Harley Benton HB-35Plus Vintage Burst

54 Customer Ratings:
  • 5
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  • 3
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  • 1
4.4 / 5.0
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My Best Harley Benton - so far
Johnny D, 13.01.2017
HB-35Plus Vintage Burst

Pros:
Price, Finish, Features, Fretboard, 3-way switch location, Output Jack location, Electric Sound, Frets

Neutral:
Frets, Acoustic Sound, Coil Tap feature , A few little blemishes, Strings

Cons:
Strings, Pick Guard

My 4th Harley Benton.
As always, ordering from Thomann?s website was easy and with Paypal convenience. The shipment took roughly 2 weeks from Germany to US/Florida (Christmas/New Year time).
The shipping box was damaged but, all items in the box were in good shape, no product damage!

Initial inspection was pleasing. The finish is very good on a product of this price. It is not perfect, but for this price it is better than I expected. The overall finish is smooth and nicely buffed to a high gloss. As for defects, only a few little specs in the clear, and a small blemish in the wood grain on the back of the guitar, roughly 1/2" long. Not really an issue for this price guitar, and it?s on the back.

The fretboard on this guitar is the best of the 4 Harley Benton's I now have. The fingerboard doesn't appear to have any stain coating as my other guitars had. The rosewood is natural, and has nice grain, however it appears a bit dry.
The block inlays are nicely cut and installed. They fit smoothly to the surface of the fingerboard.
The fret work on this guitar is good, but not finished. The frets appear to be raw fret wire pressed in an dressed on the ends only, but not finished beyond that point. They are clean and free of the crusty buildup my other HB's suffered from.
Sighting down the neck, there appears to be no offensively high, nor low frets, and a quick chromatic run up each string resulted no serious buzzing. I should mention this was done after the action was lowered.
As it arrived, the action was set very high, playable, but not ideal. I roughly lowered the bridge until some buzzing was noticeable, then raise the action ever so slightly.

The neck binding is very good as well, only one small area that is a bit rough between the frets. This can easily be smoothed off, so no real issue.

The strings are better than most I've received, but still not great. They don't feel rough or corroded, but lack brightness when played. I believe this inhibits the acoustic sound of the guitar out of the box. Better strings should make a noticeable difference.

The tuners are closed back, smooth and uniform in function and stay in tune (so far). They all appear to be well produced and bare no branding.

The pick guard - Every review I have read, seen or heard, has complained about the pick guard. I'm no different. It is poorly produced, irregularly-irregular shaped, rough-edged, makes the guitar look very cheap due to the rough unfinished appearance. Two screws and it is now off the guitar.

The coil tap (split) volume pots, cut the humbucker(s) to a single coil(s). As with my HB SC450Plus, I don't think the feature is as prominent as I had hoped, but it does work.

The f-holes are nicely cut and finished on this guitar, some wiring is visible through the f-hole, but of no concern.

The nut appears to be the standard HB plastic cast variety. The string spacing is fine, but may require the string slots to be opened up a little.

The pickups are Wilkinson covered humbuckers. The sound pretty good for stock pickups, especially at this price point.
As for sound, the pickups are fine for now, plugged in the guitars sounds very good (to me). Acoustically, the guitar is a little dull, probably the stings. Remember, it is a thin semi-hollow body as well, not a full bodied acoustic.

The output jack is in a location I prefer over an ES-335. The jack is placed through the wooden side. As it arrived, the jack is neatly installed and tight. I should also mention I like the location of the 3-way switch on this guitar over the 335. If you plan to add a tremolo (think Bigsby), the location of the switch on this guitar just seems better. It won?t be under the trem bar.

The strap buttons are very basic standard style, one at the end, the other on the back of the neck heel.

Recap.
The negatives are minor, a couple small spots in the finish, and a little rough spot on the neck binding in one area as well.
The frets are good, but need to be finished. It's playable, but could easily be much better.
The controls, pickups and tuners all work well, and for the price are quite nice.
This is the best finished Harley Benton I've purchased, it is also the most expensive Harley Benton I've purchased.

