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My first 5-string!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CoolHat, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. OK, here´s the deal: few months ago a guitar-playing friend of mine decided to buy a bass. And being a fan of metal and low tunings, he got himself a 5er - cheapest one he could find. Last week I got a call from him. He didn´t like the bass and asked if I knew anyone who would be interested in it.

    :confused:"What´s wrong with it?", I asked.
    :spit:"The neck is too big, the sound is crap, the strings rattle, yada yada and it´s basically a big pile of crap. "
    :rolleyes:"(Yeah right ) I see... how much are you going to ask for it?"
    :meh:"I dunno... 80 euros or so"
    :eek:"80 euros? When can I come and try it out?"

    Well, we had a date today. After a quick setup (he had set the strings so low that the thing was barely playable) and few minutes of playing my friend was 80€ richer. So, without further ado, here she is:


    It´s a Harley Benton J-clone with passive electronics and standard woods (alder body, maple neck, rosewood FB). For those who don´t know, H.Benton is the in-house brand of Thomann, a large German music store. Basically your generic Chinese cheapos coming from the same factories as all the in-house brand cheapos. The workmanship on my bass is decent. The fretwork is actually quite good and the finish is nice. The hardware, particularily the tuners, is a bit on the flimsy side, but passable. Neck is likeable, smooth satin finish and comfortable profile.

    So how´s the sound? It´s relatively dark, lacking the fullness of my MIM Jazz and the mid bite of my Neuser. Not much highs, but a decent growl. The sustain is surpisingly good (the usual dead spots not withstanding). The PUps are somewhat noisy and their output is pretty weak, but it´s nothing I couldn´t live with. The B string was a pleasant surprise. It´s not the tightest or meatiest I have encountered, but it´s nicely articulated and pretty well balanced. I´ve played worse. Much worse.

    But don´t take my word, here´s a clip:
    And for good measure here´s the same lick played with the Neuser (the strings are pretty old):

    Please ignore the sloppiness, it´s just a quick-and-dirty demo, recorded straight through a Mindprint preamp/A-D-converter, without any FX, EQ or compression.

    The bottom line: I like this bass. It may not be worth a :hyper: but I´d give it a :smug:. It´s definitely worth the 80€ I paid for it. I probably won´t take it to gigs due to the noise and suspectible tuners, but I didn´t buy it for gigging anyway. My main reason for acquiring this bass was to get a feel for a 5-stringer. As the subject says, it´s my first fiver. I want to see how I can cope with the broader neck and tighter string spacing. And most importantly, can I find musically meaningful uses for the B string. If this experiment goes well, I´ll be in for a major gear overhaul.

    So far so good: I´ve only fooled around with my new bass for few hours, but I already feel pretty comfortable with the neck. Actually the hardest thing is the tuning, I´m always turning the wrong pegs! :D
  2. EternalDarkness


    Sep 22, 2004
    It looks quite good, and it sounds really good :D
    for 80 euros its a really sweet bargain :cool: