Harley Benton Fusion-II HH FR Roasted FBB

Electric Guitar

  • Ergonomically shaped sapele body
  • Top: "Ultra Flame" flamed maple veneer
  • Bolt-on neck: Roasted Canadian maple (hard maple)
  • Fretboard: Roasted Canadian maple (hard maple)
  • Fretboard inlays: Clay dots
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • Fretboard radius: 305 mm (12,008")
  • Scale: 648 mm (25,512")
  • Nut width: 42 mm (1.654")
  • Floyd Rose nut with string bar
  • 24 Medium jumbo stainless steel frets
  • Binding made of natural wood
  • Pickups: Roswell HAF-B AlNiCo-5 (bridge) and Roswell HAF-N AlNiCo-5 (neck) humbuckers
  • 3-Way switch
  • Pickup Switch: Single coil / Humbucker
  • 1 Master volume control and 1 master tone control
  • Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo
  • Chrome hardware
  • Grover GH305 6L machine heads
  • Ex-factory stringing: .010 - .046
  • Colour: Gloss Trans Flamed Bengal Burst

Further Information

Colour Sunburst
Body Sapele
Top Maple
Neck Maple
Fretboard Maple
Frets 24
Scale 648 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo FR-Style
incl. Bag No
incl. Case No
14 Customer Ratings
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.5 /5
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
Total
features
sound
quality
Great value; couple of issues, but worth it.
Music Maven, 27.05.2019
This guitar has a lot of features at an amazing price-point.

WOODS
Despite being labelled as Mahogany, it’s Sapele, which is more sustainable than Mahogany. Sapele’s a little brighter sounding, heavier and harder than Mahogany.

The neck and separate fingerboard are both roasted (thermally modified) flamed Canadian hard rock Maple (Acer Saccharum). Thermally treating the wood is said to increase stability, decrease moisture absorption & deepen colour. This is exotic, usually found on more expensive instruments; adding tone to the neck by crystallising the sticky Lignin resins in the wood. Along with the body wood, 25.5" scale and bolt-on construction, this leads to quite a bright sounding super-strat.

CONSTRUCTION, FIT & FINISH
The construction is good. The neck pocket’s tight. The body is contoured and the Maple veneer is a ‘drop-top’ following the contour of the top beautifully, with natural binding accentuating the guitar’s profile.

There’s Stainless Steel frets with no sharp corners; a few are not perfectly seated, but Stainless Steel is a high-end feature. With a fret-rocker only three frets were found to be higher, all within acceptable tolerances. It's well put together, especially for Steel frets, which are harder to work with.

The Korean made Floyd Rose is intonated. It has a genuine "FR" stamped Nickel plated Brass sustain block. The lock-nut is a little high and needs lowering on the bass-side. There’s quality Grover tuners as standard. The face of the headstock is glossed and has metallic logos and looks very smart.

The body's pretty tiger-stripe Maple veneer is so thin it doesn’t add to the tone, but looks amazing. The Bengal Burst finish is spectacular. I’d have preferred a stained trans-finish to the back to show off the wood. This means that they can keep costs down by using lumber that isn't so pretty/evenly grained as it's covered-up. The black gloss on the back is well done.

Neck profile is comfortable with a medium/thick thickness ‘C’ profile, smoothly sanded with a satin feel. This is not a skinny neck; it’s quite a full 'C' profile.

The fingerboard radius is 12" which is quite curved. The radius at the saddles is 16", so there’s quite a bit of difference which wasn’t taken into account at the design stage. Although comfortable for chords, big string bends, if set with a low action, leads to choke-out of bent notes. A 14", or even better, a compound of 12-14", would have been preferable. I've addressed this by fitting Shim-plates under the saddles to tighten/lower the saddle radius closer to 12", better matching the fingerboard radius and making a more even playing experience.

The neck has a body-end spoke-wheel truss-rod adjuster. This is useful, allowing truss-rod adjustments without removing cover plates, unlocking the nut or de-tuning strings to get truss rod access. However, the neck's a little 'bendy' and I'd have preferred a carbon reinforcement, and would have paid extra for it. Thermally treated wood tends to be more 'bendy' than non-treated wood.

PICKUPS, ELECTRICS & SOUND
The only major let-down with this guitar are the thin sounding pickups. The Floyd Rose bridge is known to sap tone from a guitar, so you really need more powerful pickups with it. But, the “Roswell” pickups are very mild. The neck’s 172 mV output & 8.22 KΩ DC resistance. The bridge is 174 mV/8.33 KΩ. When split together they sound so thin, at 46 mV/2.12 KΩ. If they’d have installed decent pickups to start with this guitar would be unstoppable!

I’ve upgraded the stock pickups with “IronGear” brand Hot Alnico-5 Humbuckers: Neck 306mV/14.98 KΩ, Bridge 337mV/16.61 KΩ, split 87 mV/4.08 KΩ in Chrome covers. The huge bump-up in power make this guitar sound so much better, bringing out the natural tone & sustain of the guitar much more. The Chrome covers really improve the look as well.

On mine the Volume & Tone pots were incorrectly wired. Fixable, but shouldn’t have happened. The placement of the DPDT switch in-between the pots is finicky, especially if the Tremolo Bar is in the area as well. Placing the switch further back, or using a push/pull pot to do the same thing might have been be better.

