Top 9 Left-Handed Bass Guitars 2022 (With Best Value)

Top 9 Left-Handed Bass Guitars (With Best Value) | integraudio.com

Today we delve into the exciting world of left-handed Bass Guitars as we look at the “Top 9 Left-Handed Bass Guitars of 2022”. The following list has a little something for everyone, including some budget models with the standard 4 strings and some more advanced 5 and 6-string models.

The southpaws may feel left out as there aren’t too many options when it comes to left-handed bass guitars. If you’re a lefty, you may feel obligated to get a nice right-handed bass guitar and get it modified so you can play it left-handed.

Something that the late great Jimi Hendrix used to do with his Fender electric guitar. But won’t that be a hassle? Spending your hard-earned money and going through the extra trouble to convert a right-handed instrument only to accidentally turn down the volume knob in the middle of a gig with your playing arm.

No need to worry, though, as you don’t have to embark on such wild adventures. Our post today has a collection of carefully selected left-handed bass guitars that’ll get you nice and excited about being a lefty. The list includes exceptionally versatile basses from Fender, Squier, Schecter, Rickenbacker, Sterling, Harley Benton, ESP, and Sire Guitars.

Top 9 Left-Handed Bass Guitars 2022 (With Best Value)

1. Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Precision Bass Left-handed

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The precision bass does justice to its name as it successfully emulates its ancestors from the 60s.

Many attribute the 60s as the era when Rock and Roll was born and took the world by storm. A time when many top brands, like Fender, were coming into their own and carving out a substantial following for themselves. The Precision Bass, already released in 1951, had considerable popularity among all genres. 

Squier has always strived to come up with awe-inspiring instruments that embody the Fender essence while staying within the confines of affordability. The Squire Classic Precision Bass is no exception, as it proudly brings back some memories from the golden age of rock and roll without breaking the bank. 

Key Features:

  • Neck
    The Squier Precision Bass is a 4 stringed instrument with a C profile neck, just like the original P Bass from the 50s. The neck is made of maple and has a 9.5” radius. The Indian Laurel fretboard features 20 narrow-tall frets with Pearloid inlays. The Indian Laurel is a cheaper alternative to the Rosewood tone-wood but still sounds close to it and presents a similar feel. Squier has equipped the Precision Bass with a bone nut having a width of 1.685”. The neck has a glossy finish on the back to give it good playability and is connected to the body with the help of a 4-bolt squire neck plate. The truss rod running through the neck can be accessed through the adjustment hole near the nut. The scale length on Squier’s Precision Bass is 34” long.
  • Body
    The Precision Bass has a Poplar body with a “Gloss Polyurethane” finish. The instrument accurately emulates the shape of its more expensive counterpart from the Fender range. The double cutaway body gives the instrument a good balance, making it equally comfortable to play while sitting or standing. The body is contoured on the back, and the angled front provides a welcoming feel for the playing arm. The 4-Ply Tortoiseshell pickguard spreads over the lower half of the body under the control knobs and the quarter-inch jack adding to the aesthetically pleasing 3-tone Sunburst on the P Bass. 
  • Electronics
    Regarding electronics, the Squier Precision Bass boasts the alnico split-coil pick-up, which gives it the true Fender sound bass players from all over the world came to love and appreciate back in the 60s. In addition, the Precision Bass has a master tone and a master volume knob on the controls side of things. 
  • Hardware
    The headstock has 4 vintage-style tuners made of nickel. These tuners, combined with the bone nut, give good tuning stability. The headstock highlights the “Precision Bass” name and has the classic Squier by Fender logo. In addition, Squier has equipped the Precision Bass with a vintage-style bridge. The strings run through it, resting on 4 saddles that can be moved and adjusted to set the instrument’s intonation. 
  • Character & Sound
    Cranking the volume and tone knobs up brings considerable richness to the tone. The pick-ups are quite alert and will respond well regardless of whether the strings are picked, slapped, or played fingerstyle. Varying the placement of the hand will cause the tone to be brighter, closer to the bridge, and more bassy near the neck. The Indian Laurel makes the instrument’s overall sound rounded and punchy, which will cut through the mix well in a studio or live performance. Different tonal qualities can be explored by playing around with the tone knob. Rolling the tone knob back cuts some of the higher frequencies off and thickens the sounds.

Pros:

At such a low price point, Squier’s Classic Vibe 60s Precision Bass reproduces some pristine features from the 60s with great accuracy. The P Bass is a versatile instrument with responsive electronics to adapt to any form of playing style and genre. The bone nut and tuners keep the instrument in tune nicely.

