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Harley Benton PB-50 - Modded! *Audio*


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#1 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 01:23 PM

Harley Benton PB-50 - Modded! *Audio*

Wikipedia: Harley Benton guitars are manufactured by the Saein Musical Instrument Co., Ltd., a South Korean OEM vendor who, in 1991, successfully launched an independent factory in Gaomi, China. Saein also manufactures its own brand of guitars, Shine, and also manufacturers guitars for Ibanez, Epiphone, and Peavey. Now read on...


*Audio Clip*

As hinted at in my NBD - Harley Benton PB-50 thread (here), I've made a few alterations and upgrades to the stock bass. I've never shaped a headstock, tinted a maple neck or applied a decal before - which I'm sure will become apparent when you examine the pics - but it's all a jolly learning curve and I'm sure the next attempt will be an improvement...

Modifications from stock Harley Benton PB-50:

Wilkinson brass saddle bridge fitted
Headstock reshaped to Telebass-type
Neck tinted with amber/dark yellow/clear nitro
F-Decal applied
Pickguard sprayed gold (then white)
La Bella 760FS flatwound strings fitted

That's about it, really. Costs were as follows:

£085.00 - Harley Benton PB-50 SB Bass (inc VAT & Delivery)
£012.00 - Amber Tint Nitro
£012.00 - Dark Yellow Tint Nitro
£009.00 - Clear Nitro
£009.00 - Gold Paint for Pickguard
£010:00 - Fender 50s Decal
£012.50 - Wilkinson Brass-Saddle Bridge

£000.00 - La Bella 760FS Flatwounds
_______
£148.50 - Total

I would have preferred vintage-reverse tuners for the look of it and possibly an SD SCSBP pup for the sound of it, but the stock Wilkinson SC pup seems to be fine, it does the fast-attack, fast-decay thumpy thing as well as you could expect, especially with the La Bellas fitted (which I already had). And the new tuners and pup would have instantly doubled the cost!

In fact, if you want a good 50s-type Precision and don't mind rocking the HB headstock shape and decal (i.e. you're not shallow, like me) then you could simply buy the bass and fit some La Bella flats. These strings make a really huge improvement to the sound and playability of the HB. Everything else is fluff, really.

The 57-type colour scheme, i.e. burst, gold guard and maple neck would never have been seen on a 54-type bass of course, but I like it, so there it is. The bass plays really well and sounds good anyway, but like I say it's the La Bellas that really make it. What does that tell you..? I'll get an audio file up later.


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Edited by discreet, 02 April 2016 - 12:47 PM.


#2 therealting

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 01:32 PM

Nice work! Did you completely strip the neck before applying nitro?
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#3 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 01:39 PM

View Posttherealting, on 14 March 2016 - 01:32 PM, said:

Nice work! Did you completely strip the neck before applying nitro?

No, the HB neck is a lightly-finished satin job so I just sanded it smooth. Most of the work was in shaping the headstock which I did with a junior hacksaw and a LOT of sanding. I'll know better next time.

Edited by discreet, 14 March 2016 - 10:51 PM.


#4 Muzz

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 01:48 PM

Lovely. Just something to be aware of, tho - I was playing mine at the weekend, went to tune the A, and the tuner went bang and flew off. The tuner post had sheared. Never seen that before. Wouldn't want that to happen at a gig - I think I'll replace all of mine.
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#5 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 01:52 PM

View PostMuzz, on 14 March 2016 - 01:48 PM, said:

Lovely. Just something to be aware of, tho - I was playing mine at the weekend, went to tune the A, and the tuner went bang and flew off. The tuner post had sheared. Never seen that before. Wouldn't want that to happen at a gig - I think I'll replace all of mine.

No, that would be overly entertaining at a gig. Maybe I will replace the tuners... just as a precaution, you understand... ;)

Edited by discreet, 14 March 2016 - 01:52 PM.


#6 Muzz

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:02 PM

From the direction and speed it went, I'd have a dep drummer on standby, just in case... ;)
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#7 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:14 PM

View PostMuzz, on 14 March 2016 - 02:02 PM, said:

From the direction and speed it went, I'd have a dep drummer on standby, just in case... ;)

My current band doesn't have one, so I'm hoping it'll hit the fiddle player instead. :D

#8 Bigwan

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:16 PM

That looks really, REALLY good. Wanted one before, but I'm struggling to keep to my "won't buy anything this month" pledge to myself after a few rather... expensive months.

Did you do the neck with 2 different colours of nitro then clearcoat it? Just noticed the 3 different nitros in your shopping list.

Edited by Bigwan, 14 March 2016 - 02:17 PM.

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:20 PM

View Postdiscreet, on 14 March 2016 - 02:14 PM, said:

My current band doesn't have one, so I'm hoping it'll hit the fiddle player instead. :D

Might take a bit more work on your part, depending on how fast his reactions are - they're generally a much more mobile target. I'd say you should be aiming 90 degrees backwards from the headstock, your maximum range is about five feet...
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#10 No. 8 Wire

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:23 PM

Great job!