I’ve replaced/upgraded the B500K Linear tone pot to a Harley Benton A500K Logarithmic Pot, and the 0.044µF Film Capacitor to an “Orange Drop” 0.022µF Polypropylene cap, and there’s a huge improvement in tonal response from the instrument.

CONCLUSION
I assume this will be a similar conclusion for all the FR equipped Fusion-II guitars: An all-round beautiful guitar. There's quite a few issues; the thin sounding stock pickups, a couple of issues with the electrics, slightly high nut, a couple of imperfectly seated frets; these can be remedied - at cost. The only non-changeable issue is the fingerboard radius and its mismatch with the locking tremolo's radius. If you want a low action and play big bends, it will affect how much you can string-bend prior to choke-out.

These negatives are put into perspective when consider its specs., price & look. You’ll likely want to upgrade the pickups and possibly some of the electronics (say, around €200); so figure that into the cost. Then there's fixing up all the other bits & pieces (say €100?) Even at around €700 - which includes your choice of boutique pickups - it's a lovely guitar with high specifications. [If you leave the Roswell pickups in place this looks to total around €500 and is amazing value.]

By way of comparison, Thomann's stocking a Schecter C-6 Pro FR, between €645-€714 (depending on the finish) which only has a Zinc Floyd Rose Special, stock OEM pickups & tuners.

If Thomann would address the pickups, use a compound fingerboard radius, with an asymmetrical neck profile (thin out the shoulder on the treble side of the neck), and up the quality control one notch, it would be the World’s best value e-guitar.
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Total
features
sound
quality
Extremely Happy- you will not be disappointed
redwhitenblue, 23.03.2020
This is one the finest guitars that I have ever bought.
I loved the look of it online and was not disappointed at all when it came. The color of the wood and finish is beautiful. The playability is excellent. The neck profile is thick (chunkier)- I love it! So comfortable. The craftsmanship is excellent. I have Gibsons, Fenders, and a few other Harley Bentons. This is by far the best guitar on their website. The Floyd Rose nut with locking string bar, and the Floyd rose tremolo are a new experience for me. Outstanding!
I bought this guitar for me, as a gift to myself. As mentioned, because I thought it looked beautiful. It quickly became my son's guitar. He has a PRS. He put that aside, he said, because the feel of this guitar was basically better than the PRS. The shape and feel of the neck was the major attraction. I ended up ordering a second one and gave it to him for Christmas. He loves it. I would recommend this guitar-absolutely without reserve. There really are no Cons to this guitar. The only Con for anyone in the states is that you can't play it before you buy it.
If you could, for the price, you'd sell out of this guitar.
Best, Absolute Best guitar - not just for the incredible deal and value, but for the absolute pleasure it is to play. Well done. Make another guitar with the same qualities, but different style and I will definitely consider buying it. If there is one in the works, please let me know. Wished I could get to Germany just to try out whatever is comparable. Just tough when you are in the states. Great guitar!
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Outstanding guitar at an incredible price!
Mandi V, 10.09.2019
This was my first Harley Benton guitar and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. However, I am happy to say that it's great. It's amazing how much guitar you get at this price!

First of all, the guitar is beautiful. I found no finish flaws whatsoever. The body has a nice, glossy finish that isn't sticky or overly thick. I can feel the vibration of the wood through it very clearly. The neck is satin finished and is very smooth. It plays wonderfully.

The roasting process seems to have taken some of the extra brightness out of the maple fingerboard and tamed it down some. The sapele body sounds a bit clearer than mahogany, but still has a thicker tone than alder. This guitar has a unique voice and I love it.

The stainless steel frets are nicely polished. The guitar arrived in tune, perfectly intonated, and set up with low action and no fret buzz at all. I love the mini-toggle coil tap switch, too. No more worrying about messing up the tone setting with a push/pull pot!

It's a wonderful, well balanced, medium weight instrument. I strongly recommend it to anyone, regardless of what style you play.
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Absolutely bad
never again, 20.12.2019
This is bar far the worst guitar I have ever held in my arms.

The quality control (as well as the overall guitar quality) is awful. Seriously, the QC guy that approved this guitar must be blind - I have no other explanation why it's so bad.

Cons
1. The neck is bow shaped and turning the truss rod doesn't help. The problem is that the neck joint is raised, so that the action on 24th fret is lower that on 12th fret. As a result, the string height on the 12th fret is about 3.5 mm and there's still fret buzz.
2. The bridge was installed incorrectly - one of the studs was literally wrapped with the foam that lies between cavity and the Floyd, so that the bridge never comes back to pitch.
When I took the bridge off, I found out that the knives are damaged and must be sharpened.
3. The neck has some chips here and there near the frets.
4. One of the jack screws can't be tightened to the body.
5. The guitar itself feels like a bad B-stock model.

Thomann, how did you approve this? This isn't even a B-stock model, it's a faulty one.

However, there are some bright sides.

Pros
1. Tuners are pretty decent.
2. The neck feels smooth as silk and very comfortable. It's not thick as on old Gibsons and not thin like modern Ibanez ones. It's a perfect balance between these two.
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