Sound — 9
The body style's like a 'regular' bass, almost like a Tanglewood rebel, with Warwick style pickups. Man, do those pickups make a good sound. very punchy, excelent for the low end rock and metal that I play. The selector knobs are simple to adjust the sound, and there is quite a difference in sounds if you play around for a little bit, through an Ashdown 2x12" combo, set on high, with the bridge pickup selected, it sounds just like Fieldy's K5. with maximum bass on the amp, and the same pickup, it simply roars. very good, full sounds.
Overall Impression — 9
I think this is one of those 'do-it-all' basses. It seems to have the sound to play anyhting that has a good line to it. For metal it was good, not quite as growly as I wanted, but it still held it's own. I wouldn't really buy one again if I had a choice, but if I was out of pocket and needed an emergency replacement, I'd consider getting another one. I love the fact it has a laquered neck that's the same colour as the body. you rarely see that on sub 200 guitars, but one on a sub 100? There really is nothing I hate about it. It works, it performs well, it can even withstand the abuse I give it at shows. This is an awesome beginner bass, and I'd even recomend it to someone looking for their second or third bass, to use as a practice guitar or even a small show guitar. I hope my one's as good as the others are. If they are, I think Harely Benton may become a name you'll see crop up more often.
Reliability & Durability — 9
As I said, I play in a small hard rock/heavy metal band, and through the ashdown amp (previously mentioned) this bass has enough power and playability to power its way through anything. Perhaps even armageddon. Or not. But still, it's a very strong bass, and it lasted three shows absolutely faultlessly, without a backup (which I admit was brave. The first time I played it live I thought to myself 'this is going to fall appart any time now, and I have no backup whatsoever') with plenty of life left in it. The hardware was well constructed and there was no chance anything was going to fall off. Good finish, excelent sound, brilliant playability. I loved using this, and I still use it at home for the occasional thrash around when the epi's feeling a little fragile, or warming up for a gig.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Because of the laquered neck, the action was smooth as long as you don't get anything sticky on the neck, i.e. Coke/Ribena/The Body Fluids of that groupie you were getting very friendly with earlier (that last one was a joke. Well, maybe). I've never been in that kind of position). Sweat's another thing to watch out for. Give the neck a good wipe down after a sweaty mit's been all over it and the finish of the neck won't deteriorate. With my one, the only flaw I could see was that one of the selector knobs was loose. Half a turn of the little grub screw later, it was fine. The frets towards the base of the neck were a little sharp; too sharp for my liking. Easily sorted with a triangular file, rounded at the edges. Still, for a ninety quid bass, it's so much better than I first thought it would be, the rest of the build quality was awesome.
Features — 7
I just thought these were Thomann's 'in-house' brand, and got the bass as a stop-gap whilst I saved up for the bass of my dreams (white Epi Thunderbird). Got it from Thomann about four days after I ordered it, very good service. I was really surprised by how it felt out of the box. it balances very well, despite the head being a bit too 'skinny' for my linking. the finish is very good, quite thick in fact, mine's been banging against my belt buckle when I've played at gigs and there's only a couple of minor stcrathes on the back.