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Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series


Electric Guitar

  • Body: American ash
  • Bolt-on neck: caramelized Canadian maple with roseacer skunk stripe
  • Neck profile: C
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Fretboard inlays: Dot
  • 21 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Pickup: 2 Roswell TEA Alnico-5 TE-style single coils
  • 1 Volume control and 1 tone control
  • 3-Way switch
  • Deluxe chrome hardware
  • Kluson-Style machine heads
  • Strings: 10-46
  • Colour: Natural high gloss
Colour Natural
Pickups SS
Fretboard Maple
Tremolo None
Body Ash
Top None
Neck Maple
Frets 21
Scale 648 mm
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
available since September 2009
Item number 223985
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A tribute to the classic

Classic looks, classic specifications, classic sound: The Harley Benton TE-52 NA is a typical T-style guitar whose special feature is its price-performance ratio. With an American ash body and, since the model’s 2021 facelift, a roasted maple neck and fingerboard, this guitar matches the characteristics of far more expensive models. Other features include high-quality single-coil pickups from Roswell, D'Addario strings, and vintage-style hardware that sounds as authentic as it looks. If there’s anything that doesn't quite fit about this model, then it's the low price.

Solid features

The natural wood look of the ash body features an attractive grain and a high-gloss finish, while the neck sports a matt finish for increased playing comfort. Speaking of the neck: This features a glued-on maple fretboard and is particularly robust and resistant to warping thanks to the roasted maple material. The design of the bridge allows both string-through-body and toploader stringing methods to be used. Circuitry has been kept very clean and simple: Volume control, tone control, and selector switch. This three-way switch allows the player to flip easily between the pickups, with the "humbucking" middle position suppressing interference. The machine heads have retained their authentic vintage design, and two string trees ensure that the top strings do not come unseated from the nut, even when struck hard.

The sound that everyone loves

Pricewise, this guitar is in a range aimed at beginners, but advanced players may also be tempted to get a hold of one if they are looking to add a solid T-style sound to their setup without having to invest too much. If you are more into Classic Rock music, Blues, or Country than Heavy Metal, you will find a more than suitable partner in this guitar. The Harley Benton TE-52 characteristically offers a very direct, bright, and crisp sound (great for these music genres), which is further enhanced by the wood combination and Alnico V pickups from Roswell. The bridge design and metal plate under the bridge pickup also ensure that the sound is not too thin.

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.

A simple guitar with many possibilities

Whether as a guitar for rehearsal spaces, as a backup or beginner's instrument, or simply for classic T-style sounds that you can't get with your existing guitar collection, the list of possible applications for a Harley Benton TE-52 is long. And the quality of this model is just as attractive as its price tag. A feature that is unusual at this price point is the use of roasted maple, which was introduced as part of the model’s 2021 facelift. The classic design means it is also compatible with a large number of parts, including a wide variety of pickups, pickguards, and machine heads, making this a model with considerable potential for customisation. Yet even without any modifications, the TE-52 is still a powerful instrument. For beginners in particular, we recommended one of our bundle deals as an alternative to purchasing the guitar on its own. Or you can put together your own individual Creative Bundle with all the accessories necessary for your setup, such as gigbags, straps, and amplifiers.

Amazing guitar for unbelievable money
Vuk77 09.11.2021
I have been playing for 30+ years and have owned around 40-50 guitars (I lost count) and still own 11, from cheap to custom shop models. This guitar is simply unbelievable for the money. It feels and plays like a guitar 5x or 10x the price. I was skeptical at first, having owned three Bentons prior to this and selling all of them super fast. First was a Harley Benton DC copy of an SG some 7 years ago - which was a "cardboard" disaster. Other two were Strat types, both failing because of pickups and electronics. Mind you, this was years ago and Harley Benton now makes much better instruments. This guitar is a keeper, but It does have it's downsides too.

Construction quality is great, so is the paint and neck. Electronics are surprisingly good, pickups are simply great. True vintage tele tone both positions and sweet sweet sounds in middle position. PUPs are quite hot! Also very pick attack responsive and volume knob responsive. They sound amazing on my EL84 powered amps, not so much on the EL34 Marshall, where they can sound thin and brittle. EQ fiddling and a good equaliser pedal can fix that though. Pickups sound great through a TS9. Paint job is great, neck is very comfortable to play and very straight. I compared this guitar AB to a J&D tele with upgraded Dimarzio pickups and the difference is light years in favour of the Harley Benton. Coming from a J&D to this TE-52 is like a quantum leap in overall playing experience. I wasn't expecting I'd be saying the Roswells sound better (they sound more telecaster correct) than Dimarzios, but they absolutely do. The ash body looks great and gives the guitar that fast sound attack with crisp mids and highs and tight bass. The sustain is very good, but I imagine it will improve further if I swap the bridge, tuners and nut which is what I plan on doing in the near future.