Cons: 

Some of the P Basses from the Chinese factory have better quality control than their Indonesian counterparts. You may come across unsatisfactory fretwork on the Indonesian units. Also, the Squier P Bass requires some setting up before you can start playing freely. Coming on a budget model, the tuners are a little finicky. 

2. Rickenbacker 4003 FG Left-Handed 

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Rickenbacker basses are known for their versatility.

Back in the 60s, Rickenbacker bass guitars had become a popular choice among many mainstream bands, including The Beatles, Deep Purple, and Pink Floyd, to name a few. In 1964, Paul McCartney switched from Hofner to the iconic Rickenbacker 4001S, the 4003 FG’s predecessor, and was regularly seen performing live with it. 

Over the years, Rickenbacker’s basses underwent substantial evolution, starting with the single pick-up 4000 model, which was later upgraded to the 4001 deluxe version, which had two pick-ups. However, in 1986 the 4001 model was discontinued, and the immensely appreciated 4003 FG was introduced.

Key Features:

  • Neck
    The Rickenbacker 4003 FG is a 4-string bass guitar. The wood used for the neck is maple which is generally Rickenbacker’s preferred choice of wood for its bass guitars. Interestingly, the 4003 has a neck-through design as its neck goes all the way through the body. With a varying profile, the neck is slightly thicker near the nut but thins out as you move towards the bridge. The 4003 has a 10” radius which is slightly on the chunkier side. The fretboard is made of Rosewood and has Pearloid triangle inlays on the 20 frets. Instead of a bone nut, Rickenbacker has gone in a different direction by adding a Bakelite nut with a width of 1.675” to the 4003 FG bass guitar. The scale length on this Rickenbacker bass is 33.25” long. A subtle binging runs on the edges of the neck, nicely separating the front from the back. 
  • Body
    The Rickenbacker 4003 comes in a highly glossy polyurethane finish. The company has hardly made any changes to the 4003 since the discontinuation of the older 4001 model. The bass guitar is nicely balanced and has strategically placed contours to provide comfort to the user in any playing situation. The 4003 comes in some great finishes, like the Fireglo, Jetglo, Midnight Blue, and Mapleglo, among others. The contrasting white pickguard truly stands out and brings back memories of the classic vibe of the 4001 model. The neck pick-up, selector switch, and control knobs all rest on top of the pickguard. 
  • Electronics
    As far as the electronics go, the Rickenbacker 4003 has a single coil pick-up near the neck and a second single coil pick-up for the bridge. The bridge pick-up cannot be seen in plain sight as the Rickenbacker 4003 has a metallic pick-up cover on top of it. Both pick-ups have their own set of volume and tone knobs, whereas the tone pot of the bridge pick-up has push/pull capabilities. There is also a 3-way selector switch, as you would expect due to the presence of the dual pick-ups. Position 1 activates the bridge pick-up, while position 3 activates the treble pick-up. Position 2, or the middle position, combines both pick-ups.
  • Rick-O-Sound
    The feature that stands out on the Rickenbacker 4003 is the availability of a Rick-O-Sound audio output apart from the standard output jack. While the standard output sends out a mono signal, the Rick-O-Sound output can be combined with a splitter cable to give you some fascinating options, like routing both pick-ups on different amps or panning them left and right. You could also separately add different effects to your pick-ups through each available stereo output.
  • Hardware
    The Rickenbacker 4003 bass offers a RIC tailpiece and RIC bridge combination for the 4 (0.045 – 0/105 gauge) strings to go through. The saddles on the bridge can be tightened or loosened to set the intonation on the bass. The headstock has 4 Schaller Deluxe tuners that you find on some high-end instruments. The Schallers are known to have great tuning stability. The headstock has a “Rickenbacker” nameplate, which can be unscrewed for truss rod adjustments. The 4003 bass has 2 truss rods that can be used to set the relief of the bass and treble sides of the neck separately. 
  • Character & Sound
    The 4003 FG’s neck through design offers superior sustain and resonance as the neck runs through the body to let those bass notes ring for hours. The two separate tone knobs for both pick-ups can cut back on bass and treble frequencies in several combinations to give you the sound you prefer. The tone knob for the bridge pick-up has a push/pull mechanism that lets you choose between a “modern” or “vintage” sound. The “vintage” setting will give you a much less low-end sound, while pushing the knob in will give a much beefier modern-sounding tone. Changing your hand position will also give varied tonal results depending on how warm or trebly you may want to sound. 

