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Harley Benton B-650FL BK Progressive Series

6-String Fretless Electric Bass

  • Body: Alder
  • Bolt-on neck from Canadian maple
  • Neck profile: Modern D
  • Fingerboard: Black walnut
  • Scale: 864 mm
  • 24 Fret positions
  • Nut width: 51mm
  • 2 Double action truss rod
  • Pickups: 2 humbuckers with active preamp
  • Controls: Volume with push/pull function (active/passive), balance, bass and treble
  • Black hardware
  • Diecast machine heads
  • String spacing: 16 mm
  • Ex-factory string gauges: .032 - .130
  • Colour: Black high gloss

Further Information

Lefthand Model No
Colour Black
Number of strings 6
Body Alder
Neck Maple
Fretboard Black Walnut
Scale Long Scale
Pickup System HH
Elektronic Aktive, Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
70 Customer Ratings
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4.5 /5
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features
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Solid budget bass for trying 6-string fretlesses and practicing
max-v, 20.06.2021
Got this instrument in summer-autumn of 2018. Got better basses since then, but still keep coming to this one few times a week to practice (mostly unplugged) - it just feels great. Maybe good flatwounds add to the feel (stringed with around-half-the-bass-price Thomastik JF 346 - they don't feel loose and even kinda growl (open E, low-B) on this bass when unplugged).

Pros:
- price: can you find cheaper fretless that doesn't fall apart in your hangs and requires almost zero maintenance (except truss-rod adjustments) for a couple of years?
- build quality: instrument feels solid, nothing's loose, everything can be set up just fine - quite low action, intonation, neck relief / truss-rod etc
- very comfortable and pleasant feel-wise: some people complain about neck dive - did not even notice that even when playing standing (maybe not all the pieces of wood are equal)
- narrow string spacing: matter of taste, but I really like that (and IMO it makes sense for fretless as it's mostly played fingerstyle)
- smooth fingerboard: no pores at all (have another fretless with panga panga and it's a really big deal)
- powerful fat lows: long notes or staccato ones - even uncompressed homemade direct input recording sounds nice and fat in the mix

Non-irritating cons / notes:
- tuners feel cheap, but do their job: some tuners "slide" a bit before string actually starts moving
- nut is not "slippery" enough even for flats: need to pull/stretch the string while tuning or it can go slightly flat after a couple of relatively aggressive plucks
- fingerboard feels quite "soft" and easy to scratch, I suggest stringing it with flats from the day one

Cons:
- clarity/midrange: not enough clarity in lower register - you can hear some midrange-y overtones unplugged, but they're not picked up when plugged; fast riffing / galloping in lower registers sounds muddy and indistinguishable; haven't tried that with rounds though (but I think it wouldn't improve it much - IMO, pickups are to blame)
- pickups/electronics can clip the signal if you're digging into strings quite hard - IMO, worth replacing, the bass itself is well-built and resonates fine - just need to overcome the mental barrier to pour basically as much as this entire bass costs for normal (not the best) pickups
- built-in EQ is... Meh. Don't think you can make the bass sound better with it (even the opposite), so it's pretty much useless; better play with pickup balance instead
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Total
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Bang for your buck (or euro)
Frank Strijkplank, 01.04.2020
TL;DR: very usable bass with some minor issues.

I kind of missed having a fretless, even though my current band has little use for one. This one seemed to fit the bill nicely and wouldn't break the bank. After a few days my conclusions are as follows:

- Fit & Finish: I can't really fault it in any way. The paint has no flaws, the neck feels nice and smooth.

- Sound: overall very usable. The stock strings suck and were immediately replaced by proper ones. I like passive mode somewhat better than active, but the passive tone control has very little effect and is next to useless.

- Setup and hardware: The bridge feels like it's made from hard pastic but does the job. It's a candidate for upgrading though. The nut suffered a minor malfunction when I replaced the strings: the end at the B string broke off. The string stayed in place and I was able to glue it back, so no biggie for now, but definitely an upgrade candidate. The fretboard is super smooth and feels good to the touch. I could set the action fairly low without any issues. Setting intonation also was easy. Accessing the truss rods requires removal of the strings. I prefer having the truss rod access at the body end. The rods operate smoothly and effectively. The tuners also feel kind of plastic-y but work as expected.

So far I like the bass. For 160 euro you can't really expect it to be perfect in every way, and you should factor in some 30 to 40 euro for proper strings, but then for 200 euro you get a very usable package. I think I'll keep it around for a bit...
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Very much useable
KnobbyKnobKnob, 04.04.2021
I've owned a few HB basses, and this is one of the better ones. I'm not reviewing this bass as a sub 200 Euro bass, but objectively as in if it truly useable or not.

The build quality isn't bad. The bridge kind of feels like plastic or even hard rubber, but it does the job and holds the intonation. At least the saddle feels like real metal. The nut feels completely like a piece of cheap plastic, but then again, it is holding up so far.

The fretboard is way too soft to my liking. I feel like the fretboard held this bass back in sounding more professional. The pick ups...... They will be changed as soon as I decide that it is worth the money to upgrade this bass.

I play this always in passive. Active mode sounds kinda weird, and I can't put my finger on exactly why. Passive/active don't really have any differences on this bass anyway. The knobs feel great to turn, EXCEPT for the volume knob. A little whisper of wind could turn the knob.

Overall, a useable bass. If someone you don't care much for wants a 6 string fretless, this is it.
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good sound, low build quality
Ben von HH, 05.03.2021
Pretty good bass for its price. I'd not tour the world with it, but great for practicing at home.

The bridge, the pickups, and the strings aren't balanced nor centered, but it's not a big deal.
Also it seems like the sides of the neck suffered a couple of small hits somewhere along the way, and you can still see some glue marks.

The sound is actually pretty good for this price level, if you're using pedals on top then you have nothing to worry about.
Active/Passive switch does its job, the preamp is ok.
Bridge and tuners are actually not bad as well.

Overall not too bad, even surprising for a 180 euro bass. Got it just to get used to 6 string fretless - and that is exactly what this bass gives you.

Notice that there are no other marks besides the side dots, so be prepared to train your ear ;)
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£153
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