#11 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:23 PM

View PostBigwan, on 14 March 2016 - 02:16 PM, said:

That looks really, REALLY good. Wanted one before, but I'm struggling to keep to my "won't buy anything this month" pledge to myself after a few Did you do the neck with 2 different colours of nitro then clearcoat it? Just noticed the 3 different nitros in your shopping list.

Yes, I did a bit of online research into neck-tinting and a lot of it looks unnaturally orange/yellow. So I sprayed a couple of coats of dark yellow in there (which is actually brown) to temper it a bit. Clear coats make it a bit darker, too. Though in the pics in bright sunlight it still looks orange! But now I know, the next one will be more convincing. Also my clear coat seems to be satin, not gloss. Duh!

The order was 2 coats clear, 2 coats amber, 2 coats dark yellow, 1 coat clear, 1 coat amber, 2 coats clear.

Edited by discreet, 14 March 2016 - 02:27 PM.


#12 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:36 PM

View PostMuzz, on 14 March 2016 - 02:20 PM, said:

Might take a bit more work on your part, depending on how fast his reactions are - they're generally a much more mobile target. I'd say you should be aiming 90 degrees backwards from the headstock, your maximum range is about five feet...

Yes, it may be a bit tricky... perhaps I'll just hide some of my cables in his fiddle case then accuse him of stealing them.

Edited by discreet, 14 March 2016 - 02:36 PM.


#13 ColinB

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 03:03 PM

That looks absolutely fabulous and I'm going to have to hide my credit card.
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#14 mr zed

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 03:09 PM

That looks fantastic - well played sir.
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#15 Lw.

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 03:12 PM

That looks good - I was thinking about doing something similar a while ago but put the idea on the backburner while I sorted my amplification out but seeing that makes me think "Do I really need new cabs? I've already got a DI box."!
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#16 jezzaboy

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 07:20 PM

Looks good especially the gold pickgaurd. The Wilkinson tuners fit perfectly and are decent if you don`t want to spend a wad of cash.

#17 jezzaboy

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 07:25 PM

How did you get the right shape for the head? Have you got a cheeky template?

Or did you just guess it like a bodger like myself would do?

#18 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 07:36 PM

View Postjezzaboy, on 14 March 2016 - 07:25 PM, said:

How did you get the right shape for the head? Have you got a cheeky template? Or did you just guess it like a bodger like myself would do?

No, I used a Mike Dirnt template. It's not absolutely perfect, the line from the neck to the bottom of the headstock should be straighter before it goes into the bottom curve and it's about 1mm too big all round, but being impatient I got fed up with all the sanding and stopped when I thought it looked OK.

I'll definitely use some kind of power tool to shape the bulk of the next one and hand finish it. :)

Edited by discreet, 14 March 2016 - 07:38 PM.


#19 jezzaboy

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 07:49 PM

Cheers mate :)

#20 Dazed

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 08:24 PM

Nice job Mark. Looks good. Have to say I do like that colour combo.

#21 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 08:35 PM

View PostDazed, on 14 March 2016 - 08:24 PM, said:

Nice job Mark. Looks good. Have to say I do like that colour combo.

Thanks, so do I... but just now young master discreet (13) said, 'Dad, that guard should be white...'
Smartarse git. Thpp! :P

Edited by discreet, 14 March 2016 - 08:35 PM.


#22 Dazed

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 08:37 PM

Bah kids what do they know!

#23 darren

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 09:19 PM

I too couldn't resist one of these. I intend to reshape the headstock at some point. I was thinking of using a coping saw but may go jigsaw now. I prefer mine without the pickguard but the gold and those bridge saddles work nicely.

#24 kodiakblair

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 09:36 PM

Great job Mark. It looks Fantastic.

I'm with young master Discreet about the white scratchplate,quite fancy one on my modded PB-50 :D

#25 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 09:44 PM

View Postkodiakblair, on 14 March 2016 - 09:36 PM, said:

I'm with young master Discreet about the white scratchplate, quite fancy one on my modded PB-50 :D

I've ordered a can of white... I'll give it a go and see if I prefer it.


#26 Twincam

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 10:39 PM

Great job especially for a first go. I love the gold pg too.


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#27 discreet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 10:40 PM

View PostTwincam, on 14 March 2016 - 10:39 PM, said:

Great job especially for a first go. I love the gold pg too.

I thank you, sir. The next one will be better, I promise. Seems like the guard is a bit Marmite...

#28 therealting

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 12:04 AM

I'd be tempted to try to check the nitro...
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Posted 15 March 2016 - 06:23 AM

I like it,looks very nice.Gold PG is must!
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Posted 15 March 2016 - 08:12 AM

I like the guard how it is.
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