Pros:

The Rick-O-Matic option opens doors to many creative applications that single output basses do not offer. The dual pick-ups allow sounding heavier or trebly depending on user preference. The Rickenbacker 4003 also comes with its hard-shell case to make it travel-ready. The push/pull mechanism adds an additional dimension to the instrument’s tonality. 

Cons: 

As the Rickenbacker 4003 comes with some unique features, it also comes with a heavy price tag. The dual truss rods are a challenge to adjust. Also, it would’ve helped if the 4003 came with the right tools for the truss rod adjustment. Most users would prefer the Hipshot bridge of Rickenbacker’s stock bridge as it sounds better and is easier to deal with when fixing intonation.

3. Fender Player Precision Bass Left-Handed

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We now look at Fender’s version of the Precision Bass.

The players series launched by Fender in 2018 effectively replaced the Fender Standard line of instruments with its versions of the Stratocaster, Telecaster, and Precision Bass. In addition, the new American-designed Player Series instruments are made in Mexico, offering Fender enthusiasts all the goodness of a high-end instrument but with a lower price range.

Although an affordable instrument compared to some of the custom basses offered by Fender, the Player Precision Bass is no slouch in terms of its features. Delivering a high-quality standard and some rich tones emanating from its Alnico pick-up, the P Bass surely has the ability to successfully woo modern bass players.

Key Features:

  • Neck
    The Fender Player Precision Bass is a 4 stringed bass guitar with a modern C profile on the neck. The main difference between the C and the modern C variations is that the latter is slightly thinner and flatter. The neck on the Player Precision Bass is made of maple and has a 9.5” radius. There are two variations of the necks offered by this instrument. The bass guitar comes in a Pau Ferro fingerboard as well as a maple one. The nut has a width of 1.625” and is made of synthetic bone as opposed to the authentic bone nut. The fingerboard has 20 medium jumbo frets with dot inlays. In addition, a four-bolt neck plate with Fender’s “F” logo joins the Precision Bass’s neck to its body. The scale length on the instrument is 34” long, and the neck has a built-in truss rod that can be adjusted through the access hole near the nut.
  • Body
    The Player Series Precision Bass has an Alder body which is considered to be a mid-weighted tone-wood option. Speaking of the bass guitar’s body, the instrument has a “Gloss Polyester” finish and offers various colors. The maple neck variant comes in Black and Tide Pool, while the pau ferro version offers two options: Polar White and 3-Tone Sunburst. The white pickguard is a standard feature in all variants and rests under the tone knobs and the pick-ups to protect the body from scratches. The double cutaway design on the Precision Bass was initially introduced in the 1950s and has had little to no change since then as it gives the players of the instrument good balance and comfort. 
  • Electronics
    The people at Fender have equipped the Player Series Precision Bass with an Alnico V pick-up with split coils. The Alnico magnets are known to be durable and long-lasting, which is why they are commonly used on high-end Fender instruments. The P Bass has a tone knob and a volume knob to get the most out of the pick-up. The tone knob is very responsive and has something to offer for every skill level and genre of music. 
  • Hardware
    On the Player Series Precision Bass, you’ll find 4 key head Fender Standard Open-Gear tuners that are known to stay in tune even through the most demanding musical sessions. As synonymous with the player series range, the instrument’s headstock has Fender’s “Spaghetti” logo with the “Precision Bass” name right next to it. The strings (0.045 – 0.105) are threaded through a 4-saddle standard bridge. The bridge saddles can be easily adjusted by rotating the corresponding screw to set the intonation.
  • Character & Sound
    The versatile Player Series Bass has tonal qualities that could appeal to players of all genres. The Alnico V pick-ups give the bass guitar some thick-sounding lower frequencies, powerful middle tones, and a twangy high end. Add to this the balanced tonal properties of Alder used in the P Bass’s body construction, and you’ve got yourself a tonally gifted instrument. So whether you’re a rock, jazz, or funk player, experimenting with the control knobs will give you the sound you have been craving all these years from your bass guitar arsenal. You also get a decent-sounding punchy attack from the slotted saddles of the bridge, which help with the ringing of notes and add to the instrument’s stability. 

Pros:

The synthetic nut and slotted saddles of the bridge do a good job of keeping the Precision Bass in tune. Fender offers a couple of different fingerboard options and many colors to choose from to suit your sound preference and personality. The Alnico V pick-up and onboard controls combine to deliver some impressive tones in all three frequency bands. 

