Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK

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When you buy this guitar during the period from 24.04.2024 through 31.08.2024 you will receive 3 Months subscription for music2me Guitar for free on top. After the shipping of your order you will receive the licence key as well as the download-link automatically send to you by e-mail. The music2me subscription automatically ends after expiry.

Electric Guitar

  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Bolt-on maple
  • Fingerboard: Roseacer
  • Dot fingerboard inlays
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Fingerboard radius: 305 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • 22 Frets
  • Pickups: 2 active high gain HBZ humbuckers
  • Controls: Volume
  • 3-Way switch
  • Hardtail bridge
  • Dual action truss rod
  • Die-cast machine heads
  • Black hardware
  • Factory strings .010 - .046
  • Colour: Matt Black
Available since January 2022
Item number 516825
Sales Unit 1 piece(s)
Colour Black
Body Poplar
Top None
Neck Maple
Fretboard Roseacer
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo None
incl. Bag No
incl. Case No
Free of charge with this product
Including VAT; Excluding £10 shipping
Available at short notice (usually 2-5 days)
Available at short notice (usually 2-5 days)

This product has been ordered and is expected to arrives in the next few days.

Standard Delivery Times

Darker, heavier, and louder

Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK electric guitar

With its classic ST shape, the Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK electric guitar cuts a striking figure in terms of look and sound thanks to its matt black finish and two active high-gain humbuckers, which promise an enjoyable playing experience with a louder, darker, and heavier sound. This guitar is stripped down to the most essential features, such as a single volume control knob rather than complex tone circuitry, and built from standard woods that include poplar for the body – a simplicity that is in stark contrast to the crushing sonic potential that it harbours. Players who want to add some variation to their sound can use the three-way switch to select between the neck and bridge pickup, or activate both pickups at once.

Bridge and pickups Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK

Rock-solid with a perfect shape

Its bolt-on maple neck with a matt black finish perfectly matches the overall appearance of the Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK, and its fingerboard, which is made from thermally treated maple, adds to the guitar's dramatic, dark looks - perfect for Metal. The hardware, which includes die-cast machine heads, is also designed entirely in black. The white dot inlays on the 22-fret fingerboard provide a strong contrast against their dark background and visual orientation for the player. The ST-20HH Active SBK comes with a dual-action truss rod that allows the guitar's neck to be precisely adjusted to a more concave or convex shape for optimum playability.

Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK – rear side

Fat riffs for newcomers

The Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK offers newcomers a great deal of style and sound at an extremely affordable price. Thanks to its standard dimensions, which are based on the classic ST-type design (a 648mm scale, a 305mm fingerboard radius, and a 42mm nut width) the ST-20HH Active SBK is the ideal solution for newcomers who are looking for an authentic practice instrument that allows them to seamlessly switch to an upgraded version later on. The fixed bridge ensures that riffs will sound fat and punchy while also preventing the strings from going out of tune too quickly, but this design means that the ST-20HH Active SBK is probably not the ideal choice for fans of whammy bars and dive bombs.

Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK – headstock

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.

Metal, Thrash, and more

The Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK is perfectly configured for Hard Rock and Metal, and covers the full range of tones that players of these and similar genres need - from singing lead lines and powerful melodies through to chunky rhythm parts - thanks to its duo of high-gain humbuckers, which provide an incredibly high output and surprisingly strong attack dynamics for a guitar of this price category. The ST-20HH Active SBK is the ideal guitar for budding rhythm players with a passion for Metal in all its guises - from classic Metal and Thrash through to Black Metal. Its active pickups are powered by a 9V battery, which is located in an easily accessible compartment on the rear of the body. To ensure a long battery life, the cable should be unplugged from the Harley Benton ST-20HH Active SBK whenever it is not in use.

166 Customer ratings

4.5 / 5

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128 Reviews

Njooka 05.04.2022
Bought this after not playing guitar for around 7 to 8 years, previously owned a number of guitars, but never anything you'd call "expensive". Bought this because the reason I started playing were the signature guitars of a certain man from Slipknot, and the price was very good - why not? Arrived in Croatia in 3 business days.

It amazed me that the overall quality of the guitar is much, much higher than the cheap strat copies of just a few years back. Everything is well set up, there are no build quality issues at all and the guitar looks very great to the eye. Frets are well-polished and the guitar needs just a bit of setting up right from the box. I feel like I got a very well-made instrument, especially considering the cost.

The neck is a bit thicker than I'd like, and the action came a bit high from the factory so I needed to adjust it, but other than that the neck is as strat-like as I remembered. Very easy to play, and looks very nice as well. The strings on it are interesting as well - they're .010-.046 which gives you the opportunity to tune a bit deeper right out of the box. I'd recommend buying a set of thicker strings if you plan on tuning to very low tunings of course.

The pickups are possibly the weakest part of the guitar, but they sound good if you don't go crazy on the gain and volume - probably the first thing that many people will replace, but for the price, I feel like they are much more than you could wish for. They can definitely sound very evil if that's what you're looking for - paired with the Neural DSP Gojira plugin it does sound surprisingly close to the real thing.

The fact that the battery compartment is routed already is a big plus, I feel like this makes me want to work on the guitar and modify it in the future.

In conclusion, it's not on the same level as the guitar it pays tribute to, and of course, it's not a perfect instrument. It is a very capable metal guitar, though, and a great platform for improvement. I also bought a replacement Graphtech Nut and some locking tuners for it - but will wait for these improvements when I change the strings.

