Harley Benton SC-550 II FTF

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Electric Guitar

  • Deluxe Series
  • Chambered body: Meranti
  • Arched top: AAAA flamed maple
  • Glued-in neck: Meranti
  • Fingerboard: Pau ferro
  • Pearloid trapezoid fingerboard inlays
  • Neck profile: '60s - thickness 1st fret: 20 mm - 12th fret: 22 mm
  • Scale: 628 mm (24.72")
  • Fretboard radius: 305 mm (12.00")
  • Nut width: 42 mm (1.65")
  • Graphite nut
  • 22 Blacksmith stainless steel frets
  • Pickups: 2 Tesla Opus-1 AlNiCo-5 humbuckers
  • 2 Volume and 2 tone controls
  • 3-Way pickup selector switch
  • DLX Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • DLX Kluson-style machine heads
  • DLX chrome hardware
  • Factory strings: D'Addarío EXL-110 .010 - .046
  • Colour: Faded Tobacco Flame Gloss
Available since June 2021
Item number 521047
Sales Unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Tobacco
Body Meranti
Top Maple, flamed
Neck Meranti
Fretboard Pao Ferro
Frets 22
Scale 628 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo None
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
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Available at short notice (usually 2-5 days)
Available at short notice (usually 2-5 days)

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A classic with a modern twist

Harley Benton SC-550 II FTF

The SC-550 II FTF guitar from Thomann's in-house brand Harley Benton takes the classic single cut design and adds a few modern features, reulting in an instrument that combines great looks with musical versatility. The guitar's meranti body - which in this "Mk II" version is now chambered to reduce weight and thus provide greater playing comfort and make the guitar easier to carry - features a carved AAA flamed maple top in a high-gloss Faded Tobacco Flame finish. The neck is also made from meranti, and the 22-fret pau ferro fingerboard will ensure a full-sounding tone and is adorned with trapezoid inlays for better orientation while playing.

Harley Benton SC-550 II FTF, detailed view

Stainless steel, chrome, and binding

Harley Benton has stuck to the single cut formula with the SC-550 II FTF, which comes loaded with a pair of powerful Tesla Opus-1 AlNiCo-5 humbucking pickups. These are designed to deliver a clear treble response together with smooth mids and a well-rounded low end and are governed by the tried-and-trusted SC control layout comprising a dedicated volume and tone control for each pickup as well as a three-way toggle switch. The guitar's 22 jumbo frets are made from stainless steel and will thus not only deliver enhanced sustain but also last a very long time thanks to their resistance to both wear and corrosion. As part of Harley Benton's Deluxe series, the SC-550 II FTF of course features chrome-plated hardware, which includes the Kluson-style machine heads, Tune-o-Matic bridge, and even the pickup covers. The guitar's classic looks are further enhanced by the cream-coloured binding on the body and neck, to which the pickup rings and the pickup switch's tip and washer have been matched.

Harley Benton SC-550 II FTF, rear view

For new faces and small hands

Those just starting out on the guitar will no doubt appreciate the Harley Benton SC-550 II FTF's combination of a comfortable 628mm (24.75") scale length, modern C-shape neck profile, and 12" fingerboard radius, which at the same time will also provide a familiar playing feel for more experienced players who already have similar guitars in their arsenal. What is more, the graphite nut is just 42mm (1.65") wide - more reminiscent of ST-style guitars - and together with the guitar's neck and fingerboard dimensions makes the Harley Benton SC-550 II FTF ideal for players with smaller hands. Of course, those who opt for this guitar will have to forego a tremolo system, but on the other hand, they can look forward to excellent tuning stability.

Electric guitar from Harley Benton

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.

From Jazz and Blues to Rock and Alternative

Thanks to its duo of humbucking pickups, the Harley Benton SC-550 II FTF is a highly versatile instrument for beginners to start learning their first riffs. However, Rock sounds are not all that it can do: Lowering the gain on the amplifier or rolling off the guitar's volume will provide a pleasant Blues tone, and Jazz players will be able to get the sound they are looking for by adding the right chorus effect to the sound, all of which makes this guitar eminently suitable as a backup for players with pricier single-cut models. And as musicians have come to expect from SC-style instruments, this guitar is also perfect for the heavier sounds of Hard Rock and Alternative music.

