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Harley Benton Dullahan-FT 24 Roasted IB

Headless Electric Guitar

  • Ergonomically shaped alder body
  • Bolt-on neck: Roasted Canadian flamed maple
  • Roasted maple fretboard
  • Fretboard inlays: Black offset dots
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Graph Tech TUSQ XL nut
  • 24 Stainless steel jumbo frets
  • Pickup: Roswell HAF-B-BK AlNiCo-5 (bridge) and Roswell HAF-N-BK AlNiCo-5 (neck) humbuckers
  • Controls: Master Volume and Master Tone
  • 5-Way switch: Bridge humbucker, neck and bridge single coils, neck and bridge humbucker, neck humbucker parallel, neck humbucker
  • Ex-factory stringing: .010 - .046
  • Black hardware
  • Colour: Ice Blue Gloss
  • Gigbag included

Further Information

Colour Blue
Soundboard Alder
Frets 24
Scale 648 mm
Pickup System SS
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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9 Customer Ratings
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Still the best budget headless, but with flaws
Mojojojoe, 14.09.2020
This will be a long, nit-picky review, here is a quick summary for busy people:
It's the best budget option in the headless category for sure, but it's still a value guitar with knockoff version of relatively new hardware designs, don't expect a Kiesel or Strandberg quality. I've had a much better experience with the Harley Benton Fusion HSH for the same money.
I probably would have returned the guitar if I didn’t live on the opposite side of the Earth, due to the difficulties I had with the hardware. There definitely is a learning curve especially for those who are not familiar with locking tremolo systems, be prepared for it if you’re considering this guitar.
However once the set up was done, it plays fantastic and the tonal options are great too. I’m quite pleased with the performance of the guitar for sure.

Pros:
• Form factor – super comfortable to play in any position, and travel friendly
• Jumbo SS frets
• 5-way switch wiring provides useful tonal options
• Excellent tuning stability once set up correctly

Cons:
• Factory setup was subpar and I can see why because it’s a total pain in the ass to setup – maybe string changes will become easy eventually, but I’m really not keen to set this guitar up again. Hoping the roasted maple neck doesn’t move at all in the future.
• Too many small parts in the hardware, I’m scared to take it to rehearsals/gigs. If I accidently break a string, I know I will struggle to replace the string quickly, and potentially lose the small screws, plates, hex keys and whatnot.
• A couple of tuners are hard to turn, making fine tuning a bit tricky.

Future improvements that I would consider:
• Upgrade the hardware
• Fretboard rolled and fret ends rounded a bit more
• Get fret levelled and polished
• Swap out the pickups eventually


Here we go into the details:

A little bit of my background:
I've been playing for almost 20 years, owned several quality guitars including a couple of Fenders and played some of the finest instruments available in the market during my music school days. Now only playing as a hobby, so not really keen to spend big money anymore and I found peace with affordable quality gears.
I've been interested in this model ever since the first prototype was revealed at TGU19 but unfortunately I missed out on the first batch while waiting for a decent review. After the long wait I finally pulled my trigger on this roasted maple model and received the guitar in 8 days from Germany to New Zealand.

The body/overall form factor:
The guitar is very small, light, well balanced, and sits comfortably in all playing positions. The contours on the body really enhances the playing experience. It feels like driving a hatchback car after driving big sedans all your life.
The gig bag is a nice touch, small, decently padded and the guitar is light enough so I wouldn’t worry about getting damages while carrying around under normal conditions.
I’m not sure if I’m 100% happy with the colour, but they didn’t give me an option with the matte black body and the roasted maple neck.

The neck/fretboard:
The neck profile feels the same as the HB Fusion HSH that I had briefly. Modern C with smooth oil finish. The roasted maple smells nice. The fretboard (14 inch) is a bit flatter than how I prefer my electric guitars, but I didn’t have any issues with it so far.
The fretboard edges are rolled off and not sharp by any means, but I’ll put some more work into it to make it rounder. Same goes to the fret ends. Purely personal preference.
The frets are modern, jumbo SS frets. Unfortunately these are not polished to the highest standard, and I can see horizontal sanding marks most likely from levelling process that haven’t been fully buffed out. The rough surface is slightly noticeable when doing vibratos and bends. This will take some effort to buff out fully as the material is SS.
Doesn’t take much away from the playing experience, and still feels better than nickel frets on other guitars in this price range, but I can’t help but compare with my other guitar with mirror-polished SS frets which has that glassy slippery feel.
Also the frets are not perfectly levelled which again, is to be expected at this price point, I will eventually get them levelled and polished.
The neck was too straight with no relief when it arrived, but I was able to correct this easily with the truss rod adjustment which was smooth and responsive.
The colour of the fretboard is much lighter than the neck, both roasted maple but probably from a different blank. I didn’t mind this too much, but FYI.

