Harley Benton TE-20 BK Standard Series

348

Electric Guitar

  • Bolt-on neck
  • Body: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • Fretboard: Armaranth
  • Fretboard radius: 305 mm (12")
  • Dot fretboard inlays
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Dual action truss rod
  • Pickups: 2 TE-style single coils
  • 1 Volume control, 1 tone control
  • 3-Way toggle switch
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Diecast machine heads
  • String gauges: .009 - .042
  • Colour: Black High Gloss
available since February 2003
Item number 153579
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Black
Pickups SS
Fretboard Amaranth
Tremolo None
Body Hardwood
Top None
Neck Maple
Frets 21
Scale 648 mm
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
$77
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A
Nice even if you don't know the price
Anonymous 04.01.2017
Before you run away with any ideas that this is going to be better than a true Fender, it's not. Is it going to be better than a Squier? That's a tougher question. It can't compete with a Classic Vibe for quality, that's for sure, but if you had a choice of the TE-20 and the Standard Telecaster or an Affinity - and you were paying for it yourself - the HB starts to look very attractive.
The TE-20 is a classic T guitar, with two single-coils and simple controls. The black finish is thick but smooth and it looks really nice, especially when you realise that the grubby look of the pick guard is caused by the double layer of polythene film that just needs peeling off.
The neck is a 'C' shape and nice to use. It's very slightly deeper than that of an Affinity, but it's good for beginners and more experienced players alike. The rosewood fingerboard is a little bit coarse but mostly it just needs some lemon oil to rub in. It's not as smooth as a Fender, but then if you are playing chords you won't notice. The fretwork on mine was good, with only a tiny bit of roughness on the edge of a couple of frets. I thought about getting a file out but didn't think it was worth the effort.
The tuners aren't the best. They do work, so if you are on a budget you don't have to replace them, but they are vague and don't have much feel to them. I' bought some OEM Wilkinson tuners (19 pounds and 20 minutes' work) to replace them and they made a world of difference. It's much easier to tune and you know that it's going to stay there - bum notes won't be the guitars fault!
I did replace the string trees with cheap roller guides (3 quid) but even that isn't necessary on a term-free guitar and they look out of place on a tele. The originals did look cheap though.
The strings were fine but you will probably want to replace them with branded items. The other hardware is fine. The pick ups work well and the PUP selector and the vol/tone controls work OK, while never feeling that nice.
The action was pretty good out-of-the-box. I lowered the action a bit at at the bridge and gave it a bit more neck relief, but it was always completely playable.
As for sounds, yes, it plays well. It sounds enough like a tele for most people and can be used to play most genres of music pretty well as the pickups seem to have plenty of 'go' in them. Most people won't gain an awful lot by upgrading them, and they are at least as good as the Squier Affinity at one third the price.
If you are a beginner, you can buy this safe in the knowledge that it will do everything you want a guitar to do, while risking very little cash.
If you are a bit more experienced and just have a bit of credit rattling around you PayPal account, this is a ridiculously good buy - good tone, nice feel and a good basis for modifications.
Seriously, I've had more expensive curries.
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Superb guitar for the money
Empyreal 11.07.2018
I bought this guitar so I had something cheap to play that was in E standard (my other guitars are in C or B standard, as that's what I usually play/write in.) I only wanted something cheap that I could pick up and mess around with when I wanted to play in E.
As such I opted for a cheap guitar in a shape I?d always wanted, hence me plumping for the HB TE-20. I knew that I wasn?t going to be getting the best guitar in the world but I have been blown away by the quality and playability of the instrument for the price paid.
The craftsmanship, build quality and finish are perfect on my model (I?m aware that this might not be the same for everyone and your mileage may vary!) I was fully prepared for there to be some imperfections but thus far I haven?t found any.
PROS:
? PRICE! Seriously, for this price simply getting a usable, working instrument is amazing!
? Build quality. Aside from the standard need to intonate, adjust string height to suit my taste and so on, this was perfectly playable and comfortable straight out of the box after it was tuned. No sharp fret ends either!
? Tuning stability. I?ve had no issues with tuning stability, which was one of the things I was mostly concerned with prior to purchase.
? This is the perfect platform to upgrade, play around and tinker to your heart?s content.

