Harley Benton CST-24T Emerald Flame

122 Customer Ratings
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4.7 /5
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Stunning!!! Another HB Super-Duper-Bargain!
Cuztard Pi, 25.04.2017
Having just played this guitar at its 1st live gig and concluded to myself that it had been ?f***ing brilliant? I thought it deserved a review; so here goes:

A happy owner of 2 other Harley Bentons (an SC-Custom P90 Black & CST-24HB Tortoise Flame) (as well as owning many other more guitars from significantly more expensive brands) ... I'd been GAS'ing about getting a solid CST-24 with trem for quite some time. So when I finally got to see one "in the flesh" via the great video review that Cory Mura (thanks Cory!!) put up on YouTube, my mind was made up: the new Emerald Green CST-24T was the way to go!

And what a beautiful instrument it is! Let's face it, even until recently, one could only dream of buying a guitar with a custom colour like this that looked this good; never mind at this price!!

The original photos on the Thomann page did it a major disservice (hence my initial hesitation to buy) ... they've mostly fixed that now; their current photos are more accurate in terms of colour .. though still not 100% correct based on my guitar:

The top is a perfect, not-too-dark/not-too-light, real classy, deep, glossy emerald (with a well centred, perfectly book-matched, very pretty dark flame). The back, sides, lower cutaway and neck are a much darker green (not obvious from the Thomann photos) that shows off the mahogany grain very well under the transparent polished lacquer .. This contrasting use of different greens really sets off the top to look its best. ... mmmmm, GORGEOUS!! .. did I mention that ;-D

The body appears to be made of 2 (or possibly 3) sections and includes a belly-cut & lower cut-away shaping for easy top-fret access; everything appears to be very well done. The shaping and contouring of the body-top and the cut-away's is 'NICE' !

The neck also could possibly be a multi-piece laminate but it is well disguised under the dark green lacquer. The neck shape is quite different to my other HB CST24HB in that it feels somewhat thinner than the generally chunky-ish CST24HB (which is good news for the thumb-over folks out there) .. In any case, the neck is very comfortable. The position of the neck/body joint and the shaping of the lower cut-away certainly do give unrestricted access to those upper frets, even the 24th. Just be careful not to over-shoot by a few frets whilst playing and aiming for above the 12th fret .. it's easily done, trust me, I've been there .. whoops! LOL

The usual top notch service from Thomann, it arrived safe & sound in the UK 3 days after ordering, double boxed and well packed.

An excited check over happily found only a few very minor cosmetic issues with the finish here & there (only noticeable under very close scrutiny). Let's face it, at this price no-one should expect perfection, so a few minor, cosmetic-only issues are totally acceptable (and honestly folks, the few findings on mine are really very minor ... & totally forgotten about once you strap on this beauty).

Generally the as-received generic set-up was good and totally acceptable ... i.e. good to go:
- Strings (new) in OK condition (the odd small spot of corrosion here & there)
- Frets: 24 nicely polished & no sharp fret-ends. Not perfectly level but acceptable (see action details below).
- Fretboard: the usual 'dry' looking "roseacer" which actually has a nice grain-like appearance (it can be improved/darkened by application of a suitable wood treatment). Well fitted off-white pearloid dot markers & cream binding yield a tidy, attractive professional look to the instrument.
- Machine heads: no-name but work well, smooth & accurate to adjust.
- Nut: very well cut, with a low action at the 1st fret for all strings (~ 0.5mm clearance).
- String action: as received medium-low (see my set-up comments below)
- Controls/pots: smooth to turn; the push/pull switch on the tone control is easy to operate (see my set-up comments below). I love the master volume, master tone control layout of this guitar ... very practical!
- PU switch: OK. Note: The position of the switch takes a little bit of getting used to ... but it's fine after a bit of practise.
- Trem/Bridge: Excellent. It has a push in arm with friction positioning via a grub-screw. It came set-up floating (see my set-up comments below).
- Balances well on a strap; very comfortable to play; not heavy (~3.5kg); "ergonomic" is a good word for the overall design.
- Acoustic sound: bright with plenty of sustain (which bodes well for the electric sound)

