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blablas

Turning a Harley benton PB-Shorty into a JB-Shorty.

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A couple of week ago I bought a fun little (lefty) Harley Benton PB-Shorty.
mini_P_sd.jpg&key=1f525c6e13750bd9fc013c331cb24c8575eaa3ee047a798873c3a504b592af65
I liked this little bass a lot (after having put in a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder), 30 inch scale while all other dimension are similar to a Precission Bass.
It got me thinking of wanting one with Jazz Bass pickups, given that this is not available I decided to convert one myself, this is my little rebuild diary.

Orderer another to do this conversion.
After it arrived I found out that this second one was nowhere near as well made as the first one.
Well whatever is wrong or I don't like will be fixed along the way. :)
9lyptOq.jpg
(The second PB-Shorty is the one in the back)

For this conversion I'm going to use a set off Jazz Bass pickups I have laying around that came from one of my Squier VM's after I put Chi-Sonic's in that one.
For controls I prefer volume/balance/tone, these three controls will be on the top and I am going to ad a sidejack.

The conversion and fixing begins:
The tuners needed realigning, they were mounted rather sloppy, not at an straight angle and also misaligned from each other.
E02d7Kx.jpg
Before modifying.
HubheHY.jpg
Filling the holes with toothpicks and CA glue. After the glue hardened I just cut of the toothpicks and leveled them with a sharp chisel,
re-drilled the holes and mounted the tuners again.
m1bg4Sw.jpg
And after modifying, mounted straight.

There were also a lot of sharp fret ends, well they are gone now. :)

On a more positive note, the neck is made out of a piece flatsawn maple.
y4nBmrh.jpg


First real sawdust.
DJCW7V3.jpg
Drilled the hole for the sidejack.
M8bDWoU.jpg
And jackplate in place.

Routing and new pickguard.
mHYtFNG.jpg
Routed the pickup cavities and made a new pickguard (mint green, the protective foil is still on, it doesn't look at its best right now).

Shielding.
3tdyiyN.jpg
Applied shielding and mounted the bridge pickup.

Edited by blablas
changed picture links

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PHP7tvO.jpg
And more shielding.

17q3p2g.jpg
Mounted the neck pickup, made a shim (the saddles are a tad to low without to my liking), mounted the neck and put on some strings to check the alignment of everything.

Not bad. :thank_you:

Edited by blablas
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Looking good. This must be one of your easiest projects you've done in some time, but it's looking good.

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And it's finished.
6k64sf8.jpg
Sorted out the wiring this evening, put on a set of new strings and did the first setup session.

While making the pickguard I also made a new one for the original P (I could get two from one rough pickguard plate), that one is also in place.
I probably still have to level and dress a few frets, but that's something that can be done at a later time.

I'll make more detailed pictures during daylight tomorrow.

Edited by blablas
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The promised pictures.

Full frontal portrait:
jb_shorty.jpg&key=77561ebd633248d3ee28c8c15f4559b75c05745376afe2a232b1aca0049e3f1f

details:
OFpX81t.jpg

axWWmY2.jpg

ls8fjEb.jpg

It was a fun little project to do, the end result is exactly what I had in mind, sound wise and looks wise.

Edited by blablas
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The wood for the body is fine, a bit on the soft side, not that strange given that it's poplar, when I machined the pickup cavities I came up to no bad spots or anything else that was out of the ordinary. What I could see of the wood after I milled it was that it actually looked very good and had a nice grain to it.
The neck is made of flatsawn maple, no knots or anything, fingerboard is a nice looking piece of rosewood.
The fretwire is something that time will tell how good it is.

All other hardware is okay, and to my eyes and experience doesn't need to be replaced, the only letdown is the stock pickup which sounds rather bland and boring and is really cheap muck.

That's why replaced it with a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder on the P version, which more than doubled the price. :shok:
For the bass I converted here this stock pickup was not a factor at all because I was planning on putting in Jazz pickups anyway.

All in all I'm tempted to say you get a lot more bass than you pay for with these Shorty's, there are a few little shortcomings but nothing that can't be easily fixed.

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Thanks. I ask because I'm considering building a Harley Benton p-bass kit sometime this year. Looking at kits, there seems to be a big gap between the el cheapo kits and the high end (e.g. Carvin) kits, and not much in between. The Harley Benton kits received mixed, but sometimes good reviews. I was curious about what you found out about the PB shorty to find out about HB quality in feral. Thank you.

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Over on TalkBass there is a topic on Harley Benton's and someone over there just bought a P-kit, maybe it's interesting for you to take a look there.

Edited by blablas

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I'm playing around with the idea to make a third shorty variation, think "big humbucker and preamp". ;)
But first I have to finish my custom 12 string before I'm going to do more with this idea.

Edited by blablas

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The 'MMB-Shorty' goes for real, ordered the bass and parts.
QaKwjLv.jpg

Edited by blablas
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Bass and parts are in (only waiting for a black series/parallel switch).

The plan.
rO61wIK.jpg
The pickguard will be replaced with a black one.

The parts.
YcSV23n.jpg

First things to do.
H7mK7po.jpg
Align the tuners and remove several sharp fret ends.
I seem to have a patent on this with HB basses, or I am more critical than most people because I also build my own instruments.

Edited by blablas
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So are you having the pick-up in the MM position and cutting part way into the scratchplate?

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I thought it might look quite cool with white :) but black is good to.

Look forward to seeing it when it's done.

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Filled.
UIyiu9t.jpg

Leveled.
tOOM7g1.jpg

And filled again.
L3jvrb1.jpg
Now the tuners are on straight and aligned.

Edited by blablas
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Made the new pickguard today, looks ugly due to the protective foil that's still on.
o5x3dEB.jpg

Edited by blablas
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[quote name='blablas' timestamp='1424883763' post='2701567']
The 'MMB-Shorty' goes for real, ordered the bass and parts.

[/quote]

"Potiknob Tandem" sounds like a Stanley Unwinism. (probably not funny in the Netherlands!)

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