Harley Benton TE-40 TBK Deluxe Series

Electric Guitar

  • Body: Basswood
  • Top: Ash
  • Bolt-on neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • Dual action truss rod
  • Pickups: 2 Roswell HAF AlNiCo V humbuckers
  • 1 Volume knob and 1 tone knob
  • 3-Way pickup selector switch
  • Die-cast machine heads
  • Tune-O-Matic string-thru-body bridge
  • Gold-plated deluxe hardware
  • Colour: Translucent black
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Further Information

Colour Black
Pickups HH
Fretboard Pau Ferro
Tremolo None
Body Basswood
Top Ash
Neck Maple
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No

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580 Customer Ratings
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4.6 /5
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It's not half bad, you know....
06.09.2015
I wasn't in the market for a guitar, but at this price...

I ended up with a small and unexpected lump of money burning a hole in my pocket, so I thought I'd treat myself. I've bought guitars before and ended up chasing a deal and loosing sight of the guitar I actually wanted, ultimately buying the one I didn't want because it was shiny and came with discount. This time, I wanted to read the reviews, make an informed decision, stick to it, and buy the guitar I wanted.

I want to share with you my buying experience, without the 'honeymoon period' of a new guitar fogging up the context. I feel some reviews are composed by starry eyed people who want to share the enthusiasm they feel for thier new guitar with you. That's not a bad thing, but I'll make an effort to be as objective as I can to help you make your own decision.

I'll start by trying to help manage your expectations (always excellent Thomann customer service and support aside). This is a guitar for around £100, don't forget.

Guitars at this end of the market have flaws and imperfections. If they didn't, they wouldn't be at this end of the market. Don't get me wrong, this is nicely finished for the price, but there are some imperfections. None of them are obvious and you really have to look for them, but all of the things you touch are great. The neck is nice and smooth, but offers enough resistance to give your palm good feedback. It's quite thick and chunky. That could be an issue for small hands, but I quite like it. The frets are good. No rough edges, no sharp points. It's not perfect, but it cost around £100. If you want hand luthiered quality, there's no other option but to spend 10 times this amount. The body is quite heavy and thick, but not overly so. The body is also well contoured and very conformable. It's very easy to pick up and play. Good marks for design (even if it's heavily inspired by another, more famous guitar manufacturer).

Despite what you might read, guitars do not come set up out of the box. Not at this price, anyway. They might come roughly correct, but you still tune it up before you play it, don't you? I mean, it's a guitar. It's not going to be strung like a hen house, is it? You will have to make alterations to some settings to taylor it to your taste and to get the intonation exactly right. Such set up changes are usually quite simple, so try it for yourself and you'll be very pleased that you did. My guitar was nearly there, but not quite. That's normal at this price, so to expect otherwise is not fair on Thomann.

Plugging it in to my Peavey Envoy 110, I am quite impressed. This sounds great - not just for the price, but great full stop. Very versatile. Good clean tone. From bright and shiny to muddy and dark, these pick ups hold their own. On the lead channel, they cope well too. Strong rocky tones and punchy enough to produce some sinister metal sounds. To make a comparison, it's quite like my LTD Viper. A guitar that cost three times the amount of this! The pots feel nice and weighted. My only criticism is that the selector switch feels a little cheap, but who cares? It still works! Anyway, I've read that these pick ups will accept a 5 way switch, so upgrade it if it bothers you.

All in all, this a great little guitar. If the finish was slightly better (and it had Squire/fender on the headstock), you'd play more than double the price and be okay with it. It's that good. There are a few rough edges, and the 'gold' hardware will probably look 'bronze' by Christmas, but don't let that spoil things. Good enough for studio work, better at being a quality front room guitar that gets passed around on social gatherings, but stays in tune when all is quiet.

Very usable, very cheap and very good. If you want a great value guitar, buy this and have enough money left over to tell your friends about it in the pub afterwards. If you want a Fender, buy a Fender and turn the heating down.

