Harley Benton B-35NT-FL Acoustic Bass Series

5-String Fretless Acoustic Bass

  • Body shape: Fretless super jumbo with Cutaway
  • Top: Spruce
  • Bottom and sides: Sapele / mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roseacer (Thermally treated maple)
  • Dot fretboard inlays
  • Scale: 864 mm
  • Nut width: 45 mm
  • Dual action truss rod
  • Bridge: Roseacer
  • Cream bindings
  • Chrome-plated die-cast machine heads
  • String gauge: 045-130
  • Built-in pickup with 4-Band EQ and tuner
  • Colour: Natural, high gloss
  • Suitable gig bag: Art. 121814 (not included)
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Further information

Colour Natural
Top Spruce
Back and Sides Mahogany
Neck Mahogany
Fretboard Roseacer
Scale Longscale
Pickup System Yes
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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3.8 / 5.0
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45 written ratings Read all reviews
Total
quality
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More pleased with its solid body sibling.

cutedaddy, 26.07.2017
Summary:
This is a full-featured but not optimally well-produced guitar. Bought another Harley Benton product at Thomann about half a year ago, which was amazing value for the price. This is OK, but not amazing. At the pricepoint it is though, i would still say it's acceptable as an acoustic-only instrument, with some minor issues.

Review:
After having a very good experience with the HB five string fretless electric bass 550 (solid body), i thought it worth a try to see how good HB's acoustic basses are. I would generally use it for acoustic playing, and for amplified only occasionally.

The specimen i received is generally a lot poorer in quality than the aforementioned electric 550. This may be due to the fact an acoustic guitar is quite a bit more complex to produce and assemble than a solidbody. Perhaps expecting a good acoustic at this price level is just asking for too much? I'll be looking for an acoustic that's one or two steps up in the spectrum myself.

1.
Keep in mind you're buying a guitar at barely the cost of two sets of high quality strings. When buying guitars in this price range, always be prepared to substitute standard issued strings immediately. The strings on this acoustic were awful, sounded horrible and tinny, were noisy all around, and the D broke at the head the very first moment i touched it.

2.
The standard issued strings are roundwound, which is guaranteed to ruin your (fretless) fingerboard in no time, unless it's made of high grade ebony (this one isn't). So my advice to all fretless players with anything less than an ebony board: always exchange for flatwounds immediately!

I got La Bella white nylon gold tapewounds, which are available in a low tension version at TalkBass.com, and hopefully at Thomann too, in the near future. (This acoustic has no truss rod, so low or extra low tension, L or X, are the way to go.) These are sure not to wear your board, more so because of the NYLON tape, and of course sound much better and feel fantastic.

3.
The laquer is sloppy around where the neck meets the body. Other than that, the finish looks fine.

4.
The moment i took the original roundwound strings off, the nut fell clean off. This needs 5min. and a little glue.

5.
The saddle is kept in place when strings are mounted, but comes off when they aren't. This enables tweaking of its height, which was in fact needed. After some playing i found a couple of positions where it was impossible to strike a clean tone, whatever your left or right hand technique. Lifting the saddle about 1,5mm completely solved this issue. Since you're bound to low tension strings anyway, this does not notably affect playability for the left hand.

6.
The electronic part will leave you wanting, this bass seems mainly fit for acoustic use. In whatever position i set the 4-band equalizer, only D and G strings are readily audible, the other three hardly.
There's a Volume and a Presence knob that work fine, but the volume of the D/G strings is easily double that of the other strings, so amplified playing is not really an option unless you subsstitute the pickup for a better balanced version.

The electronic part also features an on-board tuner, which i found to function well. It seems slightly off pitch, but if you need it in the first place, you're not likely to hear the difference.

PRO
-Nice looking, impressive wooden instrument
-Good for acoustic use
-Extremely cheap for an acoustic

CON
-Some minor assembly (for this specimen) and tweaking issues (for the design in general)
-Low B is a bit quiet (Not a quality issue, but a matter of the regular sized hollow body. Wanna hear the B? Get a huuuuuge or optimized body, $$$).
-Dots are a variable distance behind actual fret positions, up to 10mm going toward the nut. This renders the dots useless, which takes some getting used to.

Seeing as the next viable option to find a decent acoustic bass starts in the neighbourhood of ¤ 600,= to ¤ 700,= (in Europe; you're better off in the US), i could still recommend this guitar for occasional acoustic playing. Beginners beware: you have to find your left hand position by ear on account of the faulty position dots.
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Total
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It's okay for what it is

Peaceless, 02.02.2018
I bought this guitar to hang in my living room for short practice sessions if I have a hole in my schedule. It is simple in design but very well made, other than some rough edges on the bridge, and the fingerboard. I'm not sure it is supposed to be that way, but it is super abrasive and uneven. I don't really mind since I'm not going to perform with this instrument, but people should be wary. It is uncomparable in quality to my simple Rockbass Corvette fretless. Also, the hardware is a catastrophe. Tuners have huge mechanical hysteresis, nut looks like it has been punched through with a punch, bridge is mangy. Everything but the bridge can be easily fixed.

Pros:
- The cheapest 5 string acoustic you're gonna find, ever.
- String-through bridge is better than pins
- Well-built

Cons:
- Low quality fingerboard
- Garbage tuners and nut
- Some strings do not fit through the holes in the bridge, and their tails stick out, such as the D'Addario ETB92-5 set that I am using.

In short, recommended to people who need to put a bass on the wall in the living room.

I bought the fretless to get away from CITES, by the way, so I have no idea what the quality of the fretted version is.
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Show variations of this product
Harley Benton B-35NT-FL Acoustic Bass Series
(65)
Harley Benton B-35NT-FL Acoustic Bass Series
to the product
175 €

5-String Fretless Acoustic Bass Body shape: Fretless super jumbo with Cutaway, Top: Spruce, Bottom and sides: Sapele / mahogany, Neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Roseacer (Thermally treated maple), Dot...

  • Colour: Natural
  • Top: Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Scale: Longscale
  • Frets: 0
  • Neck Width: 45,0 mm
  • Nut width in mm: 45,00 mm
  • Pickup System: Yes
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
  • Inc. Gigbag: No
Harley Benton B-35BK Acoustic Bass Series
(38)
Harley Benton B-35BK Acoustic Bass Series
to the product
185 €

5-String Acoustic bass Body: Super jumbo with cutaway, Top: Spruce, Bottom and sides: Sapele mahogany, Neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Roseacer (thermally treated maple wood), Dot fretboard inlays, 22...

  • Colour: Black
  • Top: Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Sapele
  • Neck: Sapele
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Frets: 22
  • Scale: Longscale
  • Nut width in mm: 45,00 mm
  • Pickup System: Yes
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Inc. Gigbag: No
Harley Benton B-35NT Acoustic Bass Series
(86)
Harley Benton B-35NT Acoustic Bass Series
to the product
176 €

5-String Acoustic Bass Body: Super jumbo, With cutaway, Top: Spruce, Bottom and sides: Sapele / mahogany, Neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Roseacer (thermally treated maple wood), Dot fretboard inlays,...

  • Colour: Natural
  • Top: Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Frets: 22
  • Scale: Longscale
  • Nut width in mm: 45,00 mm
  • Pickup System: Yes
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Inc. Gigbag: No
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