Harley Benton R-457 BK Progressiv Series


7-String Electric Guitar

  • Progressive series
  • Body: Lime
  • Bolted maple neck
  • Fretboard: Blackwood (Pinus radiata)
  • Offset dot fretboard inlays
  • Speed-D neck profile
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 48 mm
  • NuBone nut
  • Dual action truss rod
  • 24 Medium jumbo frets
  • Pickups: 2 Hi-Gain humbuckers
  • 1 Volume control and 1 tone control
  • 3-Way pickup selector switch
  • Black hardware
  • Deluxe diecast machine heads
  • String strengths (ex works): .009, .011, .016, .024, .032, .042, .054
  • Colour: Black High Gloss
available since June 2012
Item number 288162
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Black
Body Basswood
Top None
Neck Maple
Fretboard Blackwood
Frets 24
Scale 648 mm
Pickup System HH
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
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A nice guitar for the price, some nitpicking on my part
Zisis Marangianos 01.08.2020
I bought this guitar in March after contemplating for a long time to try my hand at 7-string guitars. The price was a selling factor, of course, and I wanted to see the reputation of Harley Benton instruments for myself.

Upon arrival, I inspected the guitar and found it to be built quite well: no sharp fret ends, no fret buzz, all the screws tight, generally nice finishing job, and it has a nice weight to it. I have no qualms about the initial setup of the guitar (neck relief, saddle placement, string height at the bridge and the 12th fret, pickup height), since I find that this is something one should learn to do by themselves, depending on string gauge, playing style and other factors (EDIT: That's not to say that the guitar was set up atrociously or anything like that; the neck had the right amount of backbow and the string height was quite acceptable at the saddles). I will, however, say that the placement of the nut could've been a tiny bit more careful, and you might find the strings to be sitting a bit too high at the nut, so have some nut files ready, just in case.

On the strings that came with the guitar (09-54), I found the two bottom strings to be a bit too floppy for my taste, thus I strung up the guitar with a LaBella 10-64 set, which goes nicely with Standard Bb and, to some extent, Standard A. More recently I tried out the 10-70 set (which is your standard 10-46 with an added 70) where I swapped out the 46 with a 49 for consistency, wanting to try my hand at Standard G# and Drop F#. I find that, because the scale length is just 648mm, after a certain point it doesn't really matter how thick your lowest string is; you will run into intonation problems, and thicker strings don't really sustain well on that scale length, thus it would be a good idea to invest into a guitar with a longer neck, or a multiscale guitar, if you tune below Standard A.

On the subject of tuning, I found the tuners to be so-so. Tuning up works well, but tuning down, it seems as though the gears in some of the tuners get stuck for about half a turn, so if you plan on keeping the stock tuners, be prepared to do a lot of turning and string stretching. On the other hand, the Hipshot-style hardtail bridge is a nice feature: fixed into the body, but with Fender-style saddles, with ample room for adjustments of individual string height and intonation, and good tuning stability once the strings have been stretched in place.

Now to the neck. Whereas the body has a gloss finish, the neck has more of a satin finish, so it really helps the fretting hand glide around the neck with ease. For me, the fretboard could've been a tad wider; I find it somewhat difficult to fret some of the standard chord shapes without accidentally muting a couple of strings every so often. In contrast to that, the neck could've been a bit thinner. Even though I have somewhat large hands, I find that the neck can become tiresome after a certain point. Then again, this might be because of the neck profile (I'm not comfortable with the D-shape), so if there is any modification to be done on the neck, I'm thinking about having it sanded down to a more fitting shape for my hands at some point. Lastly, access to the higher frets is quite easy despite it being a bolt-on neck; on the other hand the lower horn of the body can become quite the nuisance, as I find the back of my hand hitting against it very often - but again, I have somewhat large hands.

