Harley Benton BigTone Trem Vintage Orange

Electric Guitar

  • Body shape: Hollow body
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck made of Canadian maple
  • Ovangkol fretboard
  • Block inlays
  • Body-, neck- and headstock binding
  • 20 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • Pickups: 2 Deluxe AlNiCo dual coil humbucker
  • 3-Way toggle switch
  • 3 Volume knobs and 1 tone knob
  • Deluxe chrome hardware
  • Tune-o-matic bridge with roller "floating" ovangkol base
  • 50s B-Style deluxe tremolo system
  • Transparent acrylic pickguard
  • Deluxe die-cast imperial-style machine heads
  • Ex-factory stringing: D'Addario EJ21 .012 - .052
  • Colour: Vintage orange high gloss
  • Suitable case available under: Article number 122212 (not included)
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Audio Examples

 
0:00
  • Blues
  • Indie
  • Jazz
  • Rockabilly

Further Information

Colour Orange
Soundboard Maple
Top Maple
Neck Maple
Fretboard Ovangkol
Frets 20
Scale 648 mm
Pickup System HH
Tremolo Bigsby Style
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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57 Customer Ratings:
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4.4 / 5.0
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
49 written ratings Read all reviews
Total
features
sound
quality
very, very good guitar but... not for beginners
11.10.2016
I've never bought a guitar by simply clicking on internet page (till now, as I bought two guitars this way within a month). So I was a little sceptical about outcome. After 40 years of playing guitars I had and still have eight guitars in my 'herd' and each one of them was purchased in shop or second hand but also tested before. Nevertheless I risked and ordered this rockabilly beauty without trying it. Out of box and at first glance it looked really awesome piece of instrument but I was also prepared that it might be necessary to tune this instrument to my desires and style of playing . By reading other customer's reviews I recognized that tremolo system doesn't meet expectations and I doubted that the choice of the correct strings that come with guitar is D'Addario .12-.56.
So, here are CONS : (out of box)
-tremolo system is inappropriate. It has front bar that shouldn't be there because strings that run under it cause too much pressure on the bridge,
-action is too high,
-as I mentioned before original strings are more like heavy cables (as far as I'm concern),
- it was impossible to turn one of pots (I already thought about returning shipment),
-there was still some scrap wood inside body and hardware is lacking of finesse (it does not affect the sound)
And now to the brighter side and PROS :
-first con is easy to avoid. Just restring and lead strings above unnecessary bar. This will release tension on the bridge and also give you feel of smoother bigsbish style tremolo. It is unnecessary to pull out the bar as I saw in some video, just leave it alone and guitar will retain its beautiful appearance.
-to setup action I changed strings to obviously better and suitable set of .10-.46 (same manufacturer) and then with Tune-o-matic bridge set action as I prefer (very low). Of course I checked before that that neck is perfectly straight. It was.
-Trouble with the pot mentioned above was also easily solved. I examined it closely and found out that the knob was to close to the body plate and it was jammed. So I unscrewed it and positioned it appropriately.
-For scrap wood I used vacuum cleaner.
After this procedures it turns out that this is very good guitar with nice variety of tones, from jazzy and blues to rockabilly sound. It also have nice and expected sustain, (anyway ; with pedals you can easily change sound as you like, or you can change pickups for some expensive ones, BUT?this guitar, as it is, offers so much for really moderate money). For me the most important features are: comfortable neck, the possibility of low action and 100% accuracy which is, I think, enabled also due to floating bridge and smooth tuners. As I read in some forums many guitarists have problems with positioning floating bridge. With this guitar tuning is very simple and accuracy on 12th fret is easily achieved and guitar stays tuned for days.
Final opinion : Very, very good rockabilly guitar for moderate price. Not for beginners but for someone with at least a little understanding and knowledge in customizing guitar.
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Total
features
sound
quality
BigTone Vintage Orange
19.12.2016
Firstly I must confess this guitar was a complete impulse buy. I had wanted a HB35-Plus but that was out of stock at the time and I as I was offered a Hofner Very Thin in perfect condition fairly cheaply I bought that instead. But while I had been on the HB site I spotted the Big Tone, and was very impressed. So I ordered it on a Tuesday and it arrived in the UK on Thursday night. I was delivered to me on Monday morning, and I believe if I had ordered it on Monday it would have been delivered on Friday. So well done Harley Benton - your sales process is great! I have waited longer for internet sales here in the UK.

The guitar was very well packed and protected and when I unpacked the Big Tone it looked wonderful - far better in real life than the pictures on the HB site. The first thing I noticed is it's weight, - it feels as heavy as any solid body guitar that I own. The size was another surprise. It's slightly larger than my Dreadnought acoustic and just as deep, (8.5cms). So I don't think standing up playing this guitar is a good idea.

I carefully checked it over and the only imperfection I could find in the body was a 5mm x 3mm brown spot on the heel of the neck but I really don't mind that. It is unnoticable and I look at it as an identification mark if it ever gets stolen. There wasn't any glue or globs of varnish and the binding looked good so I was very happy with the finish of the guitar. As a previous review mentioned some residue wood shavings and dust inside the body, I checked it by vigorously shaking it but there was nothing to be found.

