Harley Benton PJ-74 VW Vintage Series


Electric Bass

  • Vintage Series
  • Body: Poplar
  • Bolt-on neck: Canadian maple with roseacer skunk stripe
  • Fingerboard: Amaranth
  • Dot fingerboard inlays
  • Neck profile: D
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • 20 Frets
  • Scale: 864 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Double action truss rod
  • Pickup: Roswell PBA / JBA Alnico-5 single coils
  • Controls: 2 Volume and 1 tone
  • Hardware: Deluxe chrome
  • Deluxe brass saddles
  • Classic PB-Style machine heads
  • Factory strings: D'Addario EXL .045 - .105
  • Colour: Vintage White, high-gloss
Available since August 2017
Item number 409652
Sales Unit 1 piece(s)
Colour White
Soundboard Poplar
Neck Maple
Fretboard Laurel
Frets 20
Scale Long Scale
Pickup System PJ
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
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In stock within 7-9 weeks
In stock within 7-9 weeks

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An affordable classic

Harley Benton PJ-74 VW Vintage Series Electric Bass

The PJ-74 is a four-string electric bass straight out of Harley Benton's Vintage series that delivers a classic look and sound while also being easy on the wallet. Tried-and-trusted woods meet high-quality branded pickups made by Roswell, featuring AlNiCo magnets that deliver a sound you would hardly expect at such an affordable price point. A regular single coil is used for a snappy sound in the bridge position, combined with a split coil with better noise reduction and a superior low-end response in the neck position.

Bridge on the Harley Benton PJ-74 VW Vintage Series Electric Bass

Proven ingredients

The "Vintage Series" label refers not only to the design of the PJ-74 but also to its traditional features: A poplar body in combination with a maple neck. Due to the CITES agreement, the only exception is the choice of fingerboard material: Laurel instead of the now-protected rosewood. While features such as the hefty 42mm nut width and 20 frets are common among vintage instruments, the modern D-profile of the neck and the flat fingerboard offer the comforts of a modern design. The electronics are passive, just like in the good old days, while two volume controls and one tone control are provided to allow the sound to be shaped to the player's taste. The Harley Benton PJ-74 comes strung with high-quality strings from D'Addario.

Top of the Harley Benton PJ-74 VW Vintage Series Electric Bass

Ideal for beginners

If you are at the very beginning of your musical career and are keen on starting out with a classic instrument, the Harley Benton PJ-74 is sure to be a perfect match. This bass gives ambitious beginners a classic design combined with a traditional sound as well as plenty of volume thanks to the additional Roswell JBA pickup. The PJ-74 is also great for guitarists who are looking for a second instrument to play bass once in a while, or for those who like to take care of the low end themselves in the comfort of their own home studio.

Headstock of the Harley Benton PJ-74 VW Vintage Series Electric Bass

About Harley Benton

Since 1998, the Harley Benton brand has been catering for the needs of numerous guitarists and bassists. In addition to an extensive range of stringed instruments, Thomann's house brand also offers a wide choice of amplifiers, speakers, effect pedals, and other accessories. In total, the range includes over 1,500 products. Built by established names in the industry, all Harley Benton products combine quality and reliability at attractive and affordable prices. The continuous expansion of the range ensures that Harley Benton always provides new, exciting, and innovative products that keep players perfectly in tune with the musical world, day after day.

From Rock to Soul

Admittedly, the PJ-74 is more at home in music styles like Blues, Rock, and Hard Rock, but it will also handle Soul, R&B and related genres. This is where the advantages of the powerful split-coil sound come into their own. After all, one of its great advantages is the simple integration into any mix, as it fits effortlessly into the frequency range between the drums and the guitars or keyboards. The PJ-74's punchy sound is also perfect for coaxing the desired distortion from overdrive or distortion pedals and/or tube amps.