What really needs to be done to this guitar?
Finish crown and polish the frets, possibly adjust the neck relief, put on some new strings and check/set the intonation.
And, I might prefer a better 3-way switch. The stock switch works, but feels a little cheap.
Of course, this guitar can be played without any of these changes.

I'm giving it 5 stars because the few blemishes are of no concern on a guitar of this price. The frets aren't finished, but can easily be finished. Overall the total value of the guitar is greater than what it cost. A numerical rating would be 8/10, but the star scale it gets 5/5 for having everything, with minor finishing touches needed.

Please remember, this guitar costs just under $200, it's not $400, $500, $1000 or more. If you expect a $1000 guitar quality, then buy a $1500 guitar. Yep, you read that right.

With a little finishing, this is easily a $400 guitar, or more.
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Punching Way Above its Weight
Phil-Leeds-UK, 28.02.2018
I received my HB35Plus VB last week and was amazed at how good this is for 218 Euro. This was a birthday treat and I had promised myself an Epiphone ES 339 VS. I went into town a few days before buying this HB35Plus to test the ES 339 and was a little disappointed with it. The finish wasn't that good and there looked to be a growing crack where the neck meets the body. So I decided to think about it some more and subsequently decided to go for the slightly larger bodied HB35 Plus from Thomann who I had bought from before. I am so glad I did. I was prepared for it not being perfect out of the box, given some of the picky negatives we see about these. But I was so pleasantly surprised when it arrived. The figured top is beautiful, the sunburst is well sprayed on the front, back, and sides, there's no weeping into the cream binding - which is perfect by the way, even around the f holes. The neck is just perfect for my fretting hand and on the subject of frets, having made a guitar or two in my time, I can say that these are very well placed and finished both on the fret and on the bevelled edges. The inlays are attractive (as they should be - block is the easiest to inlay), the decals on the headstock are central and the generic tuning pegs seem sturdy and able to hold their position well. The HB35 could have been played straight out of the box after a little bit of string tuning, but I prefer a lower action so I adjusted it to suit me. Now I have what I would call a perfect guitar. The Roswell humbuckers combined with the 3-way pickup selector, the 2 tone control, and the push/pull coil split volume controls, work perfectly with my Vox AC30 and provide all the combinations I'm ever likely to need at the level I play. Crikey, even the pick guard is reasonably well cut on mine. Overall, I cannot fault this guitar. There's so much more here than the price point would suggest and I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone. I would also recommend Thomann. I ordered this late on Friday and it was delivered to my home the following Wednesday. This is the same excellent service I'd received when I bought my Epiphone EJ 200 CE from them.
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I love this guitar.
Tmc2019, 16.05.2019
Great guitar. I lowered the action (I like low action) on this and have about 3mm at the last fret. Had to level the frets for that low action (otherwise it did not need it). If you like low action and can do some work yourself, this is a great guitar. The only thing I might do in future is upgrade the pickups. I changed the tunners though. The stock ones were ok but with new tunners it brings the guitar to a much better state. Removed the pickguard (I thought it was ugly, but I dont like pick guards in general). I think Thomann should leave them in the box and whoever wants them can mount them. It would be great for us who hate them not to leave us with the 2 holes (not a big deal but why not). Finish on this one was perfect. I love it and I'm not getting rid of it ever. Thanks Thomann.
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The Harley Benton HB-35Plus Vintage Burst
08.07.2016
I recently reviewed my Cherry version of the HB-35Plus, and now I will talk about my Vintage Burst. Of course, some of the review will be quite similar, but there was a difference outside of cosmetic, which I will get too. On with the review?

As I mentioned on the Cherry, this shipment of guitars and pedal took only 7 days to get here. This is from Thomann, Germany?to the central US. (Missouri) I have ordered in-country things that have taken longer to receive?I can?t explain it, but I love the fact this got here so quick!

