Harley Benton MA-500 VS Bluegrass Series

Electric Mandolin

  • Body: Basswood
  • Cream bindings
  • Bolt-on neck: Maple
  • Neck profile: Rounded V
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Dot inlays
  • 20 Frets
  • Scale: 350 mm
  • Nut width: 28 mm
  • Double-action truss rod
  • Pickups: 2 Single coils
  • Controls: Volume, tone
  • 3-Way switch
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Diecast machine heads
  • String Gauge: .011 - .014 - .025w - .039w
  • Colour: Vintage Sunburst
  • Finish: High gloss
  • Gig bag optional (152480)
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Audio Examples

 
0:00
  • Folk
  • Folk Line
  • Strumming
  • Strumming Line
  • Traditional
  • Traditional Line

Further Information

Shape E Mandoline
Colour Sunburst
Body Basswood
Top None
Neck Maple
Pickup System Yes
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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Harley Benton MA-500 VS Bluegrass Series
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4.1 / 5.0
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36 written ratings Read all reviews
Total
features
sound
quality

Fun + Solid - design flaws = 0

Dirtnap, 30.09.2017
(+) It's a solid build - like a Tele-guitar but...
(-) for that, heavy, bulky-feeling V-neck, feels nothing like a mando. (matter of taste)
(-) The frets are uneven and have sharp edges
(+) The hardware is solid, too, but...
(-) the 4-barrel/nut Tele-like bridge does not work well on a mandolin. The string guides of each barrel, as well as the intonation screws are off-center, which might not be a problem on a Tele, but the string tension on a mandolin is much greater, not just downward tension. The result is the barrels leaning completely on one side, leaving the other side hanging in the air. this happens mostly when trying to lower the action.
(-) Each pair of strings is fed through the same hole on the back of the bridge which seems sort of makeshift, not really well thought out. And this probably also adds to the leaning barrel problem.
(+) The electronics work and sound fine. With both pickups on, you get a nice funky guitar sound (if that's what you're going for). Actually, you get a pretty nice range of sound combinations for such a small package. That's definitely a big plus which makes it a lot of fun.
(+) It's great for practicing in the middle of the night, unplugged or of course with headphones plugged into your favorite amp or amp-sim.

Finally it's a really fun instrument with lots of sounds to experiment with. But don't expect a ready-to-play, low-action, mando-shredder. So if your willing to put in some work (or you have no feeling in your fingertips), it's definitely a good bang for the buck. But I just wanted a practice mando that doesn't upset my neighbors. I think I'd rather just stuff a normal mandolin with foam.
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Total
features
sound
quality

Fun little thing - but needed work

irfrench, 14.10.2014
I'm pretty comfortable working on guitars, in fact I enjoy it, so I bought this as a little project.

I'd only messed around with Mandolins and decided that it was about time to get one in the house and as I was going through a Tele phase this seemed like a perfect fit!

It does not sound like a mandolin, but it gets that kind of flavour if you're looking to add textures/layers to a recording.

The amplified sound is a little dull, although this may be down to the original strings, and there is not a huge difference between pick up locations. However, as above, I have found uses for it when needing to add extra layers or textures to recordings.

It was playable out of the box but needed a fair amount of work to make it playable to my liking - so work was done to the neck, frets, nut and 'saddles'. The actual finish of the instrument is great and as a little practice instrument it has been brilliant.

If you are looking for a 'serious' mandolin, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a robust project instrument and want something different this is for you!
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