Harley Benton ST-70 Black Paisley

Electric Guitar

  • Deluxe Series
  • Body: Basswood
  • Bolt-on neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Neck profile: C
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Dot fretboard inlays
  • 21 Medium jumbo frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • Pickups: 2 Roswell STA Alnico-5 vintage ST-Style single coils and 1 Roswell HAF Alnico-5 humbucker
  • 2 Tone controls and 1 volume control with volume push/pull function coil split
  • 5-Way toggle switch
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Wilkinson tremolo
  • Stringing: D'Addario EXL110 .010 - .046 (article nr 104555)
  • Colour: Black Paisley
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Audio Examples

 
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  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Rock

Further Information

Colour Graphic
Body Basswood
Top None
Neck Maple
Fretboard Ovangkol
Frets 21
Scale 648 mm
Pickups HSS
Tremolo Wilkinson
incl. Bag No
incl. Case No
53 Customer Ratings:
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.5 / 5.0
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
45 written ratings Read all reviews
Total
features
sound
quality
Amazing!
Mr Greggles, 11.08.2018
First Impression

Looks right, feels right, nice weight, no damage, no obvious flaws. Overall it looks shiny, beautiful and professional

Second Impression

Fret ends feel good, frets look good, fretboard looks dry (as everyone says - that's why I have lemon oil). Fretboard is quite a light colour, partly due to the wood used and partly to the dryness. Also knobs look a bit cheap and need adjusting so that the "10s" are facing me when I look down and they are all turned up. The push-pull for the coil tap feels very good quality and the pots turn smoothly. Pickups look good - can't wait to hear them.

Looking over the body and neck for flaws I though I saw a bit of glue around the neck pocket - turns out it's just the film on the pickguard. The paisley printing doesn't look absolutely perfect when looking at it up close - so I won't look at it up close. The effect from a smallish distance is really good, if slightly lighter than I was expecting.

Crikey, this is as well-finished as my PRS SE Santana for a fraction of the price.

Intonation sounds spot-on to my ears - will measure it later. And it's in tune! (apart from the G being slightly flat). The neck feels good but the strings don't - I'm used to coated strings and I'll be changing these pretty soon. Unplugged it sounds as it should but the frets are unpolished and feel "graunchy". So I'll polish them when I'm changing the strings. No obvious problems with fret alignment or buzz and the action is actually lower than I usually have it.

Handling

Pickups are clear and "chime-y" with good sustain but slightly less attack and "teeth-curling" sharpness than my Pacifica - which is exactly what I wanted. The humbucker has the bark you'd expect and, when tapped, does sound like a single coil that matches the others, though it may need adjusting as it's a little quieter than the others. I think it may be a compromise so that the humbucker doesn't sound too loud when it's not tapped. The tone controls are progressive (turn up and down gradually) as they should be. The sounds in each pickup siwtch position are distinctly different and as you would expect.

The neck feels slightly deeper at the nut than it does at the 15th fret, which is a little unusual but I'm not complaining about the extra strength. Ffrets are even, no buzz problems just in need of a polish. The A and D string saddles have been set noticeably too high compared with the other strings. I hope that's not to hide buzz problems. I'll investigate later.

I can't find any significant dead spots on the fretboard (unlike the Pacifica which has a dead spot around the 12th fret on the G and, to a lesser extent, the 8th fret on the B - this is a common problem on Pacificas and is due to a body/neck resonance). However the D string sounds slightly quieter and duller than the others. This may be due to the strings or the pickups, or even just that it is set too high.

Actually Playing!

Even without a setup this thing plays fine. OK I can feel that the A and D are high but that will take a few moments to fix. The fretboard doesn't feel as dry as it looks but the frets do feel gritty. The pickups aren't the best in the World but I don't feel as though there is any need to change them - at least not for a while. It feels comfortable and sounds as Strat-like as any other copy (and more than most). It has the ridiculous Strat two tone control system so I may have to change that (either PTB or active tone controls) but that's not Thomann/Harley Benton's fault. Let's get it set up!

After Setup

The intonation was slightly out on the lowest three strings (E, A and D) but only about 10 cents at the 12 fret. The A and D saddles have been lowered to match the camber of the other strings. The action is now about the equal lowest of any of my guitars and still no buzzing. I have polished the frets with a leather strop on a wooden block with some polishing compound and they feel fantastic. I find it comfortable to "wear" standing or sitting. I like to look of it. It plays beautifully now that I'm getting used to the pickups and adjusting my amp settings accordingly. I love it!

Conclusion

I had to remind myself that this is a £130 guitar. The last guitar I bought was about £500. This stands up to it in almost every way and is better in some - AND it needed less setup! It gives me what I wanted, looks and feels great and makes a great complement to my PRS. It is versatile and feels good enough to the point where I feel I'm playing better. You can't ask much more than that.

