Harley Benton Electric Guitar Kit ST-Style

Electric Guitar Kit ST-Style

  • Complete DIY (Do it yourself) kit
  • Bolt-on neck
  • Solid wood body (wood colour may vary)
  • Neck: Maple
  • Double action truss rod
  • Amaranth fretboard
  • Dot fretboard inlays
  • Radius: 350 mm
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Truss rod
  • Pickups: 3 Ceramic single coils
  • Electronics: 1 Volume knob, 2 tone knobs & 5-way switch
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Die-cast machine heads
  • Tremolo
  • Stringing: .009 - .042 Strings
  • Finish: Natural

Note: A certain amount of craftsmanship is required for successful assembly.

Further Information

Colour Natural
Body Solid Wood
Top None
Neck Maple
Fretboard Amaranth
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Pickups SSS
Tremolo Vintage
incl. Bag No
incl. Case No

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663 Customer Ratings:
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very nice kit guitar
Plaankameo, 27.04.2020
i bought this kit as a present to myself. i was a bit nervous about how it would work out, but the result is a great looking, customized guitar that i customized even more with fender custom 69 pick ups and a quite complicated wiring and push pull pots to connect the pickups in almost any thinkable way. maybe a bridge to far for an amateur guitar player like myself. but definitely fascinating to build and to play. sounds wonderful with my vox ac4tv.

i always liked Stratocaster guitars, but never really played guitar that well to buy one or vice versa. and i really disliked the red and sunburst colored ‘standard’ strats with their white scratch plates. at some point i started to dream of a stratocaster in walnut brown with black details, but there was nog really budget nor the need to buy a guitar.

at some point i was drooling at the Squier classic vibe 60 for it’s sound and affordability, at the Harley Benton ST 70 Black Paisly for it’s looks and absurd low pricing, and the USA strats for their legacy. while still being confronted with my empty wallet, i noticed the HB kit guitars and started to consider to buy one and make it mine, the way i wanted it to be.

after a bit of research online, i took the risk and ordered a kit with additional tuners and whammy block as upgrade (thank you thomann for advising that), a bunch of extra strings and many black replacement parts to replace the original white details. in the meanwhile i had found out walnut fender strats already existed and the idea that i was going to make such an expensive guitar on a tiny budget was quite motivating.

i spent days figuring out how to color and finish the guitar, get a good deal for used custom 69’s pick ups, and figure out how to wire them up in the most versatile way with push pull pots etc. i lost myself in the theory of wiring electronics, ordered some more parts and a soldering kit and soldered a totally new scratch plate with none of the electronics that were in the original kit. (the kit comes with a presoldered scratch plate loaded with all pick ups, pot meters, switches etc wired up). the result of my experiment was a guitar with a lot of possibilities in sound, but was not as easy to understand in it’s operation (and the pot meters seemed to turn the wrong way too) but after a while i found my way in it soundwise, even though i sometimes still think about simplifying the wiring scheme and removing the push pull pots.

i sanded down the body and neck to make the body brown with water based stains in a mix of a few woody colors and black. the sanding took some time, but the staining went well. it quite easily turned out as i wished, which was a bit of a surprise as i expected a long road to find the perfect color with a lot of hard-to-repair mistakes. it was almost disappointing that it was so easy. i used gunstock oil as finish. the result was great.

after i finished the woodwork, i replaced all the white details (scratch plate, knobs, pot meters etc) by black ones and there it was. my strat style guitar in the looks that i dreamt of with the pickups that i wanted and a nice sound that was still a bit to complicated to navigate, because of the advanced options that i did not really oversee when i was designing the wiring. ;-) but i liked the result.

funny thing was that it took a while to get used to this guitar and that i preferred my epiphone dot for quite a while. only after i bought a second hand vox ac4tv amp and connected it to my ST style guitar i got really hooked by it’s beautiful tone.

all together i can say it was a great journey to ’build’ this guitar. i made it a bit more complicated by replacing all the electronics and using stain and oil instead of lacquer. but in it’s essence it is an easy to assemble kit that you can turn into quite a nice guitar while having a lot of fun. definitely a recommendation for anyone who wants to make a guitar to his/her own liking and anyone who would like to understand (better) how a guitar works. it is great!
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Happy owner
Yokyman, 11.06.2020
Ok, 3 months since I assembled it, so I can finally give full review.
First of all, its not an IKEA shelve, you will need more that just a screwdriver. I had to shut down 1 hole that was screwed wrong and make a new one, and internal cavities on a body needed some care, as they were really rough and could damage wires. Really, it looked like cavities were done with dull tools. The rest of assembly was easy. Neck is really well-made, has satin finish that feels nice in hand and doesnt slow you down at all when playing. I would say its worth getting this kit just for a neck, if you need one for a project. Worth mentioning that when it came, fret sides were perfectly smooth, but after 2 weeks in a dry climate they started biting, so I had to sand them down a bit. So if your neck will come with frets sticking out a bit, don't blame the factory right away. Electronics are soldered well, but pickguard needed some adjustment to make space for neck and tremolo. Can't say anything about tremolo system itself, as I blocked it right away, Eric Clapton style, to increase sustain. Body surface needed just a bit of polishing, it has natural finish which I kinda like so I left it unpainted for now. To drop the string action I had to remove the nut and sand its bottom down, but it allowed me to get strings down to 1.2-1.5mm above 12th fret(from thinnest string to thickest). Overall it was a lot of fun to assemble, and I definitely bonded with my guitar after that. It makes me pick it up and practice more. It has nice glassy sound that strats should have. After 3 months still everything is fine, neck is straight, guitar holds tune well. That's all about my experience with that guitar kit, but be wary that all kits can't be exactly the same. Mine wasn't perfect, but good, and all problems were solveable, so I rated it 5/5 considering the price.
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A satisfying, straightforward, and decent sounding guitar project
EmperorPigeon, 07.01.2020
After seeing videos on YouTube and varying quality (it appears the T-style kits are the best by far, which will be my next purchase), I was pleasantly surprised by the entire kit.

