Harley Benton B-650 Black Progressive Series

6-String Electric Bass

  • Body: Alder
  • Bolted neck made of Canadian maple
  • Modern D-profile
  • Fretboard: Black Walnut
  • Tai-Chi inlays
  • 24 Frets
  • Scale: 864 mm (Long Scale)
  • Nut width: 51 mm
  • 2 Double action truss rods
  • Pickups: 2 humbuckers with active preamp
  • 1 Balance, 1 bass, 1 treble and 1 volume controller with push/pull function (active/passive)
  • Black hardware
  • Diecast machine heads
  • String spacing: 16 mm
  • String strength (ex works): .032 - .130
  • Colour: Black, high gloss
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Audio Examples

 
0:00
  • Blues
  • Impro
  • Metal

Further Information

Basic Shape JP-Style
Colour Black
Body Alder
Neck Maple
Fretboard Black Walnut
Frets 24
Scale Longscale
Pickup System HH
Elektronic Active
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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152 Customer Ratings:
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4.6 /5
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Harley Benton B-650 Black
John162, 27.03.2015
this is an instrument i am sort of familiar with .
i bought a five string version of this guitar six months ago ..and thought that it was a great instrument ..and am very happy with that .. i didn't really think that there would be any difference between then.. and i was right .. yes you have a low B .. but now i have the high c .. makes a difference when your writing songs and the ability to scale high down to low when your improvising .. has a greater range ..obviously you may say : )
but the cost is a huge appealing factor hear .. cheap budget poor quality instrument here is not the case .
this like all the harley benton range are superbly constructed ..well balanced ...reliable look good .. feel good ... and definitely sound good .. because you'd have to be a bit silly to buy one ..ie five string .. then a six string ..
i guess because i had the confidence knowing it would deliver .
the active pre amp makes it very responsive to all style of playing ..
weather finger style or plectrum .. in fact it makes it easier .
like i said it feels great to hold ..and for a six string neck i was very surprised to see and feel how easy it was still was to play .
All the hardware is robust ..
the tuning keys are very precise .
the neck is a very easy feeling to it .. this eases play .
It can also be used passive or active ..which is handy adding a wider variety of sounds .
the bolt on neck i particular like ..the rigidity enhances the sustain through the body .
the paintwork is of a high standard ..and looks up there with some of the more expensive guitars ..
I don't really have any negative comments on this instrument really .
i am happy with this guitar as i was happy with the previous ..
a very reasonable price ..
great for gigging ..recording .. a great all rounder .
i have no regrets ..and would easily and happily recommend this guitar to anyone .
another great priced instrument from H B .
three basses i have from H B and impressed with all of them at a great price as well ..
hope this gives you some insight to low end priced bass guitars .
i'm happy with mine ..
thank you harley benton : )
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Great bass, incredible price
Tschick, 04.03.2019
I've only ever played my trusty old 4 string basses, so this was a first 'toe in the water' into the land of both extended range and 'budget' basses for me. Initially I rather dismissed the lower cost end of the market after listening to the views of other musicians with more experience than me of 'entry level' priced instruments, until I stumbled upon BassTheWorld's review of the B-650 on the usual video site everyone knows, got intrigued and then checked out the reviews on here.

Although I used to gig in the past, nowadays I mainly work on recording my own tunes at home, usually overlaying multiple bass parts in a looper or DAW. A six string bass seemed a good idea to access the extended range and make separation in the mix of parts a bit easier.

Ordered Thursday and it was was delivered to my door in Scotland the following Wednesday. The outer box was pretty badly damaged in transit but Thomann had double boxed with plenty of air pillow packaging protection, so the inner box and bass were totally unscathed. I'd also communicated a few times before and during ordering via email and online chat and found Thomann to be efficient and courteous. Full marks to Thomann so far then, as far as I'm concerned.

The bass arrived without any flaws in the finish, a lovely straight neck, intonated and with a medium action. Nut slot depth just right (surprising to me for a factory instrument) and it was even very nearly in tune too. Frets are level with no sharp edges and the bass is fairly lightweight. The neck is very thin in profile, which happens to be my preference and the width very manageable due to the 16mm string spacing.

My current 4 stringers are standard 19mm, or 17.5mm at the bridge in the case of my old Rickenbackers, so I wasn't sure how I'd get on with the narrow spacing, but the 16mm or so of the B-650 actually feels very comfortable. I prefer a low action and was able to lower things a bit without fret buzz. That also required a bit of intonation adjustment with the, unfamiliar to me, monorail bridges, but once I (eventually) saw the angled grub screw partially hidden beneath the string on the black bridge pieces, that was straightforward.

