Harley Benton TE-90QM Trans Red

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Electric Guitar

  • Chambered body: Nyatoh
  • Top: Flamed maple
  • Bolt-on neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Amaranth
  • Fretboard inlays: Abalone dots
  • Ivory body binding
  • Nut: Bonoid
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Pickup: 2 Roswell P90 S AlNiCo-5 vintage-style single coils
  • 3-Way switch
  • Controls: Master volume, master tone
  • DLX chrome hardware
  • Hard tail bridge
  • DLX die-cast machine heads
  • Strings: .010 - .046
  • Colour: Transparent Red, high-gloss
Available since August 2014
Item number 339360
Sales Unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Red
Pickups P90, P90
Fretboard Amaranth
Tremolo None
Body Nyatoh
Top Maple
Neck Maple
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
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Available at short notice (usually 2-5 days)
Available at short notice (usually 2-5 days)

This product has been ordered and is expected to arrives in the next few days.

Standard Delivery Times

TE style meets P90 sound

Front view of Harley Benton TE-90QM Trans Red guitar

Harley Benton has long enjoyed a reputation for offering instruments that combine excellent quality with affordable prices, and the TE-90QM Trans Red is no exception. This guitar combines classic "TE" styling with a chambered body and a pair of Roswell P90 pickups, creating an interesting and unusual configuration. Its slim-taper neck also provides a comfortable playing feel, while a solid set of diecast machine heads and a bonoid nut ensure optimum tuning stability. At the opposite end, the six-way DLX bridge allows accurate intonation to be achieved in all registers.

Slanted front view of Harley Benton TE-90QM Trans Red body

Chambered body for enhanced resonance

The Harley Benton TE-90QM Trans Red features a semi-acoustic body made from nyatoh, which is similar to mahogany - an unusual choice of wood for a TE-style guitar, but an interesting one nonetheless - and an attractive figured maple top, and this combination gives the guitar a full-sounding resonance while also significantly reducing its weight. The one-piece maple neck in turn features a 22-fret amaranth fingerboard with abalone-look dot inlays, and the two Roswell P90 AlNiCo-5 Vintage Style pickups with which the guitar is loaded make it ideal for Blues and Rock music. These are governed by a simple but effective control layout comprising a three-way toggle switch and a single control each for volume and tone.

Detailed view of neck pickup and fingerboard of Harley Benton TE-90QM Trans Red

P-90 sound wrapped in dazzling red

TE-style guitars are more generally associated with a bright, cutting sound that has plenty of "twang". The Harley Benton TE-90QM Trans Red, however, breaks away from this trend by delivering a warm, powerful, and resonant sound courtesy of its Roswell P90 pickups and semi-hollow body construction, and thanks to its affordable price (what else would one expect from Harley Benton, after all?) fans of the TE design can get their hands on this very special instrument without having to spend a fortune. Beginners in particular will appreciate the smooth satin finish on the back of the neck, which enhances the guitar's already impressive playing comfort even further.

Headstock with six machine heads, two string trees, and Harley Benton Deluxe Series decal

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.

There's nothing quite like a P90

Guitars with P90 pickups have a sound and a character all their own, and this is very much the case with the Harley Benton TE-90QM Trans Red. These tonal characteristics are enhanced even further by the semi-hollow body, which makes it ideal for both thick-textured chordal playing and singing lead passages - perfect for Blues and Rock & Roll in its many guises. And while unwanted feedback is kept to a minimum, this guitar's excellent resonance can be used to create tasteful feedback that, when used correctly, will harmonise nicely with the music. The TE-90QM Trans Red is sure to find favour with more than just beginners, however: More experienced gigging musicians looking for a robust and reliable backup instrument should also take a closer look at this eyecatcher.

364 Customer ratings

4.6 / 5

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292 Reviews

Amazing guitar that outplays its price band.
Anonymous 21.04.2015
I ordered this on a Friday and it arrived on the following Tuesday. Fantastic delivery time from Thomann.

I was not expecting much from this guitar, because lets face it, it is still cheaper than the equivalent model from Squier or Yamaha. Oh boy was I surprised.

First of all, I should add that this guitar was packaged properly. It came in a box with polystyrene supports for the neck and polystyrene blocks around the edges of the box to make it unmoveable during transit. Better than the Burns guitar I had ordered previously.
Then it was packed, along with a second guitar I had also ordered, into a larger Thomann branded outer box filled with loads of "air filled" plastic padding.

Out of the box, the intonation was a little bit sharp on the twelfth fret and the action was set to about medium height, which is just how I like it. The six adjustable saddles make it easier to set the intonation or drop the action when compared to the standard telecaster setup and the strings still go through the body. This means that you not only get get loads of sustain, but you also get a snazzy looking bridge that does not slice the hand.