Firstly the body. Smooth and well cut, it could have been left as is but the sealant had to go so I could prime it for painting. Sanding by hand using 120, 400, and 600 grit sandpaper as I went, the sealant varied from very little along the back and front to seemingly truckloads along the belly cut. Still, when I couldn't get anymore out, it didn't look too different and I couldn't see any defects. Although the painting process would reveal some anyway (sanding and spraying over the two sections along the back resolved that).

The neck feels extremely smooth and shaping the headstock didn't take long (cutting by hand with a Japanese saw). The frets felt smooth enough out of the box that only an absolute perfectionist would be sanding and polishing them. More importantly, they're also level. Which happily saved me some work! :)

The pickups are decent ceramic ones without much in the way of breakup at the extreme ends. Functional and certainly on a par with guitars that use ceramic pickups from any brand that cost upwards of £200 (depending on how cheeky the brand is). If you want Alnico pickups, either buy a prebuilt Harley Benton (from £110+), a Kramer VS-211 (£109+), or buy a set of Alnico pickups either to immediately replace or later on down the line (set aside £20-£30).

The tuners are much the same as any inexpensive electric guitar. They work and, with the guitar setup properly, stay in tune. Although locking tuners would be advised at some point.

The same can be said for the strings, good enough for setup but I replaced them with a set of 9s I had laying around (budget Johnny Brook brand but they sound better to me).

The real joy though is having a guitar that you painted and put together without any need for soldering. Straight out of the box, you could have this all put together in about an hour or so - although if you're going to be painting this, obviously expect to add days to the build time to allow for adequate drying time as you build up the layers. Paint and lacquer (or clear coat if you go with that instead), expect to set aside around £15 or monetary equivalent for primer, main colour, and lacquer. Of course. if you have unused paint/varnish laying about...

Overall, I'd say if you're willing to budget about £50 extra to cover any tooling and materials you'll need, you'll have a perfectly playable guitar that will not look like any other and, provided you can play well enough, will impress all around you. Expect to tell the story of your kit build many times over! I built this for my sister for her to learn to play guitar on. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I get requests...

I give this kit 4/5 overall - but the enjoyment I derived from the entire project means it gets top marks 5/5 from me!
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Very good value. Excellent guitar for the price.
jianwhite, 24.04.2017
The body is made up of three pieces of wood and is very light. However, it is surprisingly resonant. On mine, the grain and width of the two outer sections match perfectly. The centre section has a very straight and contrasting fine grain. As I have varnished the body using rub on thinned varnish after hand sanding all over with 400 and 600 sandpaper, the grain shows through and looks good. The result is an ?aged, natural? look, which is precisely what I was looking for. So for me, it is very pleasing aesthetically.

The neck is a perfect and very tight fit into the body pocket. It is an even better fit than the two other Harley Benton kits I have built (Single Cut and TL) and I was very pleased with both of those. The rosewood finger board is smooth and blemish free. The frets are very level for the price range. Only one fret (4th) being slightly high. A quick sand and polish sorted out the problem. The slots in the nut all wanted additional filing to lower the strings for good action and ensure intonation. The groove positioning was perfect. This extra work has resulted in a good low action and enabled me to set the guitar up to Fender strat specifications. Remember you have to shape the head stock yourself. I used a router to cut a strat style shape without a problem. The back of the neck finish is very smooth and only has a light matt varnish. Left as it is, which I have done, it is a perfect smooth playing action. I would question how long the varnish will last though, before sanding and refinishing is necessary. All in all the neck is very good and well worth a little time and effort to get perfect.

As far as the pre-drilled holes go, only the low E tuner retaining screw was slightly out of place. All the others were okay, so no serious complaint, but as it was out by approximately a screw width, I had to plug the original hole and re-drill, as I was concerned the screw may not grip if I just left it.

The scratch plate needed slight sanding on the low E side of the neck in order to get a good fit. It does look good with the gold lettering on the volume/tone controls. The electrics worked well. The pickups are bright, but not very powerful. Setting up as close to the strings as specs allow is recommended. However I found the overall tone to be as good as a Squier, so at this price range, no complaints. To suit my personal taste, the neck pickup could be warmer, but this is personal and not everyone may agree.

The tremolo fitted well, but in my opinion could do with a larger block which would most likely improve sustain. Once again at this price range, perfectly acceptable.

The strings need to be replaced. After using them for setting up, I changed them for D?addario 9 ? 42?s. This made a vast improvement to tone. Definitely change the strings!

Without tweaking, this guitar is better than the cheap range Strat copies, which are twice the price. The neck is worth putting in a little extra effort as the overall quality is very good and if you put the effort in, the result is a guitar equally as good as a Squier.

I am very pleased with this guitar and apart from the fun/pleasure derived from building it, the resulting guitar is very playable. Even if you were unlucky enough to have more issues than I did, Thomann after sales service is the best I have experienced of any musical instrument supplier, so you do not have to worry. Delivery was incredible, equally as quick, if not quicker than some UK suppliers. If you are considering a kit guitar, I would recommend buying one of these without hesitation.
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Dispatch expected by Mon, 28. September

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