Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit Single Cut

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Electric Guitar Kit SC-Style

  • Complete DIY (do it yourself) kit
  • Neck attachment: Bolt-on
  • Body: Rengas (wood colour may vary)
  • Top: Arched
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Amaranth
  • Fretboard inlays: Trapezoid
  • Double action truss rod
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Truss rod
  • Pickups: 2 Humbuckers
  • Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone
  • 3-Way switch
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Machine heads: Diecast
  • Strings: .009 - .042
  • Finish: Natural

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

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Audio Examples

 
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  • Blues
  • Metal
  • Metal 2
  • Prog DI
  • Rock

Further Information

Colour Natural
Body Solid Wood
Top None
Neck Maple
Fretboard Amaranth
Frets 22
Scale 628 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo None
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
849 Customer Ratings
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.1 /5
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
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features
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Far better than I expected
jianwhite, 12.04.2017
I purchased this kit, as I wanted an LP style guitar for the tone produced for recording some backing tracks, but had a limited budget. The result really surprised me. The veneer on the body is thin, so use minimum pressure when sanding. The finish is amazing. I am into natural finishes and so after a light sanding, just used thin clear varnish applied with a cloth. The result is quite stunning. A natural butterscotch with a light catching grain. It literally reflects light on stage in places.

The electrics are wrong. If left unchanged, the tone pots do not work. Five minutes with a soldering iron chnging one wire on each tone pot to the correct lug cured the problem. The cure is detailed on several reviews, so I won't bore you with repeating it hear. Once done, the volume and tone controls work very well indeed.

The back of the neck, I left as it came. The fine smooth varnish finish is perfect to play.

The only other problem was the nut. It came with the high E slot cut too near the edge. A replacement for under 2 euros cured the problem and allowed me to file it to the ideal depth.

The Frets were surpisingly good. After fitting the new nut, I set the neck to Gibson Les Paul specs and it plays perfectly. No buzz, surpringly low action. Can't ask for more.

The pickups are very acceptable, producing the rich creamy sound I was specifically after on the neck pickup, with the tone pot turned fairly down and very capable of the typical LP scream on teh bridge pick up if required. Sustain is amazing. In my opinion, a far superior performer to the Vintage/Revelation LP copies that cost 3 times the price.

The bridge is an obvious copy. Typical of a Chinese ebay replacement. I was lucky with mine, it works and I have left it on.

If I add the price of the nut and a set of D'addario 10's strings to replace the ones that came with it. I got the bargain of the century for under 100 Euros. I have played live, recorded 7 songs with this guitar and a professional performer (an ex-guitarist from Mott The Hoople) asked me if it was for sale. It isn't!

The wiring, bridge and the nut brought the quality rating down to Okay for the price. The rest is good.

So in short, if you want a good LP copy and are willing to spend 5 minutes resoldering, maybe a new nut and reasonable time setting up the neck carefully. go for it, you will not be disappointed. I reckon I would have to pay at least £500 to buy a ready made of equal playability. In fact, it has turned out to be a far superior performer to the Gibson Studio.

I have been as honest and detailed as I can. I hope this helps you.
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a very good starter kit
DroidXXVII, 16.07.2020
i bought this kit several years ago, and intended to delay the review as i wanted to see if this guitar can stand the test of time, and frequent use. so i indeed bought one, and then assembled it, and kept it in its default configuration, including the finish, since after assembly. played the guitar for years on a daily basis for hours.

okay, fast forward three years, and here's what's happened to it.

