Most Harley Bentons are excellent guitars, especially their higher range models, which by the way still have mid-range prices.
Some of their models come with features found only in professional range guitars, such as stainless steel frets, locking tuners, and coil-split wiring.
In this post, I’ll share some of my personal experiences with Harley Benton guitars, and put down the positives and negatives so you can decide if they’re right for you.
If you have questions like:
- Are Harley Benton guitars good?
- Where are Harley Benton guitars made?
- How and where can I buy one?
Read the post till the end!
My Personal Experience With Harley Bentons
To be honest, I did have high expectations before playing a Harley Benton.
I read every review before playing them and was super hyped to know what they’ve achieved for that kind of low price.
So, I can say I was a little biased even before playing them.
I had the opportunity to play the SC-DLX Gotoh in Daphne Blue and the CLD-15MCE Solid Wood in Natural Matte on the same day.
Both looked and felt so good that I felt they exceeded my expectations, I just couldn’t believe they were so cheap.
After quite some time I played a lower range ST-20HSS in Satin Black, and it felt just ok but still better than most guitars at that price point.
Here’s a table for you to know the key features of Harley Benton electric and acoustic guitars:
|Harley Benton Electric Guitars||Harley Benton Acoustic Guitars|
|They’re starting to get into the professional electric guitar game||Their acoustic models are beginning to get known as well|
|Most higher-end humbucker-equipped electrics come with coil-split circuit||Most higher-end acoustics come with a bone nut|
|Every electric is solid wood made, and they have models with roasted maple necks and fingerboards too||Even cheaper acoustics have solid wood construction|
|Roswell pickups are a pretty decent sounding||Most acoustic-electric models come with Fishman electronics|
|Cheaper models form a solid upgrading platform||Easily upgradable|
|Counts with a high variety of models, including some rare ones, like a Bass VI inspired or a headless guitar||The range of acoustic models is quite impressive|
|Slowly building their arsenal of original guitar designs||Outstanding natural finishes|
It’s very probable that any Harley Benton needs to be set up to your taste after arriving from the store.
But once done, and if it’s one of their deluxe models, it’ll feel definitely like a guitar costing 3 times more.
Even there are people that compare them with guitars costing 5 and 6 times more.
Their “Modern C” neck shape feels thin and fast, but also fits perfectly for rhythm playing. And the “Oval C” acoustic guitar neck shape is what you’d expect it to be, girthy enough but fast and soft.
Their Gibson-inspired models come with a 24.75” scale length, just like the original designs, and they feel as comfortable as you want them to be.
Talking of which, there are people who’d absolutely prefer a Harley Benton over an Epiphone, but that’s a potentially risky topic we might cover in another article.
Hardware and Electronics
Harley Benton Guitars build their own parts most of the time, which include good-quality locking tuners, electronics, and bridges.
They even sell these parts individually.
Most Harley Benton hardware parts feel solid and consistently do their job with no letdowns.
They put Roswell pickups in most of their models, which are made in Korea.
What most people ignore is that Roswell makes pickups for other big-name brands like ESP and even some Fenders.
They wired the coil-split mode in almost every Roswell humbucker-equipped guitar they sell. And it sounds very usable in real-life situations, quite frankly.
Value for Money
It’s totally fair to say that every Harley Benton guitar, electric or acoustic, has an extremely favorable value for the money ratio.
This is the key point that’s making Harley Benton the king of value for money over every other brand out there.
Also, it’s easier to imagine taking your Harley Benton to places or situations where you’d never get your Gibson or Fender.
Of course, I can’t promise you won’t feel some pain if they get damaged in any way. But at least you won’t be witnessing the death of a $3000 Gibson or Martin.
Although they’re pretty inexpensive, they feel like the real deal, and your hands will tell you they’re valuable.
It would be misleading to say there aren’t flaws in Harley Benton guitars.
Take a look at this:
|Harley Benton Electric Guitars||Harley Benton Acoustic Guitars|
|They usually get qualified as guitar copies||Sadly it’s the same for acoustics|
|Their lower range guitars may come with loose electronics||Their cheaper models usually lack the precision of detail in the fit and finish|
|Several people don’t like that some maple necks come with natural stains||Some fretboards are composite wood|
|Hollow-body models come with noticeable issues on the holes finish, and also cables showing up on them||The acoustic-electric models that don’t come with Fishman transducers aren’t that good usually|
|Peripheral parts such as strap buttons, screws, and string trees are low quality||Stock strings typically leave a lot to be desired|
|Lower range models definitely come with sharp fret edges||Lower range acoustics suffer the same issue|
|Guitarists around the world still don’t trust them to be good enough quality||They still aren’t that well-known. Most people think Harley Benton only makes electrics|
As is to expect there are a few imperfections here and there across all Harley Benton ranges and models.
