Harley Benton CST-24T Emerald Flame

Electric Guitar

  • Deluxe Series
  • Body: Mahogany (Swietenia)
  • Top part: Flamed maple
  • Set-in neck: Mahogany (Swietenia), C-shape
  • Fretboard: Roseacer (thermally treated maple wood)
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • 24 Medium frets
  • Pearloid inlays
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Pickups: 2 Open Roswell HAF AlNiCo-5 humbuckers
  • 1 Volume control and 1 tone control (push / pull: coil split)
  • 3-Way toggle switch
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Wilkinson WVPC tremolo
  • Colour: Emerald Flame
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Further Information

Colour Green
Soundboard Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Mahogany
Fretboard Roseacer
Frets 24
Scale 635 mm
Pickup System HH
Tremolo Vintage
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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38 Customer Ratings:
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4.7 / 5.0
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34 written ratings Read all reviews
Total
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Stunning!!! Another HB Super-Duper-Bargain!

Cuztard Pi, 25.04.2017
Having just played this guitar at its 1st live gig and concluded to myself that it had been ?f***ing brilliant? I thought it deserved a review; so here goes:

A happy owner of 2 other Harley Bentons (an SC-Custom P90 Black & CST-24HB Tortoise Flame) (as well as owning many other more guitars from significantly more expensive brands) ... I'd been GAS'ing about getting a solid CST-24 with trem for quite some time. So when I finally got to see one "in the flesh" via the great video review that Cory Mura (thanks Cory!!) put up on YouTube, my mind was made up: the new Emerald Green CST-24T was the way to go!

And what a beautiful instrument it is! Let's face it, even until recently, one could only dream of buying a guitar with a custom colour like this that looked this good; never mind at this price!!

The original photos on the Thomann page did it a major disservice (hence my initial hesitation to buy) ... they've mostly fixed that now; their current photos are more accurate in terms of colour .. though still not 100% correct based on my guitar:

The top is a perfect, not-too-dark/not-too-light, real classy, deep, glossy emerald (with a well centred, perfectly book-matched, very pretty dark flame). The back, sides, lower cutaway and neck are a much darker green (not obvious from the Thomann photos) that shows off the mahogany grain very well under the transparent polished lacquer .. This contrasting use of different greens really sets off the top to look its best. ... mmmmm, GORGEOUS!! .. did I mention that ;-D

The body appears to be made of 2 (or possibly 3) sections and includes a belly-cut & lower cut-away shaping for easy top-fret access; everything appears to be very well done. The shaping and contouring of the body-top and the cut-away's is 'NICE' !

The neck also could possibly be a multi-piece laminate but it is well disguised under the dark green lacquer. The neck shape is quite different to my other HB CST24HB in that it feels somewhat thinner than the generally chunky-ish CST24HB (which is good news for the thumb-over folks out there) .. In any case, the neck is very comfortable. The position of the neck/body joint and the shaping of the lower cut-away certainly do give unrestricted access to those upper frets, even the 24th. Just be careful not to over-shoot by a few frets whilst playing and aiming for above the 12th fret .. it's easily done, trust me, I've been there .. whoops! LOL

The usual top notch service from Thomann, it arrived safe & sound in the UK 3 days after ordering, double boxed and well packed.

An excited check over happily found only a few very minor cosmetic issues with the finish here & there (only noticeable under very close scrutiny). Let's face it, at this price no-one should expect perfection, so a few minor, cosmetic-only issues are totally acceptable (and honestly folks, the few findings on mine are really very minor ... & totally forgotten about once you strap on this beauty).

Generally the as-received generic set-up was good and totally acceptable ... i.e. good to go:
- Strings (new) in OK condition (the odd small spot of corrosion here & there)
- Frets: 24 nicely polished & no sharp fret-ends. Not perfectly level but acceptable (see action details below).
- Fretboard: the usual 'dry' looking "roseacer" which actually has a nice grain-like appearance (it can be improved/darkened by application of a suitable wood treatment). Well fitted off-white pearloid dot markers & cream binding yield a tidy, attractive professional look to the instrument.
- Machine heads: no-name but work well, smooth & accurate to adjust.
- Nut: very well cut, with a low action at the 1st fret for all strings (~ 0.5mm clearance).
- String action: as received medium-low (see my set-up comments below)
- Controls/pots: smooth to turn; the push/pull switch on the tone control is easy to operate (see my set-up comments below). I love the master volume, master tone control layout of this guitar ... very practical!
- PU switch: OK. Note: The position of the switch takes a little bit of getting used to ... but it's fine after a bit of practise.
- Trem/Bridge: Excellent. It has a push in arm with friction positioning via a grub-screw. It came set-up floating (see my set-up comments below).
- Balances well on a strap; very comfortable to play; not heavy (~3.5kg); "ergonomic" is a good word for the overall design.
- Acoustic sound: bright with plenty of sustain (which bodes well for the electric sound)

