Harley Benton PB-50 SB Vintage Series

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jsf86, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. jsf86


    Jan 11, 2021
    F0B8655A-8C76-4DEA-AC41-6C90C70EE982.jpeg FF78878A-47F7-4F65-AFF6-30BCB1A7009F.jpeg If you've been thinking about getting a Harley Benton, but have been unsure, do it! I own multiple Fender p's and was just looking for something cheap as a project. I couldn't of been more pleasantly surprised when I opened the box. The color is beautiful and it came nicely packaged (double boxed) The neck is what I was most impressed with for the price. No sharp fret edges and a very smooth, lacquer free feel. If I am ever in the market for a cheap bass again, it will definitely be another Harley Benton.
  2. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    Yeah, HB gives great value! I have a handful, but I am most surprised at all you get in their Enhanced series, of which I have 2.
    Volker Kirstein and jsf86 like this.
  3. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug

    Harley Benton is mega bang-for-your-buck. I own a few. I love my PB50!
    bass katherine j2.jpg
    This is just mocked up. The neck swap is still in process, because I'm scared to drill into a virgin neck.
    B-Mac and dabbler like this.
  4. LeesGotitSimple


    Mar 9, 2021
    Has anyone tried switching out the Roswell pickup in this for a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound single coil? Seems like it could take the sound from pure vintage to more of a power rocker - i'm hoping to mod this a little bit and make it more of a growly punk/funk machine, rather than more motown-pocket-bass style. The look and the price and the general P-simplicity are right.

    if not this i'm strongly considering HB's rickenbacker-style RB-414, but i'm just not sure about that whole scene
  5. For the Motown sound string with flats and roll the tone back. Punk leave the roundwounds on, leave the tone up, play harder.

    I never gave any thought to changing the RB 414 pickups, if I had the time again I'd look at Dave Konig's Retrovibe HI-Gains or the Eric Customs from Ey Guitars.
    cratz2 likes this.
  6. LeesGotitSimple


    Mar 9, 2021
    so you've played both? my concern is the sharp bound edges on the RB-414 being bothersome to my playing arm, or that the rick-style sound might be less moldable than a P? I'm leaning toward the RB as i talked with someone else who changed out the pickup in the PB-50 several times and found barely any difference. makes me think maybe the straight-across single coil isn't the way, but rather if i want that i should wait a bit and get a decent straight-up split-coil P and mod away on that rather than this vintage pb-50
  7. The conservative count is I've owned 140 basses, who knows how many I've played in the last 40 years :laugh:

    Can I ask why the fixation with modding basses you haven't played ? This is not a dig, I'm merely trying to gauge your goals. For many, especially newcomers, modding is just throwing brand names on to a bass, it's form over function.

    "The car drives better since I put a Momo knob on the gear stick"

    I take it you are on a limited budget going on the basses you mentioned. That's cool, the Harley Bentons are great affordable basses and 100 times better than the rubbish many of us started on. If you want a standard P-bass then the PB-20 is hard to beat, don't let the price fool you it reflects Thomann's high sales/low profit business models not the quality.
    buldog5151bass, B-Mac and cratz2 like this.
  8. LeesGotitSimple


    Mar 9, 2021
    no offense at all - i've never modded anything and just have probably been reading too many forums and watching too many youtubes and getting caught up in the "mod project" thing everyone seems so into.

    i'd prefer to not mod at all - i got no skills and no tools, but i do want a kick-ass sounding rig, naturally.

    I was just concerned with PB-20 after reading some reviews/videos that i'd be in for major modding - i've read the pickup is weak and the quality just isn't much, which is expected at such a deep bargain. i'm not a beginning bassist (though i am pretty broke) so the PB-20 just maybe seemed too much "beginner bass" to me - maybe with some light mods it could growl like P? Again i know nothing of mods, all this talk of shielding and pots and grounding and routing is above my paygrade. pretty sure i could get a solder-on-new-pickup job done, but i'm not tryna take apart a whole guitar and put a new finish and new bridge and new tuners and blah blah.

    i'm thinking i'm just going to get the RB-414 and let that be my thing for a while. always dug that rick sound, i'm getting a nice amp this weekend on a deal (ampeg 210) and i'm looking into maybe a compressor/distortion/eq like the fender downtown express to give me more tone options. i'm certain i'd leave the pickups and everything alone in the RB so that sounds like a better use of my time.

