Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Blue

182

Roundback Guitar

  • With nylon strings
  • Design: Roundback with cutaway
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: ABS Super shallow bowl
  • Neck: Mahogany (Entandrophragma cylindricum)
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • Fretboard: Roseacer (thermally treated maple wood)
  • Fretboard radius: 400 mm
  • 23 Frets
  • Body binding: Multi-ply ABS
  • Neck binding: ABS
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 48 mm
  • Bridge: Blackwood
  • Machine heads: Open gear classic
  • Dual action truss rod
  • Strings: HB medium tension nylon
  • Pickup system with 3-Band EQ
  • Colour: Blue Glossy
  • Matching case (optional: 122212) Art. 122211 too short!
available since September 2017
Item number 410214
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Cutaway Yes
Top Spruce
Back and Sides Plastic
Pickups Yes
Fretboard Roseacer
Nut width in mm 48,00 mm
Scale 648 mm
Colour Blue
Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
Body Depth Super Shallow
Frets 23
Pickup System 1
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£111
Including VAT; Excluding £8 shipping
In stock
In stock

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Best of both worlds: Rock and Classical

Rock and Classical are no longer in opposition thanks to the Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Blue. Its genes certainly come from traditional steel-string stage acoustics – however, its nylon strings have their roots in the Classical scene and its round-backed design dates back to the time of medieval lutes. A more flexible sound is hard to imagine, as its built-in pickup system ensures the desired level of sonic brilliance. Its shallow, rounded body not only provides unrivalled comfort when playing, it also greatly helps prevent feedback issues with amplifiers.

The stage is its true calling

The Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Blue is first and foremost an electro-acoustic guitar for the stage. Its spruce top is specially designed to help suppress unwanted feedback. Modern X-bracing helps confer its clear, open sound. The body’s shallow bowl is made of ABS and produces different sound reflections from those created inside a traditional guitar. This has a decisive influence on the guitar’s tone – which can then be optimally amplified via the active pickup system. Its off-centre sound holes and elegant blue gloss finish give the HBO-850 Classic Blue an unmistakable appearance which immediately identifies it as a modern guitar for the stage.

Nylon strings for modern settings

The Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Blue is clearly designed with nylon-string enthusiasts in mind, especially those working in modern musical environments. Its shallow body is not only extremely ergonomic, it also allows problem-free amplification even at extremely high volume in conjunction with the layered top. At 48 millimetres wide, the neck is considerably slimmer than on most classical guitars. Finally, its appearance is anything but traditional. This instrument will equally suit Bossa Nova guitarists, Jazz virtuosos, Folk poets, Rock balladeers, and of course bold Classical players.

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.

As loud as you can handle

Steel strings by no means have a monopoly in the repertoire of Folk and Rock acoustic guitar. Willie Nelson, Paco de Lucia, and Sting are all names associated with the regular or even exclusive use of nylon strings in a non-Classical environment. This is the ideal context for the HBO-850 Classic Blue: When the music is not Classical but the nylon-string sound is a must. Its shallow body means it should be amplified as a general rule. A strap should also be used, and not just for great comfort – it also looks the best.

In the spotlight: Roseacer

Rosewood is a particularly hard wood that has long been popular as a material for making guitar and bass fretboards. This wood is now considered endangered, however, and resources are scarce and expensive – which is why guitar makers have already spent several years searching for alternatives. The wood that Harley Benton has chosen as a fretboard material for its HBO series and many other guitars is a type of thermally treated maple known as “roseacer” (a word coined from “acer”, the name of the genus to which maple belongs). The heat treatment to which the wood is subjected reduces its water content to around three percent, which prevents subsequent shifting or warping and increases the wood’s stability while also giving it a visual appearance similar to that of rosewood.