239 Customer ratings

4.6 / 5

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183 Reviews

Fully satisfied - excellent value
Zubb 03.11.2020
I've been a (bad :) ) guitarist for the past 15 years and always felt tempted to start learning a bass guitar. My plan was to use this bass mainly for home practising and experimenting with the bass or maybe smallish jam session with friends or in the pub.
I did quite a lot of research - my top priority was playability over looks. This was my pick based on the reviews here and some youtube videos as all of them claim very good value for the money (so my expectation was quite high).
The bass arrived in good packaging and out of the box it looked very well. The finish is very good for the money. Nice color of the body and matching headstock, neck with a great wood texture and satin finish. The frets are nicely done and there are no sharp edges. There are small flaws around the truss rod hole and the place where the neck joins the body. The pickguard has some very small flaws around the edges. It is covered with a thin film, which can be removed and the looks and feel of it will greatly improve. All in all I am just nitpicking here - the finish is really good and I wouldn't be bothered by it for instruments costing twice the money of this one.
From playability perspective the bass is amazing and very well setup out of the box. Bass arrived almost in tune. The intonation (through saddles on the bridge) is well setup and the intonation across the fretboard is good (checked with a tuner), the neck is straight. The same applies to the action (though I adjusted it to my taste). The bridge, nut and tuners feel cheap (you can actually find them to be low cost parts on aliexpress), but do their job. I had some issues with rattles in the bridge, but that got resolved by playing with it a bit. The pickups work fine and give a nice tone (nothing really fancy, but works well). Again, amazing value for the money - the bass is perfectly playable.
All in all I am very satisfied and happy with this purchase - I've been playing the bass every day for the past month and I am still enjoying it (and haven't found any more serious flaws yet). Just like the others I don't understand what kind of magic HB does in order to deliver that good bass for the money.


Overall, an amazing instrument, well worth the money. UPDATE.
Hermesbass 18.03.2021
Ok, it's not a vintage Fender Precision but for the money, this bass is certainly pretty close. I bought this model on reviews I found online, with a view to modifying it.

Certainly, the tuners are not brilliant and the electronics could benefit from shielding - some copper tape will sort this out. The pickups are fine to be getting on with especially the split pickup - very gutsy. For that matter, the single coil bridge pickup is no more noisy than a Fender counterpart; single coils are noisy unless they're hum-cancelling - but, you knew that especially if you've ever owned a 'jazz' bass.

The fret job on this particular instrument is again 'ok' but there are one or two rough fret ends that slipped through QC - but, nothing that a once-over with a fret file won't sort out. I had to set the bass up - a small turn of the truss rod and adjustment on the bridge for string height - done.

The general quality of the bass is great and it 'feels' like a pricier instrument. I had returned an HB JB75 because at around 5kg, it was just too heavy although again, a superb instrument and cheaper than the one I'm reviewing. In an ideal world, I would swap the neck as I really loved the profile of the JB75's, however, this instrument has a great neck too, but the profile is obviously, 'Precision' spec. It still plays like a dream after my set up. Who knows, it may be on the mod list later on. For now, it's really the tuners that I intend to replace with Wilkinson's - cheap and efficient. I'm happy with the stock Roswell pickups - they do the job and the bass sounds great recorded.

The neck pocket is really tight and aesthetically, the bass looks great with the cream finish (off white) and red tort scratchplate - classic combination. Again, in an ideal world, I'd love this bass in fiesta red who knows, another mod?

I can't say I'm too impressed with the D'Addario EXL .045 - .100 roundwound string set either and to be honest, with the amount of grime on my fingers, I'm not entirely convinced that they're genuine but again - the strings will be replaced with ones I like.

In conclusion, the main thing here is value for money and a really useable instrument that I would happily gig. I'm not even going to hide the name on the headstock; Harley Benton are making some very good basses at least, this one and the JB75 NA, that I've played.

UPDATE - I ditched the Roswell pickups in the end and replace the neck p/up with one taken from my 90's MIJ Fender Precision and the bridge p/up from my Squier Jazz - what a difference! The original Roswell p/ups were fine but now the bass sounds even better! I also replaced the strings with some unidentified round wounds I had lying around as I wasn't keen on the D'Addario's this bass came with. I also replaced the plastic nut with a bone one and oiled the fretboard with linseed oil. Now it even smells like a much more expensive instrument (plays and sounds like one too)! I have still to replace the tuners and will probably use lightweight ones rather than the Wilkinson's I intended maybe Hipshot or similar.