Cons: 

The 20 frets on the P Bass are sufficient for most bass players; however, if you’re a rock or heavy metal enthusiast and want to play complex bass solos, you won’t see 24 frets here. Also, the necks on the P Bass are a bit chunkier than some of the jazz basses, which may or may not be a preference. 

4. Schecter Stiletto Studio 5 Left-handed Bass Guitar

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The Stiletto Studio is a wonderfully versatile instrument.

The people at Schecter have a knack for listening to their audience and adjusting their strategy accordingly to get things just right. This is evident from the fact that their Stiletto line comes in several different variations to grab the attention of players from all facets of bass playing.

If you’re interested in the Stiletto bass, you can have your pick of the 4-string and 5-string versions. Better yet, if you’re a connoisseur and prefer your instruments to be technically correct, you can choose the fanned fret version, which gives you varied scale lengths, letting those low notes ring better and have more sustain. 

Key Features:

  • Neck
    As the name suggests, the Schecter Stilleto Studio 5 is the first 5-string bass on today’s list. It has a maple neck that goes through to the body’s base. The neck has a thin C profile giving it a smooth, gradual curve on both sides for increased playability. The neck is made of maple and has a rosewood fingerboard. On the neck, you get 24 extra large frets and offset abalone dot inlays. Considering that this is a 5-stringed instrument, the radius of the neck is 16”. The Stilleto Studio also sports an extra-large Graph Tech Black Tusq nut which is combined with PTFE giving it a slippery touch to eliminate any string gripping issues on the nut groves. As a result, the instrument will maintain tuning no matter how aggressive or bendy those string bends get. The graph tech nut has a width of 1.771,” and the Schecter Stilleto has a scale length of 35”.
  • Body
    Schecter has equipped their Studio 5 bass with the classic Stiletto shape, which has deep cutaways to give you complete access to all 24 jumbo frets. The body is made of Mahogany and has a Bubinga top. The Stiletto comes in a beautiful shade of Honey and an equally mesmeric See-Through Black. Both color options offer a satin finish. The instrument has no pickguard, and a shaded strip can be seen starting from the base of the guitar to where the neck meets the body as proof of the neck through design. The materials used in the guitar’s construction make it not too heavy but not too light either. However, the balance is centered nicely, so there will be no neck diving if the user is playing standing up. 
  • Electronics 
    Schecter’s Stilleto Studio 5 comes equipped with two EMG 40Hz pickups. These pickups are built by combining ceramic-style bar-shaped magnets with steel. The bass guitar has a multitude of control knobs to squeeze every ounce of power from the pair of EMGs on board. There are five knobs placed just right so they don’t get in the way of playing but are easily reachable if the requirement arises. Apart from the standard master volume and tone knobs, the instrument has its own 3-Band Eq, which can be adjusted by rotating the 3 dedicated frequency band knobs
  • Hardware
    The Schecter Stilleto offers Satin Gold hardware with its Honey-colored version, while the See-Through Black comes with Black Chrome hardware. The bass guitar has 5 of Schecter’s Closed Gear tuning knobs known to keep the 0.045 – 0.13-gauge strings in tune reasonably well. The tuners are attached in a 3 x 2 formation on the headstock, which also has the “Schecter” logo and “Diamond Series” written below it. The strings are threaded through the Diamond Custom Bridge with five adjustable saddles to get the intonation right. 
  • Character & Sound
    The Schecter Stilleto Studio 5 has immense potential when it comes to different tonal variations you can get just by fiddling with the controls on the instrument. Firstly, EMGs are known to be low on noise and high on output. The 2 EMG 40 Hz pickups are precise and deliver a warm tone with rich-sounding mid-range frequencies. Secondly, if the EMGs’ well-rounded sounds are not enough for you, you can dial down just the perfect tone by adjusting the 3 equalizer knobs at your disposal. This makes the Stilleto base an extremely customizable and versatile instrument in terms of its tonal capabilities and has the potential to give you exactly what you need, no matter which genre of music you play. 

Pros:

The Schecter Stilleto Studio has an extra low B string, adding a whole new dimension to your playing by adding additional lower-range notes. The built-in three-band EQ gives you a lot to experiment with to reach your preferred tone without using external EQing. The bass guitar looks amazing and has some eye-catching body and hardware color options

Cons: 

Not a con in the true sense of the word, but Schecter Stilleto Studio 5 may not be for beginners as the chunky neck requires some stretching of the hands and fingers. Also, someone who is just starting may be more comfortable with just a volume and tone knob rather than the complex controls of the Studio 5, which are more suited to the advanced level player. 

5. Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Bass LH

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Sterling does for Music Man what Squire does for Fender.

It is the more budget-friendly range that caters to the needs of aspiring entry-level musicians. However, contrary to the impression you may get, the company doesn’t cut corners to support the lower price tag as you still get good value for the money thanks to some exciting features. 

The original Sting Ray shape burst onto the scene for the first time in 1974. Since then, it has gained substantial popularity among mainstream musicians like Cliff Williams from AC/DC, Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine, and Louise Johnson, to name a few. Now you can get your hands on the much more affordable Sterling version, which is very close to the high-end model.  

Key Features:

  • Neck
    The Sting Ray Ray4 has a bolt on neck that is connected to the body with a metal plate with six screws making it a rock-solid instrument. The neck has a radius of 9.5” and a scale length of 34”. The bass guitar has 21 medium-sized frets. The neck on the instrument is made of hard maple, and there are two different options in terms of the fingerboard on the Sting Ray Ray4. You can choose between a maple or jatoba fingerboard. The maple version has black dot inlays for better visibility, while the jatoba variant has white ones. The neck has a nut width of 1.5”. A single-action truss rod runs through the neck for adjustments when needed. Also, the satin finish on the back gives it a non-sticky feel making it easy to play. 
  • Body
    The Ray4 Bass comes in many colors, including Mint Green, Vintage Cream, Black, Walnut/Trans Blue/Ruby Red Satin, and a Vintage Sunburst Satin. Unfortunately, the left-handed version only comes in Vintage Sunburst. Different colors offer different fingerboard choices. The pickguard also comes in black and white options depending on the chosen body color. Sterling has opted to go with basswood for the instrument’s body construction, making it very light and comfortable for extended playing sessions. The control knobs sit on a banana shape metal strip. 
  • Electronics
    The Sterling Sting Ray Ray4 has an H – 1 Ceramic Pickup. Contrary to how the pickups are wired on some of the other basses, the H – 1 has large magnets, and the internal wiring is done in parallel. The Ray4 has one master volume knob and a couple of knobs for the two-band EQ controls. The active electronics require power, so there is a battery compartment on the back to house a 9V battery. 
  • Hardware
    All of the color variations on the Ray4 have chrome-finished hardware. The tuning heads are of Schecter’s “open gear” variety and are found on most budget models the brand offers. They’re arranged on the headstock in a 3 x 1 formation. The stock strings on the bass have a gauge ranging from 0.45 to 1.05. The instrument has a fixed bridge with 4 saddles for the strings to rest on. Each saddle has a pair of screws to increase or decrease the instrument’s action. The saddles are attached to the bridge with screws used to make intonation adjustments. 
  • Character & Sound
    The bass’s basswood body offers a warm sound with special emphasis on the mid-range frequencies. The Ray4 is equipped with a low noise humbucker and a two-band EQ, which includes separate treble and bass knobs. Both knobs are notched and sound flat in the middle, while you can boost or cut both frequencies according to preference. Just pop in a battery at the back, and you’re good to go.

Pros:

The Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Bass has a solid construction, and the use of basswood makes it quite light and balanced. The 2-band EQ has useful applications for conjuring impressive bass and treble tones. In addition, the Ray4 bass is reasonably priced. 

Cons: 

Some modifications may be required on the headstock as the Ray4 has low-end tuners, which aren’t the best. Also, the left-handed version doesn’t have nearly enough color options as the right-handed one. Furthermore, you only get a rosewood fretboard option on the lefty bass.

6. ESP LTD B206SM Natural Satin Left 

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The Japanese manufacturer by the name of ESP is no slouch when it comes to guitars and basses.

ESP has hundreds of mainstream musicians on its roster who stay true to the company and owe their success to the efficient, high-quality versatility that the brand provides. In addition, ESP offers several ranges of bass guitars, including LTD Basses, Signature Series, Thin-Line Series, and the ESP E-II basses.

The ESP LTD B206SM is a versatile 6-string bass. In addition to the low B string that you get on a 5-string bass, you get a high C string, which gives you even more notes to work with in the lower range. Furthermore, the electronics on the bass are very capable of handling any genre with ease.