1. the frets wore out. i had to refret it using harder frets.
2. the neck bowed a bit. i was rather baffled by this because i was only using standard 10-46's. it was made more evident when i used 10-52's. so i adjusted the truss rod while there was tension on the strings, and that fixed it, but then it had a bit of back bow with the strings removed. i just surmised that probably the neck was too soft.
3. the pickups sounded muddier. this was, more or less, a perception issue, and only got resolved when i replaced them with stock epiphone pickups that i had on hand. not to say that the stock pickups were bad, but for me, i felt that they weren't good either.
4. bridge saddles wore out fairly quick. this must've been caused by my hands as they keep rubbing with the saddles as i do my palm muting. i swapped the entire bridge with an aftermarket roller bridge, and bought a harley benton tailpiece to complement it.
5. pots started becoming scratchy after a few months. since they became so, i chose to buy log pots and replaced the linear ones installed in the kit. i recycled the stock capacitor, but i also intend to replace that down the line.
6. stock tuners went all over the place. you can't make the guitar stay in tune for too long with the stock tuners. there were also dead spots when turning the pegs, and that greatly affected the tuning. i replaced them with an old set of taylor tuners that i had on hand, and that worked wonders on the tuning.

three years on, the guitar is still working, and is still in its default unfinished state. i've never laid any paint or refreshed the sealer on the wood, as i liked how it looked as a barely finished guitar. my hope is to see it work for more years to come, hopefully outliving me too.

to sum it up, it's a very good starter kit for those who want to learn how to build, play and maintain guitars. for those seeking something more robust or something that requires less maintenance, then this might not be for you.
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Nice features, and some short-comings too
Johnny D, 22.07.2019
Harley Benton SC Guitar Kit.
This kit was purchased to review the quality, fit and finish of the Thomann HB kits, then to use the kit as a platform for and extreme modification project.

The kit arrived a few months ago, and has now been opened, reviewed and initial assembly completed.
Please keep in mind, this is a ± $92 US, guitar KIT, it is not a finished guitar and likely has a different QC process than does a finished guitar.
A few examples of QC would be attention to the fret ends, the fit of the neck plate, potential electronic wiring issues, and some discrepancies in the parts bags.

NECK & BODY:
In general, the body and neck are very well made for a "semi-raw" wood kit. The body has an initial sealer coating applied, it is a clear coating only to control the wood fibers slightly. It is not a filler, nor level coating, just a sealer of some sort.
The neck is coated with a satin finish, but is far more refined than the body. The neck could be used as delivered on a completed guitar. The body is rather rough, and should be refined through sanding and other sealer and finish methods.
The dual-action truss rod works well.

FRETBOARD & FRETS:
The fretboard and inlays look good and well manufactured, however it appears a final sanding set was skipped. The fretboard has a slight coarseness to the feel, like the final sanding was done with 100 grit material. The frets are reasonably well set, and this is the first HB guitar that I have seen some sort of glue used with the frets. The fret ends should be addressed before doing any assembly work on this kit, as the guitar I received will slice your hands to pieces. The jagged fret ends are everywhere, nearly every fret. The fret wire will also need to be cleaned, and polished. There is some fine gritty coating on the wire, with fretted notes or bends this coating, or film, will be evident.
When the frets are leveled, crowned and polished this issue will be moot.

TUNERS:
These are rather low quality items. The only reason I say this is because at least one of the 6 in my kit are bad. In general the others function well, there is some slop in the string post, but otherwise the tuning button shaft works well, except for that 1 tuner. The one bad tuner is bound up and will barely turn. I will be replacing the entire set of tuners.

PICKUPS:
The pickups are wax potted, and marked N, for neck, and B for bridge.
Both pickups have single, two wire leads which include the plug ends. The Neck pickup has a "white" sheathed lead, and the Bridge has a "black sheathed lead (on my kit). The Electronics have matching coloring - so it should go together intuitively - It should.

ELECTRONICS:
The supplied switch has a good positive feel and is prepped with Plug-n-play connectors. Of course the plug-n-play feature fails as the kit can easily be connected incorrectly. So, some shuffling of connectors may be required. This kit is likely intended for someone who may not have soldering equipment, and the presumed "ease" of plugging components together will likely help sales. I expect some purchasers to experience frustration if they connect the switch leads in the wrong pairing - they may get NO sound…
The pots volume and tone all function as they should, and once I swapped a couple connectors all components worked properly.
The wiring feeds easily threw the routed passages in the body. There is ample wire length on each component. In fact, there is almost too much wire included.

