Harley Benton RB414CS

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kodiakblair, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. I've had this for 6 days now and feel I can comment on it. So here we have the RB414CS
    RB414 (2).jpg

    Now right of the bat many will jump to conclusions as to what it is and what it isn't so I'll explain who makes it. The Harley Benton is the own brand by Thomann. Thomann are the largest musical instrument retailer in Europe, a family run business with 1120 employees and sales over $648 million (2013). They've been in business since 1954,starting from the family farm,so they are a big player.

    They are also a Rickenbacker dealer.

    This bass was released back in September this year so if there was any doubt as to it's legality it wouldn't have happened.I mention all this as I really can't be bothered with the hoohah that follows
    the Chickenbackers threads.

    Re-cap. Legal bass from large respected European company who also sell Rics,not sold via Aliexpress
    using pictures from the internet to sell a product.

    That out the way what about the bass. Well like all Harley Bentons it's priced below $300, they operate a low profit/high sales model. This means you get more bass for your money and their brand reputation increases.

    This bass is my 6th from Thomann ranging from the basic model PB-20 to the BZ 4000, none of these have had problems in fact all have been really good.I plan on adding another in the new year.I'm not a fan of Rics but I bought this for the same reason I buy Peavey basses, I'm a fan of family owned companies that deliver quality at a good price.

    A long scale semi hollow with a mini humbucker and a large SC bridge pickup. Set maple and rosewood neck. Binding and a clear sunburst finish. 2V 2 T and a 3 way selector. Nothing out the ordinary there.
    I bought this one strung with flats and they're lighter than I'm used to but more than adequate.
    RB414 (3).jpg
    RB414 (1).jpg

    Lows and Mids really work on the 414,Highs got a boost from the amp. I've not played a Ric in years and from memory No this did not sound like one strung with flats.The neck was comfortable and fret problems.

    Intonation is set using grub screws to lock the saddles in place and string height is set using grub screws either end of the bridge and one in the centre.

    The only things I will mention are I had a bit of bother tuning A but suspect this was the string rather than the tuner as the others were no problem. The pickup cover was a pest though if you want to remove it.It's attached using the same screws that set the pickup height so it's a case of removing the strings and pickup. Silly fault in design.

    Quite expensive for a HB it costs the same as my BZ 4000 and it's thru neck active with a ebonal fingerboard and a lovely Scyamore top. I can only think the hollow body and set neck added to the manufacturing costs.

    Bottom line if you want a good quality bass with a retro look similar to the Rimini basses Rimini-Bass-HSB.jpg

    but at a lot lower price you won't go wrong with this one.
    RB414 (4).jpg

    Cheers KB
  2. that looks great, cheers
  3. groucho


    Sep 28, 2005
    Ringwood NJ
    Bitchin' ! (oops moderator -Can I say that?)

    That looks for all the world like the neck pickup used on the Chinabackers...
  4. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Nice review. Did you have any trouble with the bridge? The pickguard, pickups, and bridge appear to be identical to all the Aliexpress Ric clones, don't know if they are chinese or korean manufacture. The Chinabacker reviews mention the bridge having no compensation for fingerboard radius. I always liked semi hollows because you can play them unplugged and get an audible woody sound. I want one!
  5. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    Thanks for the review @kodiakblair, and congratulations on another score from Harley Benton. This bass is high on my GAS list, maybe just below the SS project.

    On the subject of Artec, I have a 3 band EQ preamp from them that I used in a mod project, and although I only used it briefly before the body was taken away to be "decorated" by a friend (I am still waiting for it back), I found the Artec preamp to be pretty decent and very transparent (set flat the DiMarzios sounded the same, just louder).

    The only thing I am not sure about is the set neck, as I have never had/played one.

    Do we get sound samples?? :hyper:
  6. NealBass

    NealBass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2014
    Does it have a bridge radius? [EDIT]- Nevermind, I just saw your answer. Pickup locations seem better than Ali. Cool axe. congrats.
  7. Gilmourisgod

    Thank You.

    As I said above the bridge has 3 points to set radius,2 grub screws either end and 1 in centre, whilst it's not ideal it's an improvement
    on say the T-Bird 3 point bridge which just tilts the middle strings. The Artec pickups are Korean,they make a huge range of aftermarket
    pickups and as JACink says many preamps too.They offer a custom handwound range too as well as supply the major builders.

    Lately Thomann have been using Wilkinson pickups and hardware,yet another recognised brand,keeping to the model of best value. If they
    are sticking say £35 worth of pickups in a £190 bass once you add the bridge and tuners costs this might account for 35% of the bass.
    Unless they're getting the body,neck,strings,etc machined, finished, assembled packed and shipped for another £30 there is no way they
    are marketing these at the usual 100% mark up most companies use.

    Once you start to do a cost breakdown you see just how good value the Harley Bentons really are.