All in all - amazing value not just for this price, I'd be happy to even pay 100€ more for it if it had a bit better pickups.


Bad quality even for the price.
Qvibbe 28.11.2022
Great sounding guitar. But the intonation was horrible and somewhat unfixable due to bad fret work and somewhat curved neck. I've got a few guitars from Harley Benton and i love some of them. Even replaced my expensive guitars but this model, atleast mine, was unfixable unless i spend a lot of money on it.

The sound however is very good. A bit sharp/bright for my taste in metal guitars but nothing wrong with it.


Great value, great guitar - but not perfect.
Anonymous 18.04.2023
So I'd like to preface this first by saying that the guitar, compared to the starter kits (or the entry-level Epiphones in my case) that were around when I first started many, many years ago, is great, stunning, and excellent value.

How many entry-level guitars at this price point have active pickups?
How many guitars at this price point have active pickups at all, in fact?
How many entry-level guitars look as sleek and good as this?
(Yes, obviously taking inspiration from the Jim Root Strat.. but still!)
How many create entry-level guitars that serve pretty niche music styles?

So obviously I like the guitar; it looks fine as hell, it has active pickups and it was a good value for something I intend to slap some 12-62 gauge strings on and pick up from time to time. But I do not pick it up from time to time. I pick it up most days, sometimes over my MIJ Strat or my £1000+ Ibanez AZ. Perhaps because I'm very precious over at least one of those instruments.

That's not because it's on the same level of quality, but because even though it's cheaply priced it does exactly what I need a guitar to do.

Now that I've finished the good. There are however some things I'd like to talk about...

The tuners:
They're inconsistent, do not hold tune (even with the fixed bridge), some are mushy feeling and some are stiff as anything and I had no confidence that they would tolerate higher string gauges at all too well.. so this was something I identified immediately to be fixed...

Fortunately, this is an easy fix. I'd really recommend, if you're purchasing this guitar, purchasing also some locking tuners. I immediately replaced mine with some Gotoh MGT locking tuners for about £60-£70. There are probably some cheaper ones out there, but I have never had issues with the Gotohs on my other guitars. Tuning stability fixed!

The Fretwork:
I hate to say it as I've been singing its praises: the fretwork... It just isn't good. This seems to be endemic across HB's budget guitars (at least from the two HB guitars I've experienced).

They leave the factory scuffed and scratchy as anything — something that could be easily fixed in QC or in the factory with 5–10 minutes of extra care.

This too is an easy fix during the first string change, and this ought to be as soon as you receive a guitar, really. Grab some 0000 wire wool and just give each fret 30 to 60 seconds of care. I do a lot of work on my guitars, so fortunately I have this stuff lying around - but this could be a nuisance for some of you.

They are definitely uneven around the 15th fret (on two budget HB guitars I've come into contact with), and I'm a little less equipped to deal with this issue, but I tolerate it for now. When I'm playing through my amp, which is most of the time, I don't even notice it and so in my mind it doesn't affect the playability whatsoever. I have a feeling this is a result of the change in climate the instrument has been through during transport.

Ideally, Thomann would have a small team that picked up on these issues before shipping and had them addressed, but quite honestly, for this price, that's probably a big ask.

Glue seepage from the frets left dirty brown residue around the frets the entire length of the fretboard.

The neck is a little on the thick side... but I'm used to the hard V on my Strat so quite honestly, anything is more comfortable than that, and there are a few scratches in the finish around the neck join. (This seems to be pretty common at basically every level of guitar these days; even the latest Fender AVRIs suffer this)

Finally, I also praised the fact that the guitar has active pickups. However, these pickups are HOT... You will not get the sparkling cleans out of these that you would from an EMG set. They are very noisy. I don't think it's due to the grounding issue mentioned in other reviews. Just a situation of: you get what you pay for. They're budget active pickups on a budget guitar. So don't expect EMG / Fishman quality. I turn the knob down to about 7, and that seems to do the trick. But long-term, some of you may wish to replace these.

I know I spent more time critiquing the instrument than I have on the good. But as with all purchases, I think everyone should be as informed as possible about what they're getting, and for some people, a 'project, no matter how big or small, is not what they're looking for. This has some elements of a project to it. But equally, straight out of the box, it was still perfectly playable — just not as playable as it could be.

Remember... At the end of the day, it is priced at an entry-level guitar, and for the issues I'm raising, I cannot fault it. I've certainly owned worse guitars in the past for about the same price or more.

I still own the guitar, I don't regret its purchase, I didn't send it back, and I still play it most days; I'm not precious over it, I don't love it and I don't hate it. So to me I'm just pleased with the value I've got out of it already for the price I paid and that I got a guitar I can down-tune without costing me a fortune. I'd recommend it to anybody in the same position and on a budget.


Perfect metal/blues guitar
Turbo1337 23.03.2022
It's perfect sounds and feels guitar.
It's delivered untuned, tuning was easer then on other guitars.
Guitar is really loud.
Neck feels really comfortable.
On bridge pickup it's nice metal guitar.
On neck it's sounds like oldschool blues.
Sustain is really long, i think it's because of fixed bridge.
I compare this with my jackson dinky and ibanez blazer, this guitar is better then jackson, and pretty close to ibanez.
It's looks fantastic. And feels the same.
Harley Benton, please create firerbird with the same specs.


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