Harley Benton PJ-74 VW Vintage Series

153

Electric Bass

  • Vintage Series
  • Body: African alder
  • Bolt-on neck: Canadian maple with skunk strip made from roseacer (thermally treated maple wood)
  • Neck profile: D
  • Fretboard: blackwood (Pinus radiata)
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • 20 Frets with dot inlays
  • Scale: 864 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Double action truss rod
  • Pickups: Roswell PBA / JBA Alnico-5 single coils
  • 2x Volume & 1x tone controls
  • Deluxe chrome hardware
  • Deluxe brass classic PB-style machine heads
  • Strings: D'Addarío EXL .045 - .105
  • Colour: Vintage White, high-gloss
available since August 2017
Item number 409652
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Colour White
Soundboard Alder
Neck Maple
Fretboard Blackwood
Frets 20
Scale Long Scale
Pickup System PJ
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
$158
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Z
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.
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H
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.
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BK
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!
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as
Beautifull but quality...
andrei salov 21.01.2022
It's my first bass.
I love it. It is really beautfull and sounds good as I can estimate.
but there are some little problrms with quality:
Bridge mounted not acurately on its place, so strings (most of all G and D strings) are not right between magnets. On single pickup all 4 string are not ok. Frets got out a little "from the box" and little more in 3 months.

But!
I love this instrument. It inspires me to practice every day.
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