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
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Fretboard inlays: Mother of pearl dots
  • Graphite nut
  • Ivory body binding
  • Pickup: 2 Roswell LAF AlNiCo-5 humbuckers
  • 3-Way switch
  • 1 Volume and 1 tone control with push / pull function for coil split
  • DLX chrome hardware
  • DLX GTB wrapover bridge
  • DLX die-cast machine heads
  • Ex-factory stringing: D'Addario EXL-110 .010 - .046 (Article no. 104555)
  • Colour: Tortoise flame high gloss
  • Suitable case: Article no. 129350 (not included)
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Audio Examples

 
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  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Indie
  • Rock

Further Information

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

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195 Customer Ratings:
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.4 /5
  • features
  • sound
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features
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Good if you can finish it off yourself
Mr Greggles, 13.11.2018
I have made this into an excellent guitar and, if you have the ability, it is an excellent buy. If not it is a bit disappointing.

I have an HB Strat copy which cost a bit over £100. That has an excellent finish, a really good sound and is generally very good quality but needed a fret polish and a bit of setup. This cost very nearly £200. Again it has an excellent finish, a great sound, looks fantastic for the price and is mostly of very good quality. However it not so much of a bargain.

The problem is that although I'm fine with polishing the frets and doing a bit of setup I'm not so happy that, for quite a bit more money, I'm having to file and recrown some frets. When I first received it it was buzzing halfway up the fretboard. I let it settle for a few days and did a setup. The action was very low so raising it and tweaking the truss rod for a little more relief sorted out most of the buzzing. But the second and fifth fret were still causing problems and I had to do a bit of work on them.

The guitar looks great. OK, there isn't the depth to the veneer you would get on a PRS but I think it has some depth, so it's not a photo print. And as soon as you step back from it it looks amazing. The sound is warm and versatile, though the coil split doesn't add as much as I'd hoped and it doesn't have as much of a hollow body sounds as a 335. The tuners do the job, even if they don't feel particularly inspiring. All in all a great addition to my collection, now that the frets are sorted.

As I said, it is not a big deal if you have the skills and the tools but I could see it being a big problem for newer players. I guess the real problem is that my first experience with an HB was so good it set the bar very high. Having spent more money I didn't expect he quality to be worse. That said, now that it is sorted it looks, feels and plays brilliantly. I'm glad I bought it and would buy it again.

I just wanted to sound a word of warning to less-experienced users

LONGER TERM EXPERIENCE

I've had this for about ten months now. For most of that time I didn't use it. Every time I went to it it needed setting up again. It seemed that the wood needed to season a bit more. After about eight months (having tried it in between) it seemed that the neck had finally settled down. I have set it up and not needed to change it since.

I'm playing and recording with it now and It's a comfortable and versatile guitar. It's a great intermediate step between my big semiacoustic (Vintage VSA500) and my solid PRS SE II Santana. Very pleased with it now and intend to keep it and use it more.
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Total
features
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Girl, you got a beautiful body, but your nuts ugly.
jaytee123, 23.03.2018
Pros: The Body and finish is beautiful. Flawless. The pickups are great clean...so-so with gain. The guitar sustains amazingly well.

Cons:, the bridge is missing the tiny hex screw that locks the bridge in place on the treble side.
Seeing the guitar came with Wilkinson Pickups and not Roswell as advertised, I think I got an older one with one of the first attempts at crafting roseacer...lots of dents in the treated wood at the 1st fret. numerous imperfections in shaping up the fretboard and at the base of it. Dry as a bone. A little fretboard treatment improved it, but the feel of it is like it is made of a plastic composite. Not sure how heat chemically changed maple in this fashion.
The nut was atrocious on the treble side. Looking down the fretboard from the bridge, It is sloped too low to the right, so much that whomever cut the nut just put a notch in the E string to barely hold in place. The B string was a little better, but not by much. The result? Sitar noise with open string because the slot could not be properly cut with so little material on the treble side. I was surprised this was present on a guitar that spent a week in quality check.

I DON'T want to send this back. I sent an email asking for them to send a new nut and a locking screw, and I would fix it myself. Still waiting for a simple response to this after a day.
In purchasing this guitar, I reminded them I am in the states and that I'm not expecting perfection for spending 264 dollars shipped but expect a playable guitar with a reasonable amount of flaws. I also said future purchases would be based on the quality. Sorry, I can't buy anymore sight unseen from Thomann after my experience. This guitar spent a WEEK in quality before leaving...and the nut is awful.
Hopefully, I am sent a nut and the tiny locking screw, so I dont have to go searching all over creation for the right size for both.