    It does sound great with the flats and if you're in the States it'll cost about $40 shipping, you've then got 30 days to decide if you like it
    if not you contact Thomann saying you want to return it. They email you a shipping label you print off repackage the bass and hand it to
    the post office.Then wait till they refund your money, the returns are free but you take the hit for the original shipping to you.

    You also have 3 years warranty as standard


    Thank you as well. Have no fear I'm sure the 414 will still be available long after the SS is finished. I've been looking at the Artec preamps
    myself mainly this one.


    It seems a very compact unit and requires next to no wiring:)

    Good luck on the delivery of the body tomorrow:D What's a year between friends ?

    The last set neck I had was an SG years ago, I must admit I never really thought about it. Owning so many Bolt-on and Thru necks the only concern I've had
    is damage a Bolt-on easy swap the neck, damage the Thru Neck swap the bass until they're repaired of course. Never abandon a bass on account of something
    trivial like a broken neck:D

    I'll look into getting some sound clips but bear in mind when I started playing Dee Dee Ramone and Glen Matlock were favourites of mines and in the 30 odd years
    since I still prefer that comfort zone. Don't expect too much in the way of chops:thumbsup:
  8. NealBass

    NealBass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2014
    Both necks on my double neck are going to be set neck. Nice return/warranty policy on yours. I'll have to check them out. Thanks.
  9. 1st paragraph CanadaNeal

    I'm sorry Fellas I just failed miserably trying to photograph the bridge. Flash is causing havoc with the chrome.

    There's 2 screws E side and 2 screws G side of the plate the saddles rest on then between A / D there is another screw,
    this lifts the middle of the plate to create an approximate radius.

    Best way I can describe it :) Haven't found any need to alter it though.
    Gilmourisgod and NealBass like this.
  10. NealBass

    NealBass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2014
    Thanks. Sorry, I saw it just after I posted and Edited my post. 2 slow I guess...:facepalm:
  11. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    How does it sound unplugged, loud enough for quiet practice?
  12. Well mine is strung with flats so that lowers the volume and up against the
    HB B-30 acoustic bass it's definitely quieter.


    but that is nearly twice the size, it really is a big bass.:thumbsup:

    If it was just yourself and using RWs yes you would here yourself but in this instance I'd say the
    hollow body largely reduces weight unplugged.

    Sorry I can't be more specific.
  13. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    Thread derail...

    I have purchased the HB-30 twice, and tried to love it on both occasions, but returned it twice. Nothing to do with the quality of the HB, I just can't seem to get one to click, I also returned Ibanez, Dean, Jack&Danny and probably a couple more I can't remember! The one that came nearest to me keeping it was a Tanglewood, but that thing was huuuuuge!!

    Anyway, back to the RB414CS show! :)
  14. Still with the thread derail.

    There's been quite a few of us in the UK buying the Deko acoustics. About 15 so far this month with prices
    averaging 50 euro. Small price for a small dink though the main problem has been they were labelled
    " Five String Fretless ":D

    For those that don't know Dekos are deemed unplayable for some reason and are sold as wall hangers.
    I've bought 3 and apart from the afore mentioned label there's been an uneven finish on the back of the
    PB-20 and a quarter turn required to the truss rod on the JB-75.

    3 basses total cost 120 euros.
  15. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    :nailbiting: Only 10 days left... I... Must... Resist :nailbiting:
  16. Rich Terry

    Rich Terry BassOmatic

    Sep 14, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    He is a website that has a bit of information about this.
    I don't own a Ric anymore but it's not hard to see that it's
    another Chinese Ric with a custom headstock for whoever wants to distribute it
    Not hard to see when it cost the same or less than the Aliexpress model.
    Thomann is a retailer not a manufacturer.

    I'd just buy a fake Ric from China if I wanted a knock off. Sorry.

  17. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    Obviously this was going to be said sooner or later, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however...

    I don't agree with you that it is a "knock off", as it is different to any Ric model that exists, and proof of that is in the OP:
    They are a Ric dealer.

    The other main difference between an Aliexpress bass and a Thomann (Harley Benton, who are obviously a chinese brand that just gives Thomann their own headstock design and brand name) is that Thomann offer 3 year gurantee and a 30 day no questions asked return policy, which they even cover the cost of shipping on. I can personally vouch for this, as I have bought and returned many things from them (not just basses) and never had an issue. They also have a separate phone number for the country you are purchasing from, and the same person who answers the phone is the person who deals with your order. Try getting and company that sells through Aliexpress to do that!

    Anyways, as I said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
    PaleAngel_90 likes this.
  18. Rich Terry

    Rich Terry BassOmatic

    Sep 14, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas

    It's just my opinion. As you know, with enough money or numbers ordered you can have any company from UK, US or China make you a headstock. Has been done for ever.
    JACink likes this.
  19. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    I agree totally, I just don't agree with the comparison between Thomann and Aliexpress companies.
    PaleAngel_90 likes this.