Harley Benton HB-35 BK Vintage Series


Electric Guitar

  • Vintage series
  • Build: Semi-hollow with mahogany sustain block (Entandrophragma cylindricum) and F-holes
  • Body: Maple
  • Arched top
  • Set-in neck: Canadian maple
  • Fretboard: Amaranth
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Dot fretboard inlays
  • Cream binding on the body and neck
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • Double action truss rod
  • Pickups: 2 Vintage-style humbuckers
  • 3-Way pickup selector
  • 2 Volume knobs and 2 tone knobs
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Closed die-cast machine heads
  • Stringing: Harley Benton .010 - .046
  • Colour: Black high gloss
Colour Black
Body Maple
Top Maple
Fretboard Amaranth
Frets 22
Scale 628 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
available since July 2015
Item number 362658
sales unit 1 piece(s)
B-Stock from $177 available
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Impressive - *updated
James1980 19.01.2018
I'm a semi-pro guitarist. I've been playing for 20 years. I do regular session work and several (big) live shows a month. I also teach and am Adviser to the Arts of a respected UK university. I hope my review comes with some credence.

This guitar is impressive.

The neck is comfortable and the Blackwood fret board is very handsome. The frets themselves are well seated and level, but were very rough. 10 minutes polishing the frets solved this and transformed the instrument. I'm sure there are lots of YouTube vids on how to do this - I used a kit I bought for polishing the headlamps of my car which consists of a sponge pad that attached to my drill!

The tuners are a little high ratio making it a little too easy to overshoot the mark. This may make stage tuning a little awkward for some. Nonetheless they are perfectly decent quality and hold tune fine.

The neck is nice and straight out of the box. With no adjustment to the truss or filing of frets I have lowered the bridge for a really low action with zero buzz. I have guitars I have spent four times the price on where this has not been possible without a pro set-up.

Lots of people will say 'whats the point of spending less than £200 on a guitar if you have to pay nearly £100 having it professional set up?!' - I disagree. I have paid £1000s for custom shop guitars that needed a pro set up, if not at the point of purchase a couple of years down the line once the road has taken its toll and my chops have made made valleys of the frets. Just because a setup is proportionally higher to the initial cost of the instrument, does not mean it is not worth doing if you want a really class act. In fact, I'd say that the shelf price obliges you do either do some work yourself or pay a pro. That said, after my fret polish, this guitar played great out of the box.

I was concerned that the pickups might not sound that great. If you are playing exposed Jazz you may want to opt for the HB35+. My understanding is that pickups on the + are a little more open sounding. But if, like me, you are grinding out rock and pop, you'll have no complaints here. I don't need coil tapping - I have other guitars if I want single coil twang.

Time will tell if the guitar is durable enough for the road. The components seem high quality enough and I got a bargain bundle with a hard case. At this price you can buy a new guitar after a couple of years of hard use anyway!

The overall finish is not perfect. The paint job has some (very minor) orange peel and there are some tiny flecks along the binding. There is also a small patch of rough work around on the fretboard at the last fret. None of these things affect the play-ability and are only noticeable from less than a few inches away in good light. If you want a family heirloom look elsewhere, but if you are looking for a good looking, great playing ES knock off that holds its own in the studio or the stage, this axe is a bargain!

*Just an update after a few months - still playing great. My band-mate brought his Gibson ES-345 along to a gig last weekend - I can honestly say my HB played better and sounded just as good.


HB35 package review. Some minor flaws, but for the price it is great
GaJe 11.03.2020
Here is my review of the HB35 Vintage black :

First of all, a big thanks and heads up for the very good service of the Thomann customer service.
The chat service works great and they are very helpful.
I Ordered the package with the case included and it arrived in a split shipment a few days after the purchase.
Ordered Wednesday, received the case on Friday and the guitar the week after on Monday.
The only complaint I have on the delivery is the fact they are using UPS.
I don’t have very good experiences with UPS, I have much better experiences with other delivery companies like DHL, Post NL, …
If I had the choice I’d certainly would choose another company for the shipment.

