Harley Benton BigTone Trem Vintage Orange

Electric Guitar

  • Build: Hollow body
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck: Canadian maple
  • Fretboard: Amaranth
  • Block inlays
  • Binding on body, neck and headstock
  • 20 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • Pickup: 2 Deluxe Alnico double coil humbuckers
  • 3-Way toggle switch
  • 3 Volume knobs and 1 tone knob
  • Deluxe chrome hardware
  • Tune-o-matic roller bridge with "floating" ovangkol base
  • 50s B-Style Deluxe tremolo system
  • Transparent acrylic pickguard
  • Deluxe die-cast Imperial Style machine heads
  • Ex-factory stringing: Daddario EJ21 .012 - .052
  • Colour: Vintage orange high gloss
  • Suitable case: Article no. 122212 (not included)
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Audio Examples

 
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  • Blues
  • Indie
  • Jazz
  • Rockabilly

Further Information

Colour Orange
Soundboard Maple
Top Maple
Neck Maple
Frets 20
Scale 648 mm
Pickup System HH
Tremolo Bigsby Style
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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80 Customer Ratings:
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4.5 /5
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very, very good guitar but... not for beginners
11.10.2016
I've never bought a guitar by simply clicking on internet page (till now, as I bought two guitars this way within a month). So I was a little sceptical about outcome. After 40 years of playing guitars I had and still have eight guitars in my 'herd' and each one of them was purchased in shop or second hand but also tested before. Nevertheless I risked and ordered this rockabilly beauty without trying it. Out of box and at first glance it looked really awesome piece of instrument but I was also prepared that it might be necessary to tune this instrument to my desires and style of playing . By reading other customer's reviews I recognized that tremolo system doesn't meet expectations and I doubted that the choice of the correct strings that come with guitar is D'Addario .12-.56.
So, here are CONS : (out of box)
-tremolo system is inappropriate. It has front bar that shouldn't be there because strings that run under it cause too much pressure on the bridge,
-action is too high,
-as I mentioned before original strings are more like heavy cables (as far as I'm concern),
- it was impossible to turn one of pots (I already thought about returning shipment),
-there was still some scrap wood inside body and hardware is lacking of finesse (it does not affect the sound)
And now to the brighter side and PROS :
-first con is easy to avoid. Just restring and lead strings above unnecessary bar. This will release tension on the bridge and also give you feel of smoother bigsbish style tremolo. It is unnecessary to pull out the bar as I saw in some video, just leave it alone and guitar will retain its beautiful appearance.
-to setup action I changed strings to obviously better and suitable set of .10-.46 (same manufacturer) and then with Tune-o-matic bridge set action as I prefer (very low). Of course I checked before that that neck is perfectly straight. It was.
-Trouble with the pot mentioned above was also easily solved. I examined it closely and found out that the knob was to close to the body plate and it was jammed. So I unscrewed it and positioned it appropriately.
-For scrap wood I used vacuum cleaner.
After this procedures it turns out that this is very good guitar with nice variety of tones, from jazzy and blues to rockabilly sound. It also have nice and expected sustain, (anyway ; with pedals you can easily change sound as you like, or you can change pickups for some expensive ones, BUT?this guitar, as it is, offers so much for really moderate money). For me the most important features are: comfortable neck, the possibility of low action and 100% accuracy which is, I think, enabled also due to floating bridge and smooth tuners. As I read in some forums many guitarists have problems with positioning floating bridge. With this guitar tuning is very simple and accuracy on 12th fret is easily achieved and guitar stays tuned for days.
Final opinion : Very, very good rockabilly guitar for moderate price. Not for beginners but for someone with at least a little understanding and knowledge in customizing guitar.
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BigTone Vintage Orange
19.12.2016
Firstly I must confess this guitar was a complete impulse buy. I had wanted a HB35-Plus but that was out of stock at the time and I as I was offered a Hofner Very Thin in perfect condition fairly cheaply I bought that instead. But while I had been on the HB site I spotted the Big Tone, and was very impressed. So I ordered it on a Tuesday and it arrived in the UK on Thursday night. I was delivered to me on Monday morning, and I believe if I had ordered it on Monday it would have been delivered on Friday. So well done Harley Benton - your sales process is great! I have waited longer for internet sales here in the UK.

The guitar was very well packed and protected and when I unpacked the Big Tone it looked wonderful - far better in real life than the pictures on the HB site. The first thing I noticed is it's weight, - it feels as heavy as any solid body guitar that I own. The size was another surprise. It's slightly larger than my Dreadnought acoustic and just as deep, (8.5cms). So I don't think standing up playing this guitar is a good idea.

