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!
Are Harley Benton Guitars Any Good?
In my experience, Harley Benton guitars offer remarkable value for their price. They can compete with much more expensive guitars from world-renowned brands.
You might wonder – How are Harley Bentons so cheap?
Well, it’s because they’re an in-house brand of Thomman, which is a large distributor. They don’t incur any additional costs for shipping, marketing, or production.
Thomann outsources production in bulk to factories in countries like China and Indonesia. There are no middlemen involved, which saves up on a lot of markup fees and commissions.
I’d also like to point out that the cost isn’t reflective of the quality. HBs are some of the most bang-for-your-buck guitars out there in terms of overall quality and sound.
My Personal Experience With Harley Benton
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 such a low price.
So, you 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. No way 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
|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
Any Harley Benton probably 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 definitely feel like a guitar costing 3 times more.
Even some people 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 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
|Lower-range models definitely come with sharp fret edges
|Sadly, it’s the same for acoustics
|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 may 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 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.
Are Harley Benton Guitars Made Exclusively for Beginners?
Let’s put it this way: Harley Bentons are pretty remarkable guitars for a beginner.
Actually, I really wish I had one of these when I started playing guitar.
But don’t let the incredibly affordable price tag lead you into thinking that they can’t 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.
Are Cheap Harley Benton Guitars Good?
Yes, most cheap Harley Benton guitars offer an incredible bang for your buck. They are cheap because there are no middlemen and advertisement costs involved.
I’m Pranshu. I’ve been a passionate guitarist, keyboardist, and music producer ever since I got my hands on a keyboard as a small child.
With Harmonyvine, my goal is to share tips and knowledge about music and gear with you. I also enjoy recording music and guitar covers, which you can check out on my Instagram page.