Harley Benton has launched the Marquess series of four- and five-string bass guitars. Ergonomically shaped and equipped with active electronics, they present an affordable option for bassists looking for a do-it-all instrument.
The five-string versions come equipped with G&B Soapbar 5ST humbuckers, while the four-stringers are fitted with a P/J configuration with a G&B JB at the bridge and a G&B at the neck position. Otherwise, the builds are similar, with eye-catching Blue Stain, Black Stain and Sunburst Stain finishes on flame-maple topped sungkai bodies.
Necks are five-piece sandwiches of Canadian maple and padauk, and join the body with a five-bolt joint, while the amaranth fingerboards have a 16" radius and are topped with 24 jumbo frets. The five-string models have a 45mm (1.77”) nut width and 35" scale, with the four-string models a slimmer 40mm (1.57") at the nut and a 35" scale.
They certainly look the part, but at this price, it's the active electronics that are the most exciting thing here, allowing you to dial in a tone for jazz or funk, or a sound with a little more bite and clang for rock. Both have the same setup, with a power active G&B system offering a hefty 12dB of boost/cut to treble or bass to each pickup, with individual volume controls allowing you to blend the sound nicely.
Elsewhere, you've got chrome Sung-Il BB007 and BB008 bridges and matching JinHo JB-150 die-cast tuners, and a graphite nut. Not bad when you consider the Marquess-5 models are priced £249, with the Marquess-4 coming in at £219.