I carefully checked it over and the only imperfection I could find in the body was a 5mm x 3mm brown spot on the heel of the neck but I really don't mind that. It is unnoticable and I look at it as an identification mark if it ever gets stolen. There wasn't any glue or globs of varnish and the binding looked good so I was very happy with the finish of the guitar. As a previous review mentioned some residue wood shavings and dust inside the body, I checked it by vigorously shaking it but there was nothing to be found.

The machine heads are pretty good. They have a good feel and can be finely moved to get perfect tuning. The design of the tuners are a bit sharp on the fingers but they suit the vintage look of the guitar perfectly, in fact they look very similar to some other jazz boxes I have seen. So they will stay and not be swapped.

The strings were set low and the neck was straight so I had no setting up to do there. I was almost in tune as well. The only worry I had was the floating bridge and the Bigsby style vibrato. If anyone has seen the YouTube reviews of the Big tone you will see there is a reported problem with the floating bridge leaning under the strain when using the Bigsby. I've never used a Bigsby before but after a few tries of it I never saw the bridge move at all. In fact I have had the guitar for a week now and have never seen the bridge move at all when using the vibrato. I'm not sure if this only happened on a few guitars or if it was a general problem that has been cured, but my guitar's bridge stays where it should.

The only problem I found was that the strings on the fret board were not centred and the high E was too close to the edge. This was easily remedied by moving the floating bridge slightly to realign the strings.

After reading about and seeing the bridge problems, and whilst I was relieved at the stability of the bridge on my guitar, I did change the arrangement of the strings. I moved the strings from under the forward tension bar of the Bigsby to run over it. I don't believe it hasn't affected the tone at all, or the vibrato effect, and it does takes the perceived strain off the top of the guitar and the bridge. However I may change it back at the next string change to see if there really isn't a tonal difference.

When I read the reviews before buying the Big Tone there was mention of 'cable' like strings being changed to lighter strings. I must admit I found them a bit thick on the fingers and found my finger tips hurting after the first day of playing. I changed them to 10's but found I didn't like the tone much so I have changed them back to the original 12's. The 12's make the guitar more mellow sounding and the 10's were a bit jangly. So I will use the 12's from now on as the sound suits the guitar very well.

The intonation was slightly out so, (with the help of a 'how to' video on YouTube), I moved the bridge back about 5mm. I intonated the high E and the Low E and after checking the rest of the strings found them to be absolutely spot-on. I didn't need to even move screws to move the rollers on the bridge, which makes me think the guitar had been set up before leaving the warehouse. The intonation on this guitar is about as accurate as it is possible to get and is better than I have acheived on many other guitars I own.

Now, I don't think I'm a particularly good guitarist so I don't mind saying I feel completely out-classed by the Big Tone. It craves picking individual strings, (and fast), which is something I have always been weak on. However it makes me want to play it and it is also great fun to play. It looks fantastic and sounds great. The Alnico pick-ups perform well and produce a wide range of tones. They may get changed in the distant future but certainly not in the near future. I experience some feedback when I sit too close to the amp but not a great deal so the moral is either not to sit too close and don't use gain on the amp. The control knobs also turned smoothly and were fairly accurate in as much they reduce and increase the tone and volume with a regular 'fall off'.

To sum up, this is a very good guitar at a very good price. It is well built I comes with a guarantee so if you are not happy, it can be returned. It is well built, sounds great and it occupies a niche in the guitar market. So if you are a jazz / rockabilly / blues guitarist or you just want something different at a price far lower than the Gretch it is modelled on try a Big Orange Big Tone. I'm sure you won't be disappointed and you may even be surprised.
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Does it rockabilly?
NatrelAcoustix, 29.05.2017
In one word 'yes' this guitar does rockabilly. Put a bit of slap back echo and reverb on it and you can easily recreate the tone of a Gretsch 6120 or 5120, Brian Setzer, I'm not; but I can get a damn good stray cat strut sound out of the big tone. Check out my YouTube video (Harley Benton 'Big Tone' Will it rockabilly?)
Thomann were their usual efficient and great selves with dispatch. And delivery was extremely fast. Ordered on a Tuesday. Delivered Friday morning (UK). It was playable out of the box, but......... And this is a big BUT. In all the time the big tone has been available, and it has been in and out of stock over the last year, giving Thomann/Harley Benton a chance to address issues. Nobody has addressed the issue of the damn (Chinese Bigsby) tailpiece. For cryin' out loud! It's the wrong one! This unit is for solid bodied guitars with a direct to body tune-a-matic style bridge. NOT a wooden floating bridge. The break angle and pressure on the bridge is ridiculous. This is easily fixed by not using the retaining bar, but just coming straight off the the stringing bar at the back of the unit. But why the hell should you have to fix this? It can't be any more expensive to put the correct unit on, can it? It would have less part's and, be smaller. Plus, then, the big tone would be a stunning player as well as a looker. There was so much pressure on my bridge that the adjustment posts on the the roller bridge were bent. Eventually I will have to replace the whole unit because, I'm guessing, just like most Harley Benton's, I won't be able to find the replacement parts to fit the HB stock bridge.
Please Thomann, for future purchaser's of the big tone; sort this out. Surely you have a liaison with the manufacturer? Who's the brain dead moron who keeps passing this as correct? Sorry, I really didn't want to be insulting, but anyone who knows this style of guitar knows this is a total NO! Would I buy another?........... Yep! No brainer. Even with the F up on the tail piece. Why? Well It is an easy fix (And NO! The buyer shouldn't have to do this) and price. A hell of a lot of instrument at this price point. The rest of it is exceptionally well constructed and finish, on mine, was perfect. For the price...... What are you all waiting for?........ Oh yeah........ Thomann! sort that bloody tail piece out!

