Harley Benton SC-550 Paradise Amber Flame

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Electric Guitar

  • Flame Deluxe Series
  • Weight relief chambered body: Mahogany
  • Arched top: AAAA flamed maple
  • Set-in neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roasted jatoba
  • Neck profile: '60s
  • Radius: 350 mm
  • Pearloid trapezoid inlays
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • Pickup: 2 Roswell HAF AlNiCo-5 Zebra humbuckers
  • 2 Volume control and 2 tone controls
  • 3-Way pickup selector switch
  • DLX chrome hardware
  • DLX Tune-o-matic bridge
  • DLX Wilkinson machine heads
  • Ex-factory stringing: D'Addario EXL .010 - .046
  • Colour: Paradise Amber Flame
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Further Information

Colour Amber
Body Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Mahogany
Fretboard Jatoba
Frets 22
Scale 628 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo None
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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265 Customer Ratings:
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Incredable guitar for the price from a long tme hobbiest
Mustang 70, 27.03.2019
I am a long-time hobbyist and by no stretch of the imagination a professional guitar player but do own several quality guitars. After watching a lot of You Tube videos on Harley Benton guitars, I was fascinated by how an inexpensive guitar could be so well regarded. I decided I wanted a Les Paul type in my collection so for $270 delivered I would try one out and use it as a mod platform.
Conclusion
I am putting my opinions here on top so you won't have to read all of the details. I find this guitar an incredible instrument that makes it a steal for the price. I thought I would be modding it but I don't think it needs anything, if I do it would just be an exercise to learn how to do it. I believe that this guitar is all most guitarists need (that does not mean I don't appreciate fine guitars, there is a pleasure of owning and playing one, I own several and have no plans on disposing of any but this guitar will do most everything the high dollar guitars will do) (I also believe that it's the guitarist and the electronics that make a guitar sound great). I am excited at the discovery of Harley Benton Guitars because now for the price of one high end instrument I can add a Telecaster type, a ES355 type, a Rickenbacker 612 type with cases to my collection that will do all I will ever need and still have a pile money left over if they need upgrading. I would suggest buying a case when you order because for the same shipping cost Thomann will ship more items, I don't know the quality of the HB case but I would be surprised if it does not match this guitars quality for the price (I am guessing one similar would be around $100 locally). I made the mistake of not getting a case with it because I didn't think I would need on, now I find myself shopping for one and kicking myself because for $46 you will not find a better price.

? Pros
o Amazing guitar especially for the price.
o I can now have an example of most of the guitars I covet without going broke
? Cons all nit-picky!
o Pickups needed height adjustment
o Slight blemish on the body by the neck
o Action was high for my taste
o Wish I could have found these guitars earlier
? The buying experience was excellent, easy to purchase, fast shipping and perfect arrival. I did not have any problems so I don?t know about customer service.
? Appearance, beautiful guitar with one tiny flaw where the neck joins the body. This guitar has a very high-quality fit and finish that I find amazing.
? Mechanics, the guitar arrived playable out of the box only needing the pickup height adjustment, all hardware and electronics works.
Play-ability, this guitar plays and sounds great, I would not be ashamed to show up with it in any circumstance. Let the snobs laugh - if they want to worry about what somebody else plays, that is their problem!
? I could invest around $300 if I do the work myself for upgrade tuners, pickups, pots, switch, bridge and tail piece and it would probably improve it but is over doubling the price worth maybe a 5 - 10% improvement?
The Thomann Experience
I live in the Denver Colorado area and was concerned about the ordering and delivery process from Germany, I ordered it directly from Thomann payed by PayPal with no issues, it was ordered on Sunday and it arrived Monday of the next week with good tracking information the entire journey including customs in San Francisco and a date notification for delivery. It was delivered at the usual time by our normal US Post office person. It arrived packed very well in a larger box with it seemed like a mile of pillow padding, the smaller box that held the guitar was not damaged at all and the guitar was padded and wrapped with foam. The guitar showed no damage from shipping and was close to being in tune ? about ? a step flat across all the strings.
Appearance
I could only find one 3/4 inch imperfection on the entire guitar, a flaw in the finish on the back on the body where the neck joins the body, I have seen worse on new $1000 plus instruments and you have to look hard to see it. The neck appears to be 3 pieces, the scarf, the neck itself and a piece to make it thicker where it joins the body. The inlay work is beautiful although the inlay material is not as high quality as you would find on more expensive instruments. The body looks like 3 pieces but had to tell because there is a mahogany veneer on the back that makes the body look solid. The face veneer grain is closely matched (I know some people don't care for it), it probably does not have the depth of a more expensive instrument, in my opinion it?s still spectacular looking; the binding is perfect around the body and the neck. It came with strap locks, these work perfectly HB must have heard the complaints on earlier models and replaced them with working units. The tuners are greenish and are copies of Gibson vintage keys, more on function in the mechanics part of this review. I could not find a serial number but on back of the head-stock its says SC-550 Deluxe Made in Viet Nam.