CONS: (I feel a bit harsh listing the below as cons as, at this price, the ?issues? are all to be expected)
? Pickups. Although there?s nothing wrong with them, they are definitely an area where money has been saved. They actually provide a rather satisfying single coil bark when a bit of gain is put on.
? Tuners. Although there hasn?t been any real tuning stability issues so far, the G string peg is a little temperamental. It has the habit (that all cheap tuners seem to have) where you?ll turn it and there?ll be no change in pitch until you hit a certain spot, the string will have a little ?twang? and it will drop / raise in pitch
? Bridge. The height adjustment ?screws? on the individual saddles are a bit rough, meaning when resting my palm across them when muting resulted in a bit of discomfort. This was easily remedied by simply lightly filing and then sanding the tops to smooth and round them off.
I now plan on using this guitar as a platform for upgrades and to tinker around with. At the price I paid I?m not concerned or worried about the possibility of slightly messing anything up or learning with it. I plan on upgrading things like the bridge for a 6 saddle once, the pickups for higher outputs (possibly a hotrail in the bridge), locking tuners, new black scratch plate and I think I?ll also sand the headstock and paint black to go for an all-black finish.
I?m immensely happy with the guitar I bought and using it as a modding platform going forward.
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Joe Mc 20.03.2021
I've played mainly acoustics so started to get into electric guitars and bought myself a Squier Bullet Mustang another cheap and cheerful guitar. Problem was with the Humbuckers i couldn't really get a clean sound. This telecaster has solved that problem and has a beautiful range of good clean sounds. The stock pick ups are decent enough and suffice plenty, of course an upgrade is always optional but i'm not in a hurry to change the stock pups at the moment.

The quality of workmanship on the guitar for the price is outstanding. I was expecting to have to do alot of things to the guitar to make it playable but it came out of the box playable and all in order, no sharp frets, so buzzes or dead frets etc. I tweaked it a little to lower the action and decided to replace the nut because i wanted a little bit lower action at the nut. What was good was the nut slot was cut very well and symmetrical so it was easy putting a bone nut into it.
I'm absolutely delighted with the guitar, I have a high end Gibson hanging on the wall, a couple of high end guilds, a mid range Ibanez hollow Body, Squier Bullet mustang and a couple of others and this Telecaster is not out of place ...its a great guitar and that is stock .. hope this helps. You won't be disappointed.
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HB TE-20 Black
Anonymous 18.06.2015
Well, where do I start on what is quite possibly the cheapest Telecaster style guitar in the world?

Like many people I was drawn in by the price, and I had a free postage code at the time, so I ploughed online for reviews, including the reviews here and eventually decided to go for the cheapest available (without the sunburst veneer) as I planned to do some work on it, and figured all the models would like have the same basic build quality and features.

I wanted a basswood body, as generally they are resonant, not as heavy as cheap ash, and also would be durable.

When the guitar arrived, it was well packaged, complete with a free cable.

It needed set-up out of the box, but was acceptable and could be used immediately - it was even almost in tune!

There were a few flaws with the guitar (paint run on the back, rough edge on the bridge, some minor imperfections in the paint etc) but Thomas's excellent customer service sorted that out quickly and I am happy with the guitar.

I am planning some new pickups - the bridge pickup is VERY bright compared to quite a dark neck pickup, but it definitely has a telecaster sound. I just want a mellower bridge and a brighter neck. I am also planning to upgrade the electronics, although that is relatively unnecessary. It also has a vintage bridge now fitted (which, with some new holes) screws directly into place and covers the old holes (unlike a Squier Affinity bridge change).

On taking the guitar apart, it well build overall - a bit of rough finishing inside the control cavity but everything is otherwise great. It;s not string through but the guitar rings very well and sustains well. Tuners feels solid and hold well.

The fret work is good although it could use a fret dress and the guitar can be set up basically but overall, it is superb value for money.

This is a budget guitar but certainly not budget feeling. The neck is nice, the instrument is well made and finished, and although the guitar is a 20th of a cheap USA Fender, it's still 90% of that guitars qualities and build.

Superb guitar for modders, beginners and (I hasten to say it) but professional musicians like myself could gig this guitar out of the box. I plan to raid my parts bin, add some new pickups & electronics, a bridge, strap locks/strap and do a full fret dress & setup, then it will be fully gig ready.

A VERY worthy investment - I would buy a Harley Benton guitar with confidence that it punches WELL above it's price weight.
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