Harley Benton ST-20MN CA Standard Series

194

Electric Guitar

  • Standard series
  • Body: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • DOT fretboard inlays
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Double action truss rod
  • Pickup: 3 ST style single coils
  • 1 Volume control
  • 2 Tone control
  • 5-Way toggle
  • Chrome hardware
  • Synchronised tremolo
  • Closed machine heads
  • Colour: Candy Apple Red
available since September 2013
Item number 312058
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Red
Body Basswood
Top None
Neck Maple
Fretboard Maple
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Pickups SSS
Tremolo Vintage
incl. Bag No
incl. Case No
$77
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u
Good If You Know How
unclebanger 18.12.2020
So I bought this guitar just as a supplement for a set with HB Extreme-76, like if I have to pay quite a money for delivery, I want to order as much as I can in a single order, and I had just enough free money to get this one.

I have another guitar, a legendary beginner guitar, Her Majesty Squier Bullet Stratocaster (HSS version). I only play for almost 9 months, and it was bout time I get interested in new guitars. So this review will largely be based on a comparison between this and Squier.

Pros:
- beautiful af. Finish is just perfect, it looks more expensive than Squier (AWT color), despite actually costing me almost 3 times less (Fender production pricing in Russia is a little bit... insane, to say the least)
- has 22 frets
- gives you an idea of how SSS configuration works (that is a thing in my case)
- frets are very well leveled (contrary to Squier)
- arrived in perfect setting
- tremolo system allows you to achieve lower notes (goes down 3 half steps, while Squier only goes 2 half steps down)

Neutrals:
- neck is way thicker and feels completely different
- tuners aren't as bad, nor are they any good
- pickups actually can deliver up to classic heavy metal (almost as good as Squier's humbucker), and they aren't bad, but they surely do suffer from their cost
- also B string saddle had one of the screws totally screwed up, I couldn't turn it at all, so luckily I had some old Squier saddles to replace it with

Cons:
- rough fret ends (they probably won't kill your hands, but they really needed work)
- nut is a joke (not even a funny one)
- mine's contact would get lost from time to time (if I was moving the guitar while playing, and I was moving a lot) - an issue with screwing the hole where you connect the cable

So what i did to it was:
- changing the nut to GraphTec (the one that matches these dimensions is too low, so I didn't make it go to the bottom of the slot and it's stuck midway; still A LOT better than stock one)
- screwing the cable hole properly - now it has no connection issues
- sanded all the fret ends (unfortunately, this is the only type of work I'm not skilled at, so I only had a sand paper and a rough idea of how I want it to be)
- changed string trees to Gotoh (just for memes)
- immediate restringing (stock strings were even more of a joke than the nut)
- screwing properly everything there was

And I ended up having a guitar that rivals Squier, which is also modded by the time! I think if I change pickups to more serious ones, learn to solder and to shield, this will be a guitar that will last for decades!
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GR
Amazing Value - Long Term Review (almost 2 years)
G R 14.02.2022
TLDR: Absolutely worth it!

I ordered this guitar in 2020 and it has been played extensively since.

Pros:
- very playable comfortable neck
- no sharp fret edges, high frets or any fretboard issue
- holds tune decently (after strings have been thoroughly stretched)
- pickups sound just fine

Cons:
- tremolo arm has a lot of play ( unless you screw it in so tight it wont move) making it basically unusable, or at least very cumbersome for nuanced tremolo playing
- the bridge block is very skinny but that's expected in this price range
- the nuts on the jack get loose pretty easily and sometimes there are connection issues. But as long as you tighten the nuts regularly you'll be fine.
- the pickups show a lack of 'clarity' 'depth' and 'volume' compared to lets say my Fender Player Telecaster (at many times the Harley Benton in price though)
- the tuners are not the best, the pegs are quite loose, but it keeps decent tune if you don't ram the tremolo, which I assume you wouldn't given its issues.
- the frets would benefit from a polish

Conclusion:
I am truly nitpicking at the 'issues' with the guitar, because if one considers the price, there is no reason to complain at all!
It is a perfectly playable and enjoyable instrument, that can perform just as well as instruments multiple times its price, though I wouldn't say it is gig-able without some further adjustment.
It must also be noted that should one wish to upgrade it, a huge range of affordable and considerable in increased quality items are readily available, i.e. wilkinson trems, kluson tuners, loaded pickguards etc. It makes for a great project once you are bored with it and the cost is so low that you wont be afraid to experiment.
I would definitely recommend this guitar, if you want an affordable yet reliable and enjoyable instrument, not least because of Thomann's excellent customer service which are quick to resolve any issues with the product up to 3 years after purchase.
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v
Good guitar for a very low price!
vortaenius 15.07.2021
What I love: the look of the maple neck. It's why I bought this specific version of this Harley Benton Strat. Very nice! Also, the price is obviously unbeatable. Great as a fun project to replace a part every now and then.

Overall, the build quality is unfortunately one of the worse aspects of the guitar. The frets are fine, even the default strings were totally okay, but what I find lacking is the whammy bar. In terms of functionality, I might as well leave it off (if it wasn't for the cool look ;-)), because the bridge creaks and groans every time I use the whammy.

Also, I recently found that the finish is chipped off in a place (luckily not where you'd really see it, so no big deal). I don't think it is something that I did myself, maybe it happened during shipping or before that, but there's no real way to know.

I had to majorly tweak the intonation and the action of some of the strings, but about half of them were already really well intimated. It's not something I'd obviously expect from an 80 euro guitar to have perfectly intonation fresh out of the factory, so no worries there; I spent about half an hour of fiddling with a screwdriver and it's much better now.

Other than that, the sound is pretty good for these stock pickups! Note that the wiring is classic Strat wiring, so keep in mind that the two tone pots control the neck and middle pickup, and the bridge pickup has no tone control.

Once I slap on some Elixir strings and polish the fretboard a bit (tip: buy lemon oil wipes), I think I'll be very happy with this steal of a guitar! Definitely recommended, aside from a few weak areas.
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D
Harley Benton ST-20MN CA Standard Series
Daniel.C. 12.09.2021
This guitar probably the best in its price range. A perfect foundation for amatour builders/modders. As it always, top quaility wood from HB, and the rest its up to you how you use/change/like. Personally, i built a top shelf quality SuperStrat from this. The body color, and the neck are just amazing itself. Plus point it have a rectangular Pup cavity, so you can build anything you want right away, thats very nice. I recommend!
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