Guitar is heavy as a! I may try to shave off some weight by making a belly carve and arm rest contours. As with almost any mass production guitar (PRS SE excluded), this guitar will require some intermediate luthier skills. Truss rod adjustment, nut adjustment or better nut swap, fret levelling and polishing, fret edge polishing, bridge adjustments are a must on this guitar. Frets are properly seated, but very harsh and uneven. Action way too high, truss rod too loose, nut slots high and uneven. It will take some work, but I can do all of this myself luckily with many years of experience and all the proper tools. But a luthier would easily charge what the guitar costs just for the work. If it makes any future buyers feel any better, my 1500 eur Gibson SG was no different in this aspect.

The only thing really bad (as mentioned by others) are the vintage style tuners, which go out of tune if you so much as look at them in a bad way. These will of course be replaced.

With some minimal luthier skills, new tuners and proper adjustments this guitar is far better than Squiers and can easily rival guitars at 10 times the price. Considering the price I cannot believe this guitar is as good as it is.
Harley Benton have really stepped up their game and I will be checking out some other more expensive HB models in the future...but first I need to sell some of my other guitars


TE-52 NA Vintage Series
micoli 30.10.2017
The sound of Telecasters has never really impressed me but I just wanted one to fill a gap in my collection, which is mainly hollow bodied, (with the exception of a Tokai strat). I play as a hobby so my guitars never leave the house and I really don't demand top-class instruments, although I would certainly be happy to own one! I first researched the options from different makes and suppliers but wasn't impressed with what was on offer for the £200 mark. As I've bought Harley Benton's before, I was confident I could find a Tele at the right price. After comparing them I ordered the TE-52 but to be honest, at just £122 including delivery, my expectations were not that high, despite glowing reviews on the Thomann site and on YouTube. After all, it's a guitar that sells for £113! It was ordered on a Friday evening and received in the UK on Wednesday at 10:00am, tracked all the way.

My first impression was that this was a stunning looking and a very well made guitar. When I checked it over and played it this is what I found:

~ There were no blemishes on the finish and it was pretty perfect.
~ The neck relief was perfect with the strings just sitting above the frets at the 7th fret.
~ The intonation was perfect on 4 strings and slightly off on the D & G strings, which took 30 seconds to put right.
~ The body looks like a 2 piece body, judging from the join at the base.
~ The neck looks like a one piece neck.
~ The dot markers are sitting central on the edge of the fretboard.
~ There was no shielding inside the control panel, pickups and jack socket.
~ The tuners are fine and hold the strings in tune, but I do find there is some slack spots in them,
~ The control panel is 34mm wide so buying a new control panel would be hard to find, (the American version is 32mm).
~ The pickguard is also not a standard American size so it would be harder to find a replacement, to align the 8 screw holes and have a 34mm gap for the control plate.
~ The cavity at the neck position beneath the pickguard is large enough to fit a humbucker or mini-humbucker at the neck. So if you want a new pickup set-up you will need to find the Asian version of the pickguard, (see above).
~ The C shaped neck plays like a dream.
~ The nut is plastic.
~ The neck was seated into the body perfectly, with not the slightest gap.
~ The Roswell pickups sound good enough to me to keep them in the guitar.
~ The guitar strings were slightly corroded.
~ The frets were not polished - so initially no string bending!

I have had the guitar just over one week and I have replaced the bridge and saddles with the Wilkinson compensated brass version. I was just going to replace the saddles but thought it easier to replace the whole bridge. This upgrade isn't really needed but I like my guitars 'just so'. It has had an effect on the sound and it has now, to my ears at any rate, more of a Telecaster 'twang' . While I was at it, I also shielded all the cavities with black shielding paint and replaced the string trees with roller string trees. I fitted a bone nut which was re-cut to eliminate the sharps on the first fret. The strings were initially cleaned up with some WD40 on kitchen towel, which worked fine, but I put another set of 9's on when I replace the bridge. I polished the frets at the same time. If anything the tuners could be replaced, but at a much later time.

