Harley Benton HB-35 VB Vintage Series

103 Customer Ratings:
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4.6 / 5.0
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Exceeded expectations!
Adrian Deans, 08.11.2018
I recently joined a (gigging) band and decided it was time to expand my guitar collection. From what I have read about Harley Benton and given the price I decided to take a shot.

Aesthetics:
The guitar arrived in 3 working days, which was a nice surprise. Getting it out of the box I was amazed how pretty it looked, it was very nicely finished, and has no blemishes at all, not one! It looks a lot more expensive than it actually cost.

Sounds:
I first plugged it into my PC/interface and tried out a few amp sims to see what the clean tones were like. Again I was pleasantly surprised by the tones. I already own an LP style guitar and was concerned that this guitar would not sound different enough. But it sounds very different and there is no mistaking that this is a semi-hollow guitar, the pickups are warm, sweet and articulate, and allow the acoustic tones on the instrument to shine. The neck position was pure jazzy loveliness. Warm, but not muddy and had that nice woody tone, whilst retaining clarity. The mid position was perfect for those funky James Brown 'Get on up' tones, or B.B King, very nice. The bridge pickup was very Chuck Berry-esque. This guitar really delivers on tone. I was half expecting to have to upgrade the pickups at some point, but, I really don't have to, it sounds great. I also tried it on a Boss Katana head that our rehearsal space lends out, and even with distortion
it retained its character, though Im not a fan of solid state amps. Tried it later with my Marshall Haze 40 tube combo and its sounded fantastic!

Playability:
When the guitar first arrived I wasn't able to get the action as low as I would have liked without any buzzing. But after a few days, it seemed to be better, and now I have the action low enough to be comfortable to play. I'm guessing it just needed some time to acclimatise/acclimate. The frets could also benefit from a polish. The guitar came with 9 gauge strings fitted. I play with 10's, so when I change them, I will try and get the action a bit lower. If I cant, I will do a fret level, crown and polish. This is not absolutely necessary, but being a tinkerer, I'd like to try and get the action lower. Given the price of the guitar the frets are pretty level, and they were nicely finished on the ends.

Would I recommend this guitar?
Definitely . What you get for the price, is ridiculous. Beats the heck out of my '96 Epi LP Standard.

I've already made a wish list of 5 more Harley Benton guitars, I just have to convince my wife that having that many guitars is justifiable!
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How is it possible for that money!
Rene Jansen, 26.12.2019
At first i was sceptic about a €179- guitar. But after looking some reviews on YouTube i decided to buy one. Came in very quickly. Couldn't believe my eyes. Wat a stunning looking guitar. Inspected the guitar. No dents or flaws. No fret spraud or so ever. Smooth as a baby b*t. Did needed to do a little work. Strating the neck a little. Adjust the hight off the bridge to my personal preference. Iff you do that, you have to adjust offcourse the intonation. After doing that i plugged it in. It plays very well and smooth.

I own Almost 20 guitars and a lot off them cost more than 10 times the money and are not 10 times better.

The sound could be a little thicker, but with some amp adjustments it sounds very nice.
Tuners are acceptabele, but i will swapp them for a lower gear ratio 1:18 or higher
The Nut lookes a little cheap, even thow the guitar stayed in tune after yanking the strings a lot. Action at the nut is very good.

Overall conclusion:
Is it worth the money?: Yes its is!!!!!!!!!!
Would i recommend it?: Absolutly!!!!!!!!
I gave it a totall 5 star because price vs what you get is perfect.

Whell done Thomann
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Pleasantly Surprised
11.12.2015
Firstly. Hats off to Thomann. They have always provided great service.

Now the guitar. . . . I put off buying this for weeks and weeks as I was unconvinced by all of the good reviews it had received. I eventually bit the bullet and thought if it isn't any good I can always return it. Well, I have to say that I was very surprised when I opened the box. The colour and lacquer finishes are surprisingly very good with only a small imperfection on one of the cut-away's at the binding. I was expecting it to be quite poor as far as the sunburst goes but it is really very good. The neck is nice too and the headstock finishes it off with a nice motif. I've owned a couple of Epi dots (vintage sunburst and blonde) that have not been any better. All of the tuners are in line, something I have seen on several reviews as an issue. The frets are well finished too. All of the electronics work fine. I only use it at home so I have no need for a massive sound and I don't use lots of effects. If it is going to be used professionally then the pickups may need swopping out. I changed the strings immediately for D'Adarrio 10's and set the neck relief and action to my liking.
There are some other minor issues such as a very dry finger board, comes up nice with lemon oil. The wiring loom is visible to through the lower F hole, no big deal. The pick guard looks like it has been cut out with a craft knife by a five year old, something else that comes up regularly in reviews. I always intended on removing it anyway. The body is a bit smaller than the original 335. It is probably in between an Epi Dot and the coupe. I have to say for just north of £100 delivered it is pretty amazing. I don't know how a guitar can be produced for this kind of money. The only disappointment is that I would have preferred it in the Cherry red, but I was not prepared to spend an extra £20 for the colour (not sure why it is more expensive), plus it was out of stock at the time I ordered. All in all I am very pleased. If you are having doubts, go for it, don't expect Gibson quality and you will not be disappointed. I may be tempted to try a HB acoustic shortly.
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Great guitar
Robert Fernando, 17.12.2019
This guitar exceeded my expectations. I need to change the strings and adjust the action but it feels and sounds fab. Can't stop looking at it. Good service too. Thanks Thomann.
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itsmekeuh, 28.12.2019
Really lovely guitar, sounds good, looks good and plays very comfortably.
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It needs some lovin'
Jerry G, 13.11.2017
Finish and looks: Perfect 10. (just remove or use a file and some sandpaper to reshape the pickguard which is plain dreadfull).

