Harley Benton PJ-4 HTR Deluxe Series

E - Bass

  • Body: Alder
  • Bolt-on maple neck
  • Neck profile: Modern "C" profile
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Dot inlays
  • 20 Frets
  • Scale: 864 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Double-action truss rod
  • PJ-style pickup configuration
  • 2 Volume controls
  • 1 Tone control
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Classic PJ-style machine heads
  • String gauge: .045 - .105
  • Colour: Hot rod trans red (high-gloss)
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Audio Examples

 
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  • Jazz
  • Metal
  • Rock
  • Slap

Further Information

Colour Red
Soundboard Alder
Neck Maple
Fretboard Rosewood
Frets 20
Scale Long Scale
Pickup System PJ
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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Our most popular 4-String P-Basses
512 Customer Ratings
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Potentially a fine bass - but not without some elbow grease!
joedocmusic, 14.08.2013
I've been looking for a "PJ" style bass, and wanted to see how the Harley Benton PJ-4 HTR holds up in the marketplace. The other inexpensive possibility is the Squier affinity series, which cost approximately double (230 Euros Squier vs 111 for the HB model).

Knowing that production for bodies and necks is currently all taking place in the same factories in Asia, I figured the Harley B. would be a contender. It turns out that this make and model has what it takes - but only if your roll of the dice gets you a good neck...

First impression upon opening the box is that the bass is very well manufactured and assembled, although the neck had quite a "U" shape, and the action was rather high. This is no reason for concern - most instruments need adjustment out of the box - if they didn't come in a box, they were probably adjusted in the store, and that setup was most certainly added to the price tag.

I should add that this bass is rather on the heavy side - but for that makes a very solid impression across the board. The neck was also a perfect fit, and all hardware makes a solid impression.

The problems:

Out of the box, the action was too high, neck relief far too bowed, and - although the "P" pickups sound great, the "J" pickup is rather weak. (If you get a good PJ-4 HTR, just swap out that J pickup, and you will have an excellent bass.)

Additionally, the bridge was mounted at an ever-so-slight angle, whereby the low E-string side is closer to the headstock direction than the G-string side. A fairly typical problem in budget guitars.

After adjusting the truss rod (which needed a full rotation to remedy the bow in the neck), I adjusted the bridge saddles for height, and let the bass rest overnight.

On testing the bas sthe next day, the action was now well within acceptable range, but the area from the 7th to 12th frets was plagued with fret buzz. Too much to be useable - in recorded tracks the buzz was clearly audible. I attempted to further tweak the neck and bridge, but to no avail. Perhaps a fret job and further tweaking could remedy the problem, but I expect an instrument at any price to be useable without major neck/fret/fitting work. This bass has to go back.

I have to say that the overall quality of parts (aside from the bum neck) as well as the suave finish and solid feel were impressive. The tone of the P pickup is beyond reproach - certainly all the tone of a Squier/Fender model. As mentioned erlier, the J pickup is not happening.

If these Harley B. models were individually set up and quality controlled (by a guitar tech) they would have to cost at least 50 euros more per unit... no longer the insane deal compared to the Squier guitars, which are more consistent. HOWEVER - Thomann takes them back and you needn't even pay shipping. If the neck on this one had been a good one, I would keep it and be 90% happy (after replacing the J pickup 100%).

I say order one up and cross your fingers!




After working on the bridge
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Fantastic bargain for those who can make it work.
DrKevGuitar, 04.10.2020
First off, I'm happy. The bass looks and sounds great. Nice finish, transparent red (though wood grain is nothing to see), pickguard is much nicer than the photo. Pickups sound good, though the J pickup is quite weak.

Straight out of the box the setup was OK but needed work (I am an experienced guitar tech). Neck relief was good, nut slots too high, string action was high but easily fixed once the nut work was done. Fret levelling was fine but crowning and polish was poor. Fret ends were very nicely finished though.

Fingerboard wood is poor and I hope they do better in future. Webpage says both "roseacer" and "rosewood". It is *not* rosewood. It's an ugly weird grey-black, like ebony but coarser grained. Mine seemed rough, dry, and brittle. The masking tape I used to protect the board while polishing the frets raised the grain and made it feel rougher. I used micro mesh pads to smooth and then thoroughly oiled it.

As I said, out of the box it was playable and if they were all like that or better at this price I would recommend. With my skills I now have a bass that plays great, but if charging for my time at my standard rates, that would cost 60€ extra.

tl;dr It's playable out of the box, and better than I expected at this price, but can be improved and needs some work to play well.

NOTE: the Harley Benton replacement P-bass pickguards available here on Thomann will not fit without work. Expect filing the neck cutout and drilling new screw holes.
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A neat versatile beginner instrument!
Sokie, 13.01.2021
First thing first, this is my first bass. I bought it in September because I wanted to learn to play bass on a tight budget. I use it mostly to play by myself and for the occasional jam session.

In short, I agree with most of the positive reviews. This is a great instrument for a beginner. It sounds in most cases really good. The bridge pickup can have too low input. That's only something I've noticed at separate times. the PJ combo is a really easy way to get a wide range of sounds. I love how the neck feels as well!

Sadly, I don't have as much control over the sound as I'd like. The tone knob, for example, is rather dull and could be more sensitive. That goes the same for the tuning mechanism, I can't seem to tune it exactly as in tune as I want it. On the other hand, it stays in-tune rather well. Also, keep in mind: the bass can be quite heavy.

To summarize: this is a great instrument to buy when you're short on cash. Just be ready to accept the eventual one or two quirks that might need fixing.
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Nice feel and sound
Chazwold, 05.01.2021
I played a bass years ago....a nice homemade jazz bass. Was looking for something similar, but had to settle on this....not gutted though.

A nice bass tone, the guitar is comfortable to play. The J and the P give it a nice versatility. I was worried it would be the jack of all trades master of none, but that isn't the case.

The one little problem is that the gauge of stings it came with is too big for the nut cut. I would suggest dropping the string down a gauge.
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133 €
Including VAT; Excluding 20 € shipping
Available immediately
Available immediately

This item is in stock and can be dispatched immediately.

Standard Delivery Times

Dispatch expected by Friday, 5.03.

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