BRIDGE & STOP TAIL:
These are typical low cost TOM style bridge components. The quality is average, and some "repair" may be needed on the bridge. My bridge had an issue with the retainer springs that hold the saddle screws in place. 2 of the 4 springs needed to be removed, slightly bent to improve tension, and reassembled. Not a big deal, but the bridge would be a serious issue without this adjustment/repair.
This is not the first HB TOM bridge that I've had to adjust in this way, it seems to be a rather typical issue, but easily resolved.

VARIOUS HARDWARE & COMPONENTS:
As the kit comes, there are a few little bags containing all the bits and pieces. You should do an inventory of all the screws, washers and parts that you receive in the kit before beginning assembly. My kit arrived a couple washers short, but has a few extra trim screws.

FLAW:
Even for a $92 US kit, the biggest flaw I can't overlook is the poor fit of the neck mounting plate. At a glance it looks nice and appears to be contoured to match the cut of the body, but that is NOT the case.
It seems like it is the wrong neck plate for this guitar. The holes all align with the body and neck, the screws all seat properly, but the end of the plate doesn't follow the body shape. The neck plate protrudes beyond the body contour slightly, but obviously wrong.
Perhaps Thomann/Harley Benton changed a template at one time and this was overlooked, or the Mfg just shipped the wrong part, I don't know.
It works, but looks - wrong.

TAKEAWAY:
The overall collection of "parts" is pretty good, there are some flaws in the bits and pieces, but this is an affordable/ cheap kit. It is honestly better than any kit I've worked on at slightly higher prices. So, I have to give Thomann and HB credit for a good attempt, it's almost right.
This may not be a great kit for someone with NO tools or troubleshooting ability, but it can be turned into a decent guitar. It will just take some work.
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Great Kit, just reporting...
Matias M., 26.05.2015
Here's the final result and description of the process:

>
>
Unfortunately, the front pliers were kinda ugly...not a nice top as in the picture. That said the end results came out awesome.

If you plan to stain the wood as I did, be aware that the wood sealer will be a PAIN to sand down. (would be better if they provided kits without any sealer) ..is specially difficult on the sides.

Overall, after sanding the wood has responded nicely to the dye, no problems at all with that. Went for Turquoise on the front and Red on the back, quite nice!

The neck is quite good! thin and the wood is quite robust. The hardware is also good, but I'm replacing the tuners with Grovers.

The bridge, well...really not the best, you can see is gonna catch the string after a bend....so I'm replacing it with a Göldo roller bridge. Be aware that the Göldo comes with smaller studs, so you'll need to redrill or fill the gap with something (I'm gonna use bits from a hose from a talkbox, it works perfectly)

I'm right now in the lacking process, so I cannot review the sound yet....I expect it to be more or less like my vintage Harley Benton which sounds lovely.

UPDATE:

I just finished the project.

Some tips:

- The nut comes REAL high! I suggest you to get a ruler and measure your best set guitar, take the nut out of the neck of this kit and carefully sand it down until is right...DONT TOUCH THE SLOTS they're perfect, is only the nut that is pretty high...otherwise you'll have intonation problems mostly on the first fret.

Hell, is almost impossible to properly play a bar chord at the first fret if you don't do that, after the nut is lowered the guitar plays like heaven.

- Try to avoid using the tuners and bridge that comes with it. They're simply not the best (good but there are better). Get a Göldo roller bridge and some Grover mini tuners.

- Use a piece of guitar string to be able to easily pass the cables that goes from the control cavity to the switch cavity.

- Don't forget to ground the electronics to the strings via the ground cable that goes to the bridge stud.

- Mark the cables before unplugging the switch. If you get lost install it all and plug the guitar then use a piece of metal (rounded small wrench works) and carefully tap the pickups to know whats going on until is right.

- Don't forget to lub the nut with graphite.

UPDATE: I've installed a locking nut and a Schaller stoptail with microtuners. Best decision ever!

UPDATE 2: Changed the original pickups which are very dull to a pair of Seymour Duncan hot rodded kit. They sound awesome.
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