To really get the best out of a HB, generally you do need to perform some set-up work & this was true here. However, to be fair, my experience, having now bought 3 HB's, is that Thomann do a pretty good job setting them up so that the out-of-the-box condition should be good enough for a beginner ... but I'm just too fussy I guess; plus I do enjoy getting to know the guitar a bit more intimately by doing a full set-up ... which for this guitar was:

Remove strings; polish frets (not much needed here); treat fretboard surface; put on new set of 9's; set nut action (no major change needed here); set neck relief & string action & bridge saddle radius (I got it down to a clean playing low action: 1mm on 1st & 1.5mm on 6th at 12th fret); adjust trem (floating with approx minor 3rd pull-up on G string; very stable tuning with firm trem action & the arm stays where it's put ... what a great trem system ... other brands should take note, this is how it should be done!!!!).

After doing this set-up, the guitar played (& looked) as good as one costing 3, 4, 5 times the price IMO.

Played through my amp, happy to say it sounded very good, at least in isolation in my back room playing by myself. The stock Wilkinson pick-ups are usually totally acceptable with no real need to be swapped out; & this is true here. With the controls on full, the tone is full but still bright & clear.

But ... the tone control just destroys the sound when fully rolled off (it has a 47nF cap in there, so that's why ... much too large IMO). The coil-split works OK on both PU's and yields a much thinner/quieter/hollow tone that I found out later (at the gig) is just too far away from the full humbucker sound to be really useful (hmm .. a mod is required there me-thinks (a la PRS!). Also, there is the expected drop off of treble as you turn down the volume ... so I did modify the circuit to address these points:
: Change the 47nF tone cap to a 15nF: now the tone control can be used throughout its full travel
: Change to 50's wiring (i.e. tone cct after the volume pot) with the addition of a tapered treble bleed ("Frank Falbo mod")(180pF). Now there is no loss of treble and the Vol control has a great taper that can easily clean up a dirty amp. Very Nice!
: Not done yet but next time under the hood: modify the push/pull switch cct to have a "partial" (= not full) coil split (by adding a low value (= 1k & 2k) resistor to ground on the split coil in each humbucker; this hopefully should improve the 2 coil-split sounds).
Note: the original wiring was acceptable & tidily done ... 'though the pots & switches are very cheap types (but work fine .. for now)

So having now played my 1st live gig with this guitar, which I find is the best test of what a guitar sounds like (i.e. playing in amongst drums, bass, etc) I can say: it did not disappoint. It played wonderfully, stayed in tune perfectly, sounded excellent and gave me all the sounds I wanted (though I didn't use the coil-split sound much for the reason mentioned above) .... & of course, it looked stunning!

OK, for the sake of balance, here are the few negatives I could think of:
- Cosmetic issues: 1cm thin crease in the veneer in the top cut-away; a few odd tiny speckles under the gloss coat here & there; slight gap under the pick-up rings; light scratch on the body-back; some 'sharpish' edges on the nut; cheap looking truss-rod cover.
- Frets: some minor levelling issues identified by a fret-rocker (but do not hinder getting a great low action)
- Electronics: very cheap (but still totally functional) components; too large value tone cap (47nF!); bog-standard electrical circuit used.

Sorry, that's all I could come up with on the negative side.

Conclusion:

Irrespective of price: What a Great Guitar! But at this price ... unbelievable!! 5 stars all 'round.

