Harley Benton MB-5 SB Deluxe Series

118

Electric Bass

  • 5-String
  • Deluxe Series
  • Body: Basswood
  • Bolt-on neck: Maple
  • Neck profile: D
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • Radius: 350 mm
  • 21 Frets
  • Scale: 864 mm
  • Nut width: 45 mm
  • Double action truss rod
  • Headstock is same colour as the body
  • Pickups: 1x Humbucker with coil split function
  • 2x Volume- and 1x tone control
  • Chrome hardware
  • Vintage style machine heads
  • Pressure diecast bridge
  • Strings: .045 - .130
  • Colour: 3-Tone Sunburst
available since August 2015
Item number 361462
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Sunburst
Soundboard Basswood
Neck Maple
Fretboard Maple
Frets 21
Scale Long Scale
Pickup System H
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
B-Stock from £103 available
£111
Including VAT; Excluding £10 shipping
In stock
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A
Unbelievable quality with an equally unbelievable price!
Anonymous 05.10.2015
First let me preface this review with the fact that it is based impressions after thoroughly inspecting and playing it for some time.

Build quality.The bass is extremely well put together. I found no paint runs, "stray" screws, paint scuffs, glue residue etc. Everything is as it should be (and I did a pretty thorough once-over!). Price aside, this bass is as well built as any other and this is just unbelievable! I must also give a nod to Thomann's quality control as well, I suspect they too make sure these instruments are top notch before they are delivered, so... kudos Thomann! 5/5

Next up, hardware. The knobs are the metal "speed" type. They work just fine. No "dragging", no scratchiness and no noise whatsoever. They seem to be able to hold up.
Tuners are the open mechanism type. Upon first inspection they do look a little flimsy but they are pretty accurate and do the job well enough. The plain, plastic nut, which also does look flimsy, is well cut and grooved, no complaints. Even after a little abuse (slapping-popping, bends etc.) the tuning still holds true, so they're A-OK.
The bridge is also less chunky than it might appear but it, too does the job just fine. Actually, way better than a few other similar bridges, to be honest. 5/5

Now, on to the sound!
This a single pickup bass, so you'd expect it to be a one trick pony, but no! The "humbucker" pickup's coils are split so you get two volume pots for each "row" and a tone. Nothing over the top but responsive enough and they do the job well enough.
The sound is unbelievably close to the real thing, actually. Coupled with a good amp you can fool anyone! The distinctive growl's definitely there. If you push the amp a little that bass has a serious bite. Didn't really expect it, to be honest. The bass doesn' really lack the highs, either. It can sound very piano-like if dialed in correctly, pretty excellent for chordal work, too. Just dial in the bridge "side", turn up the tone and voila! I also suspect that, experimenting with different sets of strings, you can get pretty much any sound you're after with that one pickup, so that's definitely a 5/5. I wouldn't change the pickup, either. It's much better than many of its rivals and surpasses other, more expensive instruments even! Excellent indeed!


Playability's pretty good right out of the box. Could do with a little tweaking to get rid of fret buzz completely and a little raising or lowering the pickup, but all in all it's pretty good.
The neck is VERY similar to a G&L L2500 tribute. On the substantial side, surely it's not an Ibanez neck but not a baseball bat either. Radius is pretty comfortable for anything. The frets are on the low side and could use a polish but I found no dead spots or high frets, so no levelling needed (yay! I hate fretwork!).

All in all, I can't really complain about anything on this bass. Especially considering the price! Everything is as it should be, and personally, I wouldn't bother modding it. It plays and sounds pretty good and I'd probably use the money on getting another HB. Which I'm now planning to!

5/5 for everything
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incredibly inexpensive, credibly cheap
McKind 22.04.2022
I needed a 5 string bass. I looked around in the second hand market, but found nothing. So I look at Thomann, and as usually, they have the solution.
OK, given the price, I cannot complain (that's why I gave 3 stars), but take for a second the price off the balance, and nothing's left.

