The body is made up of three pieces of wood and is very light. However, it is surprisingly resonant. On mine, the grain and width of the two outer sections match perfectly. The centre section has a very straight and contrasting fine grain. As I have varnished the body using rub on thinned varnish after hand sanding all over with 400 and 600 sandpaper, the grain shows through and looks good. The result is an ?aged, natural? look, which is precisely what I was looking for. So for me, it is very pleasing aesthetically.
The neck is a perfect and very tight fit into the body pocket. It is an even better fit than the two other Harley Benton kits I have built (Single Cut and TL) and I was very pleased with both of those. The rosewood finger board is smooth and blemish free. The frets are very level for the price range. Only one fret (4th) being slightly high. A quick sand and polish sorted out the problem. The slots in the nut all wanted additional filing to lower the strings for good action and ensure intonation. The groove positioning was perfect. This extra work has resulted in a good low action and enabled me to set the guitar up to Fender strat specifications. Remember you have to shape the head stock yourself. I used a router to cut a strat style shape without a problem. The back of the neck finish is very smooth and only has a light matt varnish. Left as it is, which I have done, it is a perfect smooth playing action. I would question how long the varnish will last though, before sanding and refinishing is necessary. All in all the neck is very good and well worth a little time and effort to get perfect.
As far as the pre-drilled holes go, only the low E tuner retaining screw was slightly out of place. All the others were okay, so no serious complaint, but as it was out by approximately a screw width, I had to plug the original hole and re-drill, as I was concerned the screw may not grip if I just left it.
The scratch plate needed slight sanding on the low E side of the neck in order to get a good fit. It does look good with the gold lettering on the volume/tone controls. The electrics worked well. The pickups are bright, but not very powerful. Setting up as close to the strings as specs allow is recommended. However I found the overall tone to be as good as a Squier, so at this price range, no complaints. To suit my personal taste, the neck pickup could be warmer, but this is personal and not everyone may agree.
The tremolo fitted well, but in my opinion could do with a larger block which would most likely improve sustain. Once again at this price range, perfectly acceptable.
The strings need to be replaced. After using them for setting up, I changed them for D?addario 9 ? 42?s. This made a vast improvement to tone. Definitely change the strings!
Without tweaking, this guitar is better than the cheap range Strat copies, which are twice the price. The neck is worth putting in a little extra effort as the overall quality is very good and if you put the effort in, the result is a guitar equally as good as a Squier.
I am very pleased with this guitar and apart from the fun/pleasure derived from building it, the resulting guitar is very playable. Even if you were unlucky enough to have more issues than I did, Thomann after sales service is the best I have experienced of any musical instrument supplier, so you do not have to worry. Delivery was incredible, equally as quick, if not quicker than some UK suppliers. If you are considering a kit guitar, I would recommend buying one of these without hesitation.