Harley Benton CST-24HB TOL Tobacco Flame

Electric Guitar

  • Chambered body: Mahogany
  • Top: Flamed maple
  • Set-in neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Jatoba
  • Neck profile: C
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • 24 Medium frets
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Ivory-coloured body binding
  • Fretboard inlays: "Tree of Life" mother-of-pearl
  • Graphite nut
  • Pickup: 2 Roswell LAF AlNiCo-5 humbuckers
  • 3-Way switch
  • Controls: Master volume, master tone with push/pull function for coil split
  • Deluxe chrome hardware
  • Wrap Around bridge
  • Deluxe die-cast machine heads
  • Ex-factory stringing: D'Addario EXL-110 .010 - .046
  • Colour: Tobacco Sunburst high gloss
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Audio Examples

 
0:00
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Rock
  • Indie

Further Information

Colour Sunburst
Body Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Mahogany
Fretboard Jatoba
Frets 24
Scale 635 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No

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105 Customer Ratings:
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.5 /5
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
Total
features
sound
quality
Embarrassingly Good
Lestercaster, 13.05.2020
Judging by my 3/2020 purchase, this is a great value, and a beautifully built instrument. Of the 4–5 semihollow guitars I've owned, this is the only one I've really loved, and wanted to play all the time.

Like the U.S.-made guitar that inspired it, it has nice acoustic chime, especially on chords, but also enough sustain on single-note lines to satisfy a solidbody player like me. Just don't expect this comfortable, compact body to sound as deep as a larger, more cumbersome ES-335–style guitar.

A few details I couldn't verify from other reviews: The top is nicely arched (not beveled), with arched fingers extending to the horns. The flame-maple veneer on my copy is almost bookmatched. The mahogany back also has some nice figuring under the deep stain, also almost bookmatched.

It looks like a 2-piece back, and I assume that both the back and the maple top are solid/carved wood. From another review, I learned that the center block and the mahogany rims are separate pieces of wood. So this is assembled like a 335, but (presumably) from solid wood pieces.

The neck is 3 pieces of mahogany, joined lengthwise, and stamped "Made in Vietnam." Given those details, and the improved quality control this copy suggests, I'm guessing that Thomann is now building them in the same Vietnamese factory that ESP uses for its LTD range. (I've played 5–6 EC-256's, including the one I own, and the build quality has been beautifully consistent across all of them.)

Unlike some reviews I've seen of earlier builds, the tree-of-life inlays on my copy are perfectly cut. They offer just stunning decoration and workmanship, especially this price. The only downside is that the jatoba fretboard is inherently duller in color than rosewood, so the inlays have less contrast here than they would have against rosewood. (Rosewood is finally exempted from CITES export restrictions, so maybe Thomann will switch to rosewood some day?)

The splittable Roswell LAF pickups are very high-quality for this price range. They're voiced for Les Pauls – so candidly, they don't sound as optimal on this semihollow as on my Harley Benton SC-450Plus (where they really shine). But they sound good enough that most purchasers will have no reason to replace them. The single-coil tones are surprisingly robust and viable, with a bit of gain. As with my SC-450Plus, this guitar's setup was perfect right out of the box.

The only problem with my copy was that the D string arrived buzzing like a sitar, along its entire length. Even the open string buzzed – which implied an incompletely cut slot at the wraparound bridge. Which is odd, because Thomann presumably inspected my B-Stock (returned) guitar before reselling it to me, yet somehow missed this.

Thomann says they've shipped me a replacement bridge, which is taking forever to arrive in the U.S. (As an alternative, they also offered to reimburse me for a repair by my luthier.) In the meantime, I've basically removed the buzz by deepening the bridge slot with a nail file.