The finish on this guitar is flawless, I really mean flawless too. I could not find a thing wrong with it and I was looking really hard. The ivory colored binding is even on both the edge of the body and the "f" holes. There were no dings or discoloration in the finish and the pickups and neck were aligned perfectly. The color is a deep red, and allows the wood of the body to show through very clearly. So clearly, that it initially appears that this body is made from a single piece of wood. Looking at the rear, you can quite clearly see that the grain flows perfectly across the body, with no obvious joins or loss in grain quality. However, looking closely I noticed that the back of the guitar is nearly 6mm of a nice laminate that looks like it is glued to the main body. I can't tell how many pieces make up the main body but the quilted maple top, probably also a laminate, seams to be made from one nice piece of wood.
There is a solid piece of wood running down the center of the guitar which adds weight to the whole setup.

This guitar is heavier than you might think. It weighs slightly more than a Squier Standard Telecaster and as I said before it has a lot of sustain. This may be in part due to the ivory colored set of P90 style Wilkinson pickups, combined with an excellent set of D'addario strings. They provide that true P90 sound, which is a little smoother and louder than single coils. Not quite as hiss free as humbuckers, but still bloody good just the same. Electrics also seem good, operating smoothly and without crackle.
This guitar has only a single volume, a single tone and a three way switch. Very simplified but very useable just the same. It is so nice to find a tone and a volume pot that actually graduate properly across the full range. So many budget guitars come with a volume that is either on or off or a tone that only has two settings. These two controls seem smooth and flawless in operation. The only thing I would change on this setup would be to add indentations, (sunken circles aka PRS), so that the two tone knobs come out at a straight angle.

Now we come to the neck. I haven't ever played a neck this comfortable and I have owned Fenders, Gibsons, Yamahas and Squier guitars over the years. It has a soft "D" profile, with nicely inlaid mother of pearl style dot markers that shine at all angles. It is one piece maple with a satin finish and a rosewood fretboard. The frets appear to be a fraction slimmer than medium jumbo and have no harsh edges or finish problems. The nut is well finished and inlaid and would appear to be made of synthetic bone. The rosewood fingerboard didn't even need oiling when it arrived, but I did that anyway. The tuners feel like quality units and are set on a headstock that is a fraction larger and more rounded than the other Harley Benton that I purchased, (a TE-40), at the same time. They keep tune well once the strings are stretched in.

This guitar would be good value at three hundred euros, but at only a hundred and seventy five it offers excellent value for money. It is a no nonsense instrument that I would have no problem using as my main guitar and out plays anything I have come across at twice the price. It looks good, has a nice classic tone to it and plays like a dream. Also, having a three year Thomann warranty and excellent customer support means that if you do have any problems with it, they will be dealt with smoothly and efficiently.

It matches my Marshall amplifier perfectly.

Grab one now before Thomann realises what they have and raise the price.


I guess it's the only option at this price point.
MrSadman 05.10.2022
Why did I buy the guitar?
I was looking to get something with P90's. I liked the look of the guitar. The positive reviews and the cheap price sealed the deal.

The back of the guitar looks really nice with the translucent red and the wood grain. Back of the neck has a nice smooth finish.
The binding has black scratches on multiple locations, both on the f-holes and the body. Binding chipped at the neck pocket. The "flame" top looks nothing like it does on the pictures. If I didn't know better I would say it is a sticker/painted pattern, it does not look like a veneer. It just makes the guitar look ugly.

The tuners are already slipping. Tuners loose. The bridge is pretty good for this price point.

The pickups are really noisy for some reason but not as high output as other P90's. Only usable in middle position even if playing with a clean sound. The pot's are crackling. Pots mounted tilted so the buttons have scratched the finish. Pickup selector switch is damaged, needs to be replaced. The 1/4" input socket is somehow not to spec, the lead will stick out about 4mm when fully inserted. The neck pickup and socket loose with screw holes stripped. one neck pickup screw hole not deep enough.

Setup and feel out of the box:
Firs impression out of the box was a lot of fret buzz but relatively high action. Nut needs filing. Intonation was off, but easy to fix. Back of the neck felt nice, fret ends sticking out a lot more then I would expect. Strings rusted.

How does it play after a setup?
Once I started setting up the guitar I quickly found the reason for the high action combined with fret buzz. I can't even describe how uneven the frets are. Checking with a fret rocker and feeler gauges I can find several that are >0.5mm higher/lower then the next fret. Also uneven height from Low string to high string. Some of the frets are loose, but others are seated properly and still messed up. My regular luthier suggested a full refret as the cheapest option. And this is where I put the whole project on hold to think about it.