Great sound, a few flaws.
B K 27.02.2022
Sounds great. No issue there. This is a tone monster for being a passive bass.

Wood finish on the neck is a bit off. The skunk stripe shrunk and is not flush with the rest of the neck wood. A slight bit of fret sprout that will need to be addressed but nothing too bad. Fret ends are little sharp.

Hardware and tuners function OK. Nothing special. Quality paint finish on an alder body which is awesome at this price point. D'Addario strings too! Not no name!

Great for the price for a beginner or as a backup. A new bass player will need to know how to do a set up or know someone that can do it for them. Truly not a lot to be done but after a trip across the pond it will need some work.

This bass would be a great mod platform but is not bad as is.

Overall I'm happy to add this to the collection!


Excellent bass at any price
Salsa_Lover 27.02.2024
For reference, my main bass is a fretless American Deluxe Jazz bass from 1997, Suhr era pickups and active electronics, this is a wonderful bass which I played for years.
I had bought an American Deluxe Ash Jazz bass from 2003 and a American Deluxe Precision from same era so with the Humbucker pickup, I sold them both 67years ago because as the fretless was my main bass for everything Jazz, Salsa etc I didn’t use them much and I wasn’t playing enough to justify to have them sitting at home, I only kept my trusty fretless.

Now that I am getting back to play, I wanted to get me a fretted bass preferably a Precision bass. So I found on the ads a second hand Sire V7 Ash, 1st generation for 300CHF.

The Sire is a superb bass specially for slap and Marcus Miller style, superb sound and good quality, with only three minus for me, is big, heavy (compared to my Am Deluxe that is smaller and lighter) and has a shiny polyester finish in the back of the neck that I dislike.

So I was looking into the second generation Sire, specially the P7 Model in Vintage white, well that costs around 550 so maybe the budget could be set at around 1000 that would have the Fender Vintera II series and the Fender Player and Player Plus in contention.

I went to all shops to try them all. I tried the Player, Player Plus, Vintera, American Pro, American Vintage, Sire P7… and also tried some guitars and ended buying the Vintera 50s modified that has the right sound, has a beautiful vintage look ( Daphne Blue ) but has modern neck profile and satin finish in the back, I felt in love with that Strat and bought it immediately.

But for bases it was a more difficult decision, I was almost ready to buy The Precision Vintera II that looks and sounds like I want, but the curved fretboard and glossy polyester back of the neck, made it to not feel right.
The Player sounds good has the modern fretboard radius and satin neck, but the Pao Ferro doesn’t look appealing to me.
The Player Plus seemed to check all boxes, but strangely has a Passive Mode without Tone Control which makes is unusable.
The Sire P7 was sold out everywhere with a long foreseeable delivery time.

So I looked into this Harley Benton PJ-74 wich looks great and offers a PJ Configuration that was interesting I was doubting it, as how good could it be for only 166CHF ?

It is actually very very good, the fit and finish is superb, the fret job first class, modern profile with satin finish, is beautiful, vintage style but modern like the Vintera modified , not heavy and the P sound has nothing to envy all the other bases I tested.

Is indeed what I wanted, just like if fender had decided to prodive a Vintera 60s modified Precision, but for a lot less.

The only criticism I have is that the J Pickup is rather weak compared to the P Pickup, I searched on the net and seems to be a common problem, not only of Harley Benton but also Squiers and passive Fenders have this same problem.

And I think is because the P Pickup is strong like a Humbucker and overpowers the J Pickup that is a single coil, I guess getting a stacked J humbucker would resolve the problem, and give the price of this bass I can upgrade it with that and then it will be great, the P Pickup doesn’t need upgrade, is good as it is.

So next step ? I will order a JB-75 when is available and a stronger J pickup for this bass and I will sell the Sire.

Thanks Thomann !


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