Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-15M

Steel String Guitar

  • Vintage solid series
  • Body shape: Auditorium 000-14 with dovetail construction
  • Top: Mahogany, solid
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Neck profile: Modified oval C
  • "Snowflake" inlays
  • Body binding made of wood
  • Scale: 643 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • 20 Frets
  • Nut: Bone
  • Compensated saddles made of bone
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Ovangkol scalloped X- bracing
  • Chrome machine heads die cast DLX
  • Strings: Daddario EXP-16 .012 - .053
  • Colour: Natural satin
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Audio Examples

 
0:00
  • Country
  • Picking
  • Strumming

Further Information

Model 000
Top Mahogny
Back and Sides Mahogany
Cutaway No
Fretboard Ovangkol
Nut width in mm 43,00 mm
Frets 20
Pickup No
Colour Natural
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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143 Customer Ratings:
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4.8 / 5.0
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115 written ratings Read all reviews
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Lovely, sweet well made guitar - just get one

S Harrison, 08.02.2018
Ok, first off I love this guitar.
In the early 90's I went into Andy's guitar shop, London, and tried a Martin 150th anniversary all mahogany 000-15 (or 00) and a '68 Gibson hummingbird. Both gorgeous guitars, the Martin was the 2nd best acoustic I've played (the best being a 60's Martin 00/000 made with Brazilian rosewood and spruce or cedar top). I loved it but it was £950, which I didn't have back then - to put that into context the '68 hummingbird was £100 cheaper. Fast forward to now and Martin had reissued the all mahogany 000-15s a few years ago, which I didn't realise - at a bargaintastic £1200. Post Brexit vote however and they are now £1500 or more, due to our devalued currency and exchange rate. So while I'm waiting for Sterling to improve, I got this Harley Benton version.
Straight out of the box, this guitar was in tune and immediately playable. I mean seriously playable. I immediately recognised the tone from that old Martin I tried. It doesn't have all the complex timbre of the Martin, or quite the sweetness of the notes - but It was instantly in that tonal family. I recognised the tone; not just that, it has warmth but also a surprising punch to it - out of the box it blew me away.

Set up, out of the box, is excellent. This is the first of my Harley Bentons to actually come with a set up card. It's really easy to play, excellent action. The strings sing out clearly and evenly (the Martin is probably a bit clearer) - it's really well balanced like that across the whole guitar, nothing jumping at you or hiding away. The intonation is pretty much spot on, across the fret board, straight out of the box. Impressively precise. Construction is simple and clean. No extra heavy bracing added by accountants worried about warranty periods (like certain acoustics have had). This is a really light guitar. The bracing is scalloped to reduce weight and allow the guitar to vibrate and resonate. And boy does it do that. A lovely warm, rich tone with it's own complexities and resonances and timbre - and plenty of punch if you drive it. This is so much lighter than my other acoustics (which are worth a good bit more). I can't remember playing a lighter one.

The one thing that surprised me a little was that mine is a little headstock heavy - no more so than my other acoustics but a lot of HB's a very well balanced this way - the old Martin sat perfectly balanced on my leg. To be fair - it's so light it would need a very light weight set of tuners to counterbalance that lovely resonant body. Also, I suspect the nut was cut for strings a gauge lighter - as this is strung with 12's and only needs 11's to drive it. A couple of the strings catch on it - but it's no biggy, a bit of graphite will probably fix it - the nut is well cut for the string heights - the tuners do their job well. The strings had also been bedded in properly - no tugging on them required.

Did I mention how good this guitar sounds, feels and plays?
I was hoping for a good guitar but was taken aback by it and by the set-up and the simple quality and precision of the construction (ok, the nut wasn't cut for this gauge of strings but I really don't care, the strings sound great on it and are surprisingly easy to play).
Mine looked pretty much like the pictures on the site - I thought it might have a closer grain but it sounds great (and looks great) and it will only get better. It already sounds like it's opened up so how good will it be when it does.

This will suit a variety of styles from quiet, introspective fingerstyle to punchy strumming and anything in between. I'm sure this will be a good recording guitar. (I'll be recording with it)
I have it in an open D tuning at the moment - it loves lower tunings.
Forget all the stuff about this being a good guitar for the money - this is a good guitar.
And an absolute bargain.
Get one - while they still can do them in mahogany.
(Makes me feel unfaithful but - my new go to acoustic)
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Total
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Becoming a HB fanatic

Steve Mc. , 11.01.2019
First disclaimers. I am an intermediate beginning player. Guitar playing has been a hobby for me for the last 30+ years, with varying degrees of commitment due to schooling and family. I have owned Gibsons, Fenders, Martins, etc, over the years. I recently picked up guitar again in the last year. I picked up a cheap Gretsch acoustic and have been playing a great deal so had started saving up for an Epiphone LP to fool around with. Then I discovered HB guitars and became quite intrigued. In short, i have now 3 great HB guitars for close to what I would have paid for one Epiphone. This CLA-15M being one of them.
First, quality/aesthetics: I have been over this thing multiple times over the last week or so and it is well put together, looks beautiful and appears to have had care taken on the finish of the frets and such. When tested the intonation was spot on and the action while ever so slightly high, is quite acceptable and very playable . Some adjustment could be made there, but I do not put it at a high prio. Tuners seem quite good and hold tune overnight and quite well after bunches of playing. The ONLY blemish i have found what-so-ever was some really small spots of glue or raised paint (hardly even visible) on the neck. More annoyance than anything else and sure they will smooth down after some playing.
Sound: This is my first mahogany guitar, so honestly i have no direct comparison. I also can not compare in person to the original Martin. I have listened to MULTIPLE videos of other not to be named 15M style guitars online and I can say in some it sounds absolutely identical, and others there may be a slight bit of low end that isn't there with the HB. This could be to differences in mic's used for the videos or even maybe strings. But here is the thing...the guitar sounds GREAT no matter what you compare it too. And the simple fact that I am even bringing a comparison between the actual M$%^*n and the guitar at 10% of the price is absolutely ridiculous.
The only problem with this guitar (my second HB) is that I also order a Custom Line King Jumbo (the 3rd HB guitar, review on it coming up) at the exact same time and if you can believe it...its even better. Shame I cant play them both at the same time. :) So far Thomann is batting 1000 with me. Gut Gemacht Leute! These will not be the last HB's that I buy.
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Show variations of this product
Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-15M
(143)
Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-15M
to the product
175 €

Steel String Guitar Vintage solid series, Body shape: Auditorium 000-14 with dovetail construction, Top: Mahogany, solid, Body: Mahogany, Neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Ovangkol, Neck profile: Modified...

  • Model: 000
  • Top: Mahogny
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Cutaway: No
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Nut width in mm: 43,00 mm
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: No
  • Colour: Natural
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-16S
(26)
Harley Benton Custom Line CLA-16S
to the product
155 €

Steel-string Guitar Body style: Auditorium 000-14, Dovetail construction, Solid Sitka spruce top, Body: Mahogany, Neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Ovangkol, Modified oval C-neck profile, Pearl dot...

  • Model: 000
  • Top: massive spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Cutaway: No
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Nut width in mm: 43,00 mm
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: No
  • Colour: Natural
  • Incl. Case: No
  • Incl. Gigbag: No
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Offers include 24% Greek VAT and are valid as long as stocks last. Shipping costs to Greece are 20 EUR, free shipping on orders above 298 EUR. Please click here for international Shipping rates. We do not accept liability for typographical errors or inaccurate information of any kind. *RRP = manufacturer's / distributor's recommended retail price in Germany
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