So I bought the guitar because of the P90's and the way it looks. The P90's lack the oomph of a traditional P90 and the guitar doesn't look anything like the pictures.
To make the guitar actually playable I would have to pay more then the price of the guitar to a luthier. To make it gig worthy I would also need to swap out the tuners and all of the electronics. And after all of that work it would still be an ugly guitar worth about 100€. Not worth the investment, I'm just gonna cut my losses and try and sell it to anyone willing to buy. But it does get 2 stars, because if you want a thinline T-type with P90's, there isn't anything else out there at this price point. Your next option is a Squier that costs more then double the price of this and has no binding and no flame top.
Maye I got a lemon, or maybe the quality has dropped in the last couple of years, I don't really know. As Ben Gibbard sang: "I hope you have more luck with this then me".


HB TE-90QM P90 Red quilt top - Absolutely Fabulous.
Jmleaf77 25.06.2019
Delivery to the UK in 3 days from order being placed.

Arrived in good condition.

For use in home studio/music room.

Inspection: serial number silk screened on back of headstock, made in Indonesia. No immediate problems noted, everything in good order. No sharp fret ends. However, the edges of the nut were a little rough/sharp, but easily smoothed over.

The book matching of the quilt top is a little off, about 3-5mm misaligned, but that's being picky, only noted on close inspection.
The finishing inside looks good, no paint bald patches. The binding around the f-holes and the body is smooth, no rough edges.

Looking at the back of the body it appears to be a 2 piece, maybe more, but it is hard to tell, the matching is very good. and at a quick glance it looks like a one piece. The Mahogany grain shows through the finish nicely, very even.

Playability - very good. Action a little high but good enough. Intonation spot on. Both pickups function well, switch and pots all working, no looseness, no problems. The neck has a smooth satin finish, very comfortable for my hands.

I've lowered the action to ~3/64 ths / ~1.2 mm @ 17th fret. No fret buzz at all, no choking out. Very good indeed. The bridge has no protruding screws and is very smooth and comfortable when playing. The truss rod works exceptionally well and is very sensitive to adjustments, presumably this is a feature of a dual-action truss rod. The allen key supplied wasn't the correct size, far too small, not sure what the correct size is, but I have many allen keys and the same one I use on my squiers and epiphone seems to work.

Stays in tune well. Machine heads/tuning pegs are smooth in use, no backlash.

In circuit measurement of pickups gave DCR Bridge PU ~10.2K, Neck PU ~7K which tallies well with Roswell specs for these pickups.

The bridge PU has a lot of push, and growls, very mid focused, perfect for a te style guitar, can twang very nicely too. Backing off the pots allows it's more nuanced balanced tones to come through. They're quite bright at full tone rotation, but that's better than being too dull. I would guess that the pots are 500K. Looking into the F-holes the pots appear to be larger than 16mm, possibly 20mm.

The Neck PU is warm and lush, perfect for smooth jazz, but has some twang when needed. There's a good balance between the two, so no adjustments needed to the pickup heights.

Acoustically it is only a little louder than a solid body. Good enough for some quiet practice.

***** for the setup and quality of this guitar. Truly amazing.


Superb value for money
Telecast 11.03.2020
I own an American Telecaster 1967 model and an American Stratocaster 1997 model. I had considered buying a Fender 'Thinline' Telecaster for its semi-hollow body and style. I was recommended to the Harley Benton range of guitars and found the TE-90QM Trans Red. I studied numerous reviews and decided to go for it. At £160 compared with what I would have paid for my first choice it appeared worth a gamble. I have to say I am totally impressed with my purchase.
Delivered with the normal speed and efficiency of Thomann's delivery service it arrived in almost pristine condition. It is a beautifully made instrument and the general finish is superb. The neck is so comfortable to play and no issues with the condition of the fretboard. The 2 Roswell P90S AlNiCo-5 vintage style single coils are excellent and give that sharp brightness coupled with warm mellow low ends.
There was a small issue with the tone knob which was mounted off centre. It was the plastic fitting inside the chrome knob that was out of alignment. If you take my advice I would recommend purchasing the Fender Stratocaster vintage Ivory Tone & Volume knobs, as they fit perfectly and really look the part matching the Ivory mounts of the P 90's and the Ivory finish of the binding on the body of the guitar.
I also had an issue with the guitar staying in tune. After attempting all the usual remedies I
decided to purchase the Harley Benton Locking Tuners. Again if you take my advice they fit perfectly 10mm is the size of the standard tuners so no drilling or modifying, simply take off the original standard tuners and in no time the new Locking tuners are fitted and they are excellent value well made hardware and the main thing is they work. I now have no tuning issues.
Overall a superb guitar for the most amazing price. I intend purchasing 2 more Hartley Benton guitars on the strength of my very staisfying experience