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Harley Benton CST-24HB Tortoise Flame

Electric Guitar

  • Design: Semi hollowbody with f-holes
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: AAA Flamed maple
  • 3-Piece neck: Mahogany
  • Neck attachment: Set-in
  • Fretboard: Roasted jatoba
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Frets: 24 Medium
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Fretboard inlays: Mother-of-pearl dots
  • Nut: Graphite
  • Body binding: Ivory-coloured
  • Pickups: 2 Roswell LAF AlNiCo-5-humbuckers
  • 3-Way switch
  • Controls: 1 Volume- and 1 tone with push/pull function for coil split
  • Hardware: DLX chrome
  • Bridge: DLX GTB wrapover
  • Machine heads: DLX diecast
  • Colour: Tortoise Flame High-gloss
  • Suitable case available under Article Nr 129350 (not included)
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Audio Examples

 
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  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Indie
  • Rock

Further Information

Body Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Mahogany
Fretboard Jatoba
Frets 24
Scale 635 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No

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218 Customer Ratings
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Good if you can finish it off yourself
Mr Greggles, 13.11.2018
I have made this into an excellent guitar and, if you have the ability, it is an excellent buy. If not it is a bit disappointing.

I have an HB Strat copy which cost a bit over £100. That has an excellent finish, a really good sound and is generally very good quality but needed a fret polish and a bit of setup. This cost very nearly £200. Again it has an excellent finish, a great sound, looks fantastic for the price and is mostly of very good quality. However it not so much of a bargain.

The problem is that although I'm fine with polishing the frets and doing a bit of setup I'm not so happy that, for quite a bit more money, I'm having to file and recrown some frets. When I first received it it was buzzing halfway up the fretboard. I let it settle for a few days and did a setup. The action was very low so raising it and tweaking the truss rod for a little more relief sorted out most of the buzzing. But the second and fifth fret were still causing problems and I had to do a bit of work on them.

The guitar looks great. OK, there isn't the depth to the veneer you would get on a PRS but I think it has some depth, so it's not a photo print. And as soon as you step back from it it looks amazing. The sound is warm and versatile, though the coil split doesn't add as much as I'd hoped and it doesn't have as much of a hollow body sounds as a 335. The tuners do the job, even if they don't feel particularly inspiring. All in all a great addition to my collection, now that the frets are sorted.

As I said, it is not a big deal if you have the skills and the tools but I could see it being a big problem for newer players. I guess the real problem is that my first experience with an HB was so good it set the bar very high. Having spent more money I didn't expect he quality to be worse. That said, now that it is sorted it looks, feels and plays brilliantly. I'm glad I bought it and would buy it again.

I just wanted to sound a word of warning to less-experienced users

LONGER TERM EXPERIENCE

I've had this for about ten months now. For most of that time I didn't use it. Every time I went to it it needed setting up again. It seemed that the wood needed to season a bit more. After about eight months (having tried it in between) it seemed that the neck had finally settled down. I have set it up and not needed to change it since.

I'm playing and recording with it now and It's a comfortable and versatile guitar. It's a great intermediate step between my big semiacoustic (Vintage VSA500) and my solid PRS SE II Santana. Very pleased with it now and intend to keep it and use it more.
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Girl, you got a beautiful body, but your nuts ugly.
jaytee123, 23.03.2018
Pros: The Body and finish is beautiful. Flawless. The pickups are great clean...so-so with gain. The guitar sustains amazingly well.

Cons:, the bridge is missing the tiny hex screw that locks the bridge in place on the treble side.
Seeing the guitar came with Wilkinson Pickups and not Roswell as advertised, I think I got an older one with one of the first attempts at crafting roseacer...lots of dents in the treated wood at the 1st fret. numerous imperfections in shaping up the fretboard and at the base of it. Dry as a bone. A little fretboard treatment improved it, but the feel of it is like it is made of a plastic composite. Not sure how heat chemically changed maple in this fashion.
The nut was atrocious on the treble side. Looking down the fretboard from the bridge, It is sloped too low to the right, so much that whomever cut the nut just put a notch in the E string to barely hold in place. The B string was a little better, but not by much. The result? Sitar noise with open string because the slot could not be properly cut with so little material on the treble side. I was surprised this was present on a guitar that spent a week in quality check.

I DON'T want to send this back. I sent an email asking for them to send a new nut and a locking screw, and I would fix it myself. Still waiting for a simple response to this after a day.
In purchasing this guitar, I reminded them I am in the states and that I'm not expecting perfection for spending 264 dollars shipped but expect a playable guitar with a reasonable amount of flaws. I also said future purchases would be based on the quality. Sorry, I can't buy anymore sight unseen from Thomann after my experience. This guitar spent a WEEK in quality before leaving...and the nut is awful.
Hopefully, I am sent a nut and the tiny locking screw, so I dont have to go searching all over creation for the right size for both.