P
A pleasant hybrid acoustic guitar.....
Phil001 16.03.2022
Why I chose this guitar....(This may be of interest if you're an old timer with arthritis like me, otherwise jump to the Review if you're in a hurry). I learned the ukelele as a boy and was given a beaten up student classical guitar in my early teens. In my twenties I bought myself a steel stringed acoustic, then in the early 1990's an HSS Strat. I've jammed with a few friends but the vast majority of my playing has been on my own in the house, so strictly an amateur but I've been playing on and off for decades. Around 5 years ago I treated myself to a ukelele which I love. However, the arthritis that I had in my knees spread to my hands causing me loss of flexibility and significant pain if I tried to play anything. I didn't play for around 3 years. I've been taking some supplements for my knees which helped ease my hands a little so I started reading up on what I could do to make things easier to play. First up was nylon strings rather than steel and lowering string tension. So I lowered the tuning on my ukelele to match my guitars and yes it helped...which got me thinking maybe I could get back to playing guitar. I didn't want a classical guitar as the wide flat neck would have been difficult for me, I needed nylon strings and a neck a little wider than than a steel string guitar. I also wanted to be able to plug into my amp if possible. In other words a hybrid between electric and acoustic, something that could do both.

Review.... This is a bowl back acoustic guitar modelled on a well known brand but at a significantly lower price. The neck is an attractive mahogany and has a smooth satin coated finish. It is 48mm wide at the nut, which is what first drew my attention to this guitar. Wider than a steel string guitar but narrower than a classical. It also has a mild radius rather than being flat which helps me with chord playing. The fretboard is hardwood with ABS binding. The body is black ABS plastic with a cream plastic binding and the top is wood. The multi sound holes are decorated with leaf effect wood epaulets which are glued on. There is a 9 volt pre amp/equaliser.

The guitar looks lovely and quality is generally good. The neck needed no attention at all. No sharp fret ends, raised frets or buzzing. The action is a little high compared to a steel string guitar but its what you'd expect for a nylon stringed guitar. Not sure what to do about the nut. The top and bottom E strings both fit flush into their slots but the other strings seem to be raised a little as if the slot isn't quite wide enough. I have contemplated opening up these slots slightly but the action is ok so I've left it for now. Maybe this is deliberate to match the radius of the fretboard..? The black body has a mild raindrop effect pattern on its surface and seems pretty tough. The jack plug socket is on the lower side and I had to tighten the nut which was a little loose. There is no access panel (other than removing the pre amp which is on the opposite side) so if the nut had come off and the socket had dropped inside the body it would be difficult to retrieve. The top is wood and there is a light grain visible. Its hard to tell if it is solid wood, veneered or has some other sort of finishing under the clear coat. For the price the finish is fine, however, there are a couple of minor aberrations. One edge of the lower decorative epaulet is not glued down properly and has started to lift. This will need gluing down at some point as it will get caught and split off. There is also a blob of excess glue on the inside edge of one of the sound holes which I can probably trim off. The colour and finish coats are not as neat as they could be where the ABS neck binding meets the top. It looks like the neck and fretboard are attached to the body before the final coats are added. The masking around the neck ABS trim could be better. It's only a minor issue and not bad enough to warrant returning the guitar.

I have limited movement in my index finger so I cant play some open string chords but I have found this guitar easier to play than my steel string acoustic. Unplugged this guitar has a pleasant balanced sound and plenty of volume if used with a plec. Plugged in the pre amp is hot enough to produce some distortion if required and the 3 band equaliser gives good control if you wish to adjust your tone. There is a battery test button but no in built tuner. I've played this pretty loud to test it out and while it is possible to induce feedback, you just have to adjust where you stand in relation to your amp/speaker. The HB strings that were on the guitar sound ok but after 2 months I'm still doing a minor retune each time I play.

I have found that with a strap the body does naturally face upwards a little. I'm still getting used to this and consciously have to make sure the body is facing outwards otherwise my left wrist is bent around too much and gets painful.

In summary this guitar is well suited for my style which is backing accompaniment to most modern music from ballads to rock. It is easy to play, looks lovely and sounds good.
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HBO-850
Simon C 20.12.2018
This is my 5th Harley Benton purchase and I've left it a little while to "review", to try and form a reasoned opinion.