The bottom line: GET ONE!!
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excellent quality price compromise
michiak, 16.03.2021
at first I was skeptical like many about this brand, but thanks to the many positive reviews I decided to give it a try. i own gibson ls custom and prs custom 22 so i can get a clear comparison. the low price doesn't means: guitar for beginners, because it is not. I mean .. any guitar can be for beginners, but this model is a guitar model, period. it's not a clone, it may look alike, but it's totally different. I believe that the goal is in having hit the exact compromise between quality and price. we cannot expect the custom model quality, the resonance and the materials also. there are aesthetic and paint defects and many, inside it is roughly , there are detachable pieces of wood inside. the resonance is a bit stopped (some structural problems are present,obviously compared with a 2000euros and more guitar) but it recovers with the roswell alnico 5 pickups which are similar to the duncan jb-59. and above all the split coil feature is in line with the modern market.
but, if I think about 25 years ago when I started playing, with the few savings of a few occasions I was only able to afford an ibanez GIO (used) that I kept up to over my 18 years that gave me tendonitis. bolt-on neck that was double C in profile, which I'm still cursing. i'm seriously i hate low cost ibanez guitars.they are wrist-breaking guitars. in late '90 years there were no harley benton set-in in mahogany with thin neck, split humbuckers and with these various colored paint finishes, so the kids today who want to start have a great luck. really. besides adult people like me who already have high level models who want a guitar for free time and to leave in the car without anxiety, this model is centered. in short, a guitar for everyone at the correct price.
I personally bought it also as a hobby and have a little fun editing and experimenting. I performed a pickup change, I inserted two gibson 490r and 498t humbuckers that I had free, then all electronics changed, a quick setup, neck cleaning with lemon oil, string change, truss rod adjustment (it was slightly up-bow), intonation, and the guitar took a lot more sustain. the roswells are still great I put them on another mid level guitar with floyd rose and they sound really good for what they cost.
painful notes:
the whammy bar is unusable. it doesn't hold the tuning in any way .. I don't think it's a bridge problem, but maybe some mechanics, later I'll change them and let's see what happens.
the frets are not the best, they scratch a little, I have filed them a minimum and it goes better, these too can be changed and see what comes out.
the next goals for future models i think are to improve a minimum the finishes, the mechanics and the frets, with 30 euros more you could buy a real jewel.
for the moment i'm having fun with cst24-t, i can't upload a picture but it's very lovely to see this model with 490/498 gold pickups. thanks thomann.
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Good Guitar for the Money
Larry_A, 07.07.2020
If I could give 4.5 stars I would. It is a great guitar but it does have its flaws.

Pros: Great finish. Great value for a decent guitar. After some work (see below) I enjoy it immensely as the sound and playability are awesome.

Cons: Some setup was done before I received it (double octave was perfect at 24th fret) but the action was way too high for me so I lowered that a bit. The neck was dead straight with no relief so I loosened the truss rod a tiny amount also. There were some fret buzz issues that I had to sort out afterwards, but now the guitar plays well and I am pleased. I didn't like the tremolo much. I have seen pictures where people have simply removed the arm, but I also disabled the mechanism by wedging a smooth stone from the beach into the deep cavity area in the back. That in turn improved the un-amped resonance...I am happy with the result. Other issues are that the width of the nut is slightly less than the width of the adjoining neck so there are sharp ridges on either side, and the position of the neck and the bridge are just slightly off centre as evidence by the lay of the strings along the neck and the lean to the right of the bridge hardware.

Otherwise it is a good, inexpensive guitar. Weighed in at 7 lbs, 1 oz.

No doubt I will be buying another Harley Benton in the near future.
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Quality Control Lacking
sdotldot, 16.03.2021
This guitar was shipped half way across the world so it required a guitar set up. I did not dock marks for this.

Cons:
-Green paint overspray on the binding
-Vibrato claw was not installed correctly, claw was not straight
-Screws in vibrato was all different heights which caused tuning
stability issues.
-Fretboard stain/paint is also on the binding
-Binding near the 24th fret looks like someone took a rough file to
it.
-"Flame" top is really hard to see, the back of the guitar looks
much better.
-Makes a scratchy noise when bending the strings but not audible
through the amp.
-Assuming the cavities have shield paint but it does not cover the
whole area. Lots of places where the paint is thin or it's wood
showing.
-Vibrato arm likes to fall out when not in use

Pros:
-Most of my issues are cosmetics
-Very low action
-Tuning stability after adjust claw and vibrato screws
-Using the vibrato doesn't cause the guitar to detune
-High output pickups that are very clear sounding
-Very nice shade of green but the flame top doesn't come through
-There was an attempt at shielding the cavities and there's foil on
the back of the cover.
-No noticeable hum even in split coil mode.