Electronics: Switches do the job well and seem durable. The pickups are very nice too, with ample output, producing a variety of tones especially with the help of the tone knobs.

Playability: Playable out of the box but:
Action a bit high. Also the frets were badly finished (file marks) and in my opinion, badly levelled. Also the nut was sit waaay too high which made the guitar kinda uncomfortable to play.

Conclusion: It took me about 1 1/2 hour to remove the pickguard, file down the nut, level, shape and polish the frets. Now the guitar plays as perfectly as it looks. A tech could do it in 30 minutes or less I guess.

I know it is ridiculously cheap! But still, with a little more lovin' it can play 10 times better! So why thomann? Why not spend that time to let this instrument reach its full potential? I think you should. It deserves it, and you plain simple underestimated your own creation! And I (and everyone for that matter) would pay a little extra for that.


Still highly recommended but you have to promise to give yours the love it needs.... and for 185 euros you got lots of ...love to spare
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Arrived with a chipped head stock. Return from US to Germany a hassle.
20.10.2015
I was a bit disappointed. The head stock was chipped when it arrived and I understand that can happen, however the packaging could be better considering the shipment was coming from Germany to the US. The frets were not polished up (a bit tarnished) as it looks like the guitar sat around in inventory for a while. I am returning the guitar due to the chip but if it didn't have the damage I would have had to do a complete fret polish and clean the fret board. The pick guard was so-so as well. The machining is not smooth. It almost looks like it was shaped by hand in a few areas. The ding, fret tarnish and pick guard quality are similar to issues I had with some AliExpress guitars. Also, the return process from the US to Germany is incredibly bureaucratic. Thomann has no partner agreement (corporate contracts) with any US carriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.) and this means shipments from the USA back to Germany are costly ($80 USPS International to Germany) and this has presented challenges in getting the guitar back to Thomann since they capped their return shipping costs at $60 (55 EUR); $20 lower than the actual cost to get the guitar back. I'm still working through a solution with Thomann. I'm hoping to have it resolved soon. The staff is very professional.

UPDATE: Thomann sent me an email letting me know I can keep the guitar and they will ship out a brand new HB 35 for free. That's exceptional customer service. Thank you.
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HB-35 VB
25.08.2015
This is a replacement for the first one that was damaged in transit.
The replacement HB-35 VB arrived better packaged than before and appeared to have survived the journey. On inspection there was damage to the binding near the jack in put, looked like a bad repair at building / manufacturing stage but for the cost of the guitar and the hassle of having to return the last one I am gonna live with it, 'call it patina'.
The guitar played more or less straight out of the box, very slight fret buzz on the 6th E but I am going to wait and let it settle before making any alterations. All in all it fits the bill, I wanted a semi hollow but without the price tag and this looks the part and plays well so far.
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Another Harley Benton Winner!
18.03.2016
Just brilliant.

Plays as good as my CST-24T. Sublime finish and sounds great. Pickguard cut is the only thing that lets it down but when it plays better than guitars costing up to 10 times as much then I think we can forgive that!

Demo Here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvKNdWrv6To
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One of the Best Values Out There!!!
RainerMaria, 11.06.2017
I was really surprised at the level of quality of this guitar at such a low price. It's honestly worth minimally twice the price, maybe more. I've examined the guitar very closely and can't find any structural defects or defects in the finish, binding, etc. Everything in that respect appears to be perfect. I was also surprised to find no problems with the fret height. It was set up well and perfectly playable on arrival.

