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Turning a Harley benton PB-Shorty into a JB-Shorty.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by blablas, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. A couple of week ago I bought a fun little (lefty) Harley Benton PB-Shorty.
    I liked this little bass a lot (after having put in a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder), 30 inch scale while all other dimension are similar to a Precission Bass.
    It got me thinking of wanting one with Jazz Bass pickups, given that this is not available I decided to convert one myself, this is my little rebuild diary.

    Orderer another to do this conversion.
    After it arrived I found out that this second one was nowhere near as well made as the first one.
    Well whatever is wrong or I don't like will be fixed along the way. :)
    (The second PB-Shorty is the one in the back)

    For this conversion I'm going to use a set off Jazz Bass pickups I have laying around that came from one of my Squier VM's after I put Chi-Sonic's in that one.
    For controls I prefer volume/balance/tone, these three controls will be on the top and I am going to ad a sidejack.

    The conversion and fixing begins:
    The tuners needed realigning, they were mounted rather sloppy, not at an straight angle and also misaligned from each other.
    Before modifying.
    Filling the holes with toothpicks and CA glue. After the glue hardened I just cut of the toothpicks and leveled them with a sharp chisel, re-drilled the holes and mounted the tuners again.
    And after modifying, mounted straight.

    There were also a lot of sharp fret ends, well they are gone now. :)

    On a more positive note, the neck is made out of a piece flatsawn maple.

    First real sawdust.
    Drilled the hole for the sidejack.
    And jackplate in place.

    Routing and new pickguard.
    Routed the pickup cavities and made a new pickguard (mint green, the protective foil is still on, it doesn't look at its best right now).

    Applied shielding and mounted the bridge pickup.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  2. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA

    So you opted not to fill the P-pup route? Any particular reason?
  3. Pure laziness, there will be a pickguard covering the swimming pool.
    I want this to be quick and dirty conversion, no fancy or difficult work, I reserve that for my full builds.
    Morten_B, kodiakblair and TitaniumRx like this.
  4. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    Thought that might be the case. Plus, if you want a PJ later on, you're halfway there already.

    Anyway it's a cool conversion. I've heard good things about those Harley Benton basses. They have some interesting ERB options.
  5. xaxxat

    xaxxat Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2008
    Nice. I would have been tempted to do JPJ conversion.
  6. TitaniumRx


    Aug 3, 2012
    Cool job Blablas!!! :bassist:
  7. Really nice instruments for the price you pay for them.
    This my third Harley Benton, and a bit of a lemon, nothing problematic, small issues - and I'm modifying it anyway. The other two were really good given the fact they are meant as budget instruments.
    ShortScalerUK likes this.
  8. Jonny5bass

    Jonny5bass Supporting Member

    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    I always like your work.
    blablas likes this.
  9. DSC_0322.
    And more shielding.

    Mounted the neck pickup, made a shim (the saddles are a tad to low without to my liking), mounted the neck and put on some strings to check the alignment of everything.

    Not bad.:thumbsup:
    TitaniumRx and Jonny5bass like this.
  10. TitaniumRx


    Aug 3, 2012
    Wow,i am speechless !!!!!!! :woot:
    blablas likes this.
  11. And it's finished.
    Sorted out the wiring this evening, put on a set of new strings and did the first setup session.

    While making the pickguard I also made a new one for the original P (I could get two from one rough pickguard plate), that one is also in place.
    I probably still have to level and dress a few frets, but that's something that can be done at a later time.

    I'll make more detailed pictures during daylight tomorrow.
    Jonny5bass and TitaniumRx like this.
  12. Sem Thewissen

    Sem Thewissen

    Aug 18, 2011
    Nice job! They look awesome.
    The black pickguard screws are a nice detail. :thumbsup:
    blablas likes this.
  13. TitaniumRx


    Aug 3, 2012

    Looks fantastic Blablas,awesome job.:thumbsup:
    blablas likes this.
  14. Thanks guys.
    Tomorrow there will be an update in the Harley Benton Thread as well.:thumbsup:
    Bisounourse and Sem Thewissen like this.
  15. The promised pictures.

    Full frontal portrait:




    It was a fun little project to do, the end result is exactly what I had in mind, sound wise and looks wise.
  16. Here is the PB-Shorty with new pickguard.

    And the Shorty twins together.
    Sem Thewissen and TitaniumRx like this.
  17. On with the next Shorty conversion, this time with a MM pickup and a preamp.

    Bass and parts are already in (only waiting for a black series/parallel switch).

    The plan.
    The pickguard will be replaced with a black one.

    The parts.

    First things to do.
    Align the tuners and remove several sharp fret ends.
    I seem to have a patent on this with HB basses, or I am more critical than most people because I also build my own instruments.
    TitaniumRx and Sem Thewissen like this.
  18. Toban.Ivan


    Sep 2, 2010
    Are you doing a completly new family of HB lefty models? Blablas lefty serie? ;) .. After a P and a J the MM was exactly what I was waiting for.

    Next one? 54' Single coil P please
  19. It starts to look like it.:D

    I'm afraid the '54 single coil is not going to happen, I love the single coil sound but hate the hum it can give when used as a single pickup.
  20. Filled.


    And filled again.
    Now the tuners are on straight and aligned.
    TitaniumRx likes this.

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