Harley Benton PB-20 SBK/SB Review – Is It Any Good?

4.0 rating

It is always a good moment to get yourself a new instrument. And if you play bass, there are plenty of options to check out. In the past couple of years, many people have been talking about Harley Benton. It seems that the company offers an item for everyone’s taste and that you won’t have any problems finding a model just for you. 

All things considered, Harley Benton is one of the best options you can find on the market. The price/quality ratio is unmatchable, and they look really good. More importantly, the brand is quite versatile, and you can find all types of instruments. And this includes basses. 

A perfect example is a PB-20 series, and I will go through SBK and SB models. The models look rather similar except for a few differences I will cover later. They both have a single pickup, and they look amazing. It is not often that you encounter a guitar that offers this quality for a ridiculously low price. 

If you are looking for a beginner bass, one of these guitars can be an excellent option. Naturally, this is still a guitar in the budget range, which means that it comes with its own pros and cons. The quality of the guitar is great considering the price, but it is not on par with more expensive models. 

ProsCons
Great designMight need setup
Affordable pricePickups are not great
Good quality

Harley Benton is an excellent brand for beginners. They will get a beautiful instrument that will serve them for practice, and they won’t have to spend a lot of money on it. One of the downsides of cheap models is that they might require setup when you get them. 

And if you are a beginner, this can be a problem. If you have a guitar service near you, you can always take your instrument there and ensure that everything is good once you get your guitar. Even with the price of setup, it is still affordable and worth your money. 

These two guitars are easily 4 out of 5 stars. It is an excellent bass for all beginners out there, and they will have so much fun learning how to play it. 

Harley Benton

Thomann or Musikhaus Thomann is a company with a long history. It has been around since 1954, and it became one of the biggest retail stores in Europe. Thomann still focuses on tradition, and the company is family-owned even after all these years. 

Thanks to the magic of the internet, Thomann gained incredible popularity when they started selling items via their online store. Between 2004 and 2012, the number of customers tripled, and it is one of the biggest growing companies in Bavaria. 

As a result, Thomann decided to launch their own line of instruments called Harley Benton. You can find mandolins, banjos, ukuleles, violins, and of course, guitars. If you are a beginner guitarist, you will notice that prices are quite low, but the quality is not. And this is what makes Harley Benton above the competition. 

All instruments are made in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, and the company has dozens of factories in the Far East. 

Harley Benton PB-20 SBK/SB Specs

What many people want to know is the specs of the guitar. This will give you a clear insight into what these two instruments have to offer. So, let’s start from the beginning. 

General

SeriesPB-20 SBK/PB-20 SB
Number of Strings 4
Hand OrientationRight
ColorsBlack matte/black high gloss

Body

Body ShapeFender Precision Bass
Body ConstructionDouble cutaway
Body TypeSolid
Body MaterialBasswood/poplar
Top MaterialNone
Top TypeNone
Back MaterialNone
FinishMatte/High Gloss

Neck

Scale Length34.02 inches (864 millimeters)
Neck ConstructionBolt-on
Neck MaterialMaple
Truss RodAdjustment at the nut
Truss Rod TypeWrench
Fretboard MaterialAmaranth
Fretboard Radius14 inches (355.6 millimeters)
Position InlaysDots
Number of Frets20
Fret SizeMedium
NutPlastic
Nut Width1.65 inches (42 millimeters)

Electronics

Pickup ConfigurationH
Bridge PickupPB style split-coil/PB style pickup
Controls1 volume, 1 tone
SwitchNone

Hardware

TailpieceStandard Harley Benton
Bridge TypeFixed
TunersClassic PB-Style machine heads
FinishBlack/Chrome
PickguardPlastic

Harley Benton PB-20 SBK and SB are from the same series, and they are loosely based on the Fender Precision Bass. This will give you the familiar feeling, and they look great. The first thing you will notice is the difference in colors, but this is far from being the only thing you will get to choose. 

While both instruments have black bodies, they have different finishes. The PB-20 SBK offers Black Matte, while the PB-20 BK is High Gloss. Furthermore, the PB-20 SBK has a darker color combination, with a dark pickguard, and black hardware. The PB-20 BK still has a black body, but the pickguard is white and the hardware is chrome-colored. 