EDIT :

OK, so, a year or so on, I might have got a little carried away describing the sounds this guitar makes. The pick-ups have become somewhat frustrating. Very high output and kind of flat sounding. Not too bad, but not nearly as good as my LTD Viper, as claimed earlier. They're are two different animals, so comparison is unfair.

It is lasting well, though. Still plays well and looks good. The hardware doesn't look as bright as it once did, but what do you expect for £100? No complaints at all.

I still tell people about this guitar because I'm still amazed that you can buy a guitar this good for the price. It's simply unbelievable.

Things have moved on since the 1990's cheap guitar...
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Best guitar for the price!
Instant Crush, 03.03.2021
Dear fellow musicians and guitar enthusiasts,

I am a hobby guitar player, I consider myself to be advanced beginner/intermediate level player. That said, after looking at a lot of googled photos and online video reviews of this guitar, I decided to purchase it. I own several different guitars, and have played a lot more, and I got friends with some other guitars. I have it for three weeks now, and play it every day, happily :)

Once it arrived:
- the fretboard was very dry and had some white dust over it, strings were rusty. I removed the strings, and used conditioner on it, that really rejuvenated it, and it is quite beautiful ever since. I love the fretboard. It is redish colored, similar to pictures on thomann website. Note that certain videos and pictures online show a dark, black fretboard. This is not the case, it is redish and pau ferro I believe, and it looks, feels, and plays great! I thought I would dislike it in person, and considered darkening it, but I completely changed my mind once I held it in hands.
- Black finish, see through is minimal, like 3%, and I prefer it that way. So very much like in thomann pictures. Excellent quality for this price, no faults.
- knobs and switch are great, knobs are metal, gold color, heavy, feel good when you turn them. Switch is plastic, but ok.
- frets are great, no buzz, not sharp, good quality, feel good
- tuning machines are cheap, a little wobbly, ok, but they work fine. They hold tuning fine!
- Nut is plastic I think, not sure, but it is well made, not sharp, all strings are positioned properly
- Neck is satin, feels good, pretty. Straight.
-Bridge is adjustable, looks great, intonation is fine, action is great (at least for me)
- Sound is awesome. It has a strong character, especially on bridge pickup. I will not change the pickups. I mostly use fender frontman 25r amp. The pickups are cheap of course, so are electronics, but hey, it all works fine. There is a proverb in my country: "every rifle will be deadly in the right hands" :) I have seen skill getting incredible music out of worst instruments. So be critical about the guitar, but also about yourself.
- when I changed strings, the golden holders on the back of the body fell out. That is a minor quality issue, since I put them right back, and once I placed new set of strings, they stayed in place correctly. You can see those in the pictures.
-Guitar looks stunning overall!
- It plays great, the feel is real nice and quite different then rosewood bullet squire fretboard I got, or roasted maple lacquered fretboard on my jet js450, but i like it a lot. Bending is normal, playing is lovely, the wood just feels great, the conditioner really did wonders.

For this price, depending on where you live, you might find similar or slightly better quality new guitar, but probably not. This beautiful? No way. Telecaster like this one for the price? No way. I also considered buying used guitar for my money, but quickly gave up after a few dirty fretboards, broken parts, bent necks etc.
Conclusion:
-if you want to play a single guitar, one and only, gather 1000e+ and buy something amazing, skip this one and any other cheaper guitar.
-If you want a great budget guitar, with minor drawbacks in quality (most important stuff is of solid quality imo) get this guitar! I played and had several similarly priced and some more expensive guitars and when I compare them to this one, it holds its ground solid.
-If you want another guitar for a collection - go get it!
-if you like pretty things haha

