Harley Benton CST-24T Emerald Flame

122 Customer Ratings
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.7 /5
  • features
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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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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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Far better than it has any right to be at this price.
Johnboy69, 18.10.2017
This guitar looks gorgeous, plays well, sounds beautiful, and is punching outside its weight class.

PROS:
Finish - Competes well against Schecters and ESP LTD axes of similar styles.
Hardware - Tuners are stable, tremolo block has a lot of mass, bridge is sturdy, intonation adjustments are simple and effective
Playability - Pretty level frets, medium action, smooth fret edges for the most part
Sound - Nice clean tones, pickups not too hot, bridge has a lot of treble to bite through the mix, coil-split offers nice single-coil tones

CONS:
Fretboard - "Roseacer" fretboard is very dry, and will require oiling. Fret edges at 15th fret and higher are less smooth
Electronics - Tone circuit sweet-spot is pretty small - it doesn't take much to get really muddy.
Neck - A satin or oiled-finish neck would be nicer (personally)
Sound - Coil-split volume drop is pretty big. Needs the EQ to get a great tone.

Overall, for the money, I expected far less - especially with the early reviews on Harley Benton guitars. This, however, feels like a steal. If you want double-cut in the PRS or Schecter style, this guitar is a great deal for a lot less.
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Harley Benton CST-24T Emerald Flame

$248
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