A big selling point for me was the active passive pull pot, a tone knob which worked in passive mode and the bass's ability to still work even without a battery in. I was quite surprised to find that in passive mode not only does the treble roll off work but the other tone knob works as a bass roll off. Quite surprising features considering even some expensive basses don't do some of these things.
Volume knob has a smooth gradual decrease, but the tone knobs are subtle in effect over most of their travel with a big change over the last few degrees of rotation. I expect that's due to the chosen taper type of the pots, but there's plenty info online about that if you want to change the pots if you don't happen like that.
The supplied factory strings are perfectly usable, later I'll likely change them for D'Addarios of the same gauge,

The sound, as others I think have said, is 'modern' but the actives are quite transparent and noiseless. I usually lean towards using the passive mode (if there is one) on active basses, but here the active mode, to my ears, doesn't have the 'too clean' harshness I find with some actives, so it's quite usable if used. The bridge pickup is quite 'middly' in tone and you can get quite an aggressive growl from it with it's trebly edge. The neck pickup is smoother sounding and also 'fat'. The blend pot gives the expected 'scoop' at the centre detent but it occurs at quite a narrow window of rotation.
The pickups arrived at the bottom of their travel on mine, but set at the correct distance for the action the bass came with. If you want to try a super low action, depending on how you approach that, it may require a little work there. Though taking into account the cost of the bass, I don't regard that as a criticism here, that would be totally unreasonable, rather more of something to potentially be aware of if that is common (all basses at any price will have some variation).
String tone and volume balance I found to be quite even across strings.

The hardware isn't going to be the most expensive at this overall price point obviously, but it all works and the fundamental body, neck and frets are just lovely. Certainly considering the cost of the bass to begin with, there's also scope for modders to spend a bit more on it, upgrading bits if desired or simple individual fettling to preference of what's already there and end up with a very nice bass at still a modest price.
For ¤158 I'm very impressed indeed and couldn't be happier.

The BassTheWorld's video review I referred to earlier, having now experienced the bass, I agree with 100%. It's just plain fun and one of those pick it up and can't put it down instruments. I'm delighted with it and simply very glad I bought it. What more can I say.
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A great bass and for this price just utterly amazing
Naetharu, 13.10.2015
I picked this bass up a few weeks ago after joining a Prog/Metal band and finding myself in need of an instrument with a low-B string. Previously I've always played 4-strings (A Maruszczyk Elwood X is my main bass) and so this was a big change for me.

In terms of build quality the bass is very good. There are a few rough edges, such as the finish on the bottom edge of the fret-board and a couple of scuffs on the hardware, but nothing you'd notice without going and really looking for it.

The electronics are very impressive given the price of the bass. The EQ is usable, with a good range of +/- on all three pots. It's easy to get a good tone that cuts through the mix even when playing along with a couple of noisy metal guitarists. The passive sound is also very nice, perhaps the best of the lot. The only issue is that there is a loud 'pop' when swapping between passive and active modes so it is not easy to use the active as a means of boosting volume / altering tone mid-song unless you can get away with muting the bass for a moment first.

Despite being a six-string the bass is very manageable with good ergonomics. The neck is a kind of D shape with a noticeable flattened section on the back. It does get chunky toward the body of the bass, but it never feels un-manageable. The fret-board has a very flat radius - it feels almost like playing on a classical guitar - which took some getting used to, but it works well and lends itself to fast runs and string-bending with ease.

I did find the bridge to be a bit of a problem. The saddles sit too tightly in the 'monorail' slots and so adjusting the intonation was a nightmare. I had to use a spanner to lever the saddles to get them to move, which resulted in a lot of trial and error and over-adjustment before I finally got the thing intonated properly. This job would normally take me ~5 mins on my expensive basses, and I would estimate it took around 2 hours with this one. However, it's not something you'll need to mess with much once set so it's far from a deal breaker. Just be prepared to really work to get the bass properly in tune.

In terms of sound, the bass is pretty nice. I have it running into an Ampeg Portaflex-500 & 4x10 and it sounds good. With the active pre-amp on there is a lot of growl, and an almost Warwick like tone. It works well for the kind of heavy music I use the bass for, however, I doubt I would be very impressed if I wanted to play smooth Jazz on it. By contrast, when set to passive mode the bass is tamed a lot, and has a much smoother voice that works fine for mellower styles of music, even if it does lack a little articulation.

A final point to mention is that the weight of the bass is really great. While heavier than my four-strings I've not had any issues using it for long periods. Twice I've taken it to a band practice where I've had it around my neck for just shy of 4 hours without fatigue or discomfort. Pretty impressive given that it is a six-string made on a budget.

In conclusion I would really recommend this bass to anyone looking to try out a six-string for the first time, or perhaps who just fancies something a bit different to mess around with on occasion. If I was going to play six-string more frequently (at present I use it only for a couple of songs in our set-list) I'd probably consider upgrading to something a little bit more fancy, but for what I need now this bass is great and the value for money is utterly astounding.
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Couldn't be happier with this purchase
RadimK, 03.01.2019
You do not expect much for such a low price. Long story short I really wanted a six string bass for the fun of it but didn't feel like spending much at all.

From the time I first opened the package this bass was nothing but a pleasant surprise. The thin neck suits me very well (I'm a guitarist) and plays very comfortably and fast. The whole bass is not heavy at all and sits comfortably. The fretwork could obviously be better being a budget instrument, however in my case it doesn't affect the performance and the only sharp ends I found are on the bass side close to the body (20-24). As far as sound goes this thing has it all. With the easy to control electronics I can get both a soothing buttery tone for the solo play as well as a punchy heavy metal tone.

I've had this bass for over a year now and it has been one of the most fun instruments I have ever played. It's not perfect by any means, but it is a really good entry point for a newcomer to basses or a casual player.
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