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Harley Benton Bass — ULTIMATE Guide [Listing All Models!]

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When it comes to the world of musical instruments, some brands are a lot more popular than others. Oftentimes, this popularity isn’t always a result of massive marketing and promotional strategies. 

Some names become household names because they have proven over the years to deliver nothing but the best quality musical instruments. However, some brands, regardless of how good they are, do not always have this same level of popularity and acceptance. 

The name Harley Benton might not be as popular as names like Fender, Gibson, Yamaha and many others. However, this does not mean that it sits levels below the aforementioned brands in terms of quality and craftsmanship. 

Harley Benton is a unique brand of musical instruments owned and distributed by the very popular and reputable German Thomann music retailer. 

They sell different musical instruments and gears like guitars, basses, amplifiers, ukuleles, effect pedals, and many other accessories. 

The amazing thing with Harley Benton is that regardless of the fact that they make top-quality instruments, their products still have very reasonable price tags. 

This gives other more popular and less popular brands a tough time competing with Harley Benton’s price and quality ratio. 

The amazing thing about Harley Benton is that because it imports its products directly from the manufacturer, they are able to offer very affordable competitive prices for musical instruments that are perfectly designed for both beginners as well as more seasoned players. 

History of Harley Benton

The story of Harley Benton starts as sort of a house brand for German music instrument retailer Thomann. And the company’s history goes all the way back to 1954 when it was founded by Hans Thomann. 

However, Harley Benton as the company’s guitar and bass guitar exists for about 26 years or so. So the Thomann retailer was founded way back in 1954 by Hans Thomann. It has been run as a family-focused business throughout the years. 

However, in 1997, his son Hans Jr. founded the in-house brand, Harley Benton. The main idea was to offer affordable instruments while keeping some of the much-appreciated qualities of more expensive guitars.

The company outsourced the production to manufacturers that already make guitars and basses for other big brands that move their production overseas. And just like with most of them, Harley Benton focused on producing your usual copies of well-known mainstream guitars.

But as the year passed, the quality improved. These days, Harley Benton guitars and basses are great budget-friendly alternatives to your usual expensive brands. Despite their much lower prices, they still keep their reputation for making quality instruments.

In 2022, Harley Benton celebrated their 25th anniversary. For the occasion, they released special anniversary electric guitar and bass models. They still continue to release a variety of models, both guitars and basses.

Harley Benton PJ Style Bass Guitars

Harley Benton’s PJ basses, which are copies of your usual PJ basses by Fender and Squier, today include a total of four models, 4-stringed PJ-4 and PJ-74, and 5-stringed PJ-5 and PJ-75. However, they all share a lot of the same traits.

Firstly, we have the usual PJ-style pickup configuration. The J-style single-coil pickup is in the bridge position while a split P-style one is in the middle position. 

We can also say the same about the controls with two volume knobs and one tone knob. All of the basses also come with 20 frets and a 34-inch scale length. Functionally, they’re all pretty much the same.

We can say the same about the design, apart from the specific colour options. Hardware finishes also differ, with some models coming with either black or chrome options. All four models also come with maple necks.

Body and fingerboard materials are different. For the body, we have basswood, poplar, and alder. Fingerboards are rosewood or amaranth. The neck profiles also differ and some models come with D-shaped and some with C-shaped necks.

Harley Benton JB Style Bass Guitars

The JB basses are pretty much copies of Fender’s legendary Jazz Bass design. And this is one of the biggest Harley Benton series with a total of 21 models, all of which are 4-string instruments.

And with so many models also comes a variety of features and traits. It goes from basic models like JB-20 to more advanced ones like the JB-75. There’s even one fretless, the JB-40FL

Most of these JB models come with poplar bodies while some are made of ash. There are also a few basses in this series with a maple fingerboard, although most come with laurel fretboards.

But with all of these basses, you can see the same pickup layout with two JB-style single coils. They all also have the same control layout with the recognizable metal control plate. You’ll also find individual volume controls for each of the pickups, as well as a master tone knob.

However, one thing with all of the 21 variants remains the same — all of these basses come with the dual-cutaway offset body shape.

Harley Benton PB Style Bass Guitars

The PB series is your affordable alternative to the Precision Bass. Harley Benton brings 10 models, all with the Strat-like dual-cutaway body shape and bearing one single-coil pickup.

However, what’s interesting is that there are two variants here. Most of these basses come with the usual split-coil pickup in the middle position, the HB PB ceramic. 

