Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-15M

Steel String Guitar

  • Vintage solid series
  • Body shape: Auditorium 000-14 with dovetail construction
  • Top: Mahogany, solid
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Neck profile: Modified oval C
  • "Snowflake" inlays
  • Body binding made of wood
  • Scale: 643 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • 20 Frets
  • Nut: Bone
  • Compensated saddles made of bone
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Ovangkol scalloped X- bracing
  • Chrome machine heads die cast DLX
  • Strings: Daddario EXP-16 .012 - .053
  • Colour: Natural satin
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Sound samples

 
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  • Country
  • Picking
  • Strumming

Further information

Model 000
Top Mahogny
Back and Sides Mahogany
Cutaway No
Fretboard Ovangkol
Nut width in mm 43,00 mm
Frets 20
Pickup No
Colour Natural
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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123 customer ratings:
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4.8 / 5.0
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99 written ratings Read all reviews
Total
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Lovely, sweet well made guitar - just get one

S Harrison, 08.02.2018
Ok, first off I love this guitar.
In the early 90's I went into Andy's guitar shop, London, and tried a Martin 150th anniversary all mahogany 000-15 (or 00) and a '68 Gibson hummingbird. Both gorgeous guitars, the Martin was the 2nd best acoustic I've played (the best being a 60's Martin 00/000 made with Brazilian rosewood and spruce or cedar top). I loved it but it was £950, which I didn't have back then - to put that into context the '68 hummingbird was £100 cheaper. Fast forward to now and Martin had reissued the all mahogany 000-15s a few years ago, which I didn't realise - at a bargaintastic £1200. Post Brexit vote however and they are now £1500 or more, due to our devalued currency and exchange rate. So while I'm waiting for Sterling to improve, I got this Harley Benton version.
Straight out of the box, this guitar was in tune and immediately playable. I mean seriously playable. I immediately recognised the tone from that old Martin I tried. It doesn't have all the complex timbre of the Martin, or quite the sweetness of the notes - but It was instantly in that tonal family. I recognised the tone; not just that, it has warmth but also a surprising punch to it - out of the box it blew me away.

Set up, out of the box, is excellent. This is the first of my Harley Bentons to actually come with a set up card. It's really easy to play, excellent action. The strings sing out clearly and evenly (the Martin is probably a bit clearer) - it's really well balanced like that across the whole guitar, nothing jumping at you or hiding away. The intonation is pretty much spot on, across the fret board, straight out of the box. Impressively precise. Construction is simple and clean. No extra heavy bracing added by accountants worried about warranty periods (like certain acoustics have had). This is a really light guitar. The bracing is scalloped to reduce weight and allow the guitar to vibrate and resonate. And boy does it do that. A lovely warm, rich tone with it's own complexities and resonances and timbre - and plenty of punch if you drive it. This is so much lighter than my other acoustics (which are worth a good bit more). I can't remember playing a lighter one.

The one thing that surprised me a little was that mine is a little headstock heavy - no more so than my other acoustics but a lot of HB's a very well balanced this way - the old Martin sat perfectly balanced on my leg. To be fair - it's so light it would need a very light weight set of tuners to counterbalance that lovely resonant body. Also, I suspect the nut was cut for strings a gauge lighter - as this is strung with 12's and only needs 11's to drive it. A couple of the strings catch on it - but it's no biggy, a bit of graphite will probably fix it - the nut is well cut for the string heights - the tuners do their job well. The strings had also been bedded in properly - no tugging on them required.

Did I mention how good this guitar sounds, feels and plays?
I was hoping for a good guitar but was taken aback by it and by the set-up and the simple quality and precision of the construction (ok, the nut wasn't cut for this gauge of strings but I really don't care, the strings sound great on it and are surprisingly easy to play).
Mine looked pretty much like the pictures on the site - I thought it might have a closer grain but it sounds great (and looks great) and it will only get better. It already sounds like it's opened up so how good will it be when it does.

This will suit a variety of styles from quiet, introspective fingerstyle to punchy strumming and anything in between. I'm sure this will be a good recording guitar. (I'll be recording with it)
I have it in an open D tuning at the moment - it loves lower tunings.
Forget all the stuff about this being a good guitar for the money - this is a good guitar.
And an absolute bargain.
Get one - while they still can do them in mahogany.
(Makes me feel unfaithful but - my new go to acoustic)
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Total
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Can't go wrong with this one.

happy me, 09.08.2017
To be honest,I was aware that most "Custome Line" instruments are excellent value for money.
Cla-15m is no different.

1)Construction:What strikes you first is how light that guitar is.As a plus CLA-15m looks gorgeous.The bracing and finishing are almost flawless.No uneven frets.Tuners are REALLY good,something that doesn't normally happen with guitars of that price range.Not to talk about the SOLID wood top.That's even rarer for such an inexpensive instrument.

2)Playbality:A pretty thin neck,one of the most comfortable I've played.Action is not bad,but I ended up suiting it to fit my preferences by sanding around one mm off the saddle.Daddario Strings felt harsh on my fingers,so I replaced them with old good elixirs custom light.

3)Sound:It's rediculous how good that 170 euro guitar sounds.If I had to describe the sound,I'd call it dark (which I always look for) and woody with excellent string seperation and more emphasis on the middle frequencies.Of course it doesn't have have the complicated timbre of a Martin OO-15,but the Martin costs around 1500 dollars.

Overall:I own a dreadnaught three times more expensive than CLA-15m.Cla-15m makes my dread sound like a 30 dollar toy.
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Show variations of this product
Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-15M
(123)
Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-15M
to the product
169 €

Steel String Guitar Vintage solid series, Body shape: Auditorium 000-14 with dovetail construction, Top: Mahogany, solid, Body: Mahogany, Neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Ovangkol, Neck profile: Modified...

  • Model: 000
  • Top: Mahogny
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Cutaway: No
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Nut width in mm: 43,00 mm
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: No
  • Colour: Natural
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-16S
(22)
Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-16S
to the product
139 €

Steel-string Guitar Body style: Auditorium 000-14, Dovetail construction, Solid Sitka spruce top, Body: Mahogany, Neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Ovangkol, Modified oval C-neck profile, Pearl dot...

  • Model: 000
  • Top: massive spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Cutaway: No
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Nut width in mm: 43,00 mm
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: No
  • Colour: Natural
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
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The steel-strung acoustic guitar has a range of sounds that are unmistakeable and not easily replicated with any other type of guitar.
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The steel-strung acoustic guitar has a range of sounds that are unmistakeable and not easily replicated with any other type of guitar.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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