Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit Single Cut

Electric Guitar Kit SC-Style

  • Complete DIY (Do it yourself) kit
  • Bolt-on neck
  • Solid wood body (wood colour may vary)
  • Arched top
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Amaranth
  • Trapezoid inlays
  • Double action truss rod
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Truss rod
  • Pickups: 2 Humbuckers
  • 2 Volume knobs and 2 tone knobs
  • 3-Way toggle switch
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Die-cast machine heads
  • Stringing: .009" - .042"
  • Finish: Natural

Note: A certain amount of craftsmanship is required for successful assembly.

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  • Blues
  • Metal
  • Metal 2
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Further Information

Colour Natural
Body Solid Wood
Top None
Neck Maple
Fretboard Amaranth
Frets 22
Scale 628 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo None
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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666 Customer Ratings:
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4.1 / 5.0
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461 written ratings Read all reviews
Total
features
sound
quality
Nice features, and some short-comings too
Johnny D, 22.07.2019
Harley Benton SC Guitar Kit.
This kit was purchased to review the quality, fit and finish of the Thomann HB kits, then to use the kit as a platform for and extreme modification project.

The kit arrived a few months ago, and has now been opened, reviewed and initial assembly completed.
Please keep in mind, this is a ± $92 US, guitar KIT, it is not a finished guitar and likely has a different QC process than does a finished guitar.
A few examples of QC would be attention to the fret ends, the fit of the neck plate, potential electronic wiring issues, and some discrepancies in the parts bags.

NECK & BODY:
In general, the body and neck are very well made for a "semi-raw" wood kit. The body has an initial sealer coating applied, it is a clear coating only to control the wood fibers slightly. It is not a filler, nor level coating, just a sealer of some sort.
The neck is coated with a satin finish, but is far more refined than the body. The neck could be used as delivered on a completed guitar. The body is rather rough, and should be refined through sanding and other sealer and finish methods.
The dual-action truss rod works well.

FRETBOARD & FRETS:
The fretboard and inlays look good and well manufactured, however it appears a final sanding set was skipped. The fretboard has a slight coarseness to the feel, like the final sanding was done with 100 grit material. The frets are reasonably well set, and this is the first HB guitar that I have seen some sort of glue used with the frets. The fret ends should be addressed before doing any assembly work on this kit, as the guitar I received will slice your hands to pieces. The jagged fret ends are everywhere, nearly every fret. The fret wire will also need to be cleaned, and polished. There is some fine gritty coating on the wire, with fretted notes or bends this coating, or film, will be evident.
When the frets are leveled, crowned and polished this issue will be moot.

TUNERS:
These are rather low quality items. The only reason I say this is because at least one of the 6 in my kit are bad. In general the others function well, there is some slop in the string post, but otherwise the tuning button shaft works well, except for that 1 tuner. The one bad tuner is bound up and will barely turn. I will be replacing the entire set of tuners.

PICKUPS:
The pickups are wax potted, and marked N, for neck, and B for bridge.
Both pickups have single, two wire leads which include the plug ends. The Neck pickup has a "white" sheathed lead, and the Bridge has a "black sheathed lead (on my kit). The Electronics have matching coloring - so it should go together intuitively - It should.

ELECTRONICS:
The supplied switch has a good positive feel and is prepped with Plug-n-play connectors. Of course the plug-n-play feature fails as the kit can easily be connected incorrectly. So, some shuffling of connectors may be required. This kit is likely intended for someone who may not have soldering equipment, and the presumed "ease" of plugging components together will likely help sales. I expect some purchasers to experience frustration if they connect the switch leads in the wrong pairing - they may get NO sound…
The pots volume and tone all function as they should, and once I swapped a couple connectors all components worked properly.
The wiring feeds easily threw the routed passages in the body. There is ample wire length on each component. In fact, there is almost too much wire included.