But a few variants come with a regular-shaped single-coil. This one is the Roswell VTN4 Vista which adds a bit more midrange “growl” to the tone. Other than that, PB basses all come with one volume and one tone control.

You’ll also notice some variety in features, like the different pickguard designs and maple fingerboards for the basses with the VTN4 single-coil pickups. Other than that, they all come with 20 frets and a 34-inch scale.

It’s also worth noting that the series also includes a beginner-friendly short-scale model PB-Shorty. But the “standard” model in the series is the PB-20.

Harley Benton Hollow-Body Bass Guitars

In their vast collection of affordable instruments, Harley Benton also brings three hollow-body bass guitars. Two of these, BeatBass FL and BeatBass VS, are inspired by the legendary Höfner 500/1 bass with a violin-like body without any soundholes. 

And, what’s more, one of these two is a fretless variant. The control layout and pickup configuration on these two models are like from the old days — two humbuckers that are controlled using individual volume knobs and three switches for detailed tone shaping. 

They also have basswood bodies with flamed maple tops, maple necks, amaranth fingerboards, vintage-style hardware, and a short 30-inch scale.The third model, the HB-60 WB, comes with a semi-hollow double-cutaway body design.

Visually, it’s somewhat similar to the usual 335-style body. It comes with two humbuckers, a vintage-style bridge and tailpiece, a set-in neck and body construction, and a 30-inch scale.

Overall, all three of these are 1960s-style short-scale basses. They’re the perfect basses for indie bands or anyone looking for old-school tones and appearance.

Harley Benton Prog Electric Bass Guitars

Harley Benton’s Prog basses come in two main variants. One of them is a double-cutaway design with a dual-humbucker pickup configuration. These are B-450, B-550, and B-650 models, bearing 4, 5, and 6 strings respectively. 

They also come with active electronics and a control layout that includes a 2-band EQ, master volume, and a balance knob that blends the signal of the two humbuckers.

It’s also interesting that there are fretless variants, B-650FL, B-550FL, and B-450FL. But other than that, we have almost the same features, including alder bodies, 34-inch scales, and 24 frets or exactly two octaves on the fretless variants.

The other variant includes the Marquees basses that come in 4-string and 5-string forms. The 4-string variant comes with a single-coil in the bridge and a split-coil pickup in the middle position. 

The 5-string, on the other hand, comes with a pair of 5ST humbuckers. But all of these basses are equipped with active electronics, two volume controls, two tone controls, as well as the same type of hardware.

Although Marquees basses have a different body shape, we have a somewhat similar set of traits with the Prog series. This is mainly with the active electronics and the 34-inch scale length.

Harley Benton Elegant Electric Bass Guitars

The so-called Elegant series includes just one model. We’re looking at the HBZ-2005FL, which is a gorgeous-looking 5-string fretless bass with a natural finish.

Apart from the mahogany body, we have a 7-piece neck made out of three different types of wood. And, what’s more, this is a neck-through construction, which, in practice, means that the neck continues on through the body.

On top of the neck, we have a black walnut fingerboard that not only provides comfort but further adds to the instrument’s “natural” non-glossy aesthetics. This is all accompanied by a modern-style bridge with individual string saddles and die-cast tuning machines.

HBZ-2005FL is also equipped with two ceramic single-coil pickups. They’re also powered through the instrument’s active electronics system.

Although not an expensive one, HBZ-2005FL is designed as a pro-tier bass guitar. Sure, you won’t get some of the expected high-end traits, but at its price point, it’s pretty much a steal. 

Harley Benton Offset Electric Bass Guitars

Harley Benton also comes with a collection of “offset waist” type of bass models. These are largely copies of the classic Rickenbacker basses, although you’ll also find some Gibson Thunderbird-style instruments and a few other goodies.

The RB basses, like the RB-414, are your Rickenbacker copies. Their dual-cutaway Okoume bodies are accompanied by glued Okoume necks and amaranth fretboards. Their scale is the usual 34 inches and they come with 22 frets. 

They’re also equipped with a mini humbucker in the neck position and a single coil in the bridge that’s accompanied by a cover plate. TB-70 basses are Thunderbird copies with pretty straightforward traits.

They’re equipped with Roswell GB4 mini humbuckers, they come with set-in necks, 20 frets, and the usual 34-inch scale. There’s also a master volume control with push-pull action for more tone shaping, and individual tone controls for each pickup.

Then there’s the WB-20 that’s a Warlock-style bass with some serious metal aesthetics. It’s not super-exciting, coming with one split-coil pickup, volume and tone controls, and basic hardware. The bass does have 24 frets but is otherwise your usual low-cost instrument with a bolt-on neck.