95 Customer ratings

4.6 / 5

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86 Reviews

Definitely a Flagship Model
Music Is Zen 10.09.2021
I bought this guitar just to have an LP type/style in the collection for occasional use. I have yet to put this guitar down since it arrived. Out of the box it only required a bit of tuning. Intonation was spot on, the neck was perfectly straight & the build quality, set up and QC are top notch. Beautiful top, great feeling comfortable neck and good hardware/electronics made the introductory impressions pleasing. Even after seeing several positive reviews and recommendations I was still pleasantly surprised with this guitar overall. The Tesla pickups are quite versatile and provide great tone. The neck pickup does not have the ultra dark or muddy tones of many other neck pickups on guitars of this type. Both pickups are very dynamic and offer plenty good tones. The neck is very comfortable and a joy to play. The improved body shape and neck heel lend to great comfort, upper fret access and playability. Although I’ve heard a few complaints on the tuners, I find them quite serviceable and have had no issues with operation or with them holding tune. They are a bit odd visually but not absurdly so. Hardware and electronics on this guitar are impressive at this price point and exceeded my expectations based on other reviews. The only “flaw” I was able to find was the binding is less than perfect in some places but is minimal and hardly noticeable outside of close scrutiny.
My point of reference and comparison for this particular HB model are several Epiphone LP Plus, Tribute and Custom models as well as a few Gibson LP Studio models. The SC-550 II provides an experience and quality on-par with or better than those guitars in my experience.
This one has been immediately promoted from an occasional use stand-by/backup to having a spot in the main rotation for studio/session work and most likely in my live rig as well. The chambered weight relief makes this a very comfortable and useable live instrument for long gigs. I will definitely be recommending this guitar to my peers and students. This one along with my Harley Benton TE-70 BP (another phenomenal HB guitar) will soon get their public debut here on the stages around the Home of the Blues & Birthplace of Rock n Roll (Memphis, TN US)!


Best bang for your buck
Arturo E. 11.06.2022
In the middle of a gear cleanse and build up I stupidly sold a couple PRS guitars and ended up with no functioning guitar, so I needed an affordable replacement quickly, so I pulled the trigger on this one and I am super glad I did. Whilst being on the affordable umbrella I was used to the quality of PRS guitars and this one didn't disappoint, there are a couple tool marks, a paint spot that didn't set quite right but that's about it.

The neck is amazing, it feels a tad fuller than a strat-esque neck but not fat. The tall frets are amazing, they are a wee bit scratchy, but I was expecting to work them a little bit anyway so it's fine.

Something that surprised me is the tuning stability, I pick hard and bend the strings a lot, and it holds surprisingly well, I have no idea how they accomplish it with the flimsy tuners and the plasticky nut but I'm blown away by it. Those tuners will be replaced eventually but I actually want to wear them out first, see how much they last.

Set up from the factory is pretty decent, it has a very minor buzz, but I haven't made any adjustments to it yet so I think some truss rod adjustment should do the trick.

Now as far as pickups go I don't like them at all, they are a little too mushy for my taste and a little too weak, yet, this department is totally up to the player's taste and frankly they are usable as they are, since I am used to playing high output pickups these ones might be right for you, if not, replace to taste.

Lastly, its pretty light. Mine at least seems to be 8-ish pounds, most likely below that weight, yet no neck dive, which is AWESOME. Bear in mind that I use a suede strap a bit on the wider side, so it might have an effect on this matter as well.

Bottom line, you are not getting a 1000USD guitar here, but you will be getting beyond it's pricetag's worth, so be mindful that will have to put a little work into it and you will be rewarded with a great guitar, not for the money but a great guitar in general.


Under the hood and beyond
Keysblues 24.09.2021
After watching all the You Tube videos on this guitar, including a so called "deep review" I found that not one went "under the hood" (or bonnet for you Brits) Sure it looks great but what is inside. First I'll start with the 3 way switch. This is a CTS style 3 way switch. It works as it should with no loose movements. The cavity is paint shielded. The cover has a metallic tape shield. Next for the pots. They are full size made in Korea Alpha pots. The cavity is also paint shielded. The wiring and solder are very neat. The cavity is clean of any debris. The cover is also shielded as mentioned above.
Next I go to the look of the guitar, as this is the first thing that you see. It looks great the AAAA flamed maple top has a quality look, although, I can't see what the difference is between AAA and AAAA except perhaps marketing. There were no imperfections found anywhere on the guitar.
The guitar itself comes in just over 9 lbs. (over 4 kg.) The guitar is listed as having weight relief, It is not light by any means but is right in the Les Paul weight catagory.
O.K. how does it sound. I love the Tesla pickups. I have guitars with Seymour Duncan pups and they are right up there with them. The pots roll off good for different flavor at different settings.
The neck feels great a true 60's profile, not a baseball bat 50's. The fretwork was perfect and setup was spot on. It's nice to know that I'll probably never have to re-fret the guitar as the frets are stainless steel.
The only thing that I changed were the tuners. They were perfectly adequate, but I prefer locking tuners for ease of string replacement.
All in all I like this much better than my Les Paul Studio, which I am now going to sell. If you want a quality sounding great looking guitar, you can't go wrong with this.