Hope this helps to make a choice.
All best, kindest regards.
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TE 40 DELUXE !!!
Symphony slaughter, 02.10.2019
First impressions out of the box the guitar looked great , A quick look over the cosmetic appearance and again it looks great with no obvious flaws. A quick strum tells me it's not to far out of tune and again with all 3 of my harley bentons the action is high , so a quick look down the neck tells me it pretty straight and like it should be . Now I get to lowering the action because it's pretty high and almost un-playable for me unless I was playing with a slide....... so I drop the bridge down by eye and bam it's perfect and just the way I like it with no fret buzz or choking of any kind..... this is the best harley benton yet in terms of easy setup , so now a quick retune and this is where I find fault , the tuners are total rubbish and you have to turn them so far before they make a change it crazy...... They definately have to go in the bin because I would not even use them as emergency tuners they are that bad , I'm guessing they are made by the same company that made the tuners on the two CST24's I brought but they a not by a long way the same quality , I have ordered some new tuners and some roller string tree's to replace them...... no big deal really but I kind of expected them to be a bit better than they are , apart from the tuners the rest of the guitar is great. The frets need a polish or at least some playing to smooth them out a bit as with the other guitars they are a little rough but I expected that as the other two were as well , again no big deal and at this price point i'm more than happy overall. The roswell pups are great I really like them and they have good bite which I like and then clean up well when the volume is reduced, I think they may be the same pups as in the CST24's and if they are I'm going to coil split them as I love the split sound on the CST24's . The neck joint is perfectly fitted and has no gaps and the binding looks great and would be hard for anyone to fault , again i'm very pleased with the level of finishing and attention to detail for such a budget guitar. You have to hand it to the Germans for their legendary attention to detail and quality control proving once again low price does not have to mean low quality. Thomann's Harley Benton brand stands head and shoulders above every other guitar brand in this price bracket and is a real credit to this company , honestly I can't speak highly enough of them and I would recommend their guitars to everyone from beginner to pro, they have something in the Harley Benton line to suit all players and styles, and this will NOT be my last guitar from Thomann.

PRO'S
beautiful body work
nice neck
frets level
pickups sound great
nut is good and well cut
paint finish is stunning
binding is well done
gold hardware looks great
intonation was spot on right out of the box

CONS

The tuning machines are rubbish on this particular guitar
and I have already ordered some nice locking tuners.

OVERALL
A stunning looking guitar with a price most anyone can afford . It's not perfect but it's more than good enough for this money. All guitars need a setup to suit the owner and these guitars are no exception and I would say if you don't know how to do it yourself have a pro or a friend do it.... it makes all the difference in the world and is essential to you having a great playing experience.
My warmest heart felt thanks to Thomann and there wonderful staff.
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A bit twangy.
Jareddar, 31.07.2017
I want to be honest about this so I will give pros and cons.

Cons.:

Pickups. The Roswell pickups are way too twangy for my taste, but with a bit of lowering, a new set of hybrid strings and a well oiled fret board I was able to temper it.

This is not to say that they may well get changed later on down the road.

Sting through ferrules, a bit tricky when putting on new strings as the string ends keep catching as you pass them through. Makes for a longer swap time. I would suggest getting a short piece of straw to act as a guide when you change strings.

Pros:

Finish. Wonderful. The black under certain lights is a trans black and was a nice surprise.

The gold hardware looks great, the tuners work well and the bridge is stable and well intonated straight from the box. The controls work well although the tone control is a tad off centre, it isn't an issue what so ever.

The binding around the body is well placed and the creamy white colour adds to the finish.
Can't say for certain what the nut is, but it looks like a faux bone nut but not a cheap plastic one. The string trees are well placed finishing the look well.


The neck is very nice, well playable and feels very soft under my hands. Access to the higher frets is very easy and the overall feel is comfortable.

Recommendations.:

Thomann should lose the Roswells or change them for Ceramics or Alnico twos. They are just too much for this guitar as they are. Perhaps going back to Wilkinsons would be a better bet or going to Iron Gear for a step up as a custom option?

When you get one of these, and you should. Get a new set of strings because the first thing to do is oil the neck with either lemon oil or plain linseed. The fret board is very dry from shipping so should be treated to a nice oiling. The new strings will give a better sound and feel too.


For a guitar costing 125 Euro, you are getting something that is easily double that in price. The added bonus of the string through set up makes this a very stable rhythm guitar.

All in all, a very pleasing guitar and certainly not out of place on stage or in the studio. Leaves room for custom options as well.
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