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simon88wilson

Refinishing a Harley Benton pb50

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Just thought I’d chuck up a quick build diary/post of the refinish of a Harley Benton PB50.

Ive been gassing for a ‘68 telecaster bass for a while, to use in a backing band for an Americana solo artist. I had the idea of buying all the bits separately and assembling but stumbled across the Harley Benton and for sub £100 with good reviews I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. 

I went for the fiesta red one and when it arrived got straight down to disassemble and strip the finish.  I used a heat gun and did a great job of burning the wood but I was sure it would turn out ok.

 

 

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Now the thing that I didn’t like was the shape of the headstock. It’s an Iconic part of the tele/ precision bass. So I went about finding a template and cutting the headstock to size. Also the colour of it was very anemic, so I ordered some tinted lacquer. 

 

After cutting and sanding to shape I added the tinted lacquer. Then added a new decal. I have a surf green precision I made with a “Franken precision” decal so got one made up for this build. 

 

 

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Edited by simon88wilson
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Now onto deciding what colour to do the body. Originally wanted to go butterscotch or white but both guitarists in the band both sometimes use there butterscotch or white telecasters.

So after much thought and the fact I love the old pastel colours. I started thinking down that route. 

My precision is Surf green so that was out of the question. So it was a toss up between pink and blue. I decided in the end to go for sonic blue, and compromised that I might make a pink jazz bass one day. 

 

So I got down to sanding the body, priming and spraying.

 

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On to the the electrics. The original ones were fine for the job but I can’t help but meddle with these things. 

 

I have a bit of solder experience (I build my own effects pedals) so rewired using CTS pots and vintage style wire (note that I dislike this wire as it breaks easily and is hard to strip) 

 

I then started looking at pickups. I was lured by bareknuckled pickups but at the last minute found a second hand Seymour Duncan quarter pounder. I bought that and I’ll see what it sounds like

Edited by simon88wilson

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So it’s now ready to assemble, I bought a bridge cover and “ummed and arred” over a pickup one too.  Also added a thumb rest/ tug bar for aesthetic reasons too 

 

I offered up the neck to the body just to see how it’s going to look

 

I changed the knobs to flat ones instead of domed.

 

I’m now waiting on some labella flats, Dunlop strap locks (on all my basses) and I took the plunge and bought a pickup cover. 

 

I’ll update when I’ve got those added them and fixed the neck to the body. Then it’s ready to set up and play. 

 

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Edited by simon88wilson
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Thanks guys

I’m very happy with how’s its turning out. It’s not a perfect paint job by any stretch of the imagination but it’ll do and to be fair I think it’ll look better once it’s aged and reliced a bit from use. 

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2 hours ago, Sharkfinger said:

Nice.  Any pics of the priming / spraying process? 

Sorry I didn’t manage to get any. I was in too much of a rush to get things done!

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So the strings, strap locks and pickup cover came this morning. 

 

All fitted and stringed up and set up. 

Played it and realised I haven’t removed the lacquer from the frets yet. So I’ll have to do that before this is fully complete. 

I’ve only given it a quick play to make sure everything feels right and works as it should. Initial impressions is that it’s good., although playing with a pickup cover is difficult.

 

So next step is fret polishing. After that I’ll put up a recording of how it sounds. 

 

So pickup cover on and  get used to it? Or remove?

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So polished the frets and got it all working well. I can honestly say that this bass is great.

 

I've recorded a little demo of it.

So this is plugged directly into my audio interface with no EQ, compression or anything. Recorded in logic.  Using new Labella Flats.

 

First time round is tone full counter clockwise (0%) and full volume (100%)

Second time round is tone full clockwise (100%) and full volume (100%)

Third time round is tone full counter clockwise (0%) and full volume (100%) played to the original track

Fourth time round is tone full clockwise (100%) and full volume (100%) played to original track

 

The song is Pieces by Luke Tuchsherer. (it's in his backing band that this bass will be used)

 

 

 

 

Edited by simon88wilson
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11 hours ago, stewblack said:

Looks and sounds great to my eyes and ears! 

Thanks you. I’m really happy with it. 

Hopefully it’ll age nicely over the coming years 

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Hey Buddy! We spoke on IG about this bass! Happy to find Ur thread here! Thanks for taking the time to get back to me with all Ur info & sharing with the community! 

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Of course to make it really aged you would now need to remove the pickup cover and ashtray bridge cover. 😇

Nice job and I love the blue. On another matter, where did you get the headstock decal?

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17 hours ago, outtaseezun said:

Hey Buddy! We spoke on IG about this bass! Happy to find Ur thread here! Thanks for taking the time to get back to me with all Ur info & sharing with the community! 

No worries glad you found the thread and hope you get what you need from it!

 

7 hours ago, Chienmortbb said:

Of course to make it really aged you would now need to remove the pickup cover and ashtray bridge cover. 😇

Nice job and I love the blue. On another matter, where did you get the headstock decal?

the pickup cover has now gone because i found it uncomfortable to play with it! hopefully it'll start to age and the pick guard will yellow over time like my other precision has.

 

the custom decal was from http://www.guitardecals.co.uk

I just emailed them saying what i was after The word Franken instead of Fender and they were more than happy to help.

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just a quick update on this one. I used this these last two weeks playing a mixture of shows with the backing band including a festival called static roots in Germany. had a great time and this bass performed wonderfully. Really suprised me how much i like the sound of a single coil compared to my usual split coil precision .

 

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 I like HBs. It's quite interesting to see heavily modified HBs.

 Anyway, thanks for the photos and the demo. The demo is also quite interesting, the bass sounds quite good.

 

 Cheers!

 

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Aye, lush. That reshaping of the headstock absolutely makes it for me. 👍

May I ask - Why strip the paint off in the beginning?

Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just Scotchbrite and paint over the top?

Edited by Ricky 4000

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The reason i completley removed the paint is that im hoping to get some aging/relicing over the coming years and didnt want the red to show through every scratch or ding that would be made. i know Fender just repainted some of theres and through aging you can see the finish underneath. i wasn't sure that i wanted that effect.

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