Overall, I feel like I got a B-stock guitar shipped to me even though I paid for an A-stock. I like how it sounds and how it plays but I am undecided if I should return and try for a different one to see if I just got a bad one. I know it's only a $319 guitar but I have had a few cheaper guitars that had better quality paint/finish control. If you don't care about the flame top or paint overspray, get this guitar!
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Harley Benton CST-24T
Saracen, 18.01.2020
After reading other reviews, I decided to order this guitar for myself, and find it to be excellent value. It did arrive with a broken toggle switch, which happened during transit. The problem was resolved quickly, and efficiently by Thomann. Very playable on arrival, although more accomplished players may require a proper set up. I bought the Emerald flame finish, and it looks stunning. I would recommend this guitar on looks alone, but for the price, you can't go wrong.
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I Love This Guitar!
CJLoose, 01.05.2020
I could not have asked for a better guitar for the price. I have tried it on many different styles of music, and it has handled each very well. The Roswell pickups are actually very versatile, however, if you play more metal, then they may lack some of the output you might be looking for (But it handles Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne well enough). The guitar was playable out of the box, with the intonation already perfect. It is very well put together, with the only finish flaws being a speck of green dye on the binding, and a small scuff on the last highest fret. However, there is nothing else I could even nitpick about this instrument. The bride is smooth and comfortable, the tuners are sturdy and maintain tuning well, and the frets have no sharp ends or scratchiness. The only thing I would change would be the knobs, and only to give the instrument a little bit of individuality. But more than anyhting, I love that I could get this colour for such a reasonable price, as the only PRS of a similar colour was over 3 grand more. This guitar is certainly worth your Time.
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Sustain for days!
Bicho66, 15.03.2021
As a bedroom musician, having multiple guitars is almost a must. When I ordered the CST-24, I was expecting a good-looking guitar which I would have to replace the humbuckers of, but the first time I plugged it in and played an E power chord, the sustain really suprised me - it outperforms my higher-end guitars by a lot, not to mention the tone was actually quite good. The coil-splitting option adds versatility, which is much appreciated too.
The looks, needless to say, are stellar (green is, after all, my favorite color), and the quality of the build is pretty good overall, and the few quality issues that I did encounter were easily fixable, and that's coming from someone who's not an expert when it comes to tinkering.
Something to consider before buying - this guitar has a vibrato, so I'd suggest upgrading to locking tuners (HB brand worked fine for me).
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Stunning Instrument
Stookiebhoy, 05.03.2018
I've been a professional musician for 30 years now, and do a lot of studio work as well as touring with several different artists and in various different genres, so flexibility is very important for me.
I bought this guitar as it had been getting some great reviews on Youtube, and after hearing Henning Pauly speak so highly of it I decided to buy one. I'm astounded by the quality of this, and I really mean that. I'm actually struggling for words here because I'm just genuinely so surprised by this guitar. If I walked into Guitar Guitar and took this off the wall I would happily pay 5 times the price for something which looks and sounds this good. It's actually scary how Thomann are getting these products to us at these kind of prices. Not that I'm complaining, I'm just a bit bewildered. The Roswell pickups are a perfect match on this guitar, they are very precise and give tons of high end clarity, without losing their warmth, and the added bonus of the coil split just makes it all the better and gives me a guitar I can use in a thousand different situations. The really great thing about this is that I can tour with it and not really bother too much if it gets the odd ding...I mean this is a sub £200 guitar after all. I actually can't believe I've just said that. Sub £200!!!!! This is so much guitar for so little money that it's an absolute no brainer for anyone looking for a new guitar, regardless of what genre they play. I bought the emerald green model, but I can honestly see me owning one of each colour before the summer comes around. I'm genuinely and truly astounded by this guitar, I just can't get my head round it, it's just crazy. All I can say is buy one before there's none left....or before Thomann realise they're giving us these way too cheap.
In summary - looks 10/10 not a single blemish on it. Quality 9/10, only because we can always improve. Sound 10/10, I love these pickups and can't fault them in any way. And the coil splits are a real bonus. Value for money 10/10, I paid £196 which is around ¤222 I think, and to be quite frank that's not even the price of a good fx pedal. I've spent more on a good night out so it's incredible value as far as I'm concerned.
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My favorite
Randolfo 1, 12.10.2020
I own 5 electric and 5 acoustic guitars. I own brands like Ovation, Yamaha, Ibanez, Epiphone, Takamine, etc., and this one is by far the best looking and my favorite to play! It needed a little tweaking at first, but nothing major. This is a well made and beautiful guitar!
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Exceptional value for the money
04.03.2017
I had the CST-24T on my Thomann wish list for a while, but I couldn't decide what colour/finish to choose.