BRIDGE & STOP TAIL:
These are typical low cost TOM style bridge components. The quality is average, and some "repair" may be needed on the bridge. My bridge had an issue with the retainer springs that hold the saddle screws in place. 2 of the 4 springs needed to be removed, slightly bent to improve tension, and reassembled. Not a big deal, but the bridge would be a serious issue without this adjustment/repair.
This is not the first HB TOM bridge that I've had to adjust in this way, it seems to be a rather typical issue, but easily resolved.

VARIOUS HARDWARE & COMPONENTS:
As the kit comes, there are a few little bags containing all the bits and pieces. You should do an inventory of all the screws, washers and parts that you receive in the kit before beginning assembly. My kit arrived a couple washers short, but has a few extra trim screws.

FLAW:
Even for a $92 US kit, the biggest flaw I can't overlook is the poor fit of the neck mounting plate. At a glance it looks nice and appears to be contoured to match the cut of the body, but that is NOT the case.
It seems like it is the wrong neck plate for this guitar. The holes all align with the body and neck, the screws all seat properly, but the end of the plate doesn't follow the body shape. The neck plate protrudes beyond the body contour slightly, but obviously wrong.
Perhaps Thomann/Harley Benton changed a template at one time and this was overlooked, or the Mfg just shipped the wrong part, I don't know.
It works, but looks - wrong.

TAKEAWAY:
The overall collection of "parts" is pretty good, there are some flaws in the bits and pieces, but this is an affordable/ cheap kit. It is honestly better than any kit I've worked on at slightly higher prices. So, I have to give Thomann and HB credit for a good attempt, it's almost right.
This may not be a great kit for someone with NO tools or troubleshooting ability, but it can be turned into a decent guitar. It will just take some work.
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Total
features
sound
quality
Far better than I expected
jianwhite, 12.04.2017
I purchased this kit, as I wanted an LP style guitar for the tone produced for recording some backing tracks, but had a limited budget. The result really surprised me. The veneer on the body is thin, so use minimum pressure when sanding. The finish is amazing. I am into natural finishes and so after a light sanding, just used thin clear varnish applied with a cloth. The result is quite stunning. A natural butterscotch with a light catching grain. It literally reflects light on stage in places.

The electrics are wrong. If left unchanged, the tone pots do not work. Five minutes with a soldering iron chnging one wire on each tone pot to the correct lug cured the problem. The cure is detailed on several reviews, so I won't bore you with repeating it hear. Once done, the volume and tone controls work very well indeed.

The back of the neck, I left as it came. The fine smooth varnish finish is perfect to play.

The only other problem was the nut. It came with the high E slot cut too near the edge. A replacement for under 2 euros cured the problem and allowed me to file it to the ideal depth.

The Frets were surpisingly good. After fitting the new nut, I set the neck to Gibson Les Paul specs and it plays perfectly. No buzz, surpringly low action. Can't ask for more.

The pickups are very acceptable, producing the rich creamy sound I was specifically after on the neck pickup, with the tone pot turned fairly down and very capable of the typical LP scream on teh bridge pick up if required. Sustain is amazing. In my opinion, a far superior performer to the Vintage/Revelation LP copies that cost 3 times the price.

The bridge is an obvious copy. Typical of a Chinese ebay replacement. I was lucky with mine, it works and I have left it on.

If I add the price of the nut and a set of D'addario 10's strings to replace the ones that came with it. I got the bargain of the century for under 100 Euros. I have played live, recorded 7 songs with this guitar and a professional performer (an ex-guitarist from Mott The Hoople) asked me if it was for sale. It isn't!

The wiring, bridge and the nut brought the quality rating down to Okay for the price. The rest is good.

So in short, if you want a good LP copy and are willing to spend 5 minutes resoldering, maybe a new nut and reasonable time setting up the neck carefully. go for it, you will not be disappointed. I reckon I would have to pay at least £500 to buy a ready made of equal playability. In fact, it has turned out to be a far superior performer to the Gibson Studio.

I have been as honest and detailed as I can. I hope this helps you.
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