One of the biggest differences is not apparent from the start, and that is the materials used for the bodies. The PB-20 SBK has a body made of basswood, while the PB-20 BK uses poplar. Each of these small changes will result in a different sound and feel once you pick up the guitar. 

Finally, the PB-20 SBK has a split-coil function, and it is slightly more expensive. Both instruments are still in the budget category, and the price difference is not as significant. The rest of the parts are pretty much shared between these two instruments. Both necks are made of maple, have a 34-inch scale length, with a 14-inch radius, and twenty frets. 

It is completely up to you and your preferences to choose which model you like the most. But regardless of the one you pick, you will get a great beginner guitar for an incredible price. 

The Sound, The Feel Of The Harley Benton PB-20 SBK/SB

The question everyone has on their mind is how does the guitar sound? And the answer is – pretty good. Naturally, the amplifier you will use will play an essential role in shaping the sound, but the instrument is quite good and well made. 

You should expect something similar to Fender Precision Bass. The pickup used for the PB-20 series is inspired by Fender Precision Bass and its famous split coil design. There are two pickups placed together, and they are humbuckers. 

This means that you shouldn’t have any issues with noise since the design is noise-canceling. The sound you will get from these Harley Benton pickups is powerful and will be able to pack a punch. But more importantly, you won’t need to worry about the irritating noise in the background. 

Both the PB-20 SBK and the PB-20 BK have the same configuration, and both pickups are based on the Precision Bass. 

Even if you don’t plan on using any pedals, the sound will be quite good. And this will be a perfect opportunity for all the beginners out there. The controls work great, and there is one volume and one tone knob. Since there are no additional pickups, there is no need to use or have the switch on the instrument. 

All things considered, Harley Benton PB-20 SBK and PB-20 BK are worth the money. 

Harley Benton PB-20 SBK/SB Is Perfect For Whom?

There are no limitations to who can use and play Harley Benton PB-20 SBK/SB. The guitar is suitable for any skill level, and you can check it out even if you are a professional guitarist. With that in mind, there is no denying that these models are targeting beginners. 

The models are quite affordable, which is one of the first things a beginner will check out. Those with years of experience probably already own a better bass, and they will have no need for another. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they can’t experiment or buy a lovely affordable guitar. 

There is a simple answer to this question. The guitar is perfect for anyone that wants to have a bass inspired by Fender Precision Bass. It is as simple as that. But if you are a beginner who is a fan of the P-series, and want to get started with a decent beginner-friendly instrument, this is a great option. 

Beginners, intermediate players, and those with a limited budget will find the Harley Benton PB-20 series to be a perfect option. 

Other Harley Benton Products Worth Checking Out

Harley Benton offers numerous different designs and models, and if you are liking the brand, there are plenty of basses to choose from. 

Harley Benton PJ-74 VW Vintage Series

Harley Benton PJ-74 is from the Vintage Series. It has a body made of African alder, maple neck, and blackwood fretboard. The design is based on the Fender Precision Bass, and it looks quite good. While the price is slightly higher compared to the PB-20 series, there is a significant increase in quality. 

If you can afford to spend more money on the guitar, Harley Benton PJ-74 is a great option. It still doesn’t cost as much as high-end instruments, but the sound and quality are incredible for the price. 

Harley Benton Enhanced MP-4MN Natural

Another model based on the Precision Bass is Enhanced MP-4MN. The “natural” in the name refers to the finish, and it looks gorgeous. What is different here is that the guitar has an extra pickup, adding more to the versatility of the instrument. 

As we go up the price range, the quality of basses significantly improves, and it is not surprising that this model is so much better considering it costs almost twice as much as the PB-20 series. Once again, if you can afford the increase in price, this can be a perfect choice for you.

Harley Benton JB-75MN NA Vintage Series

Those that are looking for something different should check out the JB-75MN series. The bass is inspired by Fender Jazz Bass, which means that the design will be different compared to the other basses I mentioned. 

