I'd thought about ordering an HB SC-550 since the beginning of Covid and never pulled the trigger. I loved the pics of the Desert Flame Burst and knew that if I ordered one ... that would be the one.
I have friends who said at Thomann's price on these guitars you have to expect to change a lot and put a lot into it to get it "playable", therefore turning the price into what you would pay for an Epiphone or LTD by the time you were done. Not the case here.
To keep this as short as possible, let me just say that the Desert Flame Burst had me speechless. I waited for the right time and got the right SC-550 in version 2. The guitar has stainless steel frets, Pau Ferro fretboard, your standard mahogany found in LP types, a chambered body but still has some LP heft to it, a 6mm maple cap with what appears to be a photo flame but who cares ... it takes your breath away. What I care about when it comes to a guitar is how does it look, how does it feel and how does it sound. This guitar looks, feels and sounds amazing! I must have said "Wow" 5 times before I put it down. The fretwork was spectacular, the cavity for the pots was neatly put together with full-size Alpha pots and Tesla pickups with 4 conductor wires.
This guitar truly makes Harley Benton its own respectable brand of guitar if many were not thinking so before. Actually more than respectable because I have some much higher-priced LP guitars that this guitar runs an extremely close second if not takes 1st place to me depending on the moment. I would say get one while they last. This is one of the best guitar purchases I have ever made. Outside of some minor setup to my preferred action and the pickup height adjustment, there was not a lot to do to get this guitar ready to play. And I pulled out tools to measure to a baseline, before I dialed in my preferences, that Gibson would use on their Les Pauls. Out of the box, this guitar fell within spec.
I'm still a little stunned by the quality and I have a friend who owns a guitar shop who was also a bit taken back by how nicely the guitar came in. Shipping was fast in it being about 6 days from order to at my door in the states from Germany. That is unbelievable in itself! I have to admit that I would purchase another HB if it were a PRS style with these features... or if I just wanted a different color SC-550 II. I would love if Harley Benton produced an Anaconda Green in this guitar. It would be in the basket now if they had one! There is really nothing bad to say about the guitar because it came in better in every way than some Epiphone, Gibson or Fender guitars. Thomann has hit it out of the park with this guitar. Everyone has something they would change on almost every guitar and for me with this one, it would be the pickups ... not because these are bad by any stretch of the imagination. Purely because I like Alnico 2s. That's it! If you have been thinking about getting this model, don't second guess yourself. Order it now! Cheers!