Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit JA


Electric guitar kit JA-Style

  • Complete do-it-yourself kit
  • Body: Rengas (wood colour may vary)
  • Bolt-on neck: Maple with binding
  • Fingerboard: Amaranth
  • Block fingerboard inlays
  • 21 Frets
  • Nut width: 42 mm (1.65")
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickups: 2 P90 single coils (bridge and neck)
  • 1 Volume and 1 tone control
  • 3-way switch
  • Tune O Matic bridge
  • Chrome hardware
  • DieCast tuners
  • Original strings: .009-.042
  • Colour: Natural

Note: Body and neck have been primed with pore filler (suitable for varnishing, but may be unfavourable to stain - may need to be sanded again). A certain degree of craftsmanship is required for successful assembly

Available since May 2020
Item number 464648
Sales Unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Natural
Body Solid Wood
Top None
Fretboard Amaranth
Frets 21
Scale 648 mm
Pickups P90, P90
Tremolo None
incl. Bag No
incl. Case No
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219 Customer ratings

4.6 / 5

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180 Reviews

Crommers 31.01.2022
I already own a HB 335 model that blew me away with its quality, so when I was next ordering a guitar, I figured I'd try one of these kits for a fun project. I do not regret it one bit, and the result is a very serious guitar.

The body was good and even, with holes all more-or-less aligning. The neck was impressive - neat binding, no rough fret ends, and a comfortable and smooth C profile. The frets just needed a little polish. I set this up with a low action and there is no hint of fret buzz anywhere.

Cutting the headstock to shape is a simple enough job with a coping saw and file, and represents the only real "craftsmanship" required in putting the kit together. I applied a two-tone burst with nitrocellulose lacquer, but this is very much an optional extra. The rengas wood comes filled and sealed and the grain looks nice enough that you could just spray it with a clear topcoat lacquer for a shiny and more durable finish. The electronics bar the pickups all come attached to the pickguard; you just plug the pickups in and there is no soldering to do. The soapbar pickups rather strangely have no brackets to attach them; instead there are holes right through the pickups to screw them down into the wood of the cavity. This isn't a problem, just an unusual design choice.

We all of course know which guitar this is emulating. Aside from the pickup design, the key difference from that guitar is the tune-o-matic bridge here and no trem, but I see that as a strength for its simplicity and tuning stability. The pickups are a little muddy but can be cleaned up with the right amp settings to give very nice clean and blues tones. A clear, singing sustain is evident before even plugging in. I have a couple of Fenders and a Gibson LP and this feels and sounds more like the Gibson. The greatest weakness in the hardware is found in the tuning pegs, which was also true of my other HB guitar - worth the £20 upgrade to some Vansons. The great thing about a kit is of course that you can mod and upgrade it to your heart's desire, so long as the body and neck are good, and they really are in this case.

Overall, I'm impressed and very chuffed. An enjoyable project and a credible, beautiful guitar at the end of it that I would happily gig with. Well done Harley Benton.


For modders
DTASP 10.09.2021
First one I got: the wholes were misaligned for the pick-guard and saddle/bridge, and foam for pickup cavities was missing. Thomann replaced the kit immediately, no fees, in fact it had become cheaper by that time and Thomann gave me back the €20 difference. Excellent service!
I built the replacement kit, alignment much better but not perfect.
Fretboard looks like a different material.
Had to replace the tone pot which didn't work.

