Harley Benton GuitarBass VS Vintage Series

6-String Bass / Baritone Guitar

  • Vintage series
  • Tuning: EADGBE - one octave lower than electric guitar
  • Body made of American basswood
  • Bolt-on neck: Canadian maple
  • C Neck profile
  • Roseacer fretboard
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Block pearloid inlays
  • Neck binding
  • 21 Jumbo frets (2.7 mm)
  • Scale: 762 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Double Action Truss Rod
  • Pickup: 3 HBZ Custom Wound AlNiCo5 Vintage Voiced Single Coils
  • Controls for Volume & Tone
  • 5-Way toggle switch
  • 3-Ply Tortoise pickguard
  • Graphite nut
  • DLX hardware
  • Tune-o-matic bridge
  • Kluson style machine heads
  • Ex-factory string gauges: .022, .034, .044, .056, .072, .084
  • Colour: 3-Colour Vintage Burst
  • Suitable replacement strings: Article Nr: 117274

Further Information

Colour Sunburst
Body Basswood
Neck Maple
Fretboard Roseacer
Frets 21
Scale Shortscale
Pickup System SSS
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
22 Customer Ratings:
  • 5
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  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
3.9 / 5.0
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
20 written ratings Read all reviews
Total
features
sound
quality
Good value
SharpEleven, 26.05.2018
Unfortunately the first Guitarbass had to be returned to Thomann with a large number of faults of which one was very serious. Thomann Customer Support was very good and paid for the return carriage and sent a replacement at no extra cost to me. So this rating and review is solely about the replacement.

I really liked the idea of an inexpensive Bass VI without a tremolo arm. I had previously tried out a Fender Squier Bass VI, but the tremolo put me off completely. Plus I thought the layout of the knobs and switches, whilst authentic enough, looked rather fussy. Whereas the Harley Benton suffered from none of these disadvantages and had a much lower cost.

The finish was excellent - a lovely sunburst front and back albeit with a few inconsequential tiny lacquer splashes. The fret edges were not rough and the fretboard block inlays were nicely done. The action out of the box was reasonably good - certainly quite playable. There were no problems with the sound other than a very slight probable ground loop hum - almost imperceptible. The middle pickup seems to be reverse wound reverse polarity which is very good. However the single coils do not seem to be prone to picking up noise unless deliberately provoked and I do not think they would benefit significantly from upgrading.

Considering the very low price this was a good instrument. But of course almost any guitar or bass can be improved :)

I took the Guitarbass to my luthier to change the strings and do a set up. I like flatwound strings and chose LaBella - actually they are the only manufacturer of Bass VI flatwounds as far as I know. The correct set for this instrument is the HC6F set (for Schecter Hellcat VI) which fit perfectly for length. The 767-6F set is too long but can be made to work although far from ideal. These strings transformed the instrument for my style of playing which is mostly jazz. In particular the low E .095" string was an enormous improvement on the original .084" roundwound low E - both in terms of intonation and feel. I have another short scale (30.3") bass and use a .110" D'Addario flatwound low E on that - however the .095" LaBella flatwound holds its own in comparison.

All the new strings fitted through the tailpiece with no need to drill to a larger diameter. They also fitted through the nut with no widening required. The nut depth was very nearly spot on which is quite unusual with an inexpensive guitar. Some adjustment was required to the bridge saddles for the bottom two strings.

The luthier also changed the volume and tone pots, jack socket, and 5 way switch for higher quality components and replaced the original unshielded wiring and rather poor soldering. He did some work on a few frets including removing and replacing one. After which the action was really superb - as low as one might wish for on a guitar and no buzzing whatsoever.

He also replaced the rather thin original neck screws with genuine Fender neck screws and at the same time corrected a slight misalignment of the neck so that now the two E strings are perfectly positioned relative to their fretboard edges and the pickup polepieces. The original alignment was not terrible but in the pursuit of perfection these things have to be done.

One issue was that the channel for the truss rod wrench does not easily allow the wrench to be fully inserted into the adjustment socket - it can be achieved but great care is needed. A solution is to use a wrench with a shorter arm or to cut the supplied wrench's short arm even shorter. In any event the truss rod adjustment socket looks to be made of rather soft metal so it may be wise to take all the load off the neck before making adjustments.

Following these improvements I now have an excellent Bass VI and am very satisfied. It's a very versatile instrument which can function purely as a bass or extend up into baritone territory. It's perfectly possible to pay chords on the upper four strings above about the fifth fret. The only question mark might be on consistency of quality between individual examples as the first instrument I received was very poor.
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Total
features
sound
quality
Fantastic six string VI style bass straight out of the box
Dave Lancaster, 29.04.2017
I'd been on the lookout for a six string bass for a long time and the Fender VI was top of my list having been played by George Harrison and John Lennon in the Beatles and Jack Bruce in Cream. I liked the idea that it was tuned the same as a regular guitar but an octave lower so I could easily switch from guitar to bass. The VI also had a thin neck. Unfortunately, it was (and still is) way out of my price range. Even the Squier version was priced steeply and having played one in store didn't feel as solid as it should.

So when the Harley Benton GuitarBass VS Vintage Series came out I took a chance I ordered. I'm so glad I did. Straight out of the box, it felt fantastic. The neck was comfortable, the action low without much buzz and even unplugged it sounded great with solid intonation right up its long neck. The finish looks even better in person than on the photos - darker and more subtle with its burst.

Plugged in it gets even better with a good variance of tone from the three pickups - they take effects very, very well. Often a lot of effects can take the depth out of your tone but starting an octave lower with a bass puts you in a great starting position for alt-rock/psychedelic experimentation.

As a standard bass, the Harley Benton GuitarBass VS Vintage Series is more than adequate but as a new voicing for existing electric guitar players it's a revelation. And an absolute bargain.
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