Now the guitar :
My first impression when taking it out of the box was very good. Whaw! What a nice guitar, it looked really great!
A quick tuning of the guitar and I was able to test it out. Intonation was almost fine.
After a few more detailed inspections I noticed some minor flaws :
- Some visible wirings in the body
- The attachments from the bridge to the body are protruding from the body (just 1 mm, but still)
- The fretboard was rather dry and needed some lemon oil
- The frets were a little rough and needed a quick polish
- The tuners were OK, (guitar remains nicely in tune) but could be improved (I replaced them with a set of kluson tuners which improved the tuning process)
Some other flaws were a little more annoying :
- When adapting the intonation of the guitar I noticed that the screws in the bridge just move backward out of the bridge instead of changing the intonation. I had to push them back into the bridge with the screwdriver in order to move the bridges in the right place (it worked OK but it is annoying) I ordered a better bridge in the meantime.
- When plugging in the guitar, I noticed that the tone pot of the bridge pickup didn’t work. After fiddling a little bit with the wires inside of the body, the tone pot worked correctly, which makes me suspect that it is an issue of a bad soldering or a short circuit of the wires. Annoying again, but for now it works, so it is OK for me. In worst case, if the issue raises again, I’ll remove the pots to re-solder them or change the faulty pot if required (I guess that Thomann will have no issue sending me a replacement pot if I explain them the situation)
All these small issues make me suppose that the Thomann QC is limited to a quick visual check on big issues and the guitar is most probably not plugged in to test the electronics,
but again, this should probably not be expected for a guitar of 169 euros.

So, as conclusion, despite a few shortcomings, with a little extra investment you can have a great guitar! I am more than happy and satisfied with my purchase and I would not hesitate to by another Harley Benton!


Great piece of kit but a good set up makes it better
Progrockdad 17.03.2020
i am not a very good guitarist, at all, but I am careful about what I buy. After buying this, I gave it to a local luthier/guitar technician who has set up all my guitars, and he said that it was already pretty well set up out of the box. I have to compliment Thomann on the high quality packaging, being the best that I have seen, having bought guitars from two other major UK suppliers who frankly were awful. I replaced the strings with Ernie Ball’s (sorry Thomann, your strings were okay, but EB are my favourites as I have mild arthritis in my hands).
The selector switch was lose but was easily tightened with a plastic guitar tool.
The intonation was adjusted, the bridge was adjusted as was the neck, the neck was “fed” as a bit dry. Some light fret polishing also. The action was almost perfect but Tom adjusted that too.
There were two small scratches on the back of the guitar when it arrived but nothing that concerned me.
This is my favourite guitar. It is bloody awesome. It even makes a 66 year old with crap hands sound good. Maybe I should have bought the + version but I am not sure that it is available in black. This is “testicoli per cani” Greetings from England.
Hey Europe. Kick the butt of this Covid 19 Mother F****r. Help your neighbours. Look after your family. Stay healthy. If I was good enough, I would love to set up all the guitarists and bassists and drummers, singers and everyone else, to arrange a huge thank you to all of the people keeping us alive. Rocking 1000, your cue!!!!!


No need to spend thousands!
Josh Muir 21.05.2018
I want to start off firstly saying by no means am I an expert when it comes to guitars and don't claim to be, this review is a personal opinion using knowledge I have gathered from 10 years of guitar playing.

This guitar, for the price that you will pay, is absolutely fantastic. It easily sounds as good as, if not better, than a guitar 5x the price. Being modelled around the Gibson ES-335 you would expect that rich, bluesy tone and boy does it deliver. Already the guitar has been complimented by several other people and they want to know more about Harley Benton - can you blame them? I must say there really isn't anything I can fault about the sound of this guitar. Flawless.

I only have two complaints about this guitar and in the grand scheme of things they are very minor. The first is that the pick guard shown on the guitar in the above image is not the same as the one you are given, it comes with a more Les Paul type pick guard. The second is the action. The strings are set slightly too high on the fret board which leaves bending and other techniques slightly awkward. This is an easy fix and nothing to be worried about really.

On the whole it is safe to say that this guitar is amazing for the price and I don't think there is any other competition on the market that offer these phenomenal prices. I will definitely be shopping with Thomann again in the future.

(Side note: Thomann were fantastic throughout the ordering process. Easy to communicate with, informative and helpful.)