PROs:
- incredibly inexpensive (especially since it is a 5 strings)
- the H PuP could be split into 2 single coils, each one with its own character, although they sit very close one to the other)
- very light (but see below)
- the neck seems quite good (but the action was set... sorry, it wasn't set at all); and it dives! (see below)

SO&SOs:
- the tuning machines are not that bad. Are not that good either
- the frets are decently bevelled. they do not harm your fingers, but you can feel them. Anyway, better than in a Squier Bass that I owned
- the neck is bolt on with 6 screws and the force points are metal washers: this should compensate for he softness of the body wood (see below) and keep the neck at its place for a while

CONs:
- the wood used for the body is not made to build a bass. I believe that it is held together by the super thick paint, rather than the wood itself
- the sound is... not there. I don't know why some users mentioned that is similar to a StingRay... maybe closer to a Squier Jazz Bass, with rich overtones and a some nice growl, but they totally lack definition. A StingRay is another thing (but that's also the electronics)
- Strings. No comment.
- the electronics is pretty bad. the pots work almost noiseless (2 out of 3, at least, so I wonder for how long those 2 will stay noiseless...), but they do not work linearly (well, logarithmically, to say things correctly, but you know what I mean), especially the tone. I wonder if the capacitor is there, if it's the right one and if it is soldered...
- The bridge is so cheap that I wonder how long it will stand the tension of not 4 but 5 strings, before it starts bending.
- Action was... not set at all! all saddles were at max height, the neck was too straight. It took a while, but now is better. Still higher than my like, but half of what it was out of the box
- Neck (deep) dive

OK, that's it. Do I recommend it? if you need a 5 string to play 1-2 songs in studio or you have a modeling amp or anything digital, definitely YES
if you're looking for your first bass, wish it be a 5 strings and are on a budget, well look elsewhere, maybe second hand. You'll pay more, but you'll end up with a real instrument.
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Worth the 4 month wait?
motohead342 01.10.2021
I ordered this bass in the first days of June and it was postponed 3 times, each time for anywhere from weeks to months. I finally got it at the end of September. It is Beautiful. But, it was NOT set up properly. Mis-aligned string/neck. Over 100/1000's string height at the 12th fret with a MASSIVE bow in the neck. Intonation was NOT EVEN CLOSE!!! Nut at the E string is cut wrong!! It took hours of set up to get this correct and playable. Now it plays good and sounds good. Yes,... it is worth the money, as long as you know how to set up a guitar! Otherwise it would have cost me $100 setup fee. Worth the wait I did? Ehhh. There isn't anything else out there like this, so.......!?
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A HUGE SURPRISE
GMK Bass 18.01.2022
It is absolutely ridiculous that this bass only costs 129 Euros. I have owned many Harley Benton basses along with more high end basses from Warwick, Fender, Sadowsky, Ibanez and such, and this bass immediately became one of my favorite in the arsenal.

I was looking through Thomann, wondering what poor decisions I could make to put myself in a financial crisis, and I came across this bass. I pretty much said, "129 Euros? Ah what the heck." And I bought it. This isn't one of your flimsy Harley Bentons. This is SOLID. No loose knobs, no rubbery bridge, no rough fretboard, etc.

The packaging was done with the upmost care and detail. I was worried about the condensation ruining the strings as it is obviously cold right now, but the strings were wrapped with a large sheet of packing paper. I appreciate your attention to detail, Thomann.

HOWEVER, this bass suffers from the saaame oolllld problem from which all "cheaper" HB basses suffer; the nut. If you've ever wondered why you can NEVER get the right intonation all through the neck, it's the nut. I've had to file down the nut quite significantly in order to achieve the perfect intonation.

It could also use a good fret job. I'm not a guy who likes the action wayyyy low, but I'm looking at the string height of around 4~5mm at the 12th fret, which is pretty high. I keep the action on this bass higher than my other basses. If I go any lower than roughly 4mm, I get the buzz. Yes, the truss rod is properly adjusted... Again, this is a very typical HB problem. They just can't get a hold of their nuts....... ;)

But hey, it's 129 Euros. You don't expect a perfect piece of gear for such a price, do you? I plan to take this to a gig in a couple of weeks over Warwick, Fender and Ibanez. That means something, I suppose.

Pros:
Feels solid
Sounds phenomenal (almost like Stringrays)
Tight neck pocket
129 EUROS!!

Cons (all typical HB problems):
Nut height is all whack
Fret jobs needs an improvement
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