Jump to content
Al Krow

Sandberg VM5 vs Harley Benton MP-5EB

Sandberg VM5 vs HB MP-5EB - which would you get?  

35 members have voted

  1. 1. Sandberg VM5 vs HB MP-5EB - which would you get?

    • Sandberg VM5 - definitely worth the extra £££
      17
    • HB MP-5EB - does a great job and good enough for me
      12
    • I'm not a fan of either
      6


Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I've had a Sandberg VM5 on my radar for a while - really tempted by the reverse-P / bridge humbucker set up, but have been coming across a lot of favourable comments on here about the HB range of basses. 

The Harley Benton MP-5EB seems to be as close to a VM5 as they come and, personally, I think they've done a really good job!

Both have a reverse-P / M style humbucker, 2 band EQ and 22 frets. Both come in swamp ash (natural wood) or alder (painted finish) options.

See what you think! 

 

(PS if you find a better review of the VM5 then please share / I'd be happy to substitute).

Edited by Al Krow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just as an fyi, here's the 4 string version of same model HB and a pretty decent "warts and all" review. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the money the go for it’s worth a punt. The Bass the World guys would be as solid an opinion as anyone on bc and they seem to suggest it’s a solid ‘platform’. It’s simply a matter of changing the preamp and a pick up you can always nab one on here at a good price and there’s loads of solderless stuff out there too. 

I’m going to route and fit a P pick up in a 51 style HB I nabbed here a while back for a reverse P - Mike Dirnt style. Quick respray and it’s all coming in under £200. 


 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am super duper tempted to take a punt on the ol' Harley Barley once (if) we get gigging again. I love my Sire V7, but some songs just need that P pickup heft and the J neck pickup doesn't quite have the minerals. And that LPB finish is gorgeous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the mp4-eb.

The preamp was really bad. Had to replace it.

Body and neck were really good but electronics

let it down.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, ribbetingfrog said:

I had the mp4-eb.

The preamp was really bad. Had to replace it.

Body and neck were really good but electronics

let it down.

Useful to know, thanks. Really bad how? And what did you swap the electronics out for? 

Edited by Al Krow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Rich said:

I am super duper tempted to take a punt on the ol' Harley Barley once (if) we get gigging again. I love my Sire V7, but some songs just need that P pickup heft and the J neck pickup doesn't quite have the minerals. And that LPB finish is gorgeous.

If you're fine with the an effective 18 easily accessible frets (from my Sire experience) which was my only real 'gripe' on an otherwise very decent bass, would you not consider getting a Sire P7? Appreciate the colour choice on the Sires are a bit more limited and I don't think LPB is available on them! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Useful to know, thanks. Really bad how? And what did you swap the electronics out for? 

Couldn’t get a good sound out of it, really muddy.

swapped it for a Glockenklang 2 band eq and it was far better.

 

P bass pickup was good but the Musicman bridge pickup was really thin and nasaly, so never used it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, ribbetingfrog said:

Couldn’t get a good sound out of it, really muddy.

swapped it for a Glockenklang 2 band eq and it was far better.

P bass pickup was good but the Musicman bridge pickup was really thin and nasaly, so never used it.

Sounds like a really neat solution. Heard a lot of good things about the Glock preamps. And in fact I've  also come across folk replacing the Sandberg 2 band preamp, itself, with a Glock 3 band and stacked knobs. 

Your comment about the bridge humbucker completely ties in with what Bass the World guys were saying on their review. 

So an extra £100 or so for the Glock 2 band? Not tempted to swap in something meatier pup wise at the bridge for a final upgrade? 

Edited by Al Krow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, ribbetingfrog said:

I had the mp4-eb.

The preamp was really bad. Had to replace it.

Body and neck were really good but electronics

let it down.

Delano's and decent preamp.

still saving about 700 quid ish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I would have the HB without doubt.  As mentioned by ribbetingfrog, the neck and body are good, and that's all that matters because I consider them to be the chassis and the framework of the bass. A bass is after all a collection of parts put together such as the neck, body, bridge, tuners, pickup, preamp and so forth. The electronics are just bolt ons, and you can change them out like replacing the sound card in a PC. As long as the motherboard(ahem, body and neck) is good and you're getting it for a great price, just add the bits you want to improve and save some money.

I would much rather have that than paying 3 times the price for a PC with a graphics card, sound card, and slow RAM, none of which I would have wanted. In this case, the Sandberg but it could be a Fender or some other bass whose pickups or tuners I wouldn't have wanted.

Edited by TheLowDown
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, TheLowDown said:

I would have the HB without doubt.  As mentioned by ribbetingfrog, the neck and body are good, and that's all that matters because I consider them to be the chassis and the framework of the bass. A bass is after all a collection of parts put together such as the neck, body, bridge, tuners, pickup, preamp and so forth. The electronics are just bolt ons, and you can change them out like replacing the sound card in a PC. As long as the motherboard(ahem, body and neck) is good and you're getting it for a great price, just add the bits you want to improve and save some money.

I would much rather have that than paying 3 times the price for a PC with a graphics card, sound card, and slow RAM, none of which I would have wanted. In this case, the Sandberg but it could be a Fender or some other bass whose pickups or tuners I wouldn't have wanted.

Agreed! 