To really get the best out of a HB, generally you do need to perform some set-up work & this was true here. However, to be fair, my experience, having now bought 3 HB's, is that Thomann do a pretty good job setting them up so that the out-of-the-box condition should be good enough for a beginner ... but I'm just too fussy I guess; plus I do enjoy getting to know the guitar a bit more intimately by doing a full set-up ... which for this guitar was:

Remove strings; polish frets (not much needed here); treat fretboard surface; put on new set of 9's; set nut action (no major change needed here); set neck relief & string action & bridge saddle radius (I got it down to a clean playing low action: 1mm on 1st & 1.5mm on 6th at 12th fret); adjust trem (floating with approx minor 3rd pull-up on G string; very stable tuning with firm trem action & the arm stays where it's put ... what a great trem system ... other brands should take note, this is how it should be done!!!!).

After doing this set-up, the guitar played (& looked) as good as one costing 3, 4, 5 times the price IMO.

Played through my amp, happy to say it sounded very good, at least in isolation in my back room playing by myself. The stock Wilkinson pick-ups are usually totally acceptable with no real need to be swapped out; & this is true here. With the controls on full, the tone is full but still bright & clear.

But ... the tone control just destroys the sound when fully rolled off (it has a 47nF cap in there, so that's why ... much too large IMO). The coil-split works OK on both PU's and yields a much thinner/quieter/hollow tone that I found out later (at the gig) is just too far away from the full humbucker sound to be really useful (hmm .. a mod is required there me-thinks (a la PRS!). Also, there is the expected drop off of treble as you turn down the volume ... so I did modify the circuit to address these points:
: Change the 47nF tone cap to a 15nF: now the tone control can be used throughout its full travel
: Change to 50's wiring (i.e. tone cct after the volume pot) with the addition of a tapered treble bleed ("Frank Falbo mod")(180pF). Now there is no loss of treble and the Vol control has a great taper that can easily clean up a dirty amp. Very Nice!
: Not done yet but next time under the hood: modify the push/pull switch cct to have a "partial" (= not full) coil split (by adding a low value (= 1k & 2k) resistor to ground on the split coil in each humbucker; this hopefully should improve the 2 coil-split sounds).
Note: the original wiring was acceptable & tidily done ... 'though the pots & switches are very cheap types (but work fine .. for now)

So having now played my 1st live gig with this guitar, which I find is the best test of what a guitar sounds like (i.e. playing in amongst drums, bass, etc) I can say: it did not disappoint. It played wonderfully, stayed in tune perfectly, sounded excellent and gave me all the sounds I wanted (though I didn't use the coil-split sound much for the reason mentioned above) .... & of course, it looked stunning!

OK, for the sake of balance, here are the few negatives I could think of:
- Cosmetic issues: 1cm thin crease in the veneer in the top cut-away; a few odd tiny speckles under the gloss coat here & there; slight gap under the pick-up rings; light scratch on the body-back; some 'sharpish' edges on the nut; cheap looking truss-rod cover.
- Frets: some minor levelling issues identified by a fret-rocker (but do not hinder getting a great low action)
- Electronics: very cheap (but still totally functional) components; too large value tone cap (47nF!); bog-standard electrical circuit used.

Sorry, that's all I could come up with on the negative side.

Conclusion:

Irrespective of price: What a Great Guitar! But at this price ... unbelievable!! 5 stars all 'round.

The bottom line: GET ONE!!
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Total
features
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Exceptional value for the money

04.03.2017
I had the CST-24T on my Thomann wish list for a while, but I couldn't decide what colour/finish to choose.

When I saw the Emerald Flame version was available my mind was made up. The green flamed maple top really is stunning (the photo on the Thomann site does not do it full justice) and the two pieces on mine are extremely well matched.