Key Features:

  • Neck
    The ESP LTD B206SM has a wide U-shaped neck that is straighter on the edges but has a deeper curve. The neck is made of 5 pieces and comes in maple and jatoba variations. The fingerboard on the B206SM is made of roasted jatoba and has 24 extra-large frets. The frets are adorned with dot inlays. The bass has a bolt-on neck which is connected to the body with the help of a 6-bolt plate. The B206SM has a bolted nut with a nut width of 2.125”. The scale length on this instrument is 35”. Also hidden within the neck is a dual truss rod system that allows you to set the relief on the neck differently for the 6 available strings. 
  • Body
    The ESP LTD B206SM comes in Natural Satin and See-Through Black Satin color variations. Both options have matching dot inlays on the neck. The body is made of Ash and has a Spalted Maple Top that tappers off on the edges to give the bass an aesthetically pleasing look. The B206SM doesn’t have a pickguard. The cutaway is extra deep to allow easy access to all 24 jumbo frets. The overall weight distribution on the “B Series” body is a bit off, due to which the chunky 5-piece neck may dive while playing standing up. 
  • Electronics
    The ESP LTD B206SM comes with an EMG-designed SB-6N neck pick-up and an ESP LTD B206SM for the bridge. The bass guitar comes with 5 different control knobs. There is one master volume knob, a balance knob, and three dedicated knobs for the built-in three-band EQ. The EQing needs power, so you find a battery compartment on the back for a 9V battery.
  • Hardware
    All the hardware on the bass guitar comes in a Black Nickel finish. The B206SM comes with 6 LTD tuners arranged in a 3 by 3 formation on the headstock, with the gorgeous “LTD” logo. As for the bridge, the B206SM comes with an LTD DB-6 which is connected to the body with 6 screws. The saddles can be raised to set the action or moved forward or backward with the help of corresponding screws to change intonation.
  • Character & Sound
    The Ash body gives the instrument brightness as well as decent sustain. The balance knob acts like a selector switch and gives you an option to finetune the blending of both pick-ups. Being EMGs, the pick-ups are noiseless. The three EQ knobs control bass, mid and treble frequencies so that you can get a ton of combinations from just the onboard controls. You can boost or cut any frequency you choose, depending on the style and genre of music you’re playing. No need for external processing.

Pros:

For the features the ESP LTD B206SM offers, the bass is very reasonably priced. The matching headstock looks like a high-end instrument. The blending knob is a good alternative to the selector switch. The Ash body provides rich sounds and good sustain. Also, the 3-band EQ gives unlimited tonal possibilities.

Cons: 

The stock tuners do tend to have some tuning issues. Having 6-strings, it is understandable that the neck on the B206SM is a bit on the chunkier side and may not be for everyone. The bass also has some balance issues due to the length and weight of the neck, which will cause the neck to dive occasionally. 

7. Harley Benton PB-50 LH FR Vintage Series

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Harley Benton is the house brand of a German retailer called Musikhaus Thomann.

Thomann specializes largely in electric and bass guitars but offers other instruments, including Mandolins, Ukulele, Violins, and amplifiers and pedals. Harley Benton’s main focus is to provide budget-friendly instruments to musicians of all skill levels.

The brand has around 20 factories in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. This helps them keep costs down while offering high-quality instruments within everyone’s reach. The PB-50 Bass is one such instrument that stays well within the realms of affordability while boasting some interesting features and tonal abilities. 

Key Features:

  • Neck
    Harley Benton’s PB-50 has a C-shaped neck profile with a plastic nut that has a width of 1.65”. The instrument’s scale length comes to about 34”. The screwed Canadian maple neck has a bolt-on design and is kept in place by a 4-bolt steel plate. The PB-50 has 20 medium-sized frets on a maple fretboard with dot inlays. The instrument is more suited for slower bass runs rather than speed playing, as the hand may stick a little to the surface on the back of the neck. Concealed in the neck is a double-action truss rod that can be used to adjust the curvature of the neck.
  • Body
    The PB-50 bass guitar comes in two colors: Fiesta Red and Sunburst. The Fiesta Red variation has a white pickguard, while the Sunburst version has a black one. The control knobs are laid on a metal strip connecting to the pickguard on the lower side of the instrument near the leg curve. Because of its light weight and affordability, basswood has been the preferred wood for the PB-50’s body construction.
  • Electronics
    The electronics on the Harley Benton PB-50 are rather simple. The instrument has Harley Benton’s own Roswell VTN4 Vista Alnico 5 pick-up, which uses AL5 pole magnets to deliver its sound. There is one master volume and one master tone knob to control the single pick-up on board.
  • Hardware
    Both available colors have hardware that comes in a deluxe chrome finish. There are 4 classic PB-style machine heads on the headstock, arranged in line. The PB-50 has a very basic-looking bridge with a standard 4 saddle design for action and intonation adjustments. 
  • Character & Sound
    The Roswell VTN4 Vista Alnico 5 pick-up, Harley Benton’s version of the Alnico V pick-up found on some budget Fender basses, is not as expressive but does a decent job. The tone knob is responsive but turning it down gives a very suppressed boxed-up sound. Keeping it somewhere in the middle or on the higher side really brightens up the tone and gives it a blues/rock vibe. The basswood body also helps and warms the tone, beefing up the mid-ranges nicely.

