Now I do wish HB would put ivory tuner knobs instead of those ugly green ones and I also would have liked to see the nut an ivory color instead of white so that it matched the binding but the green tuners were a blessing in disguise.
Both guitars arrived one day apart and Thomann is going to love this. I prefer the SC-550. It looks absolutely beautiful and with a little work, it plays beautiful. The sound is almost as good, the LP pickups being a bit more powerful but it is nothing for which the amp can't compensate.
Mind you the Gibson costs $1500 and it comes Pleked from the factory but has no locking tuners nor stainless frets. I disliked the green tuners on the HB-SC so much I installed chrome D'Addario PWAT-331L self trimming locking tuners . They cost $59 and you do have to drill out the headstock and fill 6 screw holes but no one but me can see that side and they looks beautiful compared to the stock green tuners. I also put on a new set of EXL110-3D strings and for a $369 investment and a bit of setup, I have a guitar that holds rock solid tune that I like better than the Gibson Les Paul. In fact, the LP is going up for sale because, as you may have deduced, having "Gibson" on the headstock means less to me than the value the HB-SC offers.
I have friends who said at Thomann's price on these guitars you have to expect to change a lot and put a lot into it to get it "playable", therefore turning the price into what you would pay for an Epiphone or LTD by the time you were done. Not the case here.
To keep this as short as possible, let me just say that the Desert Flame Burst had me speechless. I waited for the right time and got the right SC-550 in version 2. The guitar has stainless steel frets, Pau Ferro fretboard, your standard mahogany found in LP types, a chambered body but still has some LP heft to it, a 6mm maple cap with what appears to be a photo flame but who cares ... it takes your breath away. What I care about when it comes to a guitar is how does it look, how does it feel and how does it sound. This guitar looks, feels and sounds amazing! I must have said "Wow" 5 times before I put it down. The fretwork was spectacular, the cavity for the pots was neatly put together with full-size Alpha pots and Tesla pickups with 4 conductor wires.
This guitar truly makes Harley Benton its own respectable brand of guitar if many were not thinking so before. Actually more than respectable because I have some much higher-priced LP guitars that this guitar runs an extremely close second if not takes 1st place to me depending on the moment. I would say get one while they last. This is one of the best guitar purchases I have ever made. Outside of some minor setup to my preferred action and the pickup height adjustment, there was not a lot to do to get this guitar ready to play. And I pulled out tools to measure to a baseline, before I dialed in my preferences, that Gibson would use on their Les Pauls. Out of the box, this guitar fell within spec.
I'm still a little stunned by the quality and I have a friend who owns a guitar shop who was also a bit taken back by how nicely the guitar came in. Shipping was fast in it being about 6 days from order to at my door in the states from Germany. That is unbelievable in itself! I have to admit that I would purchase another HB if it were a PRS style with these features... or if I just wanted a different color SC-550 II. I would love if Harley Benton produced an Anaconda Green in this guitar. It would be in the basket now if they had one! There is really nothing bad to say about the guitar because it came in better in every way than some Epiphone, Gibson or Fender guitars. Thomann has hit it out of the park with this guitar. Everyone has something they would change on almost every guitar and for me with this one, it would be the pickups ... not because these are bad by any stretch of the imagination. Purely because I like Alnico 2s. That's it! If you have been thinking about getting this model, don't second guess yourself. Order it now! Cheers!
- Tesla pickups sounded great, ranging from clean to high gain tones.
- Beautiful flamed maple top
- headstock and fretboard inlays were stunning
- Overall setup was great, it played nicely straight out of the box
- Weight chambered which makes it comfortable to hold
- Upper fret access is great
- The color of the machine heads ( Not a big deal)
- Tuners are a bit jumpy sometimes (Mostly Low E)
- The pick up selector is a bit stiff to move and makes subtle squeaky noise ( This can be fixed with contact cleaner)
Additionally, i ran into a problem that prevented sound from bridge pickup. However Thomann support helped me solve this swiftly. It was a quick and easy solution that had something to do with the pickup selector.
Overall I am satisfied and i find myself picking this guitar up more than my other guitars. I would absolutely buy another one of these guitars. Definitely recommend this guitar. Great value!
Tbh this guitar is so nicely built it could easily cost ten times its price. The fretboard and neck are so comfy it is a players dream, from the stainless steel frets and the 60s style neck it honks its classic rock tone and is effortless to play.The tuners work very well and hold tune perfectly, the weight relieved body gives the guitar an 8lb 2 oz nice manageable feel ( due it weight relief) which straight out of the box feels at home on a shoulder strap. Resonance is excellent with sustain easily ringing out for a good thirty seconds when chorded, it’s tone exudes classic rock tracks of bygone years we all have become accustomed to and instantly recognise.
This is a professional instrument that sounds as good as it looks, and I honestly have no negative comments to say about. How Thomann have managed to produce such an instrument at such a reasonable price I don’t know. This is the fourth Harley Benton electric I own and it won’t be the last, I have an acoustic mahogany guitar coming tomorrow and I have full confidence in the Harley Benton brand, I can’t wait. Thanks Thomann for the great products and service you have provided me with yet again.
I think the description of the nut as "graphite" is in error. It was also badly cut and will probably need changing before I'm happy with it.
Great fret work
New pickups are fantastic
Badly cut nut
Nut material not as advertised