Harley Benton HB-35Plus Cherry


Electric Guitar

  • Semi-hollow design with mahogany sustain block (Entandrophragma cylindricum)
  • Vintage Series
  • Maple body
  • AAAA flamed maple archtop
  • Maple neck
  • Set-in neck attachment
  • Pau Ferro fretboard
  • Blocks fretboard inlays
  • Fretboard radius: 305 mm
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • 22 Frets
  • 2 Roswell LAF Alnico-5 vintage-style humbucker pickups
  • 2 Volume controls with push/pull function for split coil
  • 2 Tone controls
  • 3-Way pickup toggle switch
  • Deluxe chrome hardware
  • Deluxe Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Strings: .010 - .046 (104555)
  • Colour: Cherry
available since June 2016
Item number 374853
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Red
Body Maple
Top Maple
Fretboard Laurel
Frets 22
Scale 628 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
B-Stock from $161 available
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Looking like the classics

The Harley Benton HB-35 Plus is a semi-hollow electric guitar with 22 frets that is reminiscent of guitar classics, but costs far less. Its body is made of maple, and the arched top with elegant F-holes emphasises the classic look. The chrome hardware and the high-gloss "Cherry" finish also add a retro flair. The set neck made of Canadian maple ensures good sustain. It features a laurel fretboard with light-coloured block inlays. This provides a visual contrast and thus a neat layout. Both the body and the neck are adorned with a cream-coloured binding, which is not a given considering this guitar's price category.

Retro charm

Two Roswell LAF AlNiCo-5 humbuckers in vintage style add retro charm to the sound of the Harley Benton HB-35 Plus. Not only is a deluxe Tune-o-matic bridge installed to prolong the vibration of the strings and reduce possible feedback, the body of the HB-35 Plus is also equipped with a solid mahogany sustain block. The neck is solidly shaped in a C-profile and can easily be adjusted thanks to its double-action truss rod. The 628mm scale and the 42mm nut width are typical for this design. Closed die-cast machine heads promise zero-maintenance playing, and a three-way switch is provided for the two pickups. Two tone controls as well as the separate volume controls provide a harmonic, fine-tuned sound.

Revival of the 1960s

The Harley Benton HB-35 Plus is a great instrument for fans of the great guitar classics of the 1960s. It has a stunning retro look on stage and can deliver a typical semi-acoustic sound both live and in the home studio. The vintage-style pickups also do their part. This guitar is therefore suitable for beginners, for guitarists looking to expand their sonic portfolio, and also as a backup instrument for stage guitarists. Those who can do without a tremolo will therefore feel comfortable with this model - and a fixed bridge provides better tuning stability anyway.

About Harley Benton

Since 1998, the Harley Benton brand has been catering for the needs of numerous guitarists and bassists. In addition to an extensive range of stringed instruments, Thomann's house brand also offers a wide choice of amplifiers, speakers, effect pedals, and other accessories. In total, the range includes over 1,500 products. Built by established names in the industry, all Harley Benton products combine quality and reliability at attractive and affordable prices. The continuous expansion of the range ensures that Harley Benton always provides new, exciting, and innovative products that keep players perfectly in tune with the musical world, day after day.

Chuck Berry sends his regards

From Blues to Jazz to Indie and even Rock: On stage, the Harley Benton HB-35 Plus is an absolute eye-catcher, and is also suitable as a backup guitar for players who also own more expensive guitars. In the home recording studio, it can be used to record songs that evoke good old Chuck Berry. Repeated double stop motifs, power chord riffs, and rich-sounding melodies are no problem with this guitar. If you want to achieve the signature sound of this era, tube amps with sufficient headroom are a particularly good choice.