Mechanics
The neck is straight the fret work is great, all are level, smooth and no sprout?, the action was a little higher than I prefer but it was certainly playable out of the box.. I gave it a few days to acclimate to its new surroundings then changed the strings, I use EB Fat Top and Skinny Bottoms, so I had to reset the intonation on 3 of the strings but it was close. The tuners are adequate (not as smooth as the Grovers on most of my other guitars) and the guitar says in tune. The switch works fine with no noise or crackles, I took the Rhythm / Treble label off because I think it looks dorky and I wanted it to look cleaner -- I can remember the positions without having it written on the guitar. The pots are smooth and work flawlessly with no noise. The pickups are Roswells and were not adjusted to the correct distance form the strings (easy fix and the worst problem with the setup) after the adjustment the pickups sounded great and balanced especially for a $270 guitar. The Bridge and tail piece are Gibson copies, this guitar already has great sustain so I am not sure upgrades would make much difference.
Play-ability
This guitar plays as well as any other guitar I own, no hums or other noise, the neck feels great and it doesn't go out of tune. Its heavy and but it?s a Les Paul copy and that should be expected. I lowered the action, does not have any fret buzz and rings all the way up the neck, the sustain is incredible. The tone is all Les Paul and I am really enjoying exploring this particular sound that has been missing from my collection.
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value for money, gorgeous and good sound, but need better QC
Hyman, 22.06.2020
I am an intermediate player. I use it mainly for practice songs such as Slash's Godfather, Sweet Child O Mine, John Mayer's Slow Dancing in a Burning Room etc.
As said, the guitar is value for money, gorgeous and good sound. Overall I feel satisfactory for the given price point. I am quite amazed how come such a good budget guitar can be made and be sent to Asia from Germany about 10 ten days with that price. Here I only mention some outstanding points, and on the other hand, some weak points. Other things that I have not mentioned mean that they are quite okay as usual. The finish is very beautiful. Jatoba fretboard is nicely made. Its colour is darker than I expected, which I feel very happy with it. It is very smooth and easy to bend the strings. The sound has power, strength, and sustain. When bending, it seems that the sound can last forever. The neck is thin, compared to Gibson Les Paul, which I think it is very suitable for people with smaller hands.
However, there are two main defects I want to stress. First, the inlays are not perfectly installed onto the fretboards. At least two of them have noticeable gaps/cracks between the wood. I take some time to use epoxy to fill in the cracks and file it to make it feel better look and better playability, otherwise the cracks make me feel hesitate to do bending at the frets. This is bad. Second, one tone knob is very loose. I need to pull out the knob, to tighten it and then put it back. It wastes my time, especially I am not so expert in doing that craft. Overall, I think some minor QC works and setup jobs have to be done better before sending to customers.
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The perfect Single Cut to start!
DreamX, 19.08.2020
This is the Perfect Guitar for day to day exercises. I using this HB SC-550 PAF almost every day for practice and fun of course.

The overall feeling is really cool from usability perspective, attraction and price. I like playing and experimenting with sound and this guitar bringing me these capabilities.

CHOICE - I decided HB SC-550 PAF because of:
- a thinner neck a-la '60s,
- smoothed heel and comfortable,
- humbuckers are zebra without caps,
- more accurate gluing of the neck,
- the top is dark and more pleasant to the eye.
If take into account that the SC-550 PAF is an attempt to rethink the Gibson Slash Les Paul Appetite Burst, then the decision process immediately adds +100 points to the speed of selecting this guitar, although I'm not a fan of Guns N 'Roses)

FEELING - When unpacking, the first impressions were:
- just Wow-Super, and then I began to look closely.