A lot of folks in the US worry about the condition of their shipment. I guess the travel takes a toll on some orders, and I even know of a few instances where guitars were damaged. Everything arrived in great shape. No complaints at all!

Now, let?s talk about the guitar?

The looks?well, what do you expect? It?s a beautiful guitar. I?m a sucker for sunburst/vintage-burst guitars. This is beautiful?BUT, I don?t know why, the Cherry one I ordered seems to catch my eye a bit more. Something about it, with the shape?just looks better. But that is totally opinion?and nothing more. This sucker is still beautiful.

The neck on the HB-35 is different than what I am used too. It?s a thick neck, but not particularly wide. With the exception of one guitar I own, which has a rather wide neck, everything I own has a much smaller neck. I?m getting used to this bigger neck rather quickly, and I do like it. Bending strings feels like waving a magic wand, and I love it.

One BIG difference between the Vintage Burst and Cherry from this order?. I mentioned how the cherry might need some work on the nut. The open strings stayed in tune. The higher notes stayed in tune?but for whatever reason, the Cherry had some problems with the D chord. It always sounded sharp. The vintage burst didn?t have this problem at all. In fact, the action was a bit lower, and I didn?t find one problem while playing. Even while jamming acoustic, the guitar sounded beautiful.

The switch/knobs/bridge/tuners all work great. I haven?t found one problem with any of it.

Lastly,the Pickups/Coil-split... I absolutely love the neck pickup. It nails that hollowbody blues tone that I want to solo with. For me, it?s magic. The bridge pickup is fine. It works for chords and I don?t have any problem with it. As for the single coils? it?s a bit thin for my taste. I did hear some strat like tones?but I don?t play a hollowbody for that. Still, that?s an opinion thing. You may absolutely love it!

Overall, this is an amazing guitar. It?s beautiful. It?s affordable. It feels solid. It?s worth the money and then some. If you are looking for a good hollowbody guitar, you need to try one of these before spending a fortune on a big name guitar? you may find this as the instrument you are looking for!
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Hidden Gem
Koz, 24.05.2017
Brilliant value and rapidly becoming one of my favourites.

Most of my guitars are basses. I already had a Fender Strat but I'd always wanted a 335 or something 335'ish. After seeing the video reviews of these HB35s I thought I'd take a chance on one.
I was not disappointed, she came out of the box playable and looked great; not counting THAT pick guard...
Finish is good and everything works. That sunburst is luscious.

Cons
Fret ends needed a little finishing; just slightly catchy here and there. Not horribly sharp.
To get her playing a little lower took a bit of fettling with the neck and the frets.
A little work brought her nearer the kind of spec one might expect to see on an American made guitar of this type.

Pick guard - that had to come off. Horrible shape, not well finished. After I was sure I would be keeping her, I remodelled the guard to take off that terrible horn and give it a more convention outline. I put a proper radius on the bottom end too. She looked good with no pick guard but now she just looks... right.

There was one little bit of transit damage.
One of the strings must have taken a knock in transit somewhere and was giving a curious buzz on just one fret. At first I thought it was a fret problem but upon magnified inspection I could see the dent was in the string. Thomann sorted that one with no fuss. Strings replaced.

Plays great, looks great. Tuning is stable. I'm very happy with her. going between her and my Strat, there is no feeling of a drop in quality or feel.
The pups are strong; I find they sound better when set lower rather than too close. Raising the poles (except the G and B) gives a brighter tone than just flat.
I put marvel strap locks on her just to be safe.

This experience has encouraged me to buy two more Harley Bentons; an SC-450 P90 GT (sweet) and a TE-70 Paisley (yet to get my hands on).