Electronics:
The volume and tone controls work fine, and I think there is even a capacitor wired for high pass filter in the volume pot. The sound cleans up nicely without losing the clarity when I roll the volume down.
Pickups are surprisingly decent actually. Obviously would be a lot better with a pair of Suhrs or Seymour Duncans but I don’t think I’ll swap them out immediately.
The 5-way switch wiring is amazing. All positions give me a variety of very useful tones from the HH configuration, almost equivalent to a HSS strat.
The knobs and switches are in the right place, and do not get in the way of playing.

Hardware/set up:
This is where the guitar loses a lot of points. I’m usually very comfortable doing my own setups and DIY work on my guitars.
When I received the guitar, the action was high, like 4-5mm above 12 fret high. Ideal action for me is somewhere between 1.5-2mm.
To lower the action, first I have to loosen the small hex screw which locks the saddle height, which is odd because the saddle should not move anyway when there’s a string pushing it down, and the saddle wasn’t easy to turn at all anyway even with the strings loosened and moved out of the way. It’s very hard to turn with picks or even with flat head screwdrivers because of the way the slot is shaped, it feels like you almost need to have a dedicated tool just to turn these saddles.
After some serious effort, I realised the saddles reached the end and won’t go further down but the action was still far from ideal. This is where I had to bring the guitar to my local luthier and get the neck shimmed. Shimming on a bolt-on guitar is not a big deal at all, even a lot of Fenders get them at the factory but it would’ve been nice to have it shimmed and action set up before shipping out.
The luthier has shimmed the neck and raised the saddles a bit so I have some room to adjust for my preferences, currently the action sits at 2mm but I can’t go lower because the frets are not perfectly levelled as mentioned before, and will cause fret buzz.
The next step was to replace the factory strings with my preferred strings and get the intonation set up.
In order to do this, I need to loosen the strings, loosen the lock behind the nut with a big hex key, loosen the lock behind the saddle with a small hex key, and loosen the saddle from the plate for intonation adjustment with a medium hex key. Two hex keys required just to change strings and three if you want your guitar intonated.
Also I need to make sure that I don’t accidently loosen the lock behind the nut which holds the strings too much, otherwise the screw will fall off - which is not the end of the world, but there is a tiny round metal plate under the screw which helps hold the strings without breaking them when screwed down – this plate is not glued down, and one of mine fell out and fell between the switches in my Line 6 Helix. I had to open up my Helix just to get this tiny metal piece out, because I don’t know where I can get the replacement if I lose it. Too many small loose parts without any spare is a big downside.
And that lock behind the nut is rather slippery, so I needed to really tighten it to ensure the string is held in place, but at the same time I can’t tighten too hard because you may break the strings. I went through a couple extra each of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings because of this. I was seriously stressed out during this process which took me over 2 hours, and I still don’t know how hard I need to lock my strings without breaking them.
One last downside about the hardware, my other strings are fine but for the middle D and G strings, the tuner is very hard to turn. I’ve tried applying Teflon lube between the washers and the bearings, but didn’t help much. The bright side is since it’s essentially a double locking mechanism like a Floyd Rose, the tuning stability is fantastic and I don’t need to tune very often.

This may seem like a negative review, but I just wanted to make sure all the potential buyers are fully aware of what they’re getting into, because I certainly did not know about these when watching Youtube reviews.

Overall I’m quite happy with the guitar and keen to improve it where I can.
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A great journeyman guitar
Cameron1 , 12.10.2020
This is the best guitar I've been able to find for the budget - Overall this blew my affinity telecaster out of the water, build quality was great out of the box in comparison to my previous guitars too.

One of the pickups appeared slightly out of position which just required adjusting a couple screws. Other than that I haven't changed a thing - I can't claim to be a professional guitarist but if I was I wouldn't buy a £450 guitar expecting it to cater to that level out of the box.

I find it easy to tune, with not too much stiffness and no indication that the tuners are rubbing against each other. I find it holds it's tuning for days. I think the fret edges were rounded off nicely and haven't had any trouble with sharp edges.

The guitar looks beautiful. It's small, with fine paintwork, colours and metalwork. The contours in the body are also very comfortable for a variety of playing positions.