I'm sorry I had to post this review, I wanted so badly to post a five star, yet the nut almost had me giving this a two. I mean, this is the MOST BASIC QUALITY CHECK, NO?
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GORGEOUS, PETITE, NIMBLE: A FLIRTATION!
Fixa, 28.01.2021
This was my first ever Harley Benton and also very first buy from Thomann. As a beginner, I was not fixed on any particular make of guitar as long as it was a humbucker as recommended by my teacher and within my expenditure limit of $300. The Harley Benton CST 24 HB Tortoise Flame initially caught my eye from just its looks alone. I researched it further and when I saw a B-Stock priced under $200 on the Thomann site and talked to one of their agents, I decided to pull the plug and placed an order. It arrived at my door in exactly five days later, well-packed in its original box inside a larger carton with absolutely no external or internal damage whatsoever. Kudos to Thomann for its solid packaging and quick shipment of the order.
I have to say that, having seen the messy finishing of the guitar shown in Darrell Braun’s YouTube review and the even more shocking experience narrated by All Things Guitars of a B-Stock order in which chunks seemed to have been cut out of either end of the fretboard, I was somewhat anxious. However, when I took out the guitar, I simply was blown away by its stunning beauty. Except for the issues I will come to later, the finishing was perfect without significant noticeable blemishes, scratches, painting sloppiness, glue remnants or black color varnish matted on the fingerboard or the headstock. I could not feel any sharp or protruding fret edges; the inlays were well set; the selector, volume and tone knobs, toggle switch and cable plug were all firmly fixed in place, nothing loose or wobbling about. The CST 24 HB looks and feels small but is for me exactly the right size. From other buyers’ reviews, it seems to vary in weight from 3.6kg up to 4.2 kg (which is quite a surprising difference for an item of identical specifications) but mine is exactly 3.0 kgs which is quite light and very tolerable. I plugged it in and all systems – volume, tone, toggle switch and pull coil split built into the tone control - were working. On the other hand, even as a novice, I could see that the string action was quite high and the guitar also arrived badly out of tune. This was however nothing to worry about as I had decided that I would take the guitar a tech to check it comprehensively, replace the bridge so that the strings could be intonated and adjusted individually, polish and oil the fretboard which arrived somewhat dry, change the strings and set it up properly, all of which was done.
I have now had the guitar, playing it almost daily, for nearly three months since it came back from guitar tech. Wonderful! The thin neck fits well in the hand and makes for fantastic playability as I can run my hand fluidly up and down without any of the grippiness I experienced when I experimented with some guitars at a guitar shop. At this stage of my guitar journey, my sound demands are not that complex, and I will not pretend to any technical assessment of the pickups, but let me say that I play the guitar mostly in clean mode through a practice amp and it crisp, clear, brilliant and well balanced in all tones without any humming or rustling. I think it has excellent range as I can cover very satisfactorily pretty much all the rock, bluesy, jazzy and African sounds that I am practicing. There is a very apparent drop in feedback when the coil split is engaged but frankly this is a function which at this stage is not so critical for me, the primary options being more than enough for me. On the other hand, the fact that, being semi-hollow, the guitar can be played acoustically quite adequately is a big advantage as I can practice very late in the night without having to plug it into the amplifier and risk going to war with my family or neighbours! It is a guitar which really has so much flexibility and maneuverability. You can even imagine interacting with it as flirtation a pretty, nimble coquettish beauty!
So, have I had no issues or problems at all with the guitar? Well, there are five main drawbacks that I must highlight. Probably the most serious one is that from about the 21st fret, access to the frets is quite cramped. The 22nd to 24th frets are virtually unreachable on the low end of the fretboard which is quite a bummer because a lot of the African lead sounds that are an important part of the repertoire I am building is played in that register. I had even thought that these last frets were incorrectly spaced but the guitar is in perfect tune down to the very last fret. It is also clearly not a problem with the guitar’s cutaways so I have a feeling the problem is with the heel of the neck having been set too far out. Secondly, at the 15th fret, both tone and sustain on the B string are deadened and dampened out considerably. Dead spots are in fact the third problem, this time with the tuners. While, on the whole, they do their job, they all have some spots which when you turn the machine head, there is no response. This makes it quite difficult to tune precisely, especially from the D to the high E strings. Tuning stability as a whole could be better and I have to tune the guitar pretty much each time I play, especially the B and high E strings. Then, when the coil-split is engaged, the sound is noticeably weaker and thinner, certainly is not like the quality of a single coil as I see demonstrated in single coil guitar tests. So, if this is not just an unlucky draw in my particular guitar, those who may be thinking of buying the guitar because of this particular attribute of the coil split need to look out. Finally each of the frets from 2nd to 24th on the high-end of the fretboard has a noticeable dimple as if they have been grooved or shaved out. This is nothing as serious as the case I referred to earlier reviewed by All Things Guitar and there is no sign that they affect the way it plays at all but, even as only a visual defect, this is an important issue to mention and may well be the reason why the guitar was returned.
