Harley Benton D-120CE NT

Steel String Guitar with Pickup

  • Build type: Dreadnought with cutaway
  • Top: Spruce
  • Back and sides: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany (Sapele / Entandrophragma cylindricum)
  • Neck profile: C
  • Dovetail neck joint
  • Fretboard: Roseacer (thermally treated maple wood)
  • 20 Frets
  • Scale: 650 mm
  • Bridge: Roseacer (thermally treated maple wood)
  • Pickup with preamp with volume knob and 4-band EQ
  • Chrome-plated diecast machine heads
  • Strings: .010 - .047
  • Colour: Natural high-gloss
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Audio Examples

 
0:00
  • Country
  • Picking
  • Strumming

Further Information

Top Spruce
Back and Sides Sapelli, Mahogany
Cutaway Yes
Fretboard Roseacer
Nut width in mm 42,50 mm
Frets 20
Pickups Yes
Colour Natural
Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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606 Customer Ratings
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4.6 /5
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features
sound
quality
Great budget acoustic (with a few tweeks)
Too old for this, 17.05.2020
OK, so I have one issue with this guitar so let's get that out the way. On inspection I ran my thumb and index finger down the edges of the neck (gently) and sliced open my index finger. These were the worst fret ends I have ever seen on a guitar, ever. Now don't let this put you off, this takes seconds to remedy with a fine grain sanding sponge. Just be aware that the frets are quite weedy and probably couldn't be re-crowned when they wear, there's not a lot of material there. So, this isn't a 'keep for life' guitar unless you are prepared to spend twice what it's cost for a refret at some point down the line. However, for a beginner or low usage player (electric guitarists, bassists who like an acoustic hanging around) this shouldn't be an issue.

Now onto the good stuff. Generally this is a pretty nice guitar, nice wood, surprisingly good tone for an inexpensive guitar, tuners aren't high end but have a pretty decent ratio and it stays in tune. I hear of so many people who plan to swap out tuners on Harley Bentons before they have even received the instrument but I now have 3 HB guitars and 1 bass and I have had zero tuning issues.

I had very low expectations of the preamp given the price point, and was pleasantly surprised when I plugged it in. Obviously it isn't as good as a more expensive guitar but it is entirely usable if you had to take it on stage or into the rehearsal room and plug into an amp or PA.

Any beginners reading this - you need to understand that pretty much any new guitar you buy will probably need an initial setup. Higher end more expensive guitars will often need to same tweeks as budget guitars, so don't fall into the trap of thinking I only paid so much so its not worth spending almost as much again on a setup. A good setup is worth every penny on any guitar, and this guitar is no different. This could make the difference between learning to play and having a lifetime of pleasure and giving up because it seems too hard.

So to conclude, excellent value for money, invest in a setup, and if you wear the frets out in a few years then it's done its job, you've learnt to play and will probably want something better anyway.
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Great value. Punches above it's weight
SteveO58uk, 09.12.2020
I'm a purely amateur player of about 45 years. I have a small collection of budget fretted instruments: Squire Strat, Ibanez nylon string, no-name eastern european Mandola, decent, but cheaper range David Freshwater bouzouki, cheap Portuguese Guitarra, and, my main workhorse, 40 year old Eko ranger 6 steel string.

I've been looking for a second steel string, preferably with pick up, as I mainly use the Eko in DADGAD, and am too lazy to keep retuning when I want to go back to standard. Sadly, my skill level (and finances) don't really justify the purchase of a Martin D28 (Father Christmas, I've been a good boy). So in reading this review, bear in mind I'm not making any comparisons with high quality instruments, as I've never played any.

OK, so out of the box. All looks good and clean. No marks, dints or scratches. No issue with sharp edges on frets, as some other reviewers have reported, although some of the higher frets more apparent than lower ones, but nothing that affects playability. Guitar body is quite light compared to my Eko.

I'm used to a wide neck and very low action. The action is slightly higher than my Eko, but nothing that causes me problems. I know other reviewers have said the action is too high out of the box, but I didn't find that. There is the occasional hint on fret buzz, especially playing finger style, but that may be down to my poor technique - I do tend to pull the strings up John Martyn style. Again, nothing too much of a problem.

The intonation is excellent pretty much all the way down the fretboard, being quite true as checked by a chromatic tuner. The tuners seem good and it stays in tune quite well.

The neck is slightly narrower than I'm used to, but nothing that I haven't been able to adjust to quite quickly.

The tone is nice and bright using included strings. I've not changed these yet, but they're still ok after four weeks.

The pick up system works well through the clean channels on my Blackstar ID core 10, but I've nothing to compare this to, so others may be more critical.

OK, so I bought this as a second guitar, but I find the playability and tone is so good, its become my first choice - my Eko needs a good clean up and a bit of a rest, so this works well.

In summary, I think this is an excellent guitar for the price. It would be great for a beginner or as a back up. As I said, I can't make any comparisons with high end guitars, so others may be more critical than me. But having said this, I'm delighted with my purchase, and would recommend to anyone looking for a guitar at this sort of price level.
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I didn't expect how great it will sound at that price range.
SemiHollowR, 21.01.2018
For over five years I had an amazing dreadnought guitar from Yamaha, that was worth 8 time as much as this guitar, and I really enjoyed playing it. However, when I was moving abroad, I had to sell some of my guitars, and I had to part with this amazing instrument. I am trained classical guitarist and steel string guitar is not a priority in my guitar arsenal. Recently, however, I wanted to experiment with different types of guitars, and try different sound arrangement with jazz, steel-string and bass guitars. Harley Benton proved to be a positive surprise in the past, which is why I decided to give a go to this guitar, while buying a semi-hollow electric guitar.

WOW! I was really surprised by this guitar when it came. It sounds amazing! It also looks really well. There is no negative feedback I can give to the acoustic side of this guitar. In 18 years of playing guitars, I have never encountered such an extra-ordinary price/value ration. If you are looking for well-sounding acoustic guitar, just go for it. At that price you don't have much to loose.

I am less enthusiastic when it comes to pickups. They are OK, but not as great as the rest of the guitar. Nice to play around with them, but could use an upgrade for professional music playing. The controls are made from rather cheap plastic, which really stands apart from the rest of the guitar. However, for a bit under 80 euro this is not a thing to complaint about. It is also a great idea for a gift, that will stun those who will get it.
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It will be tough to find better "box" for the price
Harko, 10.05.2021
I am owning this guitar for couple of months now, and although I'm not a pro player (camp fire hobbyist rather) I think you will have a very tough task to find something really better for the money. Of course this is not Fender, Gibson, Ibanez or Washburn, but still it is a very good guitar and I absolutely love playing it.

Thus being said, while buying it one must be aware that the price come at a cost, and there are some issues with the guitar that can be thought of as... annoying? Although overall looks is gorgeous (and sounding excellent too) there are some finishing fails. My piece had a very rough fret ends, nothing that a little bit of fine sandpaper wouldn't help, still it did some cuts on my skin. One fret is also poorly glued and thus it's a bit higher causing low E string to buzz near 12th fret. The frets are also quite soft, and after few months i started to see some of them wearing off. Probably will end in refretting it in a year or so. Also you will definitely want to restring it to get the best sound.
Summarizing: best for the price, sounds awesome after giving her a pack of good strings, looks good too. If only the producer put a little bit more effort in the finishing it would be perfect.

Pros: sound, looks, PRICE.
Cons: finishing.
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