Somebody stop me !!! 8^)
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Buyer beware in states and still waiting
Dissapointed , 31.10.2017
Thomann shipped the wrong product because they mislabeled it. Sent email no response. So called them said they would look into it. No response so called again, asked to send pictures. Pictures sent and no response so called again. Asked to send guitar back unless costs more than 60 euros. Emailed cost would be 133 euros. No response so called them again. They said they will send someone to pick up guitar sol waiting for guitar to be picked up and receive guitar I ordered.
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mikelly, 10.10.2018
started playing in 1973.i play my H B more than my gibson
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Guitar of my dream
Exander, 11.06.2018
I can only appreciate the guitar as an amateur.
As for the appearance of this model - this is my childhood dream. If we talk about how the finish is done, then deficiencies are difficult to find. The only almost unnoticeable detail - when attaching the pickup, the screwdriver scratched the plastic cover.
The neck is comfortable, with well-treated frets. The feeling of the playing is very pleasant. When playing with finger style, solo notes stand out very well. The sound is clear, with good sustain.
I have not yet adjusted the intonation - it sounds good from the factory.
The height of the strings could be lowered slightly. When playing sitting with a guitar in position on the right knee there is a slight tendency to slide the guitar. The weight balancing is shifted to the right of the center of the instrument. But after a week of practice I was already used to it.
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Unbelievable value!
RicRig, 18.07.2017
This is probably my favorite guitar of all harley bentons, excellent quality for the price.

Appearance: I love the color and the flamed top is really beautiful, there are minor imperfections in the finish mainly on the neck binding that shows some tiny cracks, nothing problematic but a little disappointing.

Hardware: Pickups with good sound, medium gain, and with split coils which adds great versatility. Pots and switch work without problem. Reasonable bridge, not great, but it works. Tuners, I think it's the weakest part, maybe the best upgrade for this guitar.

Sound: Everything I was looking for, medium gain guitar with a warm sound... great sounds from jazz to rock.

Playability: It's a large sized guitar but relatively comfortable to play, has good access to the highest notes and is not too heavy.

Almost forgot, the pikguard ... humm I really do not understand why they put it on the guitar, it's a disgrace.

Overall it's a great guitar, almost fantastic ...
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Great guitar
Leo72, 08.04.2019
The guitar is great, the roswell pickups are good, I like the tone. A couple of pure cosmetic minus. 1) mine is almost black, so it looks like the back and the darkness of the color of the 3 tone sunburst is not consistent and far from the picture, that looks like a dark red. 2) The veneer is barely visible and 3) the knobs feel chip.
The neck work is great and the actiom was perfect for my style.
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a fantastic guitar for fantastic price
bstingrayz, 18.08.2018
Almost a Gibson ! for the price payed it's a GGREAT piece kit.I could say its a poor mans Gibson.It is guitar of your dreams
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This is my 3rd (and last) Harley Benton
24.09.2016
The quality is too hit and miss. Plus, from the USA, it is too much of a hassle to ship back and wait for a replacement. This HB-35 has considerable damage that was NOT caused by/during shipping. VERY POOR quality control. This guitar should have never left Germany. It sounds and plays decent but the cosmetic flaws and body/binding damage make it a NO WINNER.
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Great guitar
23.10.2016
I purchased this guitar after seeing it reviewed on YouTube. I wanted something different than my single coil guitars for playing rock and blues, and this just looked great. I went for this model over the standard HB35 because of the split coil option.
The tones that can be got from this guitar are great
The HB35 plus is a beautiful well finished guitar except for a few small things:
The pic guard is poorly cut but can be removed and the guitar looks great with or without it.
The bridge pick up is a bit weak Compared to the neck there is a bit of a tone drop, I got around this by balancing the two volumes.
The tuning heads could be a bit better quality, I wouldn't mind paying a few extra euros for this!
Anyway, I really enjoy playing this guitar and can't recommend it enough. It's well worth the money.
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Harley Benton HB-35Plus Vintage Burst

209 €
Free shipping incl. VAT
In stock within 5-6 weeks
In stock within 5-6 weeks

This item is expected back in stock soon and can then be shipped immediately.

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