Harley Benton HB-35Plus Vintage Burst

258

Electric Guitar

  • Semi-hollow design with mahogany sustain block (Entandrophragma cylindricum)
  • Vintage Series
  • Maple body
  • AAAA flamed maple archtop
  • Maple neck
  • Set-in neck attachment
  • Pau Ferro fretboard
  • Blocks fretboard inlays
  • Fretboard radius: 305 mm
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 628 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • 2 Roswell LAF Alnico-5 vintage-style humbucker pickups
  • 2 Volume controls with push/pull function for split coil
  • 2 Tone controls
  • 3-Way pickup toggle switch
  • Deluxe chrome hardware
  • Deluxe Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Strings: .010 - .046
  • Colour: Vintage Burst
available since June 2016
Item number 374857
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Sunburst
Body Maple
Top Maple
Fretboard Laurel
Frets 22
Scale 628 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
£175
Free shipping incl. VAT
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Looking like the classics

The Harley Benton HB-35 Plus is a semi-hollow electric guitar with 22 frets that is reminiscent of well-known guitar classics, but costs far less. Its body is made of maple, and the arched top with elegant F-holes emphasises the classic look. The chrome hardware and the high-gloss "Vintage Burst" finish also add a retro flair. The set neck made of Canadian maple ensures good sustain. It features a laurel fretboard with light-coloured block inlays. This provides a visual contrast and thus a neat layout. Both the body and the neck are adorned with a cream-coloured binding, which is not a given considering this guitar's price category.

Retro charm

Two Roswell LAF AlNiCo-5 humbuckers in vintage style add retro charm to the sound of the Harley Benton HB-35 Plus. Not only is a deluxe Tune-o-matic bridge installed to prolong the vibration of the strings and reduce possible feedback, the body of the HB-35 Plus is also equipped with a solid mahogany sustain block. The neck is solidly shaped in a C-profile and can easily be adjusted thanks to its double-action truss rod. The 628mm scale and the 42mm nut width are typical for this design. Closed die-cast machine heads promise zero-maintenance playing, and a three-way switch is provided for the two pickups. Two tone controls as well as the separate volume controls provide a harmonic, fine-tuned sound.

Revival of the 1960s

The Harley Benton HB-35 Plus is a great instrument for fans of the great guitar classics of the 1960s. It has a stunning retro look on stage and can deliver a typical semi-acoustic sound both live and in the home studio. The vintage-style pickups also do their part. This guitar is therefore suitable for beginners, for guitarists looking to expand their sonic portfolio, and also as a backup instrument for stage guitarists. Those who can do without a tremolo will therefore feel comfortable with this model - and a fixed bridge provides better tuning stability anyway.

About Harley Benton

Since 1998, the Harley Benton brand has been catering for the needs of numerous guitarists and bassists. In addition to an extensive range of stringed instruments, Thomann's house brand also offers a wide choice of amplifiers, speakers, effect pedals, and other accessories. In total, the range includes over 1,500 products. Built by established names in the industry, all Harley Benton products combine quality and reliability at attractive and affordable prices. The continuous expansion of the range ensures that Harley Benton always provides new, exciting, and innovative products that keep players perfectly in tune with the musical world, day after day.

Chuck Berry sends his regards

From Blues to Jazz to Indie and even Rock: On stage, the Harley Benton HB-35 Plus is an absolute eye-catcher, and is also suitable as a backup guitar for players who also own more expensive guitars. In the home recording studio, it can be used to record songs that evoke good old Chuck Berry. Repeated double stop motifs, power chord riffs, and rich-sounding melodies are no problem with this guitar. If you want to achieve the signature sound of this era, tube amps with sufficient headroom are a particularly good choice.

In the spotlight

JD
My Best Harley Benton - so far
Johnny D 13.01.2017
HB-35Plus Vintage Burst

Pros:
Price, Finish, Features, Fretboard, 3-way switch location, Output Jack location, Electric Sound, Frets

Neutral:
Frets, Acoustic Sound, Coil Tap feature , A few little blemishes, Strings

Cons:
Strings, Pick Guard

My 4th Harley Benton.
As always, ordering from Thomann?s website was easy and with Paypal convenience. The shipment took roughly 2 weeks from Germany to US/Florida (Christmas/New Year time).
The shipping box was damaged but, all items in the box were in good shape, no product damage!

