Harley Benton EUB 500 SB Electric Upright

Electric Upright Bass

  • Solid spruce top
  • Maple back and sides
  • Chambered body
  • Maple neck with ebony fingerboard
  • Scale approx.: 103 cm
  • Height-adjustable maple bridge
  • Single tuners
  • Active piezo pickup system
  • Electronics powered via 9V battery with on/off switch
  • Active tone & volume controls
  • Headphone output with preamplifier
  • Dimensions (W x L x D): 29 x 156 x 24 cm
  • Colour: Sunburst
  • Includes gig bag with straps
  • Weight: 7.2 kg

Further information

Fretboard Ebony
Electronics Active
adjustable bridge Yes
Incl. Bag Yes
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bow No
Incl. stand No
Incl. Peg Yes
86 customer ratings:
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  • 1
3.9 / 5.0
  • sound
  • quality
63 written ratings Read all reviews

TrEr, 25.08.2017
First of all let me say that I'm an electric bass player that got this instrument for fun to try a different perspective when composing bass lines. So that's the perspective of my review. I'm sure a double bass player would have a completely different view on this instrument.

The instrument actually feels better than I expected. In the pictures it looks like an ugly toy but in real life it feels like a proper instrument. Obviously there's quite a few compromises in quality at this price but it's still a very fun instrument.

Lets start with the bad stuff:

-The tuners seem VERY fragile. They work fine and are reasonably stable but I've never seen more fragile tuners on a bass. Really cheap stuff. It's just one of those things I KNOW will break sooner or later.

-The electronics are noisy. And I mean NOISY! This makes the tone control pretty useless because any setting except minimum treble produces far too much hiss to be useable. This is probably the weakest point of this instrument. For professional use the electronics should be replaced. In a studio setting I guess it might be possible to get away with precise low pass filtering and/or noise reduction but for live work... not a chance unless you keep the tone control all the way down. To be fair the fattest tone is with the tone control all the way down so you might actually never want to turn it up...

-The chest support bracket doesn't really work. It just gets in the way. Unbelievably poor design. I much preferred playing the instrument without the bracket installed. This will of course make the instrument a lot less stable than a real double bass as it can't lean against your body in the same way. This will put a lot more strain on your left arm to keep the instrument from falling and will restrict your playing somewhat. The support bracket is also very hard to install, making it easy to scratch the finish. Very, very poorly designed.

-It doesn't really sound or feel like a real double bass. Feels quite a bit stiffer to me (although my experience with double bass is very limited so take this with a grain of salt). It sounds more like a hybrid of a fretless and a double bass.

-The on/off switch for the electronics crackles and feels extremely fragile. Toylike quality. A bit worrying as I'm not sure how easy it will be to fix/replace when it breaks.

-The headphone output can't be used unless the endpin is extended. A somewhat strange design choice... Not a problem when standing up but could be an issue if practising in a low seated position (although the endpin can be removed completely and the bass placed directly on the floor if needed). This only affects the HEADPHONE output, not the jack output.

-The headphone output isn't exactly the loudest I've heard. I guess it's loud enough for practising alone but quite weak and noisy. Still, a nice thing to have.

-The endpin is a lot thicker than on a real double bass. More or less like a drum stand. So most endpin protectors won't fit. And you will need some kind of protection if playing on a wooden/parquet floor unless you want to damage the floor and also have the bass sliding around.

-The stock strings aren't very good and should be replaced. Better strings makes a huge difference. Just be aware of the scale length as all strings wont fit.

-It looks rather ugly (that's just my personal and highly subjective opinion of course).

The positives:

-Even though it doesn't sound or feel exactly like a double bass it will make you THINK more like a double bass player when you're writing music. And that's the fun part. You will create completely different bass lines on this instrument than on an electric bass. And to me that was the point of buying it. A fresh perspecive. I wasn't expecting it to be anything more.

-The included gigbag is very nice and a great bonus. Especially as it would probably be impossible to find any other gigbags that would fit.

-The headphone output is actually a really nice bonus (even though it sounds pretty weak).

-The price. Even with all it's shortcomings I still feel this instrument is good value at this price.

And talking about value... I suspect this bass is more or less a rebranded (or copied?) Palatino VE-500. It certainly looks EXACTLY the same and it wouldn't be the first time Harley Benton products are rebrands (or copies?) of other products, usually at a lower price. The price compared to the Palatino seems to make the Harley Benton an amazing bargain but I've never actually played a Palatino so I can't say if the Harley Benton has cut any corners (like cheaper electronics) or if it's EXACTLY the same. I will say one thing though: If the Palatino is the exact same quality it is HUGELY overpriced. I would NEVER pay that kind of money for a noisy, compromised instrument such as this. But like I said, I'm not sure if it's exactly the same. Still, a lot of the usual mods for the Palatinos seem to also apply for the Harley Benton, like damping the tailpiece which is an absolute must. I'm sure upgrading the bridge or piezos/electronics would make a considerable improvement too but at that point we're moving into another price range altogether and it might be worth considering a better model instead.

Conclusion: Lots of room for improvements/mods but still good value and great fun! Recommended if you're an electric bass player looking for a fresh perspective. Just don't expect it to be high end quality or a proper double bass.
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Best Semi Acoustic Electric Upright Bass

brunomaiajazzbass, 05.05.2017
The best cost/benefit in the market.
Good wood craftsmanship and design. It has a hollow body, spuce top and back, maple sides and neck, which produces a surprising tone.
The hollow body gives a sense of semi acoustic sound, and makes the instrument lighter.
It comes with a taylored bag, which would otherwise be a hasstle to find in the after-market. (closest alternatice would be long double snow ski bag, very expensive).
Adjustable bridge.
The stock Tuning machines will break at first bump. Strongly advise buying replacements at Thomann.
You will eventually feel the need to take it to a luthier shop to lower action, if you do not know how to sand the fingerboard yourself and get the set up necessary in order to play it professionally.
The tail will need muffling. spare some old black sock and black tape...
Overall is a great and easy to carry instrument. I really like Harley Benton Quality. I recommend this bass for students as well as professionals. (30 years experience)
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