A couple of final tips: The bridge's fixed intonation sounds fine, but you can buy a fully adjustable 6-saddle wraparound bridge at quite low cost. (The stock bridge appears to be a Wilkinson, and you can find Wilkinson as well as no-name options.) Also, if you buy a B-Stock copy, you're getting an extra level of inspection in Germany. They obviously missed my bridge's problem, but I'm confident Thomann wouldn't resell an instrument with serious cosmetic flaws (which have been a QC problem on past Harley Bentons shipped from China). Enjoy this axe!
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Total
features
sound
quality
Really good for the price
blob3, 20.11.2019
Summary

If you want a good cheap guitar, this is probably one of the best you can get.

About me

I've been playing guitar for a few years now. Apart from the CST-24HB TOL I own a Fender Blacktop HH stratocaster, to which I will be making comparisons in this review. I've also played/tried several other guitars in the past (mostly strats).

Order & Delivery:

Before ordering this guitar, I was torn between the CST-24HB TOL and the Ibanez AS53-TF, so I sent an email to Thomann to ask some questions about the guitars which were not answered by the product page. I did not get a reply to this email, which was a bit of a letdown, but in the end I decided to get the CST-24HB TOL. The delivery of the guitar took about a week, which was fair, considering there was a weekend and a holiday in between. The guitar came really well packed, with the guitar's own box inside another larger box.

Features & Quality

Overall:
This guitar definitely has the looks. If you ever wandered into a guitar shop and realized that all the cool looking guitars cost a fortune, then this is a nice alternative.
Balance:
Due to the hollow body, the guitar is light, but also quite top heavy, which felt different compared to the blacktop which is like a massive chunk of wood.
Color & Design:
The guitar looks good, both up close and at a distance. The tree-of-life inlay doesn't looks as amazing as I thought, but it looks decent.
Scratches & Imperfections:
Nope, not on the one I received.
Headstock:
It doesn't look bad, but I feel like this is the part I like the least, maybe I'm just too accustomed to strats.
Tuners:
In the past I've owned a similarly priced Squier Affinity strat, which had to be tuned often. This is not the case for this guitar, as it seems to hold the tuning alright. It should be noted that I'm not super bothered by the strings being slightly out of tune so I generally don't tune the guitar if it's still more or less correct.
Nut:
Seems a bit cheap compared to the blacktop, but I don't know much about nuts so take that with a grain of salt.
Neck:
The web page says its a c profile neck, I guess it is. It is quite a lot thicker than the blacktop strat, which I think has a modern c profile neck. I can't compare, but I'd also be inclined to say that it's a bit thicker than a normal Fender c profile neck. It's not chunky though.
Fretboard:
Decent, the inlays are fitted well into the fretboard.
Frets:
These feel cheap. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's like the metal feels cheap and prone to decay? There are no sharp frets and they seem to be well leveled. There is no fret buzzing.
Action:
On my blacktop strat, I have the action set really low, so I'd say the action was normal? I plan on lowering it and might update the review if there are problems.
Electronics:
Seem mostly okay, although some things should be noted. One knob was a bit loose and needed to be tightened. The pickup switch feels cheap and wobbles around a bit when moved. The cables and electronics are visible through the f-holes, although it doesn't bother me.
Bridge:
Seems okay.

Sound

The pickups sound good for the price. The coil split works. I often noodle while unplugged, and it has more volume than a normal electric guitar, although it doesn't replace an acoustic.
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My first electric guitar! An excellent bang for my buck
20.10.2016
Just to clarify, I am a bassist and I bought this guitar because I was looking for something cheap to learn chords on, in order to train my ear.

After a short discussion with my music teacher, I decided to go for the cheapest hollow/semihollow electric guitar I could find. This is not the cheapest guitar on Thomann, but it has tree of life pearl inlay and I'm a sucker for that. I want to emphasize - this guitar is as beautiful as it looks on the pictures.

Out of the box it came passably set up and tuned, with slight intonation problems. The biggest problem are the frets - The craftsmanship is shoddy+, some of them are uneven and others look like they're about to pop out. My teacher managed to fix it in a passable fashion. The bridge pegs lean inwards slightly, and my teacher said this cannot be fixed without swapping it out entirely. One of the tuners seems to be on the verge of breaking down. The knobs are plastic and come off with suspicious ease, the pots themselves are split-stem if that's important.