This guitar far exceeded my expectations. It's great looking and it was playable straight out of the box. The quality is amazing for the the price paid - if it was twice the price it would still be good value. There are some very small faults but nothing that can't very easily be put right. Most new guitars need properly setting up but this one didn't. Although I fiddled around with it to get it playing exactly how I like it, my upgrades were not really necessary but for the cost involved, I think they are an improvement.

This is my 4th Harley Benton. I've never had anything except the smallest problem with the build quality on HB guitars and this one is about the best I've ever had. So, from being indifferent to Telecasters I am now a convert and I really love this guitar. It's great value and a great player.


A Brilliant Buy
chrisalis 11.03.2020
I must say that my first and overall reaction on receiving this guitar was one of pleasant surprise. There has been much written about this particular Harley Benton but I wanted to make my own mind up and tried to be objective as I could. I would add modestly that my guitars are all top notch models from premium makers so my bar is set high. What is undeniable is that a so called ‘budget’ guitar has been taken to another level. The wood on the particular guitar I received is excellent. The fit and finish of the component parts impeccable. My tuners are all good and functioned without fault with no issues whatsoever. The pots turned evenly and the selector switch had good resistance. I was surprised too at the fair quality of the hardware. Not perhaps the best money can buy but far from being cheap and nasty that would need immediate replacement.. In respect of the neck, arguably the most important part of any guitar, all good. In fact very good indeed. The profile is more of a medium u shape. The frets were installed perfectly with no low or high spots anywhere on my fretboard. My example played perfectly straight out of the box. Some people may wish to polish the frets but this is a personal thing and not a criticism and on my example certainly not necessary. Perhaps I may give them them a light polish when I eventually need to change the strings. The strings were D’addario 9’s and in perfectly new condition without a sign of rust and rang clear and true. I had a new set ready to install but was simply not necessary. I was impressed by the resonance that I could feel vibrate through the ash body of this guitar. I would add that thought that the action at the factory had been set a little high for my personal preference. I used my allen key and lowered the six saddle screws one complete anti clockwise turn and now for me, was much better. I will fine tune this when I get the time. I’ve read that the TE-52 is heavy but I certainly don’t find this. Certainly not light but prohibitively heavy? No.
I am not going to comment with regards pickups as this is purely subjective and with so many variables. Many purchasers of this guitar will certainly keep the stock pickups and many may change. Voila!
This is a good guitar. I get the impression that perhaps Thomanns have been sensitive to previous criticisms of Harley Benton guitars and have taken these on board and have resolved them with the factory and as I said before, bringing ‘budget’ guitars to another level.


Very impressive bang for buck guitar
Voxman 25.09.2021
I've been playing guitar for 50 years, have 11 other electrics inc original USA Fenders, Gibsons, PRS, Patrick Eggle etc. I was knocked out by the overall quality, playability & tones from this budget 'Tele' guitar. The finish, neck, electrics & tone were just excellent. I bought it based on several youtube reviews that were spot on.

I have a 1988 USA Tele Standard & I've played various custom shop Tele's and the pickup tone from these Roswell pickups is blindingly good, especially the neck p/up that sounds better than my USA Tele & the Custom Shop Tele's I've played. A few things to note: these guitars are quite heavy and can vary between 8.5 to 9.5 lbs - mine weighs around 8lb 12 oz. But the neck is superb and makes it amazingly comfortable to play. The stock tuners are serviceable but not great. I upgraded mine to Wilson Deluxe to keep the same vintage vibe but with superior 15:1 smoother tuning. I also had to polish the frets and there were a couple that had to be smoothed down a touch at the ends, but for a guitar at this price point that was no biggie. The chrome 3-piece saddle is fine and intonation was pretty good, but purely out of personal preference I put on Wilkinson brass compensated saddles for more accurate intonation. The only real issue I had with the guitar was that it had microphonic feedback on the bridge pickup. Originally I thought it was the pickup itself and (great service from Thomann) they sent me a replacement pickup. But I found out on 'The Fretboard' forum that it was actually the pickup base plate vibrating - a common theme even on USA Fender Tele's that have the same thinner vintage style base plate. All I had to do was take the base plate off and put some very thin foam or blutac (I used the latter) between the base plate and guitar body, and voila, problem completely fixed! If you should need to do that, you'll need a good power screwdriver as the 6 screws holding the plate are very will save your wrist and avoid the risk of you ruining the crosshead screws.

Overall this is a terrific guitar, and punches way above it's price-point and it is my go to guitar that's been on my guitar stand almost constantly since I've had it.


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