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Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit DC Style

Electric Guitar Kit DC StyleBody and neck are finished with a wood-sealer, which allows the surface to be sprayed with lacquer. If wood-stains appear, the surface may require to be re-sanded

  • Bolt-on neck
  • Solid wood body (wood colour may vary)
  • Neck: Maple
  • Double action truss rod
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Trapeze fretboard inlays
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • Truss rod
  • Pickup: 2 Humbucker
  • 2 Volume, 2 tone control
  • 3-Way toggle switch
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Die-cast machine heads
  • 009 - 042 Strings
  • Finish: Nature

A certain level of technical skill is needed for successful assembly

Further information

Colour Natural
Soundboard Solid Wood
Top None
Neck Maple
Fretboard Rosewood
Frets 22
Scale 628 mm
Pickup System HH
Tremolo None
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit DC Style
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Absolutely great kit (or at least I got really lucky with mine)

ZoltanP, 15.11.2014
The story of this kit goes from a start of worried concern to a finish of absolute amazement. Bear with me.

This is my third Harley Benton kit, after a very disappointing lefty Stratocaster and an acceptable rightly Telecaster. Upon opening the box, I was worried by the number of minor defects in the woodwork. Bits had chipped away notably at the edges of the joint between the rosewood fretboard and the maple neck, and the routing of the control cavities appeared very rough. But after machine sanding down the whole stuff and hand sanding the cavities, it looked much better, and at least the neck seemed to fit nicely although none too tightly into the pocket. Moreover, to my utter surprise and luck, the body seems to be one single piece of basswood.

Once I had done away with the factory applied wood sealer and sanded down the body as smooth as possible without fine luthier equipment, I hand applied several washes of water diluted acrylic paint for a faded red translucent finish that allows the grain of the wood to seem through. Then I used a matt black spray and masking tape to create logos and artwork on the body and the headstock. After that, I sprayed on 10 coats of satin varnish, followed by three top coats of shiny lacquer, sanded down and debuffed manually with three coats of car polish. Lastly I soaked the fretboard in two successive washes of lemon oil. With that, the body was good to go, and I was starting to sense that this would become a nice guitar after all. As it later turned out at the assembly stage, a couple of scratchplate screw holes were misplaced on the body -- had I noticed that before finishing the paintwork, I would have filled the wrong holes, but this way I just drilled new ones next to them.

Regarding the mechanics, hardware and the electronics, I can comment only partially on the contents of the kit: I kept the scratchplate, back cover plate and trussrod cover which were all neat and free from any blemishes, although I had to file down 1mm from the edge of the scratchplate on the neck side, otherwise the hole for the upper bridge post wouldn't align with the hole in the body. I also kept the tune-o-matic bridge, the stopbar tailpiece and their respective posts, which all look nicely chromed and well finished. However, I replaced the tuners with an absolutely excellent Grover style Kluson MG33N set also from Thomann (the fixing holes of which, at the back of the headstock, are differently placed from the factory ones, so again I was left with 6 unfilled holes and had to drill six new ones instead).

As for the electronics, I kept the 3-way selector and the jack socket, but the stock pick-ups, pots and caps were replaced by coil-splitting vintage extra hot humbuckers from GFS and 500K DPDT pots for more versatility. The control setup is actually identical to what you would find on an Epiphone LP PlusTop Pro. I also shielded both the front and the back control cavity with alufoil, including on the back of the scratchplate and back cover plate. Thus equiped and wired, the guitar was ready stringing, and this is where the amazement really hit me:

I threw on the same 9-42 set as I use on all my guitars and based on my experience with the Strato and Tele kits, I was prepared to spend at least half a day to try to get the harmonic setup to an acceptable balance. Indeed, on the other two kits, nothing is perfect, but everything could be adjusted to be just about alright. Well guess what, this time it turned out to be the exact opposite. In fact, adjusting the stopbar, the bridge, the saddles and the trussrod took me only 10 minutes and it got everything absolutely right: intonation is perfect on all six strings all along the neck, action is as low as on my Ibanez JS (!!!!) without any fretbuzz anywhere from nut to fret 22 even on bent strings, and sustain is mind-boggling.

It turns out that eventually this kit is one of my very best playing guitars, and with the electronic upgrades I made, it roars like thunderstorm. Actually, it compares extremely well even with my genuine full mahogany and set neck Gibson SG. So what went into this kit is definitely money very well spent! I may just build another one of these very soon.
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Surprisingly good!

04.01.2016
I bought this kit on a whim and was quite staggered how good the fit and finish was when it arrived, I had expected it to be a little more than firewood with some metal and plastic bits thrown in! How wrong I was!
Mine is the older style kit with the more trad SG shaped body and larger scratch plate which I prefer. The neck in particular is lovely, very smooth binding with no sharp edges on the frets.
Construction of the guitar is very quick and easy, probably less than an hour but getting a decent finish takes time. I finished mine using a water based walnut tinted varnish on the body and matt black paint on the front of the headstock (with a biGson anagrammed logo) with a clear polyurethane spray coat on top. I deliberately gave the body a few minor dents and left the clear coat a bit rough without polishing to give it an aged look which has been quite effective, I'm very pleased with it.
Once constructed I was surprised that very little set up was required, intonation was almost perfect and just a little raising of the bridge took care of a bit of string buzz around the 12th fret whilst retaining a good low action. So far I've only played the guitar through the software amps included in Garageband but have been thoroughly impressed by the overall sound, for such an inexpensive kit it's amazing! Very highly recommended.
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