But the sound - oh boy. I am not a big guitar expert but my hearing is pretty good, and the chords coming out of this thing are rich and vibrant. They don't mention it in the features for some reason, but this guitar has a coil tap function (at least that's what it sounds like), allowing the player to get a whole lot of different sounds. The sustain is killer (which means yaall better learn to mute properly), and the pickups are pretty loud for a passive instrument.

Here's a sum-up:

CONS:
- Cheap tuners and bridge
- Shoddy fretwork
- Cheap-looking strap holders

NEUTRAL:
- Pearl Tree Of Life inlay: sort of crude close-up, looks wonderful from a distance! (of like 1 meter, don't worry, if you'll perform with this the audience will love it)
- Neck: I have no idea how comfortable it is as I am not a guitarist.

PROS:
- Coil tap!
- Pearl Tree Of Life Inlay(!!!) And an otherwise gorgeous look.
- This guitar is heavy. And I love heavy guitars. I give it around 3-4 kg.
- Rich sound, the pickups are probably great!
- Super bargain!
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Lovely guitar - fantastic value
04.02.2015
I purchased this Harley Benton CST-24TOL along with a number of other HB guitars, 5 in all.

For the record, I have been playing guitar for over 30 years as a semi-pro and have a number of expensive Fenders, Gibsons, Brian Moore etc .

I was really blown away by the quality of this guitar when I pulled it from the box, the finish is great, and although the flame top obviously can't be right up there with the likes of PRS it is still a respectable effort. The neck is quite comfortable, if feels ...grippy...but not too chunky..I have small hands so I prefer smaller necks but I've played this guitar for a few hours no problem. The frets are quite well finished, no sharp edges, and seem quite polished. The action was slightly higher than I prefer but I easily lowered the bridge a couple of turns to adjust that, no fret buzz , I can bend strings higher up with no choking. I changed the strings immediately to 9-42 set (came with 10-46) and oiled the fretboard at the same time.

I checked the truss rod and it seems to be at the end of its relief so If I wanted to straighten the neck I wouldn't be able to unfortunately, hopefully I won't need to.

The hardware is fine too, good tuners, reasonably good pickups (Wilkinson) not too hot but definately good for blues, rock, jazz and even a bit of twang in the middle position. All in all, well pleased with this guitar and I will probably buy one of the other Harley Bentons PRS alike..Harley Benton CST-24T Paradise Amber Flame to go with it.

I'll do some other reviews on the Harley Bentons I got too...there were some other crackers! Well pleased with this one.
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Show variations of this product
Harley Benton CST-24HB TOL Tobacco Flame
(105)
Harley Benton CST-24HB TOL Tobacco Flame

Electric Guitar Chambered body: Mahogany, Top: Flamed maple, Set-in neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Jatoba, Neck profile: C, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, 24 Medium frets, Scale: 635 mm, Nut width: 42 mm,...

  • Colour: Sunburst
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Jatoba
  • Frets: 24
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: No
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Bag: No
Harley Benton CST-24HB Tortoise Flame
(195)
Harley Benton CST-24HB Tortoise Flame

Electric Guitar Build: Semi-hollowbody with F holes, Body: Mahogany, AAA flamed maple top, Set-in 3-piece mahogany neck, Jatoba fretboard, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, 24 Medium frets, Scale: 635 mm,...

  • Colour: Brown
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Jatoba
  • Frets: 24
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: No
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Bag: No
Harley Benton CST-24HB Charcoal Flame
(67)
Harley Benton CST-24HB Charcoal Flame

Electric Guitar Build: Semi-hollowbody with F holes, Body: Mahogany, AAA flamed maple top, Set-in 3-piece mahogany neck, Jatoba fretboard, Fretboard inlays: Mother of pearl dots, Neck profile: C,...

  • Colour: Brown
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Jatoba
  • Frets: 24
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: No
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Bag: No
£225
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In stock within 5-7 weeks

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