Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit T-Style

T-Style Electric Guitar Kit

  • Complete DIY set
  • Bolt-on neck
  • Body: Rengas (wood colour may vary)
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Amaranth
  • Fretboard inlays: DOT
  • "Double Action" truss rod
  • Neck profile: C
  • 22 Frets
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Truss rod
  • Pickup: 2 Single coils
  • 1 Volume control and 1 tone control
  • 3-Way switch
  • Chrome hardware
  • Die-cast machine heads
  • Stringing: 009 - 042
  • Finish: Natural

Note: A certain degree of skill in handiwork is required for successful assembly

Further Information

Colour Natural
Pickups SS
Fretboard Amaranth
Tremolo None
Body Hardwood
Top None
Neck Maple
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No

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1088 Customer Ratings:
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Good kit to work with, but not a guitar one can assemble and play right away
V_Korneev, 09.05.2018
PROS.

1. Technically, this kit allows you to follow an IKEA-like manual and put together a guitar, functionally identical to a cheap guitars of well-known-brands-we-won?t-mention-here for a fraction of their price.

2. The body and the neck are done surprisingly well for a price, they fit together better than I saw on some? ahem? much more expensive guitars. Frets don?t try to cut you to death. Neck is not bent to a propeller shape. Slots in the body for neck and pickups are precise enough.

3. Other parts are inexpensive yet mostly funcional. I planned to replace everything except body and neck, but left tuning machines, bridge and some other things be: they are okay to the level when ?good enough? turns into ?just good?.

CONS.

1. Frets require some work. Frets are unpolished (which is not a problem) and sometimes are slightly uneven (which IS a problem). So if you need a low action without buzzing, fret leveling is in order, and fret leveling is not a task for a complete newbie.

Nut is a regular plastic thing, and it is not set to a proper height. To get a proper action and proper tone, you should cut it to the right height, which requires some minimal understanding of the task, some skills and at least some tools. So, again, not a task for a complete newbie.

2. There?s no shielding and a kit manual never mentions that shielding is required, which could become a problem for a newbie. You?ll need to shield a guitar with foil or graphite, otherwise it will work like a good old radio antenna, buzzing left and right.

3. Build quality is not perfect when it comes to a small things. All screw holes, including holes for neck bolts, are hand-drilled sloppily, which means random depth and direction of each and every hole. If you suffer from serious case of perfectionism, just like me, it?s easier to seal and redrill those holes. Otherwise you probably can ignore it: screws still hold it together, so it?s okay. Tip: always use a wax on screws, it helps.

Fingerboard of my guitar had a small splotch of some brownish substance that tried (with questionable success) to mask a small dent in a wood. It didn?t affect playability, but it wasn?t nice to look at form close distances, so it had to be fixed.

Tone control in my kit wasn?t working. It wasn?t a problem for me, as I just replaced all electronics. But such things could be a problem for some kiddo, who doesn?t know how to solder wires yet. Be ready to rewire the guitar properly.


CONCLUSION.

In general, this kit is a good base for amateur guitar builds and experiments. Reshape the body, paint it wild, cut the head as you please, add pickups of your dreams... Kit has no critical flaws and allows you to build a really good ?semi-custom? guitar for a ridiculously low price if you are ready to put some work in it.

Kit is ?technically functional? even right after screwdriver assembly and basic tuning, but don?t expect much from it. Fifteen minutes of intense screwdriving will turn a kit into an electromechanical tool, which in a dim light could be considered an electric guitar. But it won?t rise to its full potential without additional efforts.
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Roemans, 11.09.2018
An overview of how the building of my Harley Benton telecaster kit went.

Step 1: Neck
I started with checking if the frets were level. They were playable but still needed some levelling. They were also very scratchy and the top was barely crownded.
I levelled, crowned and polished the frets.
Then I cut the headstock into shape, sanded it smooth and covered it with 6 coats of clearspray.

Step 2: Body
The body was very ruff and had a lot of dings and even a few holes in it.
I sanded it until it was perfectly smooth. Then I filled the holes, scratches, dings and woodgrain with wood filler and sanded everything smooth again. Next I applied 2 layers of primer and sanded everything smooth. After this I filled al the remaining holes and scratches again with woodfiller, after this, again I sanded everything smooth. Next I spraypainted the body with 6 layers of turquoise lacker and 3 layers of satin clearcoat.

