Harley Benton TE-90QM Trans Red


Electric Guitar

  • Chambered body: Mahogany
  • 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
  • Ex-factory stringing: .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 Roseacer
Tremolo None
Body Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Maple
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
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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.


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


As Beautiful As I Thought
Johnny Charles 15.01.2021
You can look at all the pictures in the world of this guitar and see all sorts of YouTube videos, but you really don't get an impact of how beautiful and well made this guitar is until you hold one in your hands.
If you're looking for that twangy Telecaster sound, it's there, but you have to work with your equipment a little to get it. The tone qualities of this guitar are wonderful but that's why it was designed the way it was. It has some really strong qualities for blues, jazz or fusion and even some mild acoustic qualities. Will it work for rock or country? Absolutely, with a small amount of work. But lets get into the actual guitar for a minute.
Cons: I would have given this guitar 5 stars if it wasn't for one minor issue. The fret ends are very sharp and protruding. I have a suspicion that the fretboard is very dry and needs some attention. So it's time to do some minor work to get it and those frets back to where they belong. There's some discrepancy as to the wood they used on the fretboard. Because they can't use rosewood anymore, they've gone to an alternative wood. The information on this particular guitar is mixed. In one portion of the description they say they used an exotic wood called Amaranth, but in another portion of the same description they say they use Roseacer. It would be nice to know because Roseacer which is a roasted maple sometimes has tendency to develop small splits, even though it's very rare. Amaranth, which goes under a number of different names depending on what part of the world you live in is a very hard exotic wood that is very stable and would be an excellent choice for a fretboard replacing Rosewood. Those are my only negatives about this gutar.
Pros: I have a number of high end guitars from Gibson, Fender, Martin, Schecter and a half dozen others. This guitar visually is absolutely stunning. When I first took it out of the box I was shocked at the finish of this instrument. The workmanship on the body and the neck is superb. The quilted maple finish may be just a veneer, but it is absolutely beautiful and beyond what I expected. When I first ordered the guitar I wasn't sure about the finish on the neck. I don't like neck finishes that are heavy on lacquer. The neck has a really nice satin finish that you can tell will age beautifully and only get better with time. Out of all of my guitars, no matter what the cost, this guitar has the best neck I have ever played.
Intonation, string height, fret leveling (other than fret ends) were perfect out of the box. All controls seem of good quality and work as they should.
The workmanship (other than the dark paint used inside the "F" holes) I have to say is superb.
If you're on the fence and need a push, I hope this review helps with your decision. The service from Thomann was excellent and I can guarantee you that you will never find an instrument of this quality for the ridiculously low price they are selling it for. Have fun!