    reall appreciate the feedback
    cratz2 likes this.
  9. @LeesGotitSimple

    That's great, thanks for clearing things up. Modding just for the sake of it is an easy trap to fall into, internet forums only encourage it :roflmao: Take this place, 15 thousand discussions on technique but a whopping 56 thousand pickup discussions :jawdrop:

    I've played a few PB-20s, thought they nailed the P-bass tone just great. Thing is if you don't think it's the bass for you I'll drop the matter. There's no shortage of basses to choose from so no point in dwelling on one you don't fancy :thumbsup:

    The Ampeg combo is an excellent choice. Play around with the settings before going down the pedals road, you may find you don't need anything else. Secret to a good compressor is you only notice it when it's not there :)

    The RB 414 visuals give a nod in RIC direction but I'm not convinced it sounds exactly like one. Then again the Ric tone thing is complicated. Chris Squires sounds different to Geddy Lee, neither sound like Lemmy :laugh:

    50 years on folks still debate on which tracks Macca played his Hofner or was it his Ric :roflmao:

    Notice I never said the RB 414 was a bad sounding bass, found it to be a very cool bass with great build quality.

    My advice is get a bass you like the look of, if it's pleasing to the eye you'll be more likely to play it. Play it often, try different EQ settings, mix up your playing position (nearer the bridge or closer to the fretboard). After awhile give thought to a different style of string, maybe swap the cap values.

    I'll be interested to see what choices you make and how they pan out further down the line.
    Minimalist likes this.
  10. LeesGotitSimple


    Mar 9, 2021
    I am so massively appreciative of your replies!

    I think if the RB is somewhat evocative of rick tone, which it is from the multiple youtube sound samples i've heard, but not an exact 1:1 tone wise, that'll actually be perfect.

    i'm just hoping covid gets done with so i can start a new band in the new town i moved to. i had an experimental performance thrash-funk band prior to this, and i played my viola-body bass through a big fender tube guitar amp and overdrove it, tone was beautiful, if a bit unique. prior to that played same bass clean through a combo/cab in a kind of 90s-style hard-er rock band, that was fun too. hoping to start a more straight-rock punk-dance type of fun band here, now, and covid boredom got me thinking a new bass with some more grit in the tone like a P or a Rick would do me good.

    think i'm pretty sold on the RB 414, but i'll definitely toy with it and the amp before getting into effects - i was never a big effects guy anyway, like to just let my playing do the talking, no fancy tricks

    have you been able to do any group projects this past year? been a real bummer
    kodiakblair likes this.
  11. Not a single thing :(

    Scotland has been locked down tighter than a drum. I've lost all motivation, even building basses has become an effort.
  12. LeesGotitSimple


    Mar 9, 2021
    scotland hey? i saw your username and thought maybe you were in Alaska - that's where i just left and had most of my band history at. thought that would be a wild coincidence

    bought the RB-414. probably change the strings, and maybe cruise the forums a bit more for small upgrade tips. I highly doubt i'll try changing pickups or anything big like that
  13. No, Scotland all my days.

    When I was younger I fancied wrestling bears like the fella up the road, Andy Robin.

    Dan Haggerty had the "Grizzly" moniker so I went one better and claimed Kodiak :laugh:

    Upgrade tip.

    The string saddle rods are held under tension. Fix those rods to the saddle with epoxy or similar, that way they can't get lost during a string change :thumbsup:
  14. Sorry to resurrect an old thread - thinking of picking one of these up. Anyone know what the neck is finished/sealed with? I think I would want to tint the neck if I get one based on the pictures I have seen, so just curious. I emailed Thomann also and haven’t heard back yet so thought I’d ask here.
  15. It's a thin satin finish.
    Dan_reeves likes this.
  16. Satin poly, or lacquer? I was hoping it was poly, as I have plenty on hand.
  17. No idea , it's a thin coat that'll take a key with a green Scotch pad.
    Dan_reeves likes this.
  18. Vodyanoi


    Mar 24, 2020
    If it was lacquer, mine should have already disintegrated since I have it on a wall hanger since day 1.

    That is, unless it needs a really long time for lacquer to propagate when it's in constant contact with the foam that's usually used on stands, hangers etc.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
  19. Thomann responded with “it’s a satin polyurethane lacquer”… so in other words they didn’t know either.
  20. Actually they answered correctly. In Germany; paint , varnish and lacquer all have the same noun "Lack".