HBZ-2005 review by Harley Benton

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.3 (8 votes)
Harley Benton: HBZ-2005

Price paid: € 220

Purchased from: Thomann

Features — 9
I was looking for a nice 5-string bass guitar for recordings and chose this one because of the price, and the awesome looks. There are cheaper 5 sting bass guitars by Harley Benton but this one looks a lot better. Bass guitar is not my main instrument. I just use it at home. Bought it on the Thomann.de site, and it arrived just 2 days later including a battery for the active pickups and some tools to adjust action etc. The guitar was set-up with d'addario strings. It does not come with a case, but there a several cheap options to choose from on the website.

It is a 24 fret neck, and I really like the neck-thru design. Here are the specs I got from the website:

Mahogany body, neck thru body, 7 pcs maple/nato neck, rosewood fretboard, thomann oval abalone shape inlays, 24 frets, nut width 45mm, 864mm long scale, stringspace bridge 16 mm,2x ceramic bar pickups, active preamp, black hardware, die cast tuners, 5 single bridge, finish natural satin.

Sound — 8
I've so far tried it with my guitar amp(because I don't own a bass amp): a Mesa Boogie Express 5:50+ running into a 2X12 V30 Harley Benton cab. It's not a bass amp but it still sounds awesome. Really nice open and bright sound, and with the tone knobs its also possible to get real thick sounds. I usually play rock, metal and blues, but this bass can handle all styles. The neck-thru style gives it a nice sustain.

I also plugged it directly into Guitar Rig 5, the program I normally use for recording. It's a very versatile bass, so with the included amps in Guitar Rig almost every sound is possible.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The looks are amazing. The natural wood finish is really nicely done. Also the stripes in the neck look very cool. The guitar arrived in tune and set-up to play with D'Addario strings. The action is a little too low on some points, but that is not a problem, because tools to adjust it are included. On the head-stock there is a little spot that needs a bit more sanding, and some of the frets should have been sanded a little more, but the rest of the guitar feels really nice and smooth. The controls work fine, and feel quite solid, although one of the knobs is a bit heavy to turn.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I've only been using this guitar for 1 day, but it seems a very nice guitar. I guess live playing won't be a problem, but I bought it mainly for recording. Using this without backup should not be a problem but I think it's always a good idea to work with back-up guitars. The active pick-ups always require a battery, and I don't think the included one will last very long, so it's a good idea to have some extra. The tuners and the strap buttons feel solid. The electronics work nicely. The natural finish is a nice feature. I don't think it will wear a lot.

Overall Impression — 9
Considering the price (only 220 euros) it is a very good and solid bass guitar. There are not many 5-strings with active pick-ups in this price range, except for some other Harley Benton guitars that Thomann has. It was quite a gamble to buy this one, because there weren't a lot of reviews on the internet, but this is a leap forward comparing to my old bass (a Bird bass). If it was stolen or lost I would probably buy the some one again. It is a really complete guitar for a low price and it also looks like a much more expensive guitar.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Wow, that's insanely cheap for a neck-through. Looks like a simplified, direct copy of an Ibanez BTB.
    You're gonna burn your amp if you play bass through it.
    Yeah, it was just a try out, normally I use guitar Rig. But I read several posts that it is not that damaging to the amp, so I gave it a try
    Thomann's Harley Benton stuff is usually rebranded gear made by other companies. For example most of the Joyo stuff they sell is rebranded as 'Harley Benton'.