Initial inspection was pleasing. The finish is very good on a product of this price. It is not perfect, but for this price it is better than I expected. The overall finish is smooth and nicely buffed to a high gloss. As for defects, only a few little specs in the clear, and a small blemish in the wood grain on the back of the guitar, roughly 1/2" long. Not really an issue for this price guitar, and it?s on the back.

The fretboard on this guitar is the best of the 4 Harley Benton's I now have. The fingerboard doesn't appear to have any stain coating as my other guitars had. The rosewood is natural, and has nice grain, however it appears a bit dry.
The block inlays are nicely cut and installed. They fit smoothly to the surface of the fingerboard.
The fret work on this guitar is good, but not finished. The frets appear to be raw fret wire pressed in an dressed on the ends only, but not finished beyond that point. They are clean and free of the crusty buildup my other HB's suffered from.
Sighting down the neck, there appears to be no offensively high, nor low frets, and a quick chromatic run up each string resulted no serious buzzing. I should mention this was done after the action was lowered.
As it arrived, the action was set very high, playable, but not ideal. I roughly lowered the bridge until some buzzing was noticeable, then raise the action ever so slightly.

The neck binding is very good as well, only one small area that is a bit rough between the frets. This can easily be smoothed off, so no real issue.

The strings are better than most I've received, but still not great. They don't feel rough or corroded, but lack brightness when played. I believe this inhibits the acoustic sound of the guitar out of the box. Better strings should make a noticeable difference.

The tuners are closed back, smooth and uniform in function and stay in tune (so far). They all appear to be well produced and bare no branding.

The pick guard - Every review I have read, seen or heard, has complained about the pick guard. I'm no different. It is poorly produced, irregularly-irregular shaped, rough-edged, makes the guitar look very cheap due to the rough unfinished appearance. Two screws and it is now off the guitar.

The coil tap (split) volume pots, cut the humbucker(s) to a single coil(s). As with my HB SC450Plus, I don't think the feature is as prominent as I had hoped, but it does work.

The f-holes are nicely cut and finished on this guitar, some wiring is visible through the f-hole, but of no concern.

The nut appears to be the standard HB plastic cast variety. The string spacing is fine, but may require the string slots to be opened up a little.

The pickups are Wilkinson covered humbuckers. The sound pretty good for stock pickups, especially at this price point.
As for sound, the pickups are fine for now, plugged in the guitars sounds very good (to me). Acoustically, the guitar is a little dull, probably the stings. Remember, it is a thin semi-hollow body as well, not a full bodied acoustic.

The output jack is in a location I prefer over an ES-335. The jack is placed through the wooden side. As it arrived, the jack is neatly installed and tight. I should also mention I like the location of the 3-way switch on this guitar over the 335. If you plan to add a tremolo (think Bigsby), the location of the switch on this guitar just seems better. It won?t be under the trem bar.

The strap buttons are very basic standard style, one at the end, the other on the back of the neck heel.

Recap.
The negatives are minor, a couple small spots in the finish, and a little rough spot on the neck binding in one area as well.
The frets are good, but need to be finished. It's playable, but could easily be much better.
The controls, pickups and tuners all work well, and for the price are quite nice.
This is the best finished Harley Benton I've purchased, it is also the most expensive Harley Benton I've purchased.

What really needs to be done to this guitar?
Finish crown and polish the frets, possibly adjust the neck relief, put on some new strings and check/set the intonation.
And, I might prefer a better 3-way switch. The stock switch works, but feels a little cheap.
Of course, this guitar can be played without any of these changes.

I'm giving it 5 stars because the few blemishes are of no concern on a guitar of this price. The frets aren't finished, but can easily be finished. Overall the total value of the guitar is greater than what it cost. A numerical rating would be 8/10, but the star scale it gets 5/5 for having everything, with minor finishing touches needed.

Please remember, this guitar costs just under $200, it's not $400, $500, $1000 or more. If you expect a $1000 guitar quality, then buy a $1500 guitar. Yep, you read that right.