Step 3: assembly
The tuners and string trees went in perfectly with no problem. The neck fitted perfectly in the neck pocked. The bridge, output jack cover, strap buttons and the plate with the switch and knobs also fitted perfectly.
The pickguard however not so much. The holes in the body didn't align with the holes in the pickguard. I drilled new holes in the body and now it fits. The pickguard does touch the plate with the pickup selector, this is not supposed to happen.

Step 4: setup
The tuners hold tune but are a bit difficult to tune with, they are a bit jumpy.
The bridge is easy to intonate but impossible to intonate 100% perfect because of it's design, but that was to be expected.
The nut of the guitar is cut to high, because of this the action is always high and the first few frets will sound out of tune. I am going to fix the nut later.
I had to adjust the pickup height a lot.

The result:
- Even with a 9-42 set of strings this guitar is very loud acoustically. It resonates more than any guitar I have ever played.
- The pickups sound remarkably good for such a cheap kit. I dont think I will change them anytime soon.
- The guitar plays very nicely, I expect it to play even better once I lowered the nut slots.
- The guitar holds tune good enough.
- The pickup selector is wobly and stiff. The volume knob is pressed against the metal plate it's atached to, this makes it imposible to operate it with 1 finger. It has to much friction. The tone knob works perfectly.

Conclusion:
The kit I got has a very good neck and body but the hardware is lacking. The hardware is functional, you could keep it, but I am probably going to upgrade it.
I have a feeling once I upgraded it this is going to be my favourite guitar.
Score:
Body and neck 9,5/10
Hardware 5/10
Pickups 8/10
Total 7,5/10


UPDATE:
I placed straplocks, upgraded the stringtrees and the nut to graptech, changed the tuners to harley benton locking tuners, placed compensated bridge sadles and placed a fender 4-way tele switch (I discovered that the original switch used the same pickup configuration in both position 1 and 2). I also maneged to fix the hard to turn volume knob.

After these upgrades this guitar is fenomenal. It holds tune very well and is very smooth to tune, it has sustain for ages, with the 4-way switch you have a lot of tonal options and it plays like butter.
It is my favourite guitar at the moment.

Score with upgrades:
Body and neck 9,5/10
Hardware 9/10
Pickups 8/10
Total 9/10
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Just get it! Quality for the money!
Jon Randall, 05.10.2020
Firstly, I am not a gigging guitarist. I play mainly in the bedroom and occasionally at local Jams. I use a Boss Katana amp with an ME-80 and a few other pedals.
I’ve wanted to do a self build for a while now, but was sceptical about a) whether I would be able to do a half decent job, & b) more importantly, whether the materials supplied would be any good.
When it arrived I was immediately impressed that the body was (externally) very smooth and had a nice grain. ( The workmanship on the pickup pocket routing and the control switch routing was pretty poor really, but at least is out of sight). The neck looked really good and the fret edge finish was way smoother than I was expecting for the price.

First off, I checked the neck for straightness and found that it was convex in shape by quite a bit. Easy enough to adjust with the supplied truss rod adjuster. The frets themselves were actually quite smooth at the edges, but after checking with fret rockers, seven or eight of them needed to be filed down a bit.

Now I’m no woodworker or electronic wizard so this area really concerned me. The headstock shape I chose to cut with a jig saw. On reflection a hand saw with a fine blade may have been more useful. That said, after about 3 hours hand sanding with 5 different grades of sandpaper made it nice and smooth.
The electrics were easy to connect with the supplied connectors but I first lined all the cavity’s with copper self adhesive tape.
One major flaw is that the tone pot does not work. Or, if it does, it really isn’t noticeable. (This is something I have seen in other reviews). For me it isn’t a big issue, I have plenty of pedals and effects that can overcome this.

From the outset, I wanted the finish to remain a natural (ish) wood Finish. So I was really happy that the grain on the guitar body was looking very good out of the box. I applied four coats of mid oak wood wax. This deepened the colour somewhat and I am really pleased with the finish.

