Harley Benton PB-Shorty BK Standard Series

Short scale electric bassNot everyone has long fingers (and no, nothing criminal is implied here), and many people still like to play short-scale basses.

Aside from the length, the sound is also different, because the shorter scale creates a less wiry, softer, and more unobtrusive tone, which simply fits perfectly with many styles. And there are plenty of examples too, especially from the 60s: Paul McCartney and Jack Bruce were famous for producing great sounds on a shorter scale.

What it's equipped with: Everything you need: 1 PB pickup with volume and tone control; bolt-on maple neck ... as with the larger P-Bass model; and because of the price, it is an ideal instrument for bass newcomers!

  • Bolt-on neck
  • Poplar body
  • Maple neck
  • Modern C-shape
  • Roseacer fretboard
  • DOT inlays
  • 19 Frets
  • 762 mm Scale
  • 42 mm Nut width
  • Double action truss rod
  • 1x PB style pickup
  • Electronics: 1x Volume & 1x Tone
  • Chrome hardware
  • Classical PB-style machine heads
  • 040-095 String gauge
  • Finish: Black High-gloss
  • Matching gig bag optional: 121548
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  • Jazz
  • Rhythm And Blues
  • Rock

Further information

Colour Black
Body Poplar
Neck Maple
Fretboard Roseacer
Frets 19
Pickup System P
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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4.1 / 5.0
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327 written ratings Read all reviews
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features
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Wow

22.07.2016
Having read the reviews I was expecting the possibility of problems / issues. So it was with some trepidation that I opened the box.

I can say I was utterly, utterly surprised. So lets start with the aesthetics.

Fit and finish:

It's flawless.

I really have tried to find something negative to report but there isn't anything at all.

The neck is beautiful, quality, one piece construction with a deep rosewood fretboard.

Frets are superbly finished, there isn't one sharp edge, anywhere.

The / body:

Poplar? Feels nice, not heavy, solid and resonant.

The paintwork - it's a joy, it's perfect.

It has a 3 layer laminated scratchplate.

The finish and feel of the volume and tone is excellent.

The bridge and machine heads - all perfectly aligned, good quality, feel solid.

Setup

I expected to need to do 'something', I have never had a guitar that was good to go out of the box. I even thought I would be tied up for hours fiddling and changing settings.

Not a bit of it!

The neck is set perfectly, the string height is spot on, the intonation if dead on.

All I had to was tune it.

Sound.

I am using a Pocket Pod. To say I am happy with the pickups is an understatement.

With my Line 6, anything can sound like anything and there were and are no issues with pickups, volume or tone.

Playability

Well, it's exercising my short stubby fingers which is a bonus but, I can reach and play what I want which is always difficulty for me with a guitar with a long neck.

Short scale does not mean short on sound or depth.

And the feel and finish of the neck is just a dream.

I spent the night tuned for Jason Newstead Cunning Stunts solo with a big, silly, grin on my face.

Sometimes cut price means dubious quality. I honestly have no idea how something so so good can be for sale for so so little.

Bonkers, and I got a long guitar lead thrown in.

How can that not be the bargain of the century.

For the price of a labelled gig bag I got a beautiful bass guitar and I have nothing but praise for Thomann and their own brand kit.

Wow.

Timely update

You know how it is as time passes and the new toy gloss wears off. Yep, it happened. I have to admit with some music (if you can call what I do music) when using my Pod, I am struggling a bit to get anything like a decent output from the bass for certain genres of music.

I really just couldn't get it up there and the reviews I was reading said - CHANGE THE STRINGS. The advice was that the ones that are fitted set are poor quality, they have low output. I was being told to spend some money, spend more money, change the strings.

But, I am from Yorkshire, we as a breed have very short arms and VERY deep pockets.

So, I decided to have a look instead of ringing Thomann

Hmm. The pickup output was spot on at 8.56 so there had to be another reason. Logic kept saying, I shouldn't believe it could be the strings that's bonkers.

Come on, think about it, they are just steel wire vibrating in a magnetic field. So. It if was 'just the strings' playing them harder would have some effect wouldn't it? But it didn't, well, not enough to notice. I needed a longer ponder and then I pulled the pickups. It was an 'argh' moment.

The foam rubber P. Bass pickup support blocks had compressed, they were clearly setting the pickups way too low. Well, way too low (for me).

So, I re-set the screws, gave the covers a pull and bingo - ROARING.

No, before you state something like buzz, crack and sustain, they are not too close to the strings, in fact they are perfect, just like my Les Paul.

I'm ripping it.

So:

SANITY WARNING. DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE WEB. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY, THINK FIRST. THINK BEFORE SPENDING ON NEW KIT OR NEW STRINGS.

iF YOUR OUTPUT IS LOW START AT THE BOTTOM - loosen the pickups, lift them, set them, until they hit their sweet spot.

Dear Mr Thomann.

Please, do you sell additional / replacement foam blocks or do I have to nip down to my local hardware store for some draft strip.

Thanks.
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Total
features
quality
sound

Great little bass

M J, 28.08.2015
For the very small price it is worth 5 stars. It was playable out of the box, but I adjusted the truss rod and bridge saddles to lower the action to suit my style, and I also adjusted the intonation. I didn't like the strings that were on the guitar (very quiet and floppy) and changed them for stainless steel flatwounds straight away. Now the little monster sounds great - just like a PB to my ears. At this price everyone should have one, if only to explore the possibilities.
Update -Jan 2016
Since my last comments I have experimented with different strings. The original strings are almost useless - no volume or thump and are best discarded. The issue then, as with most short scale basses is finding strings (in my case the only problem is the low "E") that fit properly i.e. they fit correctly between the nut and the bridge saddle without the silk windings or the fattest part of the taper being inside the "speaking length". The smallest strings made by some of the manufactures are far too long at 34". Other manufacturers give a speaking length of 32", which is still around 20mm too long for this bass. I used a spacer and washer at the ball end of the E string to get GHS Flatwound Precision Bass 3020 strings to fit. Expensive but very nice sound with a good thump, but after a while I became fed up of the 20mm sticking out of the end of the bridge. I unwound the wires from the ball, shortened the length then re-wound but I lost the winding tension and spoiled the string. It fitted but didn't sound great. Next I tried Fender Nickel 5250XL roundwound strings. Same issue of excess length with the E string - this time I carefully soldered a brass collar on the string , then cut it 20mm shorter at the ball end - success this time. They sounded very good and bright with super piano tones, especially when new. They don't feel very stiff though, which may be to some tastes. Also they are quite noisy/ clacky but that is probably my fault. These are good strings at a moderate price.
Next up - back to stainless flatwounds - Daddorio ECB81S chromes at an unbeatable price from Thomann. These strings fit without any alterations. They are pretty stiff, which I like a lot, especially when digging in a bit. I find I can get different volumes with these strings depending on how hard I play, which I didn't notice with the others. They look very well made - better than the GHS I think. The sound is really excellent - very thumpy and deep and of course there is no finger noise. The bass feels and plays really good now.
I bought some spare Harley Benton P-bass nuts from Thomann as all these string sets differ slightly in thickness and minor filing may be required to get the best fit . At the low price it takes the worry away of spoiling the nut. The original nut is quite soft and can break when disturbed.
Great Bass - even better with great strings.
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