If I had to be critical the only thing I would say is that the headstock seems a little too short - the distance from the nut to the low E peg puts quite a sharp angle on the string. I've seen MUCH more expensive guitars which are worse but, hey, this is only if I had to be critical!.

Only time will tell if the wood will hold stable enough for it to remain such a good guitar but... £130! Wow!

Summary

This is a good mid-range guitar which plays well, gives Strat and Fat Strat sounds and looks great. The surprise is that it is about a third of the price of a mid-range guitar! The hype is true: Harley Benton guitars (at least this one) are great guitars at an excellent price!

Postscript
I always had a slight reservation about the sound of the pickups. There was a slight high-frequency harshness and excessive attack at some settings, only noticeable on headphones. The guitar had shipped with a non-floating trem setting (bridge hard down against the body). I had left it like this as it is supposed to improve sustain and I don't tend to use the trem much (and have a Floyd Rose equipped Washburn for when I do.

Out of interest I adjusted it to a floating trem for a particular recording project. That harshness disappeared and the sustain hasn't been affected, as far as I can tell. It now has exactly the tone I wanted!It is now my favourite guitar - at least until my new HB CST-24HB is properly set up (a couple of frets need taking down slightly).
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Total
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My new favourite guitar!
Baribou, 12.04.2018
I was very undecided for a long time before pulling the trigger on this one. There weren't many reviews or soundclips or much of anything to read about this particular guitar, so i mostly read about the ST-62, and the good things buyers had to say about that one. I did want a HSS model, (humb-sing-sing) and the coil-split function for the humbucker was a big bonus, as well as the colour. I just couldn't forget that Paisley-pattern...

So, I finally bought it.

It came well-packaged (like always from Thomann: Thank You!), well set up, and in tune. A little string buzz at first, but that's to be expected after a guitar's been in transit and on the road for a week. It sorted itself out after a few days. Strings are nice (D'addarios), will be changing them when they break, not before that.

The finish is VERY nice, almost mirror-like gloss. The neck is laquered, but smooth. The bridge and vibrato is GOOD (Wilkinson). Tuners are ok, they do the job just as good as on some of my 5-600 euro guitars.

IF I am to complain about something, it would be the fretboard and the pots. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, since the overall quality is more than satisfying, but IF: The fretboard looks a little bland, with some inconcistensies and discolorations in a few places, and overall a little grey-ish. It is, however, stained Ovankol (if I remember it right), and staining CAN leave wood looking like that. The overall feel and playability of the fretboard is good, though!

The pots could also be a little better, but again, the overall quality and the PRICE makes up for this! It IS a great instrument! The pots work, and they can always be changed if the suddenly don't!

All guitars, regardless of price, can have small details that are not perfect. The overall quality and feel of the instrument is what matters. An instrument makes, or doesn't make, an impression, an imprint, on it's player. This one made one on me. It's my new favourite!

Plugged in, this guitar has something. It really does. I can't compare it to a "real" ST-guitar, since I don't own one, but it's a REALLY nice sounding guitar. It really holds something of it's own. The PU's are smooth, clear, and bright. I play mostly country on it, but throw in a little classic - and hard rock, and it works really well for it all. I would actually expect this kind of quality and sound for an instrument 3, maybe 4 times the price of this one!

I HIGHLY recommend this instrument! Don't hesitate if you're thinking about buying one!
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Colour: Graphic
Harley Benton ST-70 Black Paisley
(53)
Harley Benton ST-70 Black Paisley

Electric Guitar Deluxe Series, Body: Basswood, Bolt-on neck: Maple, Fretboard: Ovangkol, Neck profile: C, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, Dot fretboard inlays, 21 Medium jumbo frets, Scale: 648 mm, Nut...

  • Colour: Graphic
  • Body: Basswood
  • Top: None
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Frets: 21
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickups: HSS
  • Tremolo: Wilkinson
  • incl. Bag: No
  • incl. Case: No
Harley Benton ST-70RW Deluxe Series
(47)
Harley Benton ST-70RW Deluxe Series

Electric Guitar Deluxe Series, Body: Basswood, Top: Rosewood imitation veneer, Bolt-on neck: Maple, Fretboard: Ovangkol, Neck profile: C, Fretboard radius: 350 mm, Dot fretboard inlays, 21 Medium...

  • Colour: Natural
  • Body: Basswood
  • Top: Rosewood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Frets: 21
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Pickups: SSS
  • Tremolo: Wilkinson
  • incl. Bag: No
  • incl. Case: No
€148 £129.90
Including VAT; Excluding €10 shipping

The price in GBP is a guideline price only!

In stock within 6-7 weeks
In stock within 6-7 weeks

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