Finally, the pickups. I found that they aren't really as high-gain as the description makes them out to be. That being said, be prepared to sink the bass side of the neck pickup deeper into the body, because even with the 09-54 strings, that pickup can become boomy as F***! You can, of course, compensate slightly for the resulting volume loss by raising the pole screws as needed. The bridge pickup, on the other hand, is quite... barky. This lends itself well to a more modern guitar tone, which isn't really my cup of tea to be honest. Even so, the character of the bridge pickup has inspired a few riffs, and with the right settings you can get some nice tones out of the guitar. As a side note, if you find that the pickups are slanted too much towards the neck or bridge, for me this was solved by flipping around the pickup frames. Lastly, the work in the electronics cavity is quite neat, if a bit clustered, and the volume and tone controls are nicely out of the way of the picking hand.

Despite some issues as detailed above (half of which are more personal than practical), if you're looking for a first foray into the world of 7-string guitars, this guitar is definitely worth checking out, especially considering its price. Not to mention that it could potentially serve as a great platform for modifications.


A Shock to the system!
ISBM 18.08.2016
No, not because of the low rumble of this beast through my Blackstar, but because you spend you whole time as a guitar playing being told "you get what you pay for" and then someone goes and makes this!

As the previous reviews seem to also confirm, this was bought to trial being a 7 string owner without hurting the bank balance and, to mimic the others, I am very impressed.

Build Quality & Hardware
No complaints. It feels sturdy with a chunky body (helps to conterweight that wide neck) and very good recessed neck joint. The neck is thin for a 7 string (I've played others but never owned one) and unfinished. Personally I'd rather have an oiled or painted finish, but this is preference and will be solved when I have space on my workbench. Pickups? Not great. By no means the worst for a guitar of this cost, but they lose clarity at the low end and lack the depth of better made counterparts. Sound great clean and higher up though! Controls are noiseless and free moving.

The real shocker:
This beauty is set up like a pro! The action was spot on, the intonation near-perfect and straight out the box (in the UK) she played like a dream. The biggest issue I find with cheap guitars is they need a decent set up to be playable but this is an exception. Thomann have put their name to this and will not be losing any reputation with such a great starter priced guitar.

Now, where's that black paint and Seymour Duncan Nazgul?...


Cheap Meal
gh99 20.02.2021
I am impressed with my R-457. For less than the cost of a decent meal out you get a 7-string monster which is amazing value. I bought this guitar, as I suspect most will, to play around with the 7-string concept.

I found no flaws in the finish of mine.

The pickups are very decent. If not the greatest sounding they are perfectly adequate, have the right voicing for this kind of guitar and can create some decent tones. Obviously you shouldn't expect to get a great jazz tone from them but you can get some reasonable gentler tones by dialling the tone and volume down.

The neck has a very nice satin finish. Very smooth and easy to work with. The fretboard wasn't obviously dry, as others have been, although i will treat it and probably change the strings at some stage. The Kiesel-ish headstock is nicely done, too.

Every other one of my seven HBs has 10s on it. This one has 9s. Hooray! On the down side they aren't the d'Addarios you get on other models.

I have only found two minor things to mention, so far:
-one of the neck screws is installed poorly and doesn't sit flush with the neck. This kind of things is quite annoying as it's as basic as it gets and takes minimal effort to get right.
-The tuning stability of mine is quite poor, right now. Others have reported better results and I haven't played mine much, yet, so I'm hopeful that it will settle down with some more playing and string stretching. The generic tuners don't seem to work as well as those on other HBs I have, although they appear to be the same. Particularly on the lower two strings, so perhaps they don't like the heavier gauges used here. A replacement set of locking tuners might be a worthwhile investment.

Overall this is a hell of a bargain for the price, a pretty decent guitar in general and a great way to get into 7-string guitars.


Excellent value-for-money
Anonymous 12.03.2014
I bought this guitar to get a feel for seven-string guitars and my first impression has been very positive. Considering the price I didn't expect too much but I don't like to waste my money on garbage either so I did have certain expectations on assembly and tuning stability. Now that the guitar has arrived I am happy to discover that it exceeds my expectations. Intonation and tuning stability is good. The neck-joint is flawless and string height is very good. The neck was comfortable and overall it feels like an easy-to-play instrument. There were som minor cosmetic imperfections on the paint job. The pickups aren't excellent but work well. I consider this guitar excellent value-for-money.