Most of their lower-range electric and acoustic guitars will need a fret job.
Also, it’s common to expect some paint and finish imperfections in all ranges in some cases.
Their low-range hollow-body guitars come with some unanticipated finish issues. This includes holes being poorly finished and the cables being all over the place, showing the pickup cables through the holes.
Identity in Development
Most guitarists still perceive Harley Benton as a manufacturer of guitar copies, and we could say that it isn’t exactly inaccurate.
I mean, they have been producing guitars based primarily on Gibson and Fender models for years now!
And their delay in creating and producing their own designs and improvements has brought them into this difficult position.
But, I’ve seen their efforts in getting out of there by making models based on YouTuber’s specifications, for example, the Agufish LTD Signature. Also, by building guitars designed from the ground up, just like the beautiful Aeolus model.
So, we have to wait for a little while to see the payoff of these efforts.
Conclusion: Are Harley Benton Guitars Good?
Harley Benton is a brand that aims to become a full-fletched musical instruments and audio equipment maker.
They’re slowly but consistently getting their product quality to match the heights of the American brand names.
It’s totally understandable that acoustic and electric guitars made at this price point will come with some factory issues.
But nevertheless, Harley Benton’s results speak for themselves in the beautiful and enjoyable guitars they’ve achieved to make for us.
Where Are Harley Benton Guitars Made?
Harley Benton guitars are primordially made in China, Indonesia and Vietnam. They have logistics that include more than 20 factories constantly working in conjunction.
In this last decade, these three countries have exponentially improved their reputation in the guitar-making world.
The fact that they make perfect stainless steel fretboards and roasted maple necks prove it tremendously.
We are slowly getting to the point where the geographical location of any given guitar factory is getting less and less defining to the final result of the guitar made.
Why Can I Only Find Them at Thomann.de?
Thomann.de is the largest musical instrument and audio equipment store in the whole European continent.
Harley Benton is actually Thomann’s in-house brand. That’s the reason why you’ll find them only at Thomann.de.
They started by only making guitars, but they now produce basses, guitar amps, digital multi-effects & analog pedals, and the list continues.
Why Are Harley Benton Guitars so Affordable?
Thomann makes almost all their Harley Benton products, and also doesn’t pay that much in shipping or base materials.
They do almost no marketing for them either, and are their own supplier/dealer, so, they don’t buy the products to re-sell them.
Of course, being made in countries with less costly workmanship is a huge factor in keeping the cost low.
All this in conjunction gives them the incredible ability to lower their prices at a level that’s really hard to believe… but easy to appreciate!
Are Harley Benton Guitars Made Exclusively for Beginners?
What I can say is that you can be sure that a beginner will be more than pleased with a Harley Benton.
Actually, I really wish I had one of these when I started playing guitar.
But this doesn’t end here. The fact that these guitars are so amazingly affordable has misled most people to the point where they think that they cannot compete with professional-grade guitars.
The reality is that some Harley Benton models, such as the ones in the Pro and the Deluxe series are definitely as good in terms of overall quality as brand name guitars priced at $1000 and up.
3 thoughts on “Are Harley Benton Guitars Good? (Before You Buy!)”
This is a very interesting article. I own Fender and Gibson guitars. I got my first Harley Benton for my 64th birthday. It’s a TE-62. It’s an amazing guitar. These guitars are of outstanding quality. I would say they are on par with the Classic Vibe fenders. I just bought 2 more, a ’62 deluxe Strat style, and a ’72 Deluxe Tele. Awesome guitars!
Hi Ron! Glad to know you had an awesome experience with Harley Benton guitars.
I agree with you. These are great quality instruments and comparable to some of the top-tier brands out there.
Bought a Strat style HB from a young man that didn’t like it.
Needed fret work, I fixed it, it plays like butter!!! With my various Amps and pedals, sounds ALMOST as good as my Fender ’05 Blackie Clapton Strat which was $3500 from the Custom Shop.
Just ordered the Tele Thinline version, can’t wait to play it.
For $250, it’s worth a chance.