What then are my conclusions? Without doubt, for its visual magnetism, I would buy another CST24 HB. Beyond looks, even with the issues highlighted above, I believe that I have got a very good guitar both for the price I paid for it and in its own right. Going by my experience and also the reviews that I have seen, I am definitely bothered by what appears like a very high variation in quality in Harley Brent guitars apparently of the same brand and specs and, if I was allowed a humble recommendation, it would be that Thomann should invest in ironing out all these quality slippages and quirks. Speaking for myself, if this was to imply an additional $50 to the price of the guitar to guarantee that each one would not have any of what can be quite serious quality gaps, I truly would pay for it. All notwithstanding, I am quite happy with the CST24 and am sure this will not be my last purchase of either a Harley Benton guitar or from Thomann.
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An amazingly good guitar
Roger6897, 31.07.2015
I was once lucky enough to own a guitar very similar to this made by a well-known company in the USA. It cost me well over two thousand British Pounds - and I bought it secondhand! Unfortunately, due to financial circumstances, I had to part with it (in exchange for a much-needed car!) Now I have bought the Harley Benton CST-24 HB Tortoise Flame, it almost feels like I have my valuable guitar back - at a tiny fraction of the price. I won't say it plays as well as my old Hollowbody guitar because, in fact, my new Harley Benton CST-24HB actually plays BETTER. Straight from the box it was excellent and now, after a minor adjustment to one of the nut slots and the truss rod by my friendly luthier, I have a great-sounding, beautiful guitar with a superb action. It balances perfectly on a strap with no neck-dive (often a problem with semi-acoustic guitars). This time, no work at all was necessary on the frets - they are excellent. The Wilkinson pickups are becoming widely recognized as a very good humbucker and have the classic alnico humbucker sound (in fact I prefer them to the sound of the pickups of my American guitar). There are no unwanted noises or microphonic problems and, unusually for a cheap guitar, the master volume and tone controls function perfectly, with a smooth taper and no loss of treble when the volume is reduced. The tuners are excellent, the graphite nut is better and more elegantly shaped than the rather ugly one on my US guitar. Generally, the finish is top class, with a flame veneer top and bound F-holes (my US guitar had unbound F-holes). The main difference can be found inside - my US guitar had an arched flame maple back and the internal construction under the bridge was a work of art to rival a top class violin. The Harley Benton has a more typical central block construction and I must confess the internal finishing looks a bit rough if you look inside the F-holes with a torch and a magnifying glass. However - this is the important thing - this construction means it works better as a functional electric guitar at high volume. Interestingly, the acoustic sound is almost exactly the same despite the internal differences, so I wonder if all the craftsmanship of the US guitar was really necessary for any purpose other than to persuade overpaid guitar-fancying American dentists to part with more of their money. I am much more than happy with this guitar and I have already urged Thomann, bearing in mind the instrument's excellent acoustic character, to offer the same guitar with an adjustable bridge and piezo saddles. I am sure a lot of guitarists would find such a guitar extremely interesting if the price is right (which I am sure it would be with Harley Benton). Once again, I am astounded that a guitar of this quality can be done for this price. My local guitar shop proprietor and my friendly luthier both agree. In fact I had a bit of trouble retrieving it from my friend the luthier, who is a big fan of arch-top F-hole guitars and seems to particularly like playing this one! I am not at all surprised that the CST-24HB Tortoise Flame is out of stock until September and I urge anyone interested in this type of guitar to get hold of one as soon as they are available again. It is also available in cherry sunburst with "tree of life" fretboard inlay, but I think I prefer this finish and the interesting little cross-shaped fret markers. I have been playing guitar for nearly fifty years and back in 1980 I reviewed guitars professionally for a magazine. This is the second CST-24 I have bought from Thomann in less than a month. Harley Benton does it again!
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Show variations of this product
Harley Benton CST-24HB Tortoise Flame
(218)
Harley Benton CST-24HB Tortoise Flame

Electric Guitar Design: Semi hollowbody with f-holes, Body: Mahogany, Top: AAA Flamed maple, 3-Piece neck: Mahogany, Neck attachment: Set-in, Fretboard: Roasted jatoba, Fretboard radius: 350 mm,...

Harley Benton CST-24HB Charcoal Flame
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Harley Benton CST-24HB Charcoal Flame

Electric Guitar Design: Semi-hollow body with f-holes, Body: Mahogany, Top: AAA flamed maple, 3-Piece neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Roasted jatoba, Fretboard inlays: Mother-of-pearl dots, Neck...

Harley Benton CST-24HB TOL Tobacco Flame
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Harley Benton CST-24HB TOL Tobacco Flame

Electric Guitar Chambered body, Body: Mahogany, Top: Flamed maple, Neck: Mahogany, Neck attachment: Set-in, Fretboard: Roasted jatoba, Neck profile: C, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, Frets: 24 Medium,...

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