Pros:

The Harley Benton PB-50 looks great and comes in some exciting colors. The body is not too light but not too heavy either, so you should be fine if your jam session runs into the wee hours of the night. The VTN4 Vista Alnico 5 pick-up is not the best but gives a decent output contrary to the lower price tag of the instrument. 

Cons: 

The fretwork on the Harley Benton PB-50 needs improvement as the sharp-edged will cut your fingers. The nut is also quite sharp and needs to be rounded on both sides. The instrument will require some setting up in terms of intonation and string action. The pick-up is not too responsive for slap-style playing.

8. Marcus Miller M2 5 TBL LH 2nd Gen

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The partnership between Sire guitars and the legendary Marcus Miller started in 2015.

Since then, the collaboration has bloomed into a wonderful understanding of the demands of the modern bass player, and the execution of Sire guitars’ strategy to deliver some state-of-the-art basses with all the bells and whistles hasn’t fallen short in any way.

Add to that how amazingly economical these bass guitars are, and you’ll want to get a slice of the action by adding a Sire axe into your bass arsenal. The Marcus Miller M2 is a great example of a feature-rich instrument that looks great and doesn’t put a worrisome dent in your savings.

Key Features:

  • Neck
    The Marcus Miller M2 5 has a wide C-shaped neck with a thicker 12” radius to accommodate the extra fifth string. A C-shaped neck means that the neck is symmetrical and has a similar feel around both edges. The M2 5’s neck is made of Canadian hard maple and connects to the body directly with 4-bolts. The bass guitar comes in hard maple and rosewood neck variations. The neck has 24 medium-sized frets with pearl inlays. The scale length on the Marcus Miller M2 is a uniform 35”. The nut you find on the M2 is a synthetic PPS Tusq nut that has a width of 1.771”. Inside the neck is a truss rod that can be adjusted by removing the cover on the headstock near the nut. 
  • Body
    The M2 5-string bass comes in Transparent Blue, Transparent Black, and Pearl White color options, all with gloss finishes. However, there is no pickguard on any of the color variations. The Trans Blue version is paired with a hard maple neck, while the other two options have rosewood necks. The bass guitar has a mahogany body which makes it a bit on the heavier side but provides an aesthetically pleasing grain that gives the instrument that see-through appearance. The deep cutaway on the body allows easy access down to the 24th fret
  • Electronics
    The Marcus Miller M2 bass guitar comes with two Marcus Blue humbuckers that keep the noise down quite well. The M2 has 5 knobs that control different tonal aspects of the guitar and a selector switch to toggle between active and passive mode. The control layout starts with a stacked master volume knob that can also be used to change the tone. Next, there’s a regular knob next to it for pick-up selection, followed by the three-band EQ with bass, mid and treble knobs. Finally, the knob that controls the mid frequencies is stacked, so you can also do a frequency sweep to cut through depending on your environment. 
  • Hardware
    The hardware on the Marcus Miller M2 has a nice black finish. The basic die-cast machine heads are placed on the headstock in a 3 x 2 formation. Special attention has been paid to the finish of the frets, which are rolled towards the inside of the neck, eliminating sharp edges. The bridge is fairly basic. The 0.045 – 0.13-gauge strings are threaded through the body of the bass and run through a Marcus Standard Bass Bridge with standard intonation and action screws to adjust the strings according to preference.
  • Character & Sound
    The bass itself can produce unlimited tones thanks to the instrument’s controls. The tone and blend knob can decide what each pick-up does in terms of output contribution, while the three-band EQ does the rest. Bringing the treble knob up will give a nice twangy tone when playing slap-style bass. The mid-stack knob can help you pierce through a mix easily, while the bass knob can boost those low frequencies pushing out some chest-thumping notes. The mahogany body of the Marcus Miller M2 provides a warm tone with good note articulation. Having a synthetic Tusq nut also brightens up the sound.