HB SC-550 II Custom in FTF
Properfessor¡ 16.02.2023
Yes, mine is a custom guitar. I sent a simple question to Thomann and asked if they could/would convert this guitar into one with split coils on demand. They gladly did so (for a few dollars more- I had to buy the pots to switch out) and man, did they deliver!
I wanted the single cutaway design and the FTF finish, but I wanted the split coil feature seen on many other Harley Bentons, especially the CST-24, another guitar I plan to get. I simply wanted the LP-style, my favourite, before I bought a PRS-style guitar. The single-cuts are in my opinion, superior as far as the old standards, the SC-550 II, being no exception.
The humbuckers (Tesla 2) are hot; switching from my SG Custom to the SC-550 startled me into a gain-cut reflex action. I wasn't expecting that. The DAW input needed to be trimmed, and so on, etc. So, I'm impressed with the heat.
Switching back and forth regarding the split-coils, I'm blown away. What do you think of when you're switching between a single coil neck and bridge to a humbucker neck and bridge? What do you expect to hear?
I expect to hear exactly what I get with the push/pull tone pots that switch between the two.
Mixing the single coil in the bridge with the humbucker in the neck, or vice versa, or both, or not at all is like playing three different guitars with the variety of screech and scream and mournful La Llarona-style wails to chonky cave monsters eating people like Snickers. She is an amazing machine.
The colour/finish I chose is the Faded Tobacco Flame Gloss.
It is beautiful, and better than what you see in the pics. At home, the angle of lighting makes her a chameleon, low light hiding the sweet central burst and increasing light bringing out the flamed maple grain and spectacular finish. The back is the deepest wine or burgundy that is out there and appears black if you're not looking closely. This is definitely intentional as it is uniform and clean. The finish will blow your mind.
The neck came finished and glossy-slow, but that is easily fixed with a half hour of sanding and 0000 steel wool, and now she's as fast and smooth as your high school gf/bf.
The stainless steel frets demand abuse, and I'm looking forward to years of administering it.
The electronics are silent at rest and have given me no problems at all.
She arrived slightly out of tune- (c'mon guys, we're only 9 time zones apart, you can't ship me a guitar that I don't have to tune the B string up from an A#?
Savages . . .) but tuned up quickly with the high-ratio (feels like 18:1, but don't quote me) machine heads and have stayed in tune since.
I always retune between takes and in this case there's no retuning involved. Just picking and staring at the tuning rack of my DAW. Crazy. My less Pauls needed retuning if they sat for 15 minutes. I exaggerate, but so does everyone all the time.
I love this guitar. She does what I ask of her, and Thomann did what I asked of them. They delivered a truly customised LP-Style guitar that I could turn around and sell for a grand, all for $300 USD.
If there's anyone else out there with an SC-550 II split coil on both neck and bridge humbuckers I'd love to hear what you think of it. Was it worth the swap? Mine was. I make strange and delicious exotica via the licks of my unique instrument, and the guitar is awesome, too. I love this machine.
My fourth big ticket Thomann purchase, a Baton Rouge acoustic guitar, is set to arrive on Friday, so stay tuned. Get it? Wink wink, nudge nudge, know whatta mean?
There was a problem with a completely different B Stock item I had a while back but Thomann's customer service department handled it perfectly and professionally. Ever pump yourself up for a fight and instead everyone is kind and friendly and won't be happy until they figure out how they can fix it to your satisfaction? Where you get everything handled by nice folks who just want you to be happy? And then you're all bummed out because you are treated the way you were going to demand that you be treated?
So as you can see, Thomann has a customer for life.
If you want an LP-Style that looks and plays like this instrument, this is the guitar for you. Look no further; she is the answer.
She's solid mahogany and heavy and I'm not 100% that she's been chambered at all. She feels like an '81 Les Paul.
Other than that, she is accessible to all guitarists 12 and older. My first guitar was my brother's 1981 LP Custom. I would have been happy if this SC-550 II was my first, and I'd recommend this guitar as a first guitar for anyone. Not only is she an affordable guitar, but as-is she just might be the one and only you'll ever need. She is that good, and she'll spend more time in my hands than in a case or on a stand or on the wall.
Good axe. Get one or two.