Harley Benton guitars cannot be beaten in terms of value for money. At less that 200E it is a steal. Shipping was a bit slow, understandable given the Covid situation so keep that in mind.
HARDWARE: The hardware is generally good on this Guitar. The Bridge is solid and feels weighty enough, the Pots are Alpha, they turn smoothly and the wiring was neat enough. The machine heads have worked well so far but do feel a bit light, it has kept tune well however. Long term, a new set might be in order. The nut, being a graph tech was perfect. I'm going to swap the string trees out for Graph Tech too.
The pick guard is flimsy and I will be cutting a new one from Aluminium which I might polish up or spray black, haven't decided yet!
BODY NECK and FRET BOARD: The body is heavy, even with a huge control cavity and another under the pick guard. The control cavity is shielded.
I like the colour of the body and it has a slight grain texture which works well with the design of the Guitar.
The neck is thin, satin finish and I would describe it as fast. It does not feel like a Tele neck to me at least. Feel is subjective anyway.
The fret board is the most interesting part of the Guitar in my opinion.
It looks like Maple form a distance but come closer and you can see it's different. It kind of looks dirty, but in a good way! The grain is unique, darker than Maple and it really sets the guitar off in how it looks. The fret ends were rounded, no Fret sprout or high frets at all.
SOUND: The Pickups give a bright sound, somewhere between typical T-Style single coils and Humbuckers. I say perfect for Country, Rockabilly, Blues, but adaptable to most styles.
Another huge surprise for me was how loud this Guitar was acoustically, it just sings.
SET UP: The Guitar was fully set up right out of the box, tuned, intonation, string height all perfect. Full marks Thomann.
CONS: This is where I have an issue with SOME Harley Benton guitars.
I get it is towards the cheaper end of the scale being less that 200E but does that mean we "overlook" certain issues because the guitar was cheap? Personally I'd rather pay slightly more and get something that is closer to perfect.
FIT and FINISH: The neck has several slightly rough areas, its very slight, feels almost gritty in places. Not finished well enough, especially around the edge of the head stock and the heel of the neck.
The base of the neck pocket is wider than the neck giving a very sharp edge on the top side of the joint between neck and body. It bugs the crap out of me and I will have to take the neck off to sort it out.
The routing around the Pickups is a bit rough, again its only cosmetic but it looks cheap. The cavity under the Pick Guard had a couple of fairly large areas that were not routed for some reason, it can't be seen but it points to a rushed or careless manufacture.
The pick up adjustment screws are very badly installed. One has the slot totally sheared away meaning it cant be adjusted and will be a bitch to remove. Another was left sticking 4 or 5 mm from the Pickup itself and had barely enough "grip" on the screw head to insert it fully. Both of these screws now have sharp "burr" edges that mean all 4 will have to be replaced.
OVERALL: I would recommend the Guitar. It's nearly perfect. A bit more time on fit and finish would make a huge difference.
I'll fix the issues myself, change the string trees, pick guard and maybe the tuners down the road a bit after I test their long-term stability.