Pros:

The Marcus Miller M2 provides a 5-string experience at an extremely low price point. The three-band EQ works quite well and helps the instrument adapt to any genre of music. The stack knobs are smartly engineered to perform dual functions to dial down the perfect sound for the circumstances. The frets work is good as the edges are smooth and nicely rounded.

Cons: 

For some reason, the people at Marcus Miller have added screws to the battery compartment, which makes it a tedious job to replace the battery when in the middle of a gig, although the bass will run without batteries too. Speaking of tuning stability, the M2 has some low-end tuners, which can sometimes be a bit unreliable.

9. Harley Benton B-550LH BK Progressive Series

Check on Thomann

The German retailer/manufacturer is back with another exciting bass.

Compared to the PB-50, this time around, we look at the slightly more expensive but still staying well within the lower end of the price spectrum, B-550 left-handed bass from the progressive series. This particular bass has an additional 5th low B string as well.

The B-550 can be purchased separately, but the caring people at Thomann have also made it available as a bundle. The package includes a 40-watt bass amp, a digital tuner, a gig bag, a strap, and a guitar cable, so you have everything you need to start your bass-playing journey in one go.

Key Features:

  • Neck
    The Harley Benton B-550 has a bolt-on neck attached directly to the body with 4 bolts. The three-piece neck has a D profile, and the wood used in its construction is hard maple with a black walnut fingerboard. In addition, the instrument has 24 regular frets decorated with funky-looking “Tai Chi” inlays. The nut has a width of 1.771” while the scale length is 34” long. The neck also has a double-action truss rod running through it. 
  • Body
    The B-550 has an alder body with a gloss finish. The body contour tapers off on the edges, and the double-cutaway design gives full access right down to the last fret. The B-550 bass guitar has no pickguard. For the right-handed player, the bass has several finish options, including a black fretless version, a regular black version, a Quilted Transparent Black, and an all-White option. Unfortunately, the lefty version only comes in black. 
  • Electronics
    Harley Benton’s B-550 bass comes with two humbucking pickups that give a reasonably good sound output. On the bass guitar, you will also find 4 control knobs. The master volume and blend knobs are self-explanatory, while the other two knobs control the built-in two-band EQ. In addition, the master volume knob has push/pull capabilities to engage the active preamp if required.
  • Hardware
    You’ll find black hardware on all the finishes of the Harley Benton B-550. The headstock has 5 diecast machine heads placed in a 3 by 2 formation. The standard four-saddle bridge has all the necessary components to control the intonation and action of the 0.045 – 0.13-gauge strings. 
  • Character & Sound
    The alder body gives the Harley Benton B-550 a balanced tone in all three frequency bands. As a result, the notes have reasonable clarity, and the 2-band EQ can derive different tones from the dual humbucker setup thanks to the dedicated treble and bass controls. In addition, the blend knob lets you combine or separate the pickups to add to the possible tonal variations.

Pros:

The people at Harley Benton have outdone themselves with the B-550, which has an active preamp and a 2-band EQ but still manages to remain in the budget-friendly zone. The instrument has a decent setup and can be played right out of the box. The finish is flawless, and the frets have nice smooth edges. 

Cons: 

Nothing against the bass, but the overall packaging and the box the Harley Benton PB-50 comes in has very little padding. Thomann’s idea of padding is surrounding the instrument with crumpled paper, which doesn’t work, often resulting in receiving a damaged or scratched instrument. 

Conclusion

Going through today’s list, you now know exactly what each brand brings to the table. It is up to you to decide how much dough you’re willing to cough to get the features you’re looking for. You also need to assess and see where you stand in your musical journey and what your demands are from your next bass guitar.

If a single pick-up and a simple layout of one volume and one tone knob does the jobs for you, go for any of the Precision Basses offered by Squier, Fender, or Harley Benton. If you’re looking for a dual pick-up setup, the Rickenbacker 4003 not only gives you that but also has an additional output for panning or applying different effects to the pick-ups separately. Finally, if you want decent 2-band or 3-band EQ controls, the B-550, Stiletto Studio 5, StingRay Ray4, LTD B206, and Marcus Miller M2 are all fine choices.

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