Harley Benton JB-40FL SB

Fretless Bass

  • Body is made from American ash
  • Bolt-on neck made from Canadian maple with Roseacer (thermally treated maple wood) skunk strip
  • Blackwood fretboard (Pinus radiata)
  • 20 Fret lines
  • 2 mm Side marks
  • Nut width: 38 mm
  • Scale: 864 mm
  • Double action truss rod
  • Pickups: 2 Roswell JBA Alnio-5JB style single coils
  • 2x Volume & 1x tone control
  • Deluxe chrome hardware
  • Classic butterfly machine heads
  • Strings: D'Addario .045 - .104
  • Colour: 3-tone sunburst

Further information

Colour Sunburst
Number of strings 4
Body Ash
Neck Maple
Fretboard Blackwood
Scale Long Scale
Pickup System JJ
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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4.6 / 5.0
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162 written ratings Read all reviews
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Unbeatable Value

TonyOsax, 21.05.2018
As other reviewers have said, this is just excellent for the money - it would be good value at two or three times the price. It is a very nice looking instrument, the fit and finish is pretty good (albeit a bit rough in places), it plays very well and it sounds terrific.

I have the fretted version (the JB-75MN) and bought the fretless to see how close it would sound to an upright bass, since I play mostly jazz. The answer is not very. I have ordered some Thomastik flat wound strings (which cost half as much as the guitar) and will report back if that makes a significant improvement. I'm hopeful because the Thomastik strings I have on my archtop guitar really brought out the classic jazz sound.

I'm not a bass player so I was expecting the fretless to be hard erto play than the JB-75, but I immediately found it to be easier. The neck seems to be slimmer- it isn't actually, I think it's just that there are no frets to clear and so the string height is lower, and it is very low. I found no problem with getting a clean sound except on the first string, which buzzes a bit. I raised the saddle, which helped a bit. I noticed that there is almost no relief in the neck to I tried adjusting the truss rod, but that made no difference at all, so I set it back to the way it came from the factory.

The fretless sounds better! It has a fuller, warmer sound than the JB-75. The improvement in sound could just be due to the fact that there are no frets or it could be due to one or more of the design differences. The pickups are different - Roswell vs Wilkinson, the fretless has a black wood fretboard vs maple, the bridge is different, with steel vs brass saddles and the fretless neck has a skunk stripe.

There is one issue that I would like to raise which is that the strings do not align properly with the pickups and the neck. The bass string is nearly 1cm from the edge of the fretboard at the end of the neck. I thought at first this was a manufacturing problem but after taking some measurements, I am pretty sure it is because the bridge is too narrow. It has 19mm separation between the strings, whereas the JB-75 has 20mm, and everything aligns perfectly on the JB-75. The photographs on the Thomann website hide this because they are taken at an angle. It's not a big deal, but I don't understand why they made that design change.
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Total
features
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Excellent - highly recommended.

Pyewacket, 05.06.2017
I was convinced to buy this bass after watching EytschPi 42's review on YouTube - which I strongly suggest you seek out if you are considering one of these. It arrived the third day after ordering, well packaged and in good condition. After tuning I found the intonation and set up to be spot on straight out of the box - if adjustments had been needed the tools required are included, along with a lead - a nice touch. The neck is superb - slim and with a beautiful satin finish. The maple is subtly flamed as well - I suppose I got lucky there! The nut is well cut, the tuners work well and are stable and the bridge is thicker plate than on my Mexican Fender. The body looks to me to be one piece - either that or it has veneers front and back. I've literally looked with a magnifying glass and can see no hint of a join. The finish, again, is flawless, the burst nicely applied and then buffed to a mirror finish. I have seen poorer on much more costly instruments. The pick-ups - branded 'Roswell - ' seem fine, with a good output.It is as loud as my other basses. The tone control doesn't do a great deal other than at its extremes, but the tones it has are very useable. Rolled off and with the front pick up on it can get a passable upright bass sound, but full on and with just the bridge pick up on it absolutely sings! Just the right amount of 'mwahh', plenty of sustain and very responsive to how hard you pluck and whereabouts you pluck. If I had seen this in a shop and tried it I would have expected to see it priced nearer £500. And I would probably have bought it! It really is that good. Maybe I just got lucky, but looking at other reviews I don't get that impression. I have no hesitation whatsoever in wholeheartedly recommending you buy one of these. It doesn't look out of its league sharing a stand with a Ric and a Fender, and at these astonishingly low prices I think I shall be buying more Harley Benton kit.

Buy one... you know you want to!

Thanks Thomann, and well done.
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149 €
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