Plastic nut
Bridge p-up: 9.6
Neck p-up: 9.5
Pole spacing at neck p-up: 50mm
Pole spacing at bridge p-up: 52mm
String spacing at neck p-up: 48mm
String spacing at bridge p-up: 50mm

Excellent neck. Straight, no fret-sprout (frets rough, need a polishing)
Nut cut ok, action height acceptable
Tuners good (was expecting cheap and flimsy)
Body nicely carved
Neck sits correctly/snugly/tightly into body
Proper alignment of strings over fretboard
Solderless kit
Easy to connect electronics
Truss-rod key included (which I haven't tested)
Good P90 pickups

Screw holes are mostly not drilled straight
This is specially annoying when installing the pickups as they don't sit parallel to the body (will have to re-drill)
Low-quality electronics
Low-quality strings
A little neck-heavy
Instructions manual needs to be more detailed

I got this kit because I wanted to know how to put together a guitar, and have a cheap one to tweak and mod. Got exactly what I wanted. I also wanted P90s, so a win/win.
If you want a cheap guitar without having to buy tools or pay for a setup, you should get equivalent priced ones from Thomann that are already painted/built and might have better quality electronics. This kit is definitely for modders and builders.


Great project
ACurley 31.12.2022
I bought 4 kits at the same time since the shipping to the US was the same: This JA, a Tele kit and 2 of the concert ukuleles. Bought in Sept and finished in December in time for Christmas gifts although the JA was for me. This project turned out great. I didn't have a guitar with P90's and wanted them in the offset format. Really cool, unique guitar that sounds good, is comfortable and very lightweight.

The selector switch arrived broken and took Thomann a couple of attempts to correct but they did. The fit of the neck to the body was a little loose but was just fine when I screwed it on. The body and neck both had a sealer applied which prohibited application of a stain without serious sanding. I tried but was unable to sand it down adequately so I went with a solid color on the body and just finished the neck with a satin poly after applying boiled linseed oil. Turned out fine but I would have preferred a slightly darker neck.

The pots are not great - taper seems a little off but I usually just play with it on 10. Plastic nut was pretty high and glued in. Cracked the outer end of the fretboard getting it off but was easy to repair and doesn't impact anything. Tuner and bridge components are serviceable. String trees are a bit too wide in my opinion. The no solder connections are only good if you intend to keep the original pickups which I didn't.

Things I Replaced
Put in a bone nut. Smaller string trees. Replaced the ceramic P90's with Alnico V P90's. Replacing the bridge with one with rollers since I'm having some weird buzzing on the B and high E strings. Might replace the pots to improve the response of adjustments.

The neck really is lovely. Great shape for me ( a bit less chunky compared to my TE-52), binding is nice, inlays are nice, frets seem good. I need to file the fret ends now that it has been put together for a while but not big deal. The final guitar is really light which I was wanting and doesn't have bad neck dive. Very comfortable.

Despite replacing a few things, the hardware is functional and you will have a playable instrument with the included gear as long as you can set up a guitar. The nut was the only thing I think you may have had trouble with but I never actually gave it a chance.

The quality of the body wood, the routing, the hole alignments, pickguard, etc. was all really good.

Overall, a great project. I made a purple body with the red tortoiseshell pickguard and it looks super cool. Very much enjoying playing it. I think if you were to buy one of the production Harley Benton JA guitars available, they would likely be better and cheaper in the end so you really should do this is you want a fun project with your own unique outcome.


Great Kit
Elg 27.05.2020
During the lockdown I had carried out a few projects including , changing pickups in a T style guitar, building a fuzz pedal putting up a new fence. I nearly ordered the T style guitar kit but decided against as I already had that style of guitar. I then spotted the JA guitar kit. This was a style I really wanted and at the price I decided I would give it a go. The kit arrived and appeared to have everything I needed to complete it. It took a few days but that was because I wanted to paint it. The sanding seemed to take forever. The flat parts were already very smooth but the carved parts were hard work.
Next came the head stock shaping. Thoman could have help by including the standard Harley Benton shape in the instructions as a template, but I managed.
Next came the assembly. This went smoothly. The only slight gripe would be there was no difference in the wires from the switch and no labelling of the bridge and neck pickups.
The guitar is now complete and I love it. Part of this is because I feel like a luthier and get a kick out of having built my own guitar.
I would definitely recommend this kit. This is my first Harley Benton. It wont be my last.