Cheap bass - Harley Benton or Squier?

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ThreepwoodThreepwood Frets: 0
Hi all, 

I’d like to pick up a cheap P Bass for home noodling. I prefer the more traditional look of the P Bass, so it looks like Ibanez/Yamaha are out of the running.

The HB PB-20 looks like it’s pretty good bang for the buck at ~£80 but wondered if it was worth choosing a Squier Affinity PB over it as they seem to go for not too much more, second hand? £100-ish is top of my budget.

Cheers!
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 2287
    I suspect in both cases you get a playable instrument and you can't argue with that for £100.

    I tried a Squier Affinity bass and it was fine.  If you can stretch up to an entry level Ibanez or a Sire you get a lot more bang for buck though.
    Warning: this post may contain overtly affectionate references to Mary Spender
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  • TeyeplayerTeyeplayer Frets: 722
    A buddy of mine picked up a b-stock HB 51 style precision recently, absolute bargain. We changed the pots and strung it with flatwounds ands it’s a cracking bass for just shy of 100. I’ve just done the same with their ‘75 jazz copy, again, a bargain and very easy to mod into a half-decent, useable instrument.
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 1077
    I've got two Squier Affinity Strats and they are really quite good instruments; each part is a little bit cheaper and a little bit less well finished than a US Fender, but otherwise they're there. I've played and previously had Squier basses and they're pretty much the same. I've also got a partsblaster with a Squier body and it is very good.

    I've played one HB and it was not for me.

    So, I'd be looking for a used Squier - you should get plenty of change from £100, get something playable, and be able to sell it on for no loss if/when you decide to.
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  • bluenilebluenile Frets: 19
    A buddy of mine picked up a b-stock HB 51 style precision recently, absolute bargain. We changed the pots and strung it with flatwounds ands it’s a cracking bass for just shy of 100. I’ve just done the same with their ‘75 jazz copy, again, a bargain and very easy to mod into a half-decent, useable instrument.
    Can echo this, I did exactly the same to my PB 50, a set up and a new set of flatwounds on it and it's a brilliant bass, really nice chunky neck on it. There's a thread on Basschat where people have modded their PB 50s with new pick ups but I find the stock Roswell just fine
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 565
    edited October 27
    I got a shortscale P-bass from Thomann a long time ago and I wasn't impressed to be honest. I got a VM Jazz a few years later that became my #1. However, when the Jazz was away getting a professional setup, I brought the Harley Benton to rehearsals and it actually wasn't as bad as I had thought. Don't like the machine heads especially though.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3401
    We changed the pots and strung it with flatwounds
    Good ideas but these could overstretch the OP's stated budget. Speaking of which, I have no suggestions at the £100 price point. Sorry.

    Earlier this year, I purchased somebody's eBay Bitsabass for £125. (Tidy 2012 Squier Chris Aiken P neck on a "naturally aged" 2000 Squier Affinity P body.) I only really wanted the neck. Perhaps, we can crack a deal for the body?
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15892
    The HBs are popular on Basschat - but it tends to be for modding rather than anything else. The general view is the body and neck are sound, the hardware is a bit cheeselike and the pickups are weak. 

    However, you could argue the same about the affinity’s. If it’s just for noodling at home either would be fine 
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  • sparkspark Frets: 5
    A Ibanez GIO series it will be the best you could get with your budget, unless you get a HB already modded.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33342
    Second hand will always get you better value for money. The HB isn’t bad but I would go for the Squier every time.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15892
    I have to say the cheaper Ibanez were better than the squiers when I was helping @darthed1981 choose...
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 2287
    I have to say the cheaper Ibanez were better than the squiers when I was helping @darthed1981 choose...
    Indeed, I eventually purchased one of these...


    it's no super-instrument but as a fun noodly bass it's great.
    Warning: this post may contain overtly affectionate references to Mary Spender
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  • TeyeplayerTeyeplayer Frets: 722
    There’s a hb jazz on evilbay for £79 or best offer. Already had some upgrades. Looks like it could be alright on a budget -though I know you said you really wanted a precision.

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F323480515763
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  • Thanks very much for all the input! I think I’ll keep my eye out for a used Squier as I’m not a fan of the non-traditional shapes (shame, really).

    Thanks again!
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15892
    Thanks very much for all the input! I think I’ll keep my eye out for a used Squier as I’m not a fan of the non-traditional shapes (shame, really).

    Thanks again!
    The non trad shapes can be lighter and more comfortable to play too
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2788
    Aria STB bass. Decent instrument for very little money.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • Bass newbie here..  bought an Ibanez SR300 for a shade over £100.. great instrument..
    My trading feedback

    is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

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  • sparkspark Frets: 5
    Bass newbie here..  bought an Ibanez SR300 for a shade over £100.. great instrument..
    Really good price for a good bass, i hope to had one when i started 20 years ago.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 1010
    edited October 29
    Unfortunately I can't give you any useful advice. I started out with the same idea of getting a cheap bass, but I ended up with a beautiful black USA Standard Precision after lurking on BassChat for a few months. Not only is it my favourite guitar, but it didn't cost all that much in the grand scheme of things. BTW they are a great bunch of lads over on BC, and that is where I would be looking for a bass.
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  • funkyfrazfunkyfraz Frets: 76
    HB are good.  I gigged one for a wee while for the fun of it. The one I had was stupidly heavy though so I sold it.  it was the jazz copy. 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3401
    I’d like to pick up a cheap P Bass for home noodling.
    Define noodling. 

    An eighty quid bass guitar would suffice for song writing and rudimentary home demo recordings. If you are in a band, your guide bass lines, performed on a budget instrument, should not cause your band's full-time bassist to feel threatened or undermined.

    Freebird said:
    I started out with the same idea of getting a cheap bass but I ended up with a beautiful black USA Standard Precision.
    This is what tends to happen if your are remotely serious about bass guitar. IMO, it is worth investing in an instrument whose sound and playability will never embarrass you or your compositions.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33342
    And unlike guitar - well, actually like guitar, but not how it’s usually done nowadays - you really do only need one bass. Just find the right one and you can play anything on it.

    (Ok, you can make an exception if you want a fretless as well.)
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3401
    ICBM said:
    you really do only need one bass. Just find the right one and you can play anything on it.
    By any chance, does the brand name of The Right One begin and end with the letter R? ;)
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33342
    Funkfingers said:

    By any chance, does the brand name of The Right One begin and end with the letter R? ;)
    Not necessarily ;). The Right One depends on who you are...

    For me as I was before, yes. For others, other basses are available :).

    For me as I am now a borrowed Mustang Bass is doing perfectly well. If I can never play the Rick again it wouldn't be the end of the world, although I'm still hoping I will be able to - I can just about when sitting down, but not for any length of time and it's very difficult on a strap. Still, that's a lot better than six weeks ago.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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