It's a wonderfull surprise. I cannot recommend this enough to any beginner or seasoned guitar player!
mrodrigues 27.03.2020
Ok, I waited for a while before this review and now i can make a more accurate assessment of this guitar. First thing’s first. I should say right off that i am enjoying this guitar far beyond my expectations.
The scratchplate was flawless, but my HB-35 is probably from a newer batch. (The sratchplate is an LP style, not the rounded one usually found 335’s).
The “Flamed” maple IS there, but it is almost imperceptible on my cherry HB-35. Maybe the finish is just to thick, i don’t know, on the other hand the guitar still looks amazing and this could be a plus on durability.
The neck is made of three different pieces of wood, (Headstock with a neck scarf and two pieces on the neck joint).
Electronics are fine. The push pulls and the three way switch feel much better than i had expected beforehand, and the roswell pickups are a wonderful surprise on warmth and clarity, (mainly given the fact that the whole guitar costed only 195€). I actually liked the pickups a lot and i was really not expecting that to happen.
On other reviews that i've read some people liked the fact that the jack input was located on the bottom of the lower bout and not on the top, but on my case the was actually a problem. I use a Shure wireless and the even with the bodypack on the bottom of the strap the longest shore cable is difficult to reach the input jack, (the reach wouldn't be a problem if the input jack was located in a more traditional place).
The hardware is kind of what you would find on your average epiphone, and i only had an issue with the TOM bridge. Nothing about the material, but more about where it was installed. I had to reverse 4 saddles in order to get intonation accurate above the 14th fret.
On the other hand, after this saddle adjustment i was actually able to lower the action a LOT and the neck and build quality allowed it to happen.
Although i had to do a totally new setup in order to make the guitar fully usable until the 22nd fret, please don’t get me wrong, the guitar sounded amazing in the lower octave just out of the box, (factory strings and all). Can't really criticisethe nut, it's well cut and looks ok.
After a wonderfull week playing it I decided that this guitar would be used in gigs side by side with gibsons and other much more expensive brand guitars so i ordered some greenish keystones shallers with double rings. The ones that came from factory held tuning ok-ish, but these new ones work flawlessly. The other only upgrade the guitar got was a gibson 498T pickup installed in the bridge. Again this was not because the roswelll bridge LAF PU didn't sound right, it was just because on the set i’m doing for the moment, this is what I need in order for this guitar to fit in without having to make any adjustments on my rig.
In terms of size, the body of the HB-35 is between a 339 and a 335… for me is just perfect. Not to big as a 335, not to small as 339.
Cons…, yes there where a few, mostly in terms of setup, but nothing that i had not found before on epiphones or even gibsons. All in all I’ve upgraded the HB-35 spending additional 140€ and I didn’t had to spend any money on a luthier because i can do everything myself. (beside the pu and the tuners i changed strings to 9’s, oiled the fretboard, polished the frets and lubbed the nut with big bends nut sauce. Anyway i’m really glad I did these upgrades because with about 410€, (including the suitable hardcase), i have an instrument that fulfils the job of some of my other guitars that costed between 1000 and 5k, and that is simply amazing. (i think semi-hollowbody epi’s are more expensive and i don’t like their pu’s).
From a reference standpoint i should state that I perform professionally mostly in auditoriums, and this guitar performs as good any other instrument costing 5 to 10 times more.
When i ordered this guitar i thought i was ordering a “335” style guitar… i’ve even upgraded the tuners to copy the look and vibe of the vintage dot gibsons. Well, after this experience, and in my mind this guitar is something of it’s own, it looks great and feels and sounds amazing. It’s not some 335 knock off anymore and i’m proud showing off this HB headstock on stage because the guitar has an amazing tone.
p.s. I only went trough the trouble of writing this review because i can still not believe how much value for money the instrument represents even without the upgrades that I had made, so i cannot recommend this enough to any beginner or seasoned guitar player.


A good guitar with some unfortunate issues ...
Jay-Bone 25.02.2020
The guitar arrived well packed with double boxing to prevent damage (a good start there then..)

Neck: The neck is straight and well finished with no fret sprout or sharp edges (a real bonus at this price point as opposed to Epiphone for instance, who don't seem to give a jot for customers cutting their hands on badly finished and sprouting frets)

Frets: The fourth fret is slightly high (I will get my luthier to sort it out when I put it in for servicing in six months or so, in the meantime I've raised the action by a bit so it's not a major problem to me)

The fretboard had on delievery a lovely coating of dirty buffing compound which is of course sub-optimal, but the compound was removed by the lemon oil I used to bring the fretboard back to life (prior to this the fretboard looked dry and dusty and made my fingers dirty with buffing compound and the residue from the frets when they were (not very well) polished, but 5 minutes with a dremel with a small buffing wheel affixed cured that during the string change.

The dot markers down the edge of the fretboard are very uneven some touching the binding others 2 or 3 mm clear of the binding (quality control problem?)

Machine heads: Really good, they are smooth and hold tune (so far at least)

Body: A smashing veneer on the top and well made, unfortunately the person who screwed the scratch plate on needed a second go at screwing it on (leaving an unsightly two holes where I've removed the scratch plate, instead of the normal one),

The finish on the body and neck is however of really good quality.

Hardware:The pickup spacing doesn't match the stringing , the strings line up with the pole pieces on the bass side but on the treble side the pole pieces are 3 or 4 mm out of line (the neck would accept the pickup's pole spacing just that the stings were set too far inboard (quality control problem?), Setting the strings outboard a couple of millimetres on each side would have averted this problem as it stands where the treble side of the sound is slightly weak (due to the misalignment of the string relative to the pole pieces)

The bridge is of abysmal quality, the bridge would not drop as it should because of poor manufacture/finishing, however 10 minutes with a file and putting a little grease on the threads has alleviated the problem (I shall be buying a replacement bridge at some time but for now it's working and I'm counting my blessings there).

The intonation was a little off as delivered, but as I have removed the standard 10s and replaced them with 9s it needed to be reset anyway.

Volume and Tone controls, the volume controls are as they should be, but the tone controls have a very uneven gradation of tone, reducing treble by very little at first but a big drop in treble on the last 10-15 degrees of rotation (maybe using pots with an audio taper would fix this?)