Lastly, there’s the GuitarBass VS. This is a 6-string instrument that’s designed to work one octave below the conventional 6-string guitar. With this in mind, as well as some very guitar-like traits, this could count as a baritone guitar rather than a bass. 

This is a copy of the old Fender VI bass only it comes with a Gibson-style tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece.

Harley Benton M-Style Electric Bass Guitars

As far as the M-Style series goes, the most of basses there are direct copies of Ernie Ball Music Man Sting Ray models. Both 4- and 5-string models are available and they all include visual and functional traits of Sting Rays. 

They come with humbuckers, some with one and some with two, a simple bridge with individual string saddles, and a 34-inch scale length. However, the models with one pickup come with 21 frets.

They also have a coil-split option that adds more versatility with its two volume controls and one tone knob. Meanwhile, the dual-humbucker models have a 5-way selector switch, master volume, and an active preamp with a 3-band EQ.

They also come with 24 frets although the scale length is the same. The rest of the basses in the M-Style series are copies of Fender’s Jazz Bass and Mustang models.

They’re all equipped with a single-coil and a split-coil pickup. The Mustang copies, like MV-4MSB, come with 19 frets, while the Jazz Bass variants, like the MV-4PJ, have 22 frets.

Harley Benton Enhanced Electric Bass Guitars

The Enhanced series is for anyone looking for an affordable bass with advanced features. There are four basic models. We have the 4-string MJ-4 and the 5-string MJ-5, both of which are available in a few different aesthetic variants. 

These come with a humbucker in the bridge position and a single-coil in the middle position. The two other models, MP-4 and MP-5, are fairly similar although they come with a split-coil in the middle position instead of the regular single-coil. 

What’s common for all of the models is that they have active electronics with a 2-band equalizer, volume control with a push-pull feature, and balance control for blending in pickup signals.

Other than that, we’re looking at the classic double-cutaway JB body design on all of the models. They’re also all in standard size with a 34-inch scale. Some models also come with maple fingerboards while others include ebony ones with white block inlays.

Harley Benton 25th Anniversary Electric Bass Guitars

For the brand’s 25th anniversary, Harley Benton released two new celebratory models, each also available as left-handed versions. One is a Jazz Bass-style instrument called JB-25TH. The other is a Precision-style bass guitar called Enhanced 25TH.

Aesthetically wise, both come with a so-called “Firemist gold” finish. JB-25TH doubles down with a matching gold headstock while the Enhanced 25TH keeps the entire neck in a natural finish.

Both of these come with a roasted maple neck. The JB has a laurel fretboard and 20 frets while the Enhanced model keeps it all maple with 22 frets. Other than that, we have the same scale length of 34 inches.

The biggest difference is in the pickups and electronics. JB comes with passive electronics and two single-coil Roswell JBA pickups while the Enhanced model includes active electronics as well as a Roswell MFR4 humbucker in the bridge position and Roswell PM-4 split-coil in the middle.

All this also comes with different controls with JB sporting your usual two volume knobs and one master tone whereas the Enhanced 25TH has a master volume, master tone, and a 2-band EQ. Basically, with all features considered, JB-25TH is a more vintage-oriented model while Enhanced 25TH keeps things modern.

Where Are Harley Benton Guitars Made?

Although Harley Benton is an in-house brand of a German-based company Thomann, they outsource the production to a variety of factories in Asia. 

Different series and models are made in different factories that are located in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. They’re still done according to the company’s own designs.

How Good Are Harley Benton Bass Guitars?

Harley Benton is a brand famous for its affordable guitars and bass guitars. For the most part, they’re all copies of classic brands and models. Considering their price, which rarely ever goes past $500, Harley Benton basses are pretty great. 

Although you can’t expect some high-end qualities that you’d see with established brands, Harley Benton makes gig-ready instruments that can even serve in some professional settings.

Where to Purchase Harley Benton Bass Guitars

Harley Benton is an in-house brand of Thomann so the easiest way to get them is through the Thomann website. In Europe, they’re far more common in guitar stores. However, in the US, you’ll have to order them online through Thomann’s website.


In more recent years, Harley Benton has been getting a lot of attention among bassists and guitarists. While these aren’t really comparable to some pro-tier brands and models, Harley Benton basses are more than impressive considering their price. 

With setups and minor modifications, you could get pretty close to pro-grade instruments. You can’t really go wrong with Harley Benton basses as they’re slowly becoming more present even in some professional settings, making them more than just your affordable beginner-friendly instruments.