The machine heads are pretty good. They have a good feel and can be finely moved to get perfect tuning. The design of the tuners are a bit sharp on the fingers but they suit the vintage look of the guitar perfectly, in fact they look very similar to some other jazz boxes I have seen. So they will stay and not be swapped.

The strings were set low and the neck was straight so I had no setting up to do there. I was almost in tune as well. The only worry I had was the floating bridge and the Bigsby style vibrato. If anyone has seen the YouTube reviews of the Big tone you will see there is a reported problem with the floating bridge leaning under the strain when using the Bigsby. I've never used a Bigsby before but after a few tries of it I never saw the bridge move at all. In fact I have had the guitar for a week now and have never seen the bridge move at all when using the vibrato. I'm not sure if this only happened on a few guitars or if it was a general problem that has been cured, but my guitar's bridge stays where it should.

The only problem I found was that the strings on the fret board were not centred and the high E was too close to the edge. This was easily remedied by moving the floating bridge slightly to realign the strings.

After reading about and seeing the bridge problems, and whilst I was relieved at the stability of the bridge on my guitar, I did change the arrangement of the strings. I moved the strings from under the forward tension bar of the Bigsby to run over it. I don't believe it hasn't affected the tone at all, or the vibrato effect, and it does takes the perceived strain off the top of the guitar and the bridge. However I may change it back at the next string change to see if there really isn't a tonal difference.

When I read the reviews before buying the Big Tone there was mention of 'cable' like strings being changed to lighter strings. I must admit I found them a bit thick on the fingers and found my finger tips hurting after the first day of playing. I changed them to 10's but found I didn't like the tone much so I have changed them back to the original 12's. The 12's make the guitar more mellow sounding and the 10's were a bit jangly. So I will use the 12's from now on as the sound suits the guitar very well.

The intonation was slightly out so, (with the help of a 'how to' video on YouTube), I moved the bridge back about 5mm. I intonated the high E and the Low E and after checking the rest of the strings found them to be absolutely spot-on. I didn't need to even move screws to move the rollers on the bridge, which makes me think the guitar had been set up before leaving the warehouse. The intonation on this guitar is about as accurate as it is possible to get and is better than I have acheived on many other guitars I own.

Now, I don't think I'm a particularly good guitarist so I don't mind saying I feel completely out-classed by the Big Tone. It craves picking individual strings, (and fast), which is something I have always been weak on. However it makes me want to play it and it is also great fun to play. It looks fantastic and sounds great. The Alnico pick-ups perform well and produce a wide range of tones. They may get changed in the distant future but certainly not in the near future. I experience some feedback when I sit too close to the amp but not a great deal so the moral is either not to sit too close and don't use gain on the amp. The control knobs also turned smoothly and were fairly accurate in as much they reduce and increase the tone and volume with a regular 'fall off'.

To sum up, this is a very good guitar at a very good price. It is well built I comes with a guarantee so if you are not happy, it can be returned. It is well built, sounds great and it occupies a niche in the guitar market. So if you are a jazz / rockabilly / blues guitarist or you just want something different at a price far lower than the Gretch it is modelled on try a Big Orange Big Tone. I'm sure you won't be disappointed and you may even be surprised.
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Show variations of this product
Harley Benton BigTone Trem Vintage Orange
(57)
Harley Benton BigTone Trem Vintage Orange

Electric Guitar Body shape: Hollow body, Body: Maple, Neck made of Canadian maple, Ovangkol fretboard, Block inlays, Body-, neck- and headstock binding, 20 Frets, Scale: 648 mm, Nut width: 43 mm,...

  • Colour: Orange
  • Soundboard: Maple
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Frets: 20
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickup System: HH
  • Tremolo: Bigsby Style
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
Harley Benton BigTone Trem White
(72)
Harley Benton BigTone Trem White

Electric Guitar Body shape: Hollow body, Body: Maple, Neck made of Canadian maple, Ovangkol fretboard, Block fretboard inlays, Body-, neck- and headstock binding, 20 Frets, Scale: 648 mm, Nut...

  • Colour: White
  • Soundboard: Maple
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Frets: 20
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickup System: HH
  • Tremolo: Bigsby Style
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
Harley Benton BigTone LH White Vintage Serie
(5)
Harley Benton BigTone LH White Vintage Serie

Electric Guitar Left-handed model, Type: Hollow body, Maple body, Neck made of Canadian maple, Ovangkol fretboard, Block fretboard inlays, Body, neck and headstock binding, 20 Frets, Scale: 648 mm,...

  • Colour: White
  • Shape, Design: Hollowbody
  • Soundboard: Maple
  • Top: None
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Frets: 20
  • number of strings: 6
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickup System: HH
  • Tremolo: No
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
  • Incl. Cases: No
$233 €209.24
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