The mahogany body and neck are also stained green (on a purely personal opinion I would have preferred it left mahogany) nevertheless the stain is translucent enough to allow the natural grain to show through. It's a 3 piece body but again very well matched. There is a scarf joint in the neck at the body end, but if there's one at the headstock end I cannot see it. Bindings on the body and neck to my eyes are perfect. Overall the finish is truly exceptional

The Roseacer fretboard was a little dry looking, but easily fixed with a little conditioner, other than that no problems.
The frets are fine no buzzing or sharp edges. The tuners work well and it holds in tune very well. Out of the box the action and intonation were good but when I eventually change strings I will probably lower the action a tad (purely a personal thing).

It wouldn't be fair for me to comment on the trem, because I haven't used it (not my sort of thing) although it's nice to have it available and if the rest of the guitar is anything to go by I don't foresee any problems with its use.

Although I have been playing for forty years, I am strictly a home sofa player, through a Fender Mustang 111 and headphones, or unplugged, and my comments on the pups etc. must reflect this fact. However I can say every thing works as I wanted/expected it to (with the added bonus of the coil split on this model).

I have an original vintage 1971 Fender Strat. and a 2002 American made Fender Strat. that cost me many times over what I paid for the CST and I have to say in terms of build finish playability and sound it compares very very favourably indeed. (Although I feel I should add, this is the sixth HB guitar I have purchased from Thomann and it is exactly what I have come to expect from them).

If you are thinking of buying this model, then stop thinking and buy it, you wont be disappointed.
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Show variations of this product
Harley Benton CST-24T Emerald Flame
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Harley Benton CST-24T Emerald Flame

Electric Guitar Deluxe Series, Body: Mahogany (Swietenia), Top part: Flamed maple, Set-in neck: Mahogany (Swietenia), C-shape, Fretboard: Roseacer (thermally treated maple wood), Fretboard radius:...

  • Colour: Green
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Soundboard: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Frets: 24
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Pickups: HH
  • Pickup System: HH
  • Tremolo: Vintage
  • incl. Bag: No
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
  • incl. Case: No
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  • Soundboard: Mahogany
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  • Neck: Mahogany
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  • Frets: 24
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Pickup System: HH
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: Standard
  • Incl. Case: No
  • incl. Bag: No
  • incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
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Harley Benton CST-24T Paradise Flame

Electric Guitar Body: Mahogany, Arched flamed maple top, Set-in mahogany neck, Neck profile: C, Roseacer (thermally treated rosewood) fretboard, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, 24 Medium frets, Pearloid...

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  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
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  • Frets: 24
  • Scale: 635 mm
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  • incl. Bag: No
  • incl. Case: No
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Electric Guitar Body: Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), Arched flamed maple top, Set-in C-shape mahogany neck (Swietenia macrophylla), Roseacer (thermally treated rosewood) fretboard, 24 Frets,...

  • Colour: Bernstein
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Frets: 24
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: None
  • incl. Bag: No
  • incl. Case: No
Harley Benton CST-24T Black Flame
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Harley Benton CST-24T Black Flame

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  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Frets: 24
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: Standard
  • incl. Bag: No
  • incl. Case: No
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Harley Benton CST-24T Black Cherry Flame

Electric Guitar Deluxe Series, Body: Mahogany, Arched flamed maple top, Set-in mahogany neck, Roseacer (thermally treated rosewood) fretboard, Neck profile: C, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, 24 Frets,...

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  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
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  • incl. Case: No
Harley Benton CST-24T LH Ocean Flame
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Harley Benton CST-24T LH Ocean Flame

Electric guitar Left-handed model, Deluxe Series, Mahogany body, Arched flamed maple top, Set-in mahogany neck, Roseacer fretboard, Neck profile: C, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, 24 Frets, Pearloid Dot...

  • Shape, Design: ST-Style
  • Colour: Blue
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Soundboard: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Frets: 24
  • number of strings: 6
  • Scale: 635 mm
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Electric Guitar Left hand model, Deluxe Series, Body: Mahogany, Arched flamed maple top, Set-in mahogany neck (C-shape), Roseacer (thermally treated maple wood) fretboard, Pearloid dot fretboard...

  • Shape, Design: ST-Style
  • Colour: Black
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Soundboard: Mahogany
  • Top: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Frets: 24
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • number of strings: 6
  • Pickups: HH
  • Tremolo: Yes
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  • incl. Bag: No
  • incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Cases: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
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