With a little finishing, this is easily a $400 guitar, or more.
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G3
Awesome guitar. Love it
Great 335 replacement 26.04.2021
I have to say that I LOVE this guitar. I'm 61 years-old and have been a semi-pro working musician since I was 14. I've owned a number of guitars through the years, including a Fender, Guild, Ibanez, custom Carvins, and Gibsons( including a 1963 Gibson ES-335), and this guitar is wonderful. I'm astounded how well it's made and sounds. I will admit that it's not as good as the '63 ES-335, but I was not expecting it to be. I should never have parted with 63 Gibson and have been looking to replace it ever since, but I just couldn't justify paying Gibson's prices. Apparently I don't need to now. I mean, how much better can a Gibson be? This guitar is that nice. I will say that if you are looking for that 355 feel and sound and can't/won't spend the money for a Gibson...this is the guitar to buy. You can't go wrong. it is a pure joy to play.

Pros
Workmanship is amazing considering the price. It just feels like a top quality guitar in all ways. I haven't found any flaws in it. It's beautiful to look at, feels wonderful to hold and play, and sounds great. The tone on it is just what I was expecting in a 335 style guitar.

Cons
There are 2 things I would change on this guitar. That is the placement of the pickup switch and the placement of the treble knobs. Harley-Benton decided to the put the pickup switch in the same location as it is on a Les Paul (above the strings). I switch pickups a lot and it's just not as fluid as the Gibson location (below the strings near the bridge). The other thing I don't like is the placement of the treble controls. They moved them a couple of inches and they are just too far away. Not a huge deal as I don't change tone often, but it's annoying. I'm actually considering having the treble knobs and pickup switch moved. Shouldn't be hard to do.

Overall it is a great guitar and absolutely worth what I paid for it. It looks, feels, and sounds like it should be worth 10 times as much.
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5
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M
Guitar arrived broken and unplayable
Matt_Partino 25.11.2021
The guitar arrrived earlier this week with a chipped headstock and a crack at the base of the neck. The neck was so bowed that I had to raise the action extremely high in order to be able to fret it above the 12th fret. It is unplayable as a regular guitar. I contacted Thomann the same day expecting them to replace it but they spent days asking me to send photos of the damage and are now asking me to deal with the delivery company to get compensation!
This is the worst experience I have ever had with with an online company. No hassle, no questions asked guarantee?
What a lie.
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Z
Not what I ordered - otherwise OK...
ZigM 22.10.2019
The guitar advertised on the Thomann website depicts a 335-style guitar with a pronounced AAAA-grade tiger/flame maple top in cherry burst. The guitar I got was a brown burst and the tiger/flame maple is barely visible. It's like ordering a red shirt with a big fat logo visible but you get a black shirt with a miniature logo on the sleeve that no one can see. Not good. Not what I ordered. Not what I wanted!

Don't get me wrong. The overall build quality of the guitar (i.e. body, neck, fretwork, pickups) is amazing. But the neck pickup tone pot and output jack were loose - flopping around. The strings were rusty, the frets had gunk on them and the action was only good for slide guitar - but I don't play slide! I tightened the pot and jack, polished the frets, oiled the fret board and put on new strings. But I ask you (Thomann), why put QC tags on all your guitars if you don't actually QC them? I still have the tag if anyone's interested? I can teach you, if you want?

None of the guitars I received to date were properly set up. There was always an issue: either yucky, dirty fret-board with rusty strings, faulty electronics, poorly adjusted vibrato etc. I consider that 'verarschung'. Look it up in German.

It's not that I dislike the guitar colour etc. It's the fact that I was expecting what I had ordered. To date, the images of the guitar you probably won't get (i.e. if you order it) are still there . There is no mention that the product you will receive could vary substantially in colour and in the quality of the AAAA-grade tiger/flame top.

The Harley Benton HB-35Plus Vintage Burst is an extremely good guitar, albeit with some issues that were resolved. Seriously, this guitar is in no way inferior to the brand guitar that this guitar was modeled on. The original 335s I played in the 1980's weren't really better. Some had so many problems...brrr. OK, so the electronics (not the pickups) suck in this guitar. But that can be rectified. The Roswell pickups (switchable to single coil) are very good.

Had I received a properly set-up guitar with the advertised AAAA-grain and colour as advertised, I would have given 5 stars easily. Had the website been updated, I would have also added points. Alas, it is only 1 star.
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