Pros - The instrument looks fine from a short distance. It plays nicely - after a little work. I find it nice to go back to a classical guitar string spacing for clean chords, maybe I have fat fingers ? To have a nylon string guitar but with a truss rod adjustment is nice, to have the ability to fine tune the action is great and helps the playability. The price is incredibly reasonable and to incorporate a piezo pickup and tone controls within that package, very good.
Cons - I find with each of my H.B. guitars there always seems to be some imperfections in the finish, it is a bit of a lottery. This guitar is no exception - A few minor marks and scuffs. I have learned to accept that these products may need a little extra finishing and setting up. Consequently and ironically I have learnt quite a lot about guitar finishing. This guitar had a number of high frets, but I have found that before you get involved in "dressing" them, use a mallet and a wooden die of some sort, support the neck immediately under the problem and give it a tap, problem goes away. I'm surprised how many H.B. frets are not seated properly. Sound wise - Acoustic. I feel it lacks a brightness, the top three nylon strings lack a clarity. I was hoping for something a little crisper, I'm sure I've had even with cheap classical guitars. Obviously I changed to fresh strings, a brand which I assumed to be of reasonable quality, straight away - though I've a feeling that the guitar was shipped with good fresh strings. Sound wise - Pickup. I like the amplified sound a lot but I'm sure the response to the low E is down, I'd say 50% of the other 5. Though it's hard to tell with the guitar in your lap. I need to distance the amp and get another listener. But to me it's apparent via Headphones.

Sum up. I purchased this guitar for a variety of reasons. In my youth I always hankered for the "O" type guitar this is based on. I like and wanted to recreate the slightly artificial / synthesised sound of a nylon acoustic put through effects; reverb, delay, chorus etc. By plugging this guitar into a Katana I get the kind of thing I was after with lots of sound options at great price. I can EQ some treble clarity back into the sound. There are small finishing issues, most of which are easily sortable and having done so, I am going to live with the questionable piezo. I would never have purchased the four figure equivalent. But I do have something which looks great in the collection and is very enjoyable to play and experiment with. Therefore, for the price, reasonably pleased with my purchase.
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A pleasant surprise, you could do far worse so read on...
Bobbyboy5150 03.03.2020
My first ever order with Thomann and my first Harley Benton. I ordered the HBO-850 in the blue finish having wanted a bowl back guitar since my teenage years (all the way back in the 90's). So how did she do? Read on good people...

First Impression: It's quite nice out the box, the leaf designs stood out nicely without being overstated, neck looks lovely and feels great in the hand and headstock was nicely done. No frets sprouting out but a few were a little sharp. Came with a wrench for the truss rod.
Action And Intonation: Once the guitar was tuned up and strings stretched in I measured exactly 0.10 relief at the 8th fret. Action is comfortable and low when combined with the comfortable satin neck. To my surprise the intonation was almost perfect out the box too.
Fit and Finish: A few sharp fret ends on the guitar but nothing that would cause blood loss or injury. A bit of light dressing or a rub down with a sanding sponge would sort this. The binding on the neck is lovely up to 12th fret but is a quite untidy around the neck join and upper frets. Around the leaf decorations and bridge there was a bit of glue residue and the finish was a bit untidy. Not the worst I've ever seen but if your a perfectionist this isn't for you. If you can live with a few imperfections and are willing to do a bit of work yourself it's not terrible. I initially thought the nut was badly cut but after checking it over it was just my eyes and the nut is reasonably well done.
Sound: Unplugged it has a sweet sound, a little light on bass but it has a unique and pleasant sound. When plugged in it's quite responsive. The onboard eq is good and you can dial in a nice sound. Again not the best but very functional and tone wise it does a decent job.
Overall Impression: I paid £82 for this guitar and intended it for home use, a little recording and general jamming. And yeah it's not bad for the money. If you are expecting amazing quality control and custom shop levels of attention to detail then save your money and get something else. If your after a reasonably priced acoustic and are willing to do a bit of work to tidy up a few odds and ends you will have a well set up, pleasantly sounding and reasonably good looking guitar. You could do a lot worse for the money folks.
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Pretty, functional... and affordable!
Andy Lights 20.11.2021
Great looking guitar that sounds best when amplified. Put a little reverb on and it does the job spectacularly! At first I was bummed 'cause the action seemed high, so I googled the recommended string height from different luthiers and -- lo and behold -- the Harley Benton was set exactly as they specified! So, as it turns out, if you're coming from electric guitars (like myself), the action on a Classical will seem atrocious... get used to it.
The only problem I encountered with this guitar was that I couldn't keep in tune, but that was fixed by replacing the strings. I'm in my fifties and have been playing consistently since I was 16, I own too many guitars and I would recommend this Harley Benton in a heartbeat as a great studio tool for recording.
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