Harley Benton TE-20HH SBK Standard Series

184

Electric Guitar

  • Standard series
  • Basswood body
  • Bolt-on maple neck
  • Roseacer fretboard
  • DOT fretboard inlays
  • Neck profile: modern C
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Fretboard radius: 305 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • 22 Frets
  • Pickups: 2 humbuckers
  • 1 x Volume and 1 x tone control
  • 3-Way switch
  • DLX TE bridge
  • Double-action truss rod
  • DLX DieCast machine heads
  • Black hardware
  • Strings: .010 "- .046"
  • Colour: Matt Black
Colour Black Matt
Pickups HH
Fretboard Roseacer
Tremolo None
Body Basswood
Top None
Neck Maple
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
available since October 2020
Item number 491458
sales unit 1 piece(s)
$95
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B;own Away !
Delrick 27.08.2021
I've owned a guitar of some kind since the early 60's, and a few have been Telecasters.

Until the last few years, I've never had the cash, or the talent, to justify buying a 'quality' US-made Tele, so they've all been Squiers (some good, some bad, and one 1989 Korean made gem that I'll never part with).

Then, around two years ago, I discovered Thomann, and Harley Benton guitars.
I caught the bug.

Although I kept looking at the HB 'Tele-alike' instruments (and as always was amaazed at the prices), nothing jumped out at me.
I didn't bother looking at the the more expensive instruments because to me, a Telecaster (or non-Fender equivalent) means basic.
Very basic.
I've always loved the simplicity : Flat, slab body, decent neck, pickups that sound the way they should, simple hardware that keeps going - decade after decade (if you look after the instrument).
The basics - but done well.

Then one day something did jump out at me - and it was this HB TE-20 HH BLK.

I suspect it was the colour and finish I noticed first as my brother-in-law had recenty bought a Charvel LP-type guitar with the same colour and finish, and it looked (and sounded) superb.
However, he paid well over £500 for the Charvel (and it needed 'work'), but I was looking at something under a fifth of that price - and if the reviews were accurate (as the Thomann/HB reviews invariably are) - was just as versatile and playable.
It was easy to confirm that - his Charvel was sitting on my workbench after being properly set up and having a string change (amazing how many players don't know how to change strings properly).

We played both guitars through identical Mustang GT40's (he brought his around), avoiding the things that the Harley Benton couldn't do - all that digital stuff, and push-pull pot setting trickery.
We kept is simple, and after a few hours both agreed that the HB came out on top.
Perhaps the clincher was the pinch-harmonics test. With the HB it was so so simple, but we both struggled with the rival instrument.
I've tried the same 'test' with my other HH guitars, and the HB wins every time - by a country mile.
In fact you'll find harmonics all over that flawless black fingerboard ! I don't know if the Thomann folk are aware of this added bonus, but for those of us who struggle with pinch harmonics, or harmonics generally, if what I discovered is 'standard', it could be another selling point.
I tried it on the neck, bridge, and both pickups, tone pot high and low.
Same results every time.

Another bonus is that on a clean amp setting you can find those typical 1950's/60's iconic Telecaster sounds - and that 'twang'.

And at the other end of the scale this guitar almost becomes the heaviest of all heavy metal beasts.

Inbetween the 'twang' and the 'metal' there are more pleasant surprises.

For example, the same Mustang GT40, but using a downloaded 'Comfortably Numb - Main Solo' tone setting, and yes - you can sound almost like David Gilmour (the 'almost' is because only David Gilmour can play like David Gilmour).

So, gorgeous finish, very responsive volume and tone, significant and positive differences with the bridge/neck/both settings (as we all know,
with some guitars costing five or even ten times the price, those diferences can be minimal).

Since the Harley Benton arrived, between me/my brother-in-law, and a couple of guitar-playing/gigging friends, we've compared my TE 20 HH with a Gibson Midtown and Les Paul, three Fender Strats, that Charvel, my battered but much loved and played Gibson LP Jnr, my 1989 Korean Tele, and a few others.

We all agreed (sometimes reluctantly) that compared to the above, this Harley Benton is either as good as, or is sometimes even better - but at a fraction of the cost.
Someone actually called it a ''Swiss Army Guitar'' because it was just so versatile.

Other points : Frets are perfect, tuners are excellent (so far - I know tuners are something that can deteriorate fairly quickly), pickups are better than most (unbranded but suspect Roswell).
The finish looks fantastic but could wear quickly. However this is a purely cosmetic thing.

Would I change anything ? Well, perhaps if the hardware also had a black satin finish it might look even better, but if we want the keep it at a very affordable price, I'd change nothing.

Please note that my opinion - and those of the others who helped - was done in relation to an entry-level instrument.
Over many decades we've owned and played hundreds of guitars, from high end familiar names to the very worst of the worst (ugly, badly made, and effectively unplayable instruments) that cost the same as this Harley Benton.

We think that the Harley Benton TE-20 HH BLK is much closer to the former that it is to the latter, and would be welcome in the hands of any player, from novice to professional.
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Wanna be a Metalcore superstar?
MarijoCro 23.11.2021
I was missing a Tele shaped guitar in my guitar rack, and was REALLY interested in how good or bad HB's are, and I play mostly metal. So, I didn't expect much considering the price, and thought it would be a good backup guitar for when I don't wanna drop my other guitars too low or whatever.