The tuners seem to be of a pretty good standard, but a couple of the pre drilled holes were slightly off. The string trees look and feel a bit cheap. Most of the supplied screws and holes were ok. The neck fitted the body really well and the strings, when put on, were aligned straight down the neck. The nut is plastic I think, but experience has told me to file the back edge of the slots, just a little bit and apply some lead pencil to the slots. Once the strings had stretched a little and bedded in, it holds its tune really well.

My biggest and best surprise, was when I plugged it in. I think the sound of this build is superb for the money. I have owned far worse guitars that have cost me hundreds of pounds. The pick ups needed a small tweak to get the volume balance right, but other than that, I am really pleased with the volume and general tone of the guitar.

For £75 (from my experience) I doubt if you will find much better. Really chuffed!
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A great project for someone wanting to learn more about electric guitars
Michal Drbohlav, 16.06.2020
I have to say I ordered this kit not expecting much of it. I just wanted to play around with it to see if I can get a guitar that plays. I got much more than I expected. I actually use the guitar with my band and the fact that I assembled it myself makes for a great story. I'm not a professional, but still. I don't see myself as much of a handyman but I love building stuff and I've built stuff like furniture (much to my wife's dismay).
I'd say that assembling the guitar is a little more difficult than building Ikea furniture but much more fun.

PROS
* The most attention was given to (IMO) the most important part of the guitar - the neck. It still shows that it is a neck of a cheap guitar but it works
* Maybe I was lucky with the kit I got but I only had to adjust action and then the guitar's intonation was great. The neck is straight, frets at the position they are supposed to be - no need for truss rod adjustment or bridge adjustment. That got me really surprised because I generally have to do the adjustments to every new guitar I get.
* The pickups work surprisingly well for the price - they do hum, they're singles, I guess. I expected I would have to replace them but now I'm kinda on the fence whether that is really necessary.
* It's a solderless kit - makes for an easier build. I actually do own multiple soldering irons, so I wouldn't mind that, but it can be a great deal for someone not experienced in that particular field
* Although the wood isn't the greatest quality, it actually resonates really well and has a surprisingly good tone

CONS
* Some of the pre-drilled holes are drilled rather unprecisely. The ones belonging to the bridge (where it really counts) were OK, but you have to make your peace with the fact.
* The pickups would hum less if there were some shielding
* The manual won't tell you which screws to use for what. But it can actually be fun figuring it yourself (which was my case)

REMARKS
* You should paint the guitar. The wood is sealed quite nicely. I used 3 coats of color lacquer and 2 coats of colorless lacquer (I used a brush, I really can't use spray paint in a flat, especially with two small children)
* You should cut the head. The original doesn't look too good and could make the guitar head-heavy
* Okay, the wood on the body isn't the greatest but let's be reasonable

SUMMARY
If you are a guy or a girl who likes to build stuff, challenge themselves and likes electric guitars, go for this kit. It was a great experience, I learned a lot about electric guitars, e.g. that there is a reason that the Tele design stood the test of time.
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Show variations of this product
Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit T-Style
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Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit T-Style

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  • Colour: Natural
  • Pickups: SS
  • Fretboard: Amaranth
  • Tremolo: None
  • Body: Hardwood
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  • Frets: 22
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  • Incl. Bag: No
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  • Colour: Blonde
  • Pickups: SS
  • Fretboard: Maple
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  • Incl. Case: No
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Harley Benton TE-90QM Trans Red

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  • Frets: 22
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Bag: No
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Electric Guitar Body: American ash, Bolt-on neck: Canadian maple with roseacer skunk stripe, Neck profile: C, Fretboard: Maple, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, Fretboard inlays: Dot, 21 Frets, Scale: 648...

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  • Pickups: SS
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Harley Benton TE-20 SB Standard Series

Electric Guitar Body: Basswood, Bolt-on maple neck, Neck profile: Modern C, Fretboard: Amaranth, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, Dot inlays, 22 Frets, Scale: 648 mm, Nut width: 42 mm, Double action truss...

  • Colour: Sunburst
  • Pickups: SS
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Electric Guitar Bolt-on neck, Body: Basswood, Neck: Maple, Neck profile: Modern C, Fretboard: Armaranth, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, Dot fretboard inlays, 22 Frets, Scale: 648 mm, Nut width: 42 mm,...

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  • Incl. Bag: No
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