I'm sorry I had to post this review, I wanted so badly to post a five star, yet the nut almost had me giving this a two. I mean, this is the MOST BASIC QUALITY CHECK, NO?
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An amazingly good guitar
Roger6897, 31.07.2015
I was once lucky enough to own a guitar very similar to this made by a well-known company in the USA. It cost me well over two thousand British Pounds - and I bought it secondhand! Unfortunately, due to financial circumstances, I had to part with it (in exchange for a much-needed car!) Now I have bought the Harley Benton CST-24 HB Tortoise Flame, it almost feels like I have my valuable guitar back - at a tiny fraction of the price. I won't say it plays as well as my old Hollowbody guitar because, in fact, my new Harley Benton CST-24HB actually plays BETTER. Straight from the box it was excellent and now, after a minor adjustment to one of the nut slots and the truss rod by my friendly luthier, I have a great-sounding, beautiful guitar with a superb action. It balances perfectly on a strap with no neck-dive (often a problem with semi-acoustic guitars). This time, no work at all was necessary on the frets - they are excellent. The Wilkinson pickups are becoming widely recognized as a very good humbucker and have the classic alnico humbucker sound (in fact I prefer them to the sound of the pickups of my American guitar). There are no unwanted noises or microphonic problems and, unusually for a cheap guitar, the master volume and tone controls function perfectly, with a smooth taper and no loss of treble when the volume is reduced. The tuners are excellent, the graphite nut is better and more elegantly shaped than the rather ugly one on my US guitar. Generally, the finish is top class, with a flame veneer top and bound F-holes (my US guitar had unbound F-holes). The main difference can be found inside - my US guitar had an arched flame maple back and the internal construction under the bridge was a work of art to rival a top class violin. The Harley Benton has a more typical central block construction and I must confess the internal finishing looks a bit rough if you look inside the F-holes with a torch and a magnifying glass. However - this is the important thing - this construction means it works better as a functional electric guitar at high volume. Interestingly, the acoustic sound is almost exactly the same despite the internal differences, so I wonder if all the craftsmanship of the US guitar was really necessary for any purpose other than to persuade overpaid guitar-fancying American dentists to part with more of their money. I am much more than happy with this guitar and I have already urged Thomann, bearing in mind the instrument's excellent acoustic character, to offer the same guitar with an adjustable bridge and piezo saddles. I am sure a lot of guitarists would find such a guitar extremely interesting if the price is right (which I am sure it would be with Harley Benton). Once again, I am astounded that a guitar of this quality can be done for this price. My local guitar shop proprietor and my friendly luthier both agree. In fact I had a bit of trouble retrieving it from my friend the luthier, who is a big fan of arch-top F-hole guitars and seems to particularly like playing this one! I am not at all surprised that the CST-24HB Tortoise Flame is out of stock until September and I urge anyone interested in this type of guitar to get hold of one as soon as they are available again. It is also available in cherry sunburst with "tree of life" fretboard inlay, but I think I prefer this finish and the interesting little cross-shaped fret markers. I have been playing guitar for nearly fifty years and back in 1980 I reviewed guitars professionally for a magazine. This is the second CST-24 I have bought from Thomann in less than a month. Harley Benton does it again!
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Guitar with character
12.03.2017
1) The guitar I've got is visually very different from the one, that is in the pictures. I have read, that I am not the only one, who encountered this problem. Shame on You, Thomann
2) Quality of product is very good. Guitar have nice, glossy finish. Binding around the body have some flaws, but looks good. You can find some visual defects here and there, but they are so tiny, that it's hard to spot them. There are some greater issues with star inlays, the small ones have some holes and missing parts, but it is noticeable only if you look for flaws. In all, guitar is beautiful. It has nice forms and great looking headstock. Kind of looks like well known P.. guitars :)
3) Guitar has one of the best tuners I have encountered. The nut seems like is made of Tusq. There is weird wraparound bridge used in this guitar. At start it seemed ok, but, when I lowered action, the intonation suffered. And there is no way to adjust intonation for low strings, only B\G is adjustable.
4) The pots and the switch seems fair quality. They work. Pickups are great. They seem a bit dark, but EQ fixes it. Sound output is very high. By my mind, coil split is useless.
5) Overall sound of guitar is beautiful. It has long sustain. Overall guitar is very loud. It tries to overload\overdrive any amp I've tried with it. The interesting thing is that sound comes slowly and fades out as slowly as it came. I's perfect for atmospheric music. The guitar sings to me, always I pick it up. I love it.
6) Guitar has fairly beefy neck, but it is quite comfortable. The glossy finish is not the best for fast playing, but fast satining made it better. Fretwork is fairly good. I couldn't find any fret end sticking out, but fret leveling job could be better. It came with reasonable action and no fret buzz. When I lowered action, some fret buzz appeared, but I haven't found fret that's causing it. It is so small, that I live with it, for now.

Overall: guitar is beautiful, it sounds great,plays great. and costs very reasonably. For little money you get great instrument. It's shame that it doesn't look like in pictures.

EDIT:
I was wrong about bridge. There is a way to adjust intonation on lower strings. I found some screws against the bridge posts, that should do the job. Haven't tried this yet.
I was curious about that fret buzz after lowering the action. I found some 5 or 6 frets, that sticks out. If you like low action, then get ready for fret leveling. But actually in that price region any guitar will have similar issues, so it's still worth it and I still love this instrument.
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Show variations of this product
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
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
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