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Harley Benton HBS300TBL
Overall Rating
Submitted: November 20th, 2017
by Antonuzzo
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Sound Quality
Surprisingly convincing, given the low price. Perhaps not the widest range of tones, but plenty of sustain and a real punch from the active circuit. It shipped with roundwounds, which I swapped with flatwounds, and even played acoustically the tone has a lovely purr to it.
Reliability/Durability
The build quality is an eye-opener at this price point. It's beautifully finished and balances well, and looks far more expensive that it has any right to. The nut cut for the low B could be bigger to accommodate fatter strings, but that's a minor gripe. Hardware is solid, and the pull-pot for the active circuit has a good action. The easy-access battery compartment is a nice touch.
Price/Value
This is the clincher: I got this bass plus a soft case for £100. It's been a long time since I looked at an instrument at this price point, and looking back to the old days of Marlins and Encores, this represents amazing value. It's immensely playable, and wouldn't look out of place at a gig.
General Comments
I was looking for a five-string fretless to experiment with, and had dismissed Harley Benton out of hand on the basis that anything that cheap had to be poor. I came across this in a shop and gave it a play, and was instantly blown away by it. How can they turn out an instrument like this at this price? It has a few minor flaws, and wouldn't stand up to a Warwick or an Ibanez; but those are 6-10 times the prices.It sounds great on its own - I have attached a GK-3 and use it through a Roland VB-99, but I have no complaints about its own tones.If you're looking to start out on fretless but don't want to invest a lot of money, you could do a lot worse than looking at this.
Reviewer's Background
Guitarist and bassist for over 30 years, and a huge user of Roland V-Guitar and V-Bass technology.
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