Boy was I wrong. First of all, the guitar looks amazing. My band was amazed by the looks as well, for a guitar that cheap. I paid almost double for re-fretting my '88.-'89. Squier with stainless steel frets than I paid for this whole guitar.
Now for the playability. After playing the guitar for some time with the original HB strings on, I took it to a repair guy with a pack of .12 D'Addario strings and said "I wanna play Parkway Drive on this thing". The guitar was very playable right out of the box, but when he set it up with those strings and they loosened up a bit, I was like WHOA this thing ROCKS. I have 4 other guitars (Ibanez RG1451 Premium, LTD EC-1000 Deluxe, etc.) and still play this one as much as the others.

As for the bad things about the guitar, and I'm not saying this in a bad way, the tuners are rubbish, and if you plan on doing some serious playing, I would recommend swapping them out. The other thing is the pickups, same thing applies. But I use it with my Focusrite Scarlett Solo and BIAS FX II and it sounds amazing with what ever pickups you have, so I recommend it all the way. That's why I'm giving this a 5 star review. Not because it's perfect, because it's not, but I think they saved money on in the right places and you can easily switch the stuff out if you need to. The rest of it is great.

I would recommend HB to anyone as long as they're aware of the things I mentioned above. Also, it's highly likely that this won't be my only HB guitar. Maybe the headless one will be next :)
5/5 HB, would buy again!
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How do they do it..?
The Murray 26.08.2021
Just took delivery of this guitar and all I can say really is 'wow!'. Its very nice, well put together, sounds great, no sharp fret edges, nothing out of place, machine-heads all in a neat row, pots nice and firm - also the vol pot is not an 'on-off' type found on many guitars, cheap or otherwise, it actually brings the volume down nice and steady, tone pot is also quite usable.

I think the only negative I've sort of found so far would be to note that the body thickness is around 38-mm which is rather slim, however, given the price and indeed the pup configuration this is not a great issue tonally and I will not mark it against in my conclusion.

The neck feels great btw. Oh, and strung through the back... I wish they would do that with the TE 30 model, which I also own and rate as the nicest guitar I possess, only let down in a small way by having no through-body stringing.

The PUP's have some growl - this is not your standard 'tele' but that's obvious by the pup; this is a rock guitar through and through - the all-black finish screams 'rock' and so the the tones.

Finally the guitar has arrived pretty well set-up, I've lowered the saddles a tad and not a buzz to be heard anywhere!

Pros - great guitar irrespective of the price... take the price into account and really...!?
Cons - None. I've paid 5 x times the money for less satisfaction on many occasions. If HB keep up this level of product they will soon either cause certain other budget brands to seriously up-their-game, or just give up.
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A Sleek Style Tele for an Affordable Price
_Paul_ 22.08.2021
The Harley Benton TE-20HH is a full matte black telecaster with two passive humbuckers.

For less than £100, this telecaster makes a nice edition to the collection. The build quality of the body and neck won’t be as perfect as any custom fender guitar, but it’s also leagues better than any off brand guitar for a similar price. It find that nice balance in between, with the body of the guitar being nicely contoured and finished. My only gripe would be with at neck. The whole neck and fingerboard has also been painted in the matte black finish. While the smooth finish on the back of the neck is quite nice, I found the fingerboard to be a bit harder to work with, as the paint covers the natural feel of the wood, and is harder for me to play. This doesn’t couple well with some rougher frets, although still playable and fine.

The humbuckers are my least favourite thing on the guitar, as a guitarist who focuses on distortion and metal. When put through high gains and distortion, the humbuckers become more fuzzy and static making it harsher sounding in more of a negative way, but some people may prefer this, and it’s not as bad when playing chord progression. However, if you want to use the guitar through clean settings then it’s pretty good. Because the humbuckers remain simple, then so do the clean sounds. This creates a gentle sound not akin to traditional tele pickups, but still nice nonetheless. If you want to sound good like this, then a pinch of reverb, delay and chorus works perfectly. (If your amp or pedals can do that)

But now for the other more individual reasons I myself like the guitar. Firstly while I don’t like the painted fretboard, I do absolutely adore matte black finish guitars with a minimalist design. The guitar in person looks just as good as it does in the review videos online, and it matches my personal style, similar to that of my Ibanez grg121dx. The matte finish can also be customised if you have an artistic mind, which was one of the reasons I thought about picking up this guitar, because this also moves into the second reason why I like it. It’s a good project guitar. Double humbuckers connected to one volume and tone pot with a five way selector switch are easy to switch out if you want. The hardware such as the bridge, machine heads and pickguard can all be switched out if you have the right parts and want to upgrade. Therefore, this makes the guitar good for either stripping down and rebuilding to test, or to even upgrade as you go. Especially for the low price cost, which is honestly great for what you get.

Overall, I believe for the low price point I would recommend this guitar if it’s your style and you like the initial impressions of it as it is reliable and cheap, while also playing and looking nice.
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