When I saw the Emerald Flame version was available my mind was made up. The green flamed maple top really is stunning (the photo on the Thomann site does not do it full justice) and the two pieces on mine are extremely well matched.

The mahogany body and neck are also stained green (on a purely personal opinion I would have preferred it left mahogany) nevertheless the stain is translucent enough to allow the natural grain to show through. It's a 3 piece body but again very well matched. There is a scarf joint in the neck at the body end, but if there's one at the headstock end I cannot see it. Bindings on the body and neck to my eyes are perfect. Overall the finish is truly exceptional

The Roseacer fretboard was a little dry looking, but easily fixed with a little conditioner, other than that no problems.
The frets are fine no buzzing or sharp edges. The tuners work well and it holds in tune very well. Out of the box the action and intonation were good but when I eventually change strings I will probably lower the action a tad (purely a personal thing).

It wouldn't be fair for me to comment on the trem, because I haven't used it (not my sort of thing) although it's nice to have it available and if the rest of the guitar is anything to go by I don't foresee any problems with its use.

Although I have been playing for forty years, I am strictly a home sofa player, through a Fender Mustang 111 and headphones, or unplugged, and my comments on the pups etc. must reflect this fact. However I can say every thing works as I wanted/expected it to (with the added bonus of the coil split on this model).

I have an original vintage 1971 Fender Strat. and a 2002 American made Fender Strat. that cost me many times over what I paid for the CST and I have to say in terms of build finish playability and sound it compares very very favourably indeed. (Although I feel I should add, this is the sixth HB guitar I have purchased from Thomann and it is exactly what I have come to expect from them).

If you are thinking of buying this model, then stop thinking and buy it, you wont be disappointed.
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Wonderful Guitar
Komodo, 03.01.2020
I have owned High End PRS Guitars so, had to try this model.
Fantastic Guitar, in all aspects, finish, set up, comfort, balance, sound quality, playability, neck comfort.... It's all there for a 20th of the cost of a PRS... The Buyer will not be disappointed.
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Buy this guitar. You won't regret it.
Colstar99, 06.03.2021
It arrived today and straight out of the box the action was spot on and the intonation is as close as any of my other more expensive guitars (perfection is for the gods). Beautiful looking guitar. Nice and slim. Feels good against the body. Toggle switch gives a wide range of sounds on the pickups. Nice wide fretboard / fret radius. For the price, I'm very impressed. You just can't go wrong with this and because it doesn't cost the same as a small country's deficit, (PRS, I'm looking at you) you can always spend a few pennies on modding it if that is your 'thang'. Can be used for all the genres.
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She is an art object. Beautiful! Breathtaking!
XLDave, 26.11.2019
This instrument is wonderful in the pictures. And holding it in your hand is an art object. Beautiful! Breathtaking! I bought it as a gift so I didn't have time to test it yet. If only half of it sounds as good as it is beautiful ... She will be the queen in our collection. Amazing! I falling in love with her. Her neck is extremely hands-on. She begs you to play on it. You can not able to put it down. When you put it down you have to cry. I love Her! So at first i could tell only this. Maybe I'll get to know her later and tell you more about her abilities.
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Unbelievable value
Damian. , 28.06.2020
I've had this guitar for a few months now and I'm blown away by its quality, it's right up there with guitars that cost x3 as much.