CONS: "out of the box":
- one volume knob has been partly broken (but Thomann service team resolved this very fast);
- one of the streplocks is rusty and sticks (probably the balls and the spring need to be lubricated, but planning to replace in any case);
- after active playing the "roasted jatoba" starts to smell like fish?!?;
- the anchor cover is fixed with 1 screw (why not 3 or magnets?);
- finishing can be better, there are many smudges of a primer (counted 7 stripes on the sides) under a fairly thick layer of varnish (unevenly spread).

PROS with quibbles:
- the neck is really soft / thin from 3 pieces of something similar to mahogany (technological traces of the clamps on the head when bented on a fab);
- tuners are noname, but without backlash (the cherished "W" sign - Wilkinson did not find on them);
- the nut is well glued in (but I have it poorly prepared and on the right is 20% dirty);
- lightweight body (but on the knees the deck outweighs, the balancing should be better, but with strap all is fine);
- deck from the bottom of 2 mahogany pieces (in one of them clearly visible a piece of a knot, and on the other there are traces of a primer);
- asymmetric top made of dark veneer of AAAA flaming maple varieties (but looks like a print on photo paper);
- varnished well (on the edges the varnish has already begun to crack, probably vintage style or logistincs).

CONCLUSIONS:
- Do not take my fault-finding as an sarcasm, the Guitar for start and experiments is Perfect.
- If you playing irregularly and with a prospect of replacing all plastics (knobs / nut / tuners), you can enjoy this guitar quite comfortably and for a long time.
- With budgetary upgrade HB SC-550 PAF it will be very useful, but only until you will have money for Gibson LP)
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5 Stars - With a Caveat
Michael RI, USA, 26.08.2020
Let me preface this with I kept hearing about these guitars and had a little extra money from my monthly bonus payout and decided to buy this to compare directly to my 2019 Gibson Les Paul Standard and my 2020 Epiphone Les Paul Studio.

I have been hearing so many people call these Gibson killers. So let's get that elephant out of the room first. It's not, while a great guitar and definitely better than the Epiphone for less, it does not hold a candle to my Gibson, fit and finish wise or other. Of course, why anyone expects to get the same quality of tones out of these Roswell pickups and cheaper electronics is a mystery to me anyway. I assume they just hate Gibson and want to pretend they got something better for less.

However, compared to my Epiphone, this thing is miles better. My Epiphone had several finishing issues while this one had none. Sound wise these Roswells are very good and in my opinion better than the Epiphone Classics. That is until you add some dirt, then these pickups leave a lot to desire. No problem though at this price, I can change them out with some Seymour Slash pickups to round out the aesthetic and some CTS pots and orange drop capacitors and now I am still in it less than the Epiphone and have a guitar far better than it.

TLDR; This guitar slays other guitars in the price range, well worth the price and more, it is a definite buy recommendation from me. Sounds good, room to upgrade and still be in the budget territory. It's not a Gibson and you shouldn't expect it to be either. Well done Harley Benton.
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Colour: Amber
Harley Benton SC-550 Paradise Amber Flame
(265)
Harley Benton SC-550 Paradise Amber Flame

Electric Guitar Flame Deluxe Series, Weight relief chambered body: Mahogany, Arched top: AAAA flamed maple, Set-in neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Roasted jatoba, Neck profile: '60s, Radius: 350 mm,...

  • Colour: Amber
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Jatoba
  • Frets: 22
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: None
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
Harley Benton SC-550 Faded Tobacco Flame
(276)
Harley Benton SC-550 Faded Tobacco Flame

Electric Guitar Deluxe series, Weight relief chambered body: Mahogany, Arched top: AAAA flamed maple, Set-in neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Roasted jatoba, Neck profile: '60s, Fretboard radius: 350 mm,...

  • Colour: Sunburst
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Jatoba
  • Frets: 22
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: None
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
Harley Benton SC-550 Black Cherry Flame
(35)
Harley Benton SC-550 Black Cherry Flame

Electric Guitar Flame Deluxe Series, Weight relief chambered mahogany body, Arched AAAA flamed maple top, Set-in mahogany neck, Fretboard: Jatoba, Fretboard inlays: Pearloid trapezoids, '60s neck...

  • Colour: Cherry
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Jatoba
  • Frets: 22
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: None
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
B-Stock from $209 available
$263 €225.86
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Available immediately
Available immediately

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