For me the issue has always been getting a £1.5k to £2k bass such as the VM5, where I'm not going to be totally happy with the pups and / or pre-amp and wanted to swap them out. I've some while back ended up concluding that Delanos were too polite for me (I completely get that's going to be personal taste). But at the Berg entry ticket price point, IMO a bass should be "good to go" so I've balked at taking the plunge with the prospect of adding several £hundred on top.

Whereas, as you say, picking up a decent chassis in the shape of the HB MP5-EB for £300 and swapping in a set of pups to suit (e.g. Sandberg Black** Label or EMGs?) and a Glock 3 band EQ, then as @horrorshowbass is rightly pointing out, you're saving a bunch of cash and actually getting a more boutique bass than the boutique bass it's up against. Hmmm...definitely food for thought!

 

**Sandberg Black Label vs Delano etc - Bass Guitars - Basschat

Edited by Al Krow
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, horrorshowbass said:

I would still love a nighthawk though :P

Haha - you and me both, matey! I'll have to 'fess to having got as far as getting in touch with the chap who had one in listed in the FS recently. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Haha - you and me both, matey! I'll have to 'fess to having got as far as getting in touch with the chap who had one in listed in the FS recently. 

we can but dream :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just came across this. If this model HB is coming in at 11 lbs, that would unfortunately be a bit of deal breaker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Just came across this. If this model HB is coming in at 11 lbs, that would unfortunately be a bit of deal breaker.

Although tbf he's got the Swamp Ash body, so perhaps the Alder will be a bit lighter? Plus some ultra-lite tuners, if absolutely necessary, to shave another 1/2 lb to 1lb...

...maybe game on still, then. Alder LPB or Creme. Yup that could very nicely :)

Edited by Al Krow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it’s an itch to scratch go HB...

if you are getting towards Sandberg prices but already have different specs you would like... could you get someone U.K. based to build you something custom P/MM style? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

A simple break down of the potential cost.

Used Sandberg approx £850

HB £350 approx

-preamp and MM pick up upgrade -£250 approx for 

-tuners £120

fitting and set up £150 approx or more at London prices. 

Buy a used sandberg and change out the pre or pick ups if it’s not 100%. Retain the originals and if you decide to sell it return to stock and sell or keep the upgrades.

Upgrading the hb with your track record on moving basses will only result in a loss or you’ll decide to upgrade to a Sandberg in about three months after buying the HB  😀

 

Edited by krispn
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, krispn said:

A simple break down of the potential cost.

Used Sandberg approx £850

HB £350 approx

-preamp and MM pick up upgrade -£250 approx for 

-tuners £120

fitting and set up £150 approx or more at London prices. 

Buy a used sandberg and change out the pre or pick ups if it’s not 100%. Retain the originals and if you decide to sell it return to stock and sell or keep the upgrades.

Upgrading the hb with your track record on moving basses will only result in a loss or you’ll decide to upgrade to a Sandberg in about three months after buying the HB  😀

 

C’mon that’s too sensible - where is the fun in that?

Next you’ll be saying 2 band EQ’s are ok

 

madness

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, krispn said:

A simple break down of the potential cost.

Used Sandberg approx £850 - good luck with finding a nearly new condition VM5 for that!

HB £350 approx - with free delivery I think actually just £300 and the body will be in "new" condition

-preamp and MM pick up upgrade -£250 approx for 

-tuners £120

fitting and set up £150 approx or more at London prices. 

Buy a used sandberg and change out the pre or pick ups if it’s not 100%. Retain the originals and if you decide to sell it return to stock and sell or keep the upgrades.

Upgrading the hb with your track record on moving basses will only result in a loss or you’ll decide to upgrade to a Sandberg in about three months after buying the HB  😀

 

Haha - not sure about that! If you're swapping out the electronics on both the Berg and the HB e.g. to get set of Black Labels the HB is going to win every time.

Biggest loss on a bass I've ever suffered was on a...Sandberg. And if the Berg route was such good option then, not sure why folk would be doing the following?

On 03/03/2021 at 17:17, krispn said:

I’m going to route and fit a P pick up in a 51 style HB I nabbed here a while back for a reverse P - Mike Dirnt style. Quick respray and it’s all coming in under £200. 

Clearly madness 😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Haha - not sure about that! If you're swapping out the electronics on both the Berg and the HB e.g. to get set of Black Labels the HB is going to win every time.

Biggest loss on a bass I've ever suffered was on a...Sandberg. And if the Berg route was such good option then, not sure why folk would be doing the following?

Clearly madness 😁

Did you buy the Sandberg new?

If so - of course it will make the biggest loss - it’s the same across the board except for if you bought maybe your 1960’s P bass new in the 60s and sold now.

Whats the price differential between a new NNE2 and what you paid for yours?

Swapping electronics cost can always be offset by selling the others, although you may struggle to sell HB ones as opposed to whatever is in the Sandberg.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fully fully believe you can get a very very good bass for not much money, and also think that there are quite diminishing returns for spending more... 

But with the basses you've got... which are very nice, but how much will you actually play the HB if you drop the cash on upgrading it? 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Just came across this. If this model HB is coming in at 11 lbs, that would unfortunately be a bit of deal breaker.

I've just Googled the alder version and it's 4kg (8.8lbs). Elsewhere it's been reported at 4.3 - 4.5kg (9.5 - 9.9lbs). That's the Harley Benton Enhanced MP-5EB alder version.

Edited by TheLowDown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...