don't fancy stripping all that clear coat off either). I removed the scratch plate and control plate, to remove the protective films, and saw lots of sawdust underneath, dusted it all out and refitted, would recommend doing the same if you get one.

Hardware is fine, cheap but functional, tuners work and keep their tune well, the nut is very good, particularly this price point, far better that the standard Far East produced items I have encountered over the years. Also the bridge is decent too, fully adjustable for intonation and radius. Pots are smooth and quiet, the tone control actually does what it is supposed to do, not just add mud, a good range of pleasing tones can be produced. Strap buttons are poor, not enough of a groove to hold a strap securely enough for my liking (I have fitted straplocks).

The pickup is really good, I like the tone it produces, great lows and mids and can growl with the best of them, sustains well too. (I compared with my full fat USA P Bass, fared well - recalling the cost of the HB bass!) it seems to be quite "hot" and responds to the amp, may require less gain to calm things down a bit, but is fun to experiment with.

The neck is a peach, fat as a 50s should be, well finished in satin lacquer, I would say that a beginner or someone with small hands (child?) might find this, well, a bit of a handful, my other basses are much skinnier necked so took me a while to adjust, but this plays well. The frets came largely unfinished, the ends were ok and seemed to be crowned but zero effort in terms of polish. I set about this task with 1200 grit and then 0000 wire wool, and a couple of hour later, they were smooth and shining like new pins. They were nice and level too which was good news. The neck pocket is well routed, and importantly, is unpainted, ensuring "wood to wood" contact between the body and neck, helps with tone, you tend not to see this on guitars at this price point.

I was expecting to spend time setting this guitar up properly, however the intonation was spot on out of the box, neck relief was fine, just a tweak to lower the action at the bridge end to suit me, no string buzz or choking, really happy with how this plays now.

All in all, money well spent. I intend to continue to learn how to do stuff to this guitar and I am sure that it will become a regular player for home and rehearsals with the band. It's a fine guitar for the money, looks great and sounds good too. Maybe I got lucky and got a good one, set up at the factory by someone who cared but, given the raft of positive reviews both on this site and the internet in general, I don't think the risk of getting a dud is that high.

To make it play really well, I would suggest, as a minimum, polish the frets, take a few hours, will be well worth the effort (YouTube has tones of videos on this) set up the intonation and bridge, you may not have to do much here, and the just grab it and enjoy that fat juicy pick up.
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Outstanding value, Terrific bass
Charlie28711 08.05.2020
I already own 3 Fender P basses in straight P and PJ configuations. I always wanted a '51 P bass but not at the price the big "F" is asking. I also have been VERY pleased with the 4 other Harley Benton basses I've bought. So getting this HB PB-50SB Vintage Series was automatic. I read the reviews and never even considered the more expensive Squire.
I use this for mostly punk and it just nails it. Great tone Stays in tune and looks really nice.
It's simple and elegent in it's simplicity.
As has so far been my experiance out of the box it was undamaged from overseas shipping and only needed a minor set up and tuneup to be ready to play.
At 8.6 pounds it is a full 2.2 pounds lighter than my HB Jazz bass. The neck is approrpriatly chunky as it should be for that model without being bat-ish and is very playable. All the fret work was well done. No sprout, sharp ends, buzzing or dead spots. The single pickup needed to come up a bit but right at "F" spec. I feel no need to change either pickup or pots.
All around a solid ***** star bass.
*Update Nov. !8, 2020* I upgraded the stock pickup which was fine by itself. I put in a Seymour Duncan SCPB-3 Quarter Pound Single Coil P-Bass Pickup for a deeper bottom end thump. Sound and tonewise I'd put it up the original any day.
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Simple bass with a great sound
automaciej 03.08.2022
I bought this bass to travel to the summer school of jazz in Sligo. I didn't want to travel with my other, more expensive instruments. I also didn't want to draw attention. The plan worked perfectly. It also turned out that it has an awesome tone, which works great with jazz and funk.

There were some issues I needed to sort out after the purchase:
- frets had painful sharp edges, I needed to file them down
- the nut had a sharp edge, needed to be filed down
- the bass needed a setup; I needed to adjust the truss rod, the action, and intonation (this is expected with a new bass)
- some teething problems, like the jack socket screw going loose

Once I set it up, the bass was comfortable to play, and in tune.

The pick up can be a little noisy sometimes, so I built the habit of turning the volume knob down when I'm not playing. (It's a good habit to have anyway.) It's expected with the old style, single coil pickup.

The biggest surprise was the tone. I am a fan of late 1970's Herbie Hancock records such as Sunlight, where the rhythm section was Byron Miller on bass and Ndugu Chancler on drums. Same rhythm section as on 1970s and 1980s George Duke records. I think that Miller played the '60s style (not '50s style) Precision, but the 50s style precision produces a similar tone. I enjoyed playing funk tunes with the vintage tone!

I wouldn't use it for practicing at home, because higher quality instruments teach more nuance. Then you can pick up this 50s style bass and see what you can do with it.

Overall, I'm keeping this bass in my bass collection. It'll be the one to carry when going to a jam session and look inconspicuous. If I find myself playing it more, I'll replace it with a Fender Squier just to enjoy a higher quality build with fewer rough edges.
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