The pickup heights were far from optimal as setup, the neck pickup was about 3mm from the strings, and at the bridge pickup about 8mm, which resulted in a lower level from the bridge pickup, on adjustment the pickups now have far more equal output.

All in all it's a really nice guitar marred by some really slapdash mistakes, the coil taps making far more tones available than can be got by non-tapped humbuckers alone, making it far more versatile guitar than for instance an Epiphone Dot.

It might seem slightly churlish to look this closely at an instrument that costs under 200 Euros but if the setup and production was as it was supposed to be, this guitar would constitute an absolute bargain, as it is, it's a good guitar for the money and a hundred odd pounds spent on a luthier sorting the frets and giving it a proper set-up will make it favourably comparable with guitars costing 3, 4 or even 5 times the price.

TLDR A good guitar with a few small production issues that need to be sorted to make is a great and very usable guitar.

NOTA BENE: However I have to mention that Thomann's choice of couriers is far from the best, UPS are absolutely dire when it comes to customer support, they don't do proper tracking (UNLESS you pay UPS extra for tracking info, the best they can do is state it'll be arriving on such and such date, personally I'd prefer Thomann use DPD who give full tracking info at no extra cost and give an hour's slot when the item will be delivered *as standard*, and if you do phone DPD for information they don't complain at the customer for wanting to know when goods will be delivered like it's a major inconvenience to them as UPS do...
Take note UPS, crappy service with no tracking available means you'll lose the gig if Thomann decide their customers are more important than a second rate courier service that demonstrably doesn't function well outside of the United States


HB35 Plus - absolutely
Repeat O’Fender 13.08.2019
This HB 35 plus Cherry is my fifth Harley-Benton guitar from Thomann, the others being an SC 450 P90 Gold Top, an SC 550 Paradise Amber flame, a TE 90 QM trans red and, a Delta blues O size acoustic, so I’m no stranger to these guitars.

As with previous orders, delivery from Germany to the UK was efficient, arriving faster than many inland parcels and, without any damage, Thomann’s double-boxing affording effective protection during transit.

The fit and finish is great, I mean really great. I can’t find any blemishes. The binding is beautifully done, the pots feel smooth and the coil tap isn’t sloppy or overly stiff. The rest of the hardware seems fine, is functional and certainly better quality than you’d expect at this price point. I did have to tighten the nuts on the two volume pots as they were loose but other than that and tuning, that’s all that required immediate attention. The only thing I know I will do so far is to add a jackplate to lessen stress on the wood surrounding the jack and, remove the pickguard, a purely aesthetic personal preference.

The flamed top, although beautiful isn’t particularly vivid or deep looking but is a nice touch. Nonetheless this is still a beautiful guitar. Visually, I’m impressed - again.

The neck feels comfortable and correct for the style of guitar. The frets feel good and there’s no buzz anywhere along the fretboard which, is a little lighter than I was expecting but not drastically.

Unplugged, the HB35 plus is easy to sit and play in the small hours without causing annoyance. Plugged in, the Roswell humbuckers sound remarkably good, clear, warm and, with the volume cranked up, nice and crunchy. Coil tap is a nice bonus feature, there are ‘some’ good tones there but I’m not yet convinced I will find it particularly useful but like I say, it’s a bonus and adds versatility.

In conclusion, this is an amazing guitar, even more so when you consider the price. It’s comfortable, plays well, looks and sounds great. Between this and the TE 90 QM what I have is all the semi-hollow essence and feel I could ask for and some.

If only affordable guitars of this quality were available 45 years ago! What a time to be alive! Thank you Thomann.


Unbelievably good for the price.
Alan_S 18.01.2020
What a guitar, incredibly well put together and plays well straight out of the box.


The fit and finish is great, there was some tiny blemishes here or there, but they are unnoticeable unless you hunt for them.

The neck and frets were perfect on my guitar, and ultimately that is the most important thing for any guitar. There were no uneven frets, the neck was straight with a slight bow. The action was low and there was no buzzing all the way up the neck. The only thing that was slightly wrong was the fretboard was dry. But after applying some lemon oil all was well.

The pickups sound great to my ear. They are very hot, but respond well when turned down slightly on the guitar, if you need a less intense sound. The coil splitting works well, maybe not something I'll use too much.


No guitar is perfect, but thankfully the cons here are very slight. Really it comes down to the use of cheap hardware on the guitar. The nut was poor and caused some tuning issues, I bought a Graph Tech PT 6060 00 slotted nut which fitted well with some minor sanding. The saddles are poor and caused strings to break often, I replaced with a new graphtech tune'o'matic bridge. And the tuners aren't the best, I find that I constantly have to slightly tighten them to keep it tuned, I've ordered replacements.

I have ended up spending a little less than 100eur on my upgrades and they are the cherry on the top of an already great guitar. Beginner or experienced players will find great things in this instrument. You just can't go wrong.


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