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NBD - PB-50

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Still cold from the back of the UPS truck is my new Harley Benton PB-50 which will soon be disassembled for some minor modifications: swap bridge for a more traditional looking example, reshape the headstock and apply amber tint to the neck. I may upgrade the pickup at some point but it’s perfectly adequate for now, and I will probably change the scratchplate for a white one. Also I’ll fit some flatwounds.

I’m impressed so far, the neck in particular is fantastic. The set up is pretty good, it was even in tune. For £300 this would be a decent bass, for a little over £80 it’s incredible. 

The only gripe I have is with the pots. The tone knob did nothing at all at first,  although the more I turned it the more it gradually came to life and now works - weird, it’s as if it just needed some motion to get it going. The volume control works, but instead of gradually decreasing the volume as you roll it back, it stays at a constant volume for about 80% of it’s travel before just falling off a cliff with a silent final 20% of the turn. Not a massive issue as I’ll probably change the pots. I was kind of annoyed at first, but then again have to remind myself it’s an €85 instrument. I think we are so spoiled with decent cheap gear these days we have high expectations even of budget stuff!

So yes, I’m happy, and with the completion of my self build Precision two days ago that’s two new basses in 48 hours, can’t argue with that! 

ED4D41F3-3F16-4F48-9E2D-2A76F79DFF41.jpeg

Edited by BrunoBass
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I'm really tempted by these.  It would replace the Fender 51 reissue that I gave to my son a few years ago.  I always loved how that one sounded and played.

Can anyone chip in regarding the weight of these beauties?

Frank.

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@BrunoBass

Congratulations on joining the ranks of PB-50 owners :D That was pretty niffty delivery timing since it only shipped Wednesday.

 

@machinehead 

I've owned 5 of these and all have hovered around 9lb using luggage scales

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2 hours ago, machinehead said:

I'm really tempted by these.  It would replace the Fender 51 reissue that I gave to my son a few years ago.  I always loved how that one sounded and played.

Can anyone chip in regarding the weight of these beauties?

Frank.

Yep like @kodiakblair mine is about 9lbs. It’s hefty piece of wood alright, but no more than my MIM Jazz Deluxe or Stingray.

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I've seen a few posts about these lately. Don't they look great?

My Yammy BB suits me fine ta, but one of these HB's would be fun I reckon.

Hmmmmm 😎🎸

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Looking at the bridge in more detail, it’s screw points are at each corner, so replacing the bridge will involve drilling new holes and filling existing holes. No big deal, but as changing the bridge is purely for cosmetic reasons I might just leave it and get an ashtray.

Here’s what I think of it so far...

 

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I’ve stripped the bass down, in readiness of reshaping the headstock, and in doing so the budget nature of the bass has truly revealed itself. 

The fretboard appears to be bare wood, with a satin finish on the back of the neck, and the headstock. It might have a finish on it, but it’s very, very light. That’s no problem, I’m going to add an amber tint anyway.

A lot of the screws are screwed in at angles, instead of straight, and the tug bar was screwed in with screws that were so short it just pulled off. No big deal, there’s a reason why this is cheap as chips.

Most disappointing though is the mess I found when I removed the scratchplate. I was between replacing it with a white one or just removing it altogether. The latter option is a no-no now that I’ve discovered the gouge and the fact that the photo flame paper ends with an abrupt edge.

I think as the sum of it’s parts the PB-50 (or my PB-50 - others might be better) is a great, budget bass. Underneath the hood it’s pretty shoddy, but for £85-ish it hard to justify any major complaint.

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B2562E53-7786-41E7-8DC2-E4C2518E5AE9.jpeg

AFC386AB-DCF7-4B99-BE88-3DBE4E29F99C.jpeg

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I'm thinking there's been a change of factory because I never found any of those points on my previous 4. The one witha QC date last November looked like this.

QiqDU2yt.jpg

The  with QC date this January looks the same as yours.

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I started on the headstock too, using a printed Mike Dirnt signature template. I’ve started with a hacksaw with a new blade, this is going to take some patience as the progress here is the result of twenty minutes hacking away. I’m thinking of an alternative method; I’ve put out the call on Facebook to see if any friends have a bandsaw I can use! I won’t go into detail on this but here as it’s more for Build Diaries.

CEFF64BF-B7E8-46F6-93E6-EA96578970F4.jpeg

Edited by BrunoBass
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The red ones are being advertised again, back-order early June. The last ones sold out on just back-order so if you want one, maybe order now. Not sure if they have the extra layer as they are solid red..?

My photoflame one was very accurate and well matched even though covered it with Lake Placid Blue and no odd holes either..

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27 minutes ago, yorks5stringer said:

My photoflame one was very accurate and well matched even though covered it with Lake Placid Blue and no odd holes either..

I saw pictures of that, looked great.

Which paint did you use and what preparation did you do? I’m thinking of maybe painting mine.

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4 hours ago, BrunoBass said:

I saw pictures of that, looked great.

Which paint did you use and what preparation did you do? I’m thinking of maybe painting mine.

Got a can of LPB nitro from Northwestguitars and just did a scuff finish coat over the existing sunburst with 400 grade paper which was too rough, should have gone with 800. Did 6 ish coats and then  about the same of clear coat. Used tinted amber for the neck 6-8 coats, then clear over that too. Nitro is quite forgiving: any small errors get righted by the next coat which melts into it, luckily for me...!

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15 hours ago, BrunoBass said:

I saw pictures of that, looked great.

Which paint did you use and what preparation did you do? I’m thinking of maybe painting mine.

If it's all in good nick (i.e. no dings or scratches) you're best to key the existing paint surface with a grey scotchbrite pad. Give it a really thourough going over so that there are no shiny spots at all. Using rougher papers or abrasives will lead to scratches showing in the top coat. I bought one of these and repainted it a little while ago:

 

Edited by Japhet
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2 hours ago, Japhet said:

If it's all in good nick (i.e. no dings or scratches) you're best to key the existing paint surface with a grey scotchbrite pad. Give it a really thourough going over so that there are no shiny spots at all. Using rougher papers or abrasives will lead to scratches showing in the top coat. I bought one of these and repainted it a little while ago:

 

Great, thanks.

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13 hours ago, yorks5stringer said:

Got a can of LPB nitro from Northwestguitars and just did a scuff finish coat over the existing sunburst with 400 grade paper which was too rough, should have gone with 800. Did 6 ish coats and then  about the same of clear coat. Used tinted amber for the neck 6-8 coats, then clear over that too. Nitro is quite forgiving: any small errors get righted by the next coat which melts into it, luckily for me...!

Thank you.

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On 10/05/2018 at 00:01, yorks5stringer said:

Got a can of LPB nitro from Northwestguitars and just did a scuff finish coat over the existing sunburst with 400 grade paper which was too rough, should have gone with 800. Did 6 ish coats and then  about the same of clear coat. Used tinted amber for the neck 6-8 coats, then clear over that too. Nitro is quite forgiving: any small errors get righted by the next coat which melts into it, luckily for me...!

Hi, do you have any pictures of you LPB 50s bass? I maybe buying one of these to do up. I've had one before, I refinished the neck, reshaped the headstock, put a cheeky logo on & had a pickguard made which was an exact copy of the black guard it comes with as stock.

It was a great bass for the money. 

Thanks! 

1BA4CFCC-6FC6-4D5B-968B-C4681E8C626B.jpeg

Edited by Ghost Rider
To update post & ad a picture

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