The only minor issues I have with it are the tuners, which are pretty bad and the nut isn't cut very well. With that being said, it was still set up very well right out of the box and plays beautifully. For the money it's a no brainer and I'd definitely recommend to anyone.
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Great guitar, terrible trem system
Frntmn1955, 23.07.2020
I wanted a 24 fret PRS style guitar, and this seemed to fit the bill. It plays great, the setup was very good out of the box. Great tone, especially when you dig in a bit. The reason for the 4 stars is the trem. A few others recommended the non-trem version, but I'm a strat guy and I wanted the trem. It sux. Two reasons: the arm attaches underneath the bridge with an allen screw, so you can't easily take it off to put the guitar in the case. Second, there is an audible "thunk" noise when you release the trem arm or come back to neutral. So I am playing it without the trem, and plan on installing a better system soon. As a non-trem guitar, its awesome.
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Recommend!
Alexander Martianov, 09.02.2020
Great tool! Did not play the guitar for 25 years! I didn’t want to take a very expensive tool, but I didn’t like inexpensive ones because of the quality. In the same guitar, the price-performance ratio is on top! Recommend!
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Great Guitar - Lovely Look
Karkid26, 15.10.2020
The Harley Benton CST-24T is an amazing guitar at a super price
Didn't quite expect it to be so well made - Pickups are very hot - Great for Rock or Metal
Have also just bought a Violin
Thanks Harley Benton - Thomann
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CST 24T
Kelcon, 02.06.2019
Before I bought this I already had a PRS custom 24 S2 . I thought that I would buy the HB CST24T to try out so that I would be comparing apples to apples . I couldn't believe the quality and the price . I have since bought four more NB guitars and have a HB jazz bass on order that I am waiting for as of this writing . You will not find a better instrument for these prices . I am happy as can be with all of them so far .
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Excellent for total guitar player
Wm Tell, 24.09.2018
This is my favorite guitar! I bought it because the color and features reminded me of the Brian Moore i9 I once had. Also want to compare with the PRS SE Custom 24 I have.
This guitar is a beauty for its price. The build, intonation, parts excellent. The Wilkinson Tremolo blew me away. It is perfect, comfortable and suited for my style of playing. The Coil tapping PUPS are so good modding is not warranted. The Pots work quite well. Note: it is nobody's fault that the fretboard was dry or that the backplate buckled within a few weeks. The time of year it was shipped and lack of humidity was the culprit. Easily fix with some mineral oil and time in a humidor. The sharp frets went away within a few weeks.
The tone is suited for the player that doesn't want to switch up guitars to change styles of playing. Good single coil sound that has the right amount of bite and Humbucking will satisfy just about anyone. Tonally it is very versatile .
Don't think of this as a cheap one off. Look at this gem as a inexpensive or affordable guitar that you don't have to fret about if something should happen to it.
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Good Value
650Thunderbird, 06.11.2020
Has a small hole in the fret board and the PU frames are warping.
See my video review at: https://youtu.be/snLNbM_kvo8
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An amazing guitar, especially at this price
Neoito, 13.08.2020
This is a fantastic, versatile instrument, the finish is great and with the push/pull control you can sculpt the sound infinitely!

The hardware is great, the only extra thing I'd like to see is locking tuners but they are easily swapped in and it's hardly surprising that they're not included at this price.

I'm already eyeing up my second (and third) Harley Benton!
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This is my 2nd CST-24T
Ed Bray, 20.07.2018
I purchased the Green CST-24T to use alongside my Blue one for gigging. I immediately changed the Tuners for locking types and the Electrics for CTS pots and switch and then added a pair of Seymour Duncan P-Rail Pickups, the action is fantastic and whilst the sound was okay with the supplied Roswell pickups, the versatility and clarity of the P-Rails takes it to another level. The quality of the guitars is first rate and the expense of upgrading them was about £260 on top of the £190 for the Guitar it now means I have a fantastic looking, playing (absolutely outstanding action) and sounding guitar for the total sum of £450.

It may not say Gibson, PRS or Fender on the headstock, but I have all of these Guitars in my collection and these Harley Benton CST-24T Guitars play as well as anything else I have and for considerably less money.
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PRS for £200? Don't mind if I do!
TheDavidHanmer, 04.03.2019
This guitar is incredible. The scooped party of the body makes it so easy to play higher frets! Coil splits are fantastic! Sound quality is just phenomenal, build quality the same... Can't recommend this guitar highly enough.
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PRS Quality
JJordonBrown, 06.04.2020
I've played several PRS SE and S2 guitars, and one Paul Reed Smith core. This is better than any I've played at a fraction of the cost. Beautiful. Feels great. Sounds great.

I just bought my second Harley Benton (single cut) and can't wait to get it.
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Great guitar!! Should sell for more
Worth more than you paid, 31.07.2020
Received it, adjusted the tuning, and played it for hours that night. The pickups are a little less output than I thought they would be, but they are really the only thing that I can find issue with and it's more about taste than issue
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Harley Benton CST-24T Emerald Flame

$248
The shipping costs are calculated on the checkout page.
In stock within 1-2 weeks
In stock within 1-2 weeks

This item is expected back in stock soon and can then be shipped immediately.

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