There are two single-coil pickups, a beautiful natural finish, and a maple neck. All of these are excellent reasons to check out the guitar and see whether it is to your liking. 

Is It Possible To Upgrade The Harley Benton PB-20 SBK/SB?

Yes. As I mentioned earlier, the guitar is inspired by Fender. And this means that everything is connected with screws. Having such a design allows you to change any part of the instrument you want without any problems. 

But being able to replace any part doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Some investments can be quite pricey, and it would be rather pointless to upgrade such a cheap instrument. If you decide to upgrade it for any reason, the obvious starting point would be pickups. 

On cheap guitars, pickups are often the weakest spot, and getting a new set will make a world of difference. Other upgrades you might want to consider are tuning machines, but only in case that your current ones aren’t working properly. If your bass stays in tune no matter what, there is no reason to replace your existing tuning machines. 

If you plan on investing in your instrument, the first thing on your list should be the setup. This will solve all minor imperfections, and help your bass sound as good as it is supposed to. 

Alternatives To The Harley Benton PB-20 SBK/SB – In Terms Of Look, Feel, Sound, Specs, And Price

For those that enjoy the design and looks of the Precision Bass, there are several different options that they might want to consider. 

Squier Affinity Precision Bass

Squier by Fender Precision Bass Guitar Kit, Affinity Series, Laurel...
  • One Squier Affinity Series Precision bass guitar, a padded gig bag, Rumble...
  • Affinity Series Precision Pack: This specialty pack was masterfully curated...
  • Lightweight and Comfortable: The Squier Affinity Series Precision bass...
  • PJ Pickup Configuration: Versatile pickup selection allows greater control...

It is hard to mention anything based on Fender without talking about Squier. The company is created to battle all the Fender clones, and the quality of instruments is incredible. This also means that Squier offers the same models as Fender, and they are all licensed. 

Here, we have a Precision Bass from the Affinity Series, and it looks amazing. You can choose between different colors and specs, and it is up to you to pick the model you like the most. Squier is one of the best options for the budget range, and if you are interested in getting a real P-style bass, Squier is the way to go. 

Donner PB-Style Bass

Donner Electric Bass Guitar 4 Strings Full-Size Standard Bass PB-Style...
  • 🎸[CLASSIC BASS PICKUPS] Donner PB-Style electric bass with classic bass...
  • 🎸[SMOOTH&PLAYABLE] Donner electric bass with AAA purpleheart...
  • 🎸[VINTAGE BRIDGE] Donner Bass is equipped with a through-body fixed...
  • 🎸[OPEN-GEAR TUNING MACHINES] Donner electric bass guitar feature smooth...

Donner is a well-known name in the budget category, and the company has been making its name for the past couple of years. It is based in China, and it started as a company designing mini pedals. Over the years, Donner improved their repertoire, offering numerous instruments, amps, and other useful gear. 

Here, we have a cheap version of the Precision Bass, and if you are looking for a bass that won’t hurt your wallet, Donner can be a great option. Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean that it is bad as well. And Donner has been showing this for the past few years. 

Cort GB34 JJ 3TS

Cort is another great brand that offers low to medium-price-ranged instruments. In the collection, you can also find bass guitars that are based on the Precision Bass. This one here is GB34JJ, and it has a three-color sunburst finish. 

The design of the bass is fairly simple. There are two single-coil pickups, two volumes, two tones, and active electronics. Considering the price, this is a great opportunity for anyone that looks for the heavier tone that active electronics can provide. 

Conclusion

Getting a new instrument is always fun. And if you are a bass player, there are plenty of different models you can find on the market. Of course, the most important question is how much you are willing to spend on your new bass. 

If you are looking for a budget option, Harley Benton is one of the best brands you can find. The PB-20 Series is based on the Fender Precision Bass, but there are a couple of differences between the two. 

Here, we have the SBK and SB models, and while both instruments are black, they have different finishes, materials, and designs. All things considered, Harley Benton PB-20 SBK/SB is an excellent option for all beginners, and the guitar is worth every cent.

If you found this article useful you may want to save this pin below to your Guitar board

Last update on 2024-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Content