Overall I would recommend this for anybody who is looking for a stepping stone between <£200 guitars and your typical professional quality guitars costing upwards of £1000
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Erhebliche Qualitätsmängel
MartyK, 04.08.2021
Hatte mehre baugleiche Modelle zur Ansicht bestellt und die beste in einem GAS-Anfall behalten. Superleicht, ergonomisch, der Hals fühlt sich gut an und der Klang braucht sich nicht zu verstecken. Im Laufe der Zeit sind mir einige Mängel aufgefallen:

Mechaniken:
Die Stimmung wird nur schlecht gehalten. Eine sinnvolle Saitenlage konnte im Ausgangszustand nicht erreicht werden, da die Saiten selbst bei niedrigster Einstellung noch zu hoch waren. Eine Sattelfeile brachte hier Abhilfe. Die Messingreiter lassen sich damit relativ leicht bearbeiten. Die Schaube, die die Reiter in einer Position fixiert, zerstört das Gewinde derselben, so dass sich die Reiter nur noch mit viel Kraft und einer Zange bewegen lassen. Am besten komplett weglassen.. Das größere Problem: normale Saiten reißen ständig direkt am Ballend. Super nervig! Nach 4 hohen E-Saiten an einem Tag hab ich die Fender Bullets probiert - die brachten konstruktionsbedingt Besserung.

Hals:
Die matte Lackierung ist minderwertig und bedarf einer Schleifpapierbehandlung. Die Schlitze für die Bünde sind sehr unregelmäßig und viel zu tief gesägt. Resultat: der Hals ist weich wie Butter; Nice Dive par excellence. Die anderen Modelle hatten noch weichere Hälse..

Fazit: Wer gern bastelt und mit den Mängeln leben kann, hat eine okaye Reisegitarre. Nichts für Pros...
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Guitare très attachante
Doumé 1er, 03.03.2021
J'ai acheté cette guitare il y a 4 mois, et je tenais à avoir cette version "Ice Blue" avec manche en érable torréfié même si c'est la plus chère des 3 versions proposées.
Voici mes impressions après 4 mois d'utilisation assez intense de cet instrument.

Les réglages :
La guitare est arrivée avec une action relativement basse et aucune corde ne "frise" pour autant. L'intonation est correctement réglée elle aussi. La planimétrie elle aussi est parfaite.
Cela prouve que l'instrument a été effectivement contrôlé par le service lutherie de Thomann avant l'envoi comme cela m'avait été dit au téléphone quelques jours avant l'envoi.

La finition :
Les frettes sont très bien polies et absolument pas tranchantes.
Le manche est agréable, le toucher est différent de ce que j'ai pour habitude d'utiliser et la jouabilité est parfaite.
La forme du corps fait penser à une "Strat", l'arrière a une découpe qui affine considérablement l'instrument.
La peinture du corps est sans aucun défaut et le bleu est tout simplement magnifique pour qui aime les couleurs pastels ... Il a l'aspect "gloss" des peintures utilisées par une grande marque américaine ! Le contraste avec la teinte des micros des boutons des plaques et du chevalet qui eux sont noirs est très réussi. Le manche se marie lui aussi parfaitement avec l'ensemble et la guitare est très réussie.
Elle est livrée dans une housse matelassée qui est très efficace et protège bien l'instrument. Après ce n'est pas un case non plus ! Donc il faut rester vigilant ...

La prise en main :
Cette guitare semble toute petite ! Maniable, légère, le fait qu'elle n'aie pas de "tête" est un peu déroutant au début mais on s'y fait très vite.
La géométrie de cet instrument ainsi que les bois utilisés permettent de ressentir de bonnes vibrations ce qui rend la guitare particulièrement attachante.

Les micros :
Personnellement j'aime beaucoup ces micros qui sont très polyvalents et permettent de s'exprimer dans différents styles musicaux, efficacement secondés par un sélecteur à 5 positions. Je n'envisage pas de les changer car ils ont leur propre personnalité et c'est cela qui fait le charme de cette guitare.
Les potentiomètres grave/aigu et volume sont très progressifs et efficaces eux aussi.

En conclusion :
Cette guitare est une très bonne surprise. Le "sustain" (terme très à la mode !) est remarquable et je pense que cela est dû à la manière dont sont fixées les cordes (juste pincées par 2 vis) sur un plan horizontal, au traitement du bois du manche qui le rend plus léger et probablement plus vibrant (cela se ressent lors du jeu) et aussi peut-être au sillet en graphite. En tout cas, même sans être branchée la guitare résonne énormément, donc une fois branchée c'est encore plus vrai et le son donne l'impression de ne plus s'arrêter !
La conception de cette guitare en fait un instrument très différent de la production habituelle. Les pièces sont très fines et il faut intervenir avec soin pour ne pas endommager les composants, notamment lors du changement des cordes. C'est pour cela que je ne mets que 4 étoiles en qualité de fabrication ...
Les réglages sont tout à fait faisables, ceci ne représente pas un obstacle pour qui a un peu de patience et de bons outils.
Je joue depuis 4 mois au quotidien avec cet instrument et je n'ai rien à lui reprocher pour l'instant.
Je referai donc cet achat sans aucune hésitation, j'ai "bataillé" pour avoir le dernier exemplaire neuf de cette guitare en 2020 et je pense que c'est une très bonne chose de la remettre au catalogue cette année.
L'équipe Thomann est très à l'écoute, donc un grand merci à eux ...
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