Only gets 3 stars for features.... Guess why!
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A beautiful looking guitar, and a blast to play!
24.03.2015
I'm writing this review whilst looking at a BigTone Vintage Orange hanging on my wall. It's a really beautiful instrument, every bit as nice as the product photos promise.

Quality of finish is very good - the orange lacquer, binding and inlays look great. There were a couple of cosmetic issues with my guitar, but nothing that required a return. As with most guitars at this price point, you?ll need to spend money or time on a full setup when you receive it.

Hardware quality is excellent. I might upgrade the pickups for some additional ?twang? in the future, but the stock ones are capable of a wide range of tones. If you?re looking for warm jazz tones, you won?t be disappointed.

Personally, I think the guitar looks more classy without the scratchplate. It?s an odd size and doesn?t serve any purpose as the strings are so high. The two tiny holes left after removing the scratchplate are easily disguised - pop in a couple of flat-head panel pins, and it looks fantastic.

As far as playability goes, this beast takes some getting used to, especially if you mainly play modern solid body guitars.

First, this guitar is massive! The lower bout is 16? and the body is 3.5? deep. For me, this makes the BigTone strictly a 'sitting down' guitar. The tremolo works smoothly, and feels like wrestling a boat anchor in comparison to a modern tremolo. But, these are not criticisms - rather, all part of the vintage charm that makes this an extremely entertaining instrument to play.

You will get terrible feedback if you try using high gain amp settings. That's down to the hollow body construction. And it really is hollow! Other than a 2?x1? support post under the bridge, the body contains only air. There's no centre block, no bracing of any kind. Solution? Don't use high gain settings. This is a guitar for jazz, vintage Chet Atkins picking, perhaps a little Duane Eddy and a dash of Stray Cats. High gain has no home here.

Last, there's that vintage style bridge and tremolo. I think the design is lacking here. The tension bar pulls the strings close to the body, and the bridge is very high. This create a steep string angle, putting lots of stress on the poor bridge - a fragile wee thing consisting of a loose strip of wood with two threaded metal posts and the roller bridge on top. The end result? The bridge slides around when you use the trem, and you can see the fragile bridge support posts straining under the load.

My solution was to raise the tension bar by 6mm with metal washers under the tremolo body (at the two screw points). This eases the string angle and reduces stress on the bridge. I can now intonate the bridge properly, and abuse the tremolo without anything moving around. Hopefully I've increased the life expectancy of the fragile little bridge too.

Bottom line? If you?re looking for a big vintage hit of orange & chrome guitar lovelyness for not much money, look no further. I absolutely love it.
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Colour: Orange
Harley Benton BigTone Trem Vintage Orange
(80)
Harley Benton BigTone Trem Vintage Orange

Electric Guitar Build: Hollow body, Body: Maple, Neck: Canadian maple, Fretboard: Amaranth, Block inlays, Binding on body, neck and headstock, 20 Frets, Scale: 648 mm, Nut width: 43 mm, Pickup: 2...

  • Colour: Orange
  • Soundboard: Maple
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Frets: 20
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickup System: HH
  • Tremolo: Bigsby Style
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
Harley Benton BigTone Trem White
(100)
Harley Benton BigTone Trem White

Electric Guitar Build: Hollow body, Body: Maple, Neck: Canadian maple, Fretboard: Amaranth, Block fretboard inlays, Binding on body, neck and headstock, 20 Frets, Scale: 648 mm, Nut width: 43 mm,...

  • Colour: White
  • Soundboard: Maple
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Frets: 20
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickup System: HH
  • Tremolo: Bigsby Style
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
£239
Free shipping incl. VAT
In stock within 4-5 weeks
In stock within 4-5 weeks

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

Standard Delivery Times
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