Some of the negative things: The bridge and tailpiece appear to be on the cheap, budget side of things. I will probably replace them someday. But the tuners seem to work well enough. I'm not sure if I'll ever need to replace them. So far, so good. One problem: the toggle switch is really, really loose. Still functional, but really loose. Will probably replace it in the near future. And I'll probably replace the nut for a tusq one. The ceramic pickups sound fine (though I have some alnico Wilkinsons lying around that I will install anyway) and the pots work well. But all this negative stuff being said, what is left is a really, really good, solid guitar that is perfect as a platform for hardware and pickup upgrades. I plan to buy a second one to use as a modding platform very, very soon.
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Stunning guitar for the price
Lloydo, 16.06.2019
straight out of the box this guitar was stunning, not a blemish anywhere in the finish, action was a gnats too high, quick fret file and adjust the bridge, sorted.The pick ups have a nice tone on neck or bridge. The only on issue I found was the tuners had a lot of play in the mechanism, also felt like they were filled with sand, shame really as the rest of the guitar is stunning
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Absolute Gem..
Mageo, 30.12.2017
Guitar arrived today and after unpacking I had a good hours or so so set up and plug in. The setup took me about 5 mins ( tuning to be honest ) as everything was just about perfect, I really dont know how these guitars are made for such a small amount of money as I have purchased more expensive examples in the past only to find the guitar wanting, and took much more time and in some instances money to get the guitar right and ready to play. Hats off to Thomann they really do have this right. For any budding Blues player put there, this model is just about perfect...Love it...
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Great quality/price ratio, very good instrument for beginners or even more experienced users
20.12.2016
First of all, the Thomann service was excellent, the guitar well packed and protected. The guitar is a very good option for players searching for a semi-hollow axe at an affordable price. Also, it can be a nice choice for experienced players. Of course, it can't be compared to a relic instrument, but the HB can fight with more expensive instruments.

Look & Feel:
The sunburst is fine. Just fine, it's not perfect and has some little stains on the back. The overall look is good. At a close look, the pickguard is really bad shaped and somewhat annoying. Excellent neck and headstock finishing. The guitar is well balanced and not too heavy (compared to other semi hollow bodies, of course it requires a good strap)

Sound, usability etc.
Starting from the cons, the selector switch looks unstable as if, after some use, it might get loose. I asked to Thomann support and bought a replacement for the switch. The guitar came almost in tune (guys at Thomann checked it bf shipping), the strings are HB 10-46, soft for the fingers but also soft for the sound. I changed them after a week with GHS 10.5 Gimour's signature, warmer and richer.
Pros. The 2 volume, 2 tone knobs controlling the humbuckers rotate smoothly, I feel comfortable with their position and configuration. Tuning pegs are good, the bridge is solid. The sound with a good set of strings is really good. The construction and the performance is generally very good and satisfying.
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Fantastic guitar and any price!
Broke&Down, 21.03.2019
The HB-35 Vintage arrived without flaw out straight out of the box. I?ve had in for about 4-5 months now and it?s still impeccable. The playability, sound, quality and looks are something to behold. I can?t believe they can make this guitar for such a low cost. Thomann was excellent in getting it to me here in the USA in a timely manner and it arrived without harm. Definitely recommend the HB-35!
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Not great out of the box, but very nice with a little work
16.07.2016
After ogling the HB-35's for a long time, I finally took a leap on the base model with a hard case. I was very impressed that it only took a week for it to arrive in the US.

Out of the box, I was underwhelmed. The guitar looked great. Only flaws were a sloppy bit of binding on the underside, and the fretboard has a few small indentations around the 2nd-3rd fret (these weren't visible until after I took the strings off to give the fretboard a Linseed Oil treatment). Neither are noticeable except on close inspection.

But it didn't play well. The factory strings were junk. Even after I replaced them with a good set, the action was stiff, and the stock pickups were tinny and harsh.

So, a bit of work: I installed a cheap set of Wilkinson ceramic PAFs and brought the action down with a truss rod tighten, and now this is a much better guitar. These pickups are really too hot for the body style, so I will be replacing them again, but fixing the action made it much, much more enjoyable to play. As they say, "For the money..." it's a good bet.
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My HB-35 VB Very Pleased. Small niggles can be sorted.
MyReviews, 19.06.2018
Bought planning to use as main guitar and modify. Using at home for now. Not as comfortable to hold as my ST style guitars. I would probably get the red one with the coil splits if buying again. I tidied up the scratch plate edges by removing, filing and sanding and re-fixing. Setup and finish are good - I will be smoothing the frets a bit more to get them properly smooth to make it more pleasant to play. Sounds good, especially wired up with an amp. Really great value for money. Highly recommend to try guitars in shops for style comfort wherever possible before making a decision. So pros: Great but not excellent but fantastic for the price. Minor features (no trem, no coil split), sound (acoustically a bit brighter rather than woody due to the gloss finish), and finish (rough cut scratch plate edge and frets polish lacking) points keep it from being fantastic but still very good.
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Great value guitar
24.01.2016
This was the first Harley Benton guitar I have ever bought so I wasn?t completely sure what to expect. My experience so far has been very positive.
This guitar sounds great and looks great too and for under 200 euros it feels like a steal.
It didn?t come set up perfectly (but what guitar does anyway) and the strings sounded very cheap. Besides that the only other negative I can think of is the pickup selector which feels a bit too flimsy to me.
If you are looking for a hollow body guitar but you don?t want to spend a lot this is definitely a great choice. I have the sunburst model and couldn?t be happier with it.
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V Good for the price with only a couple of downsides
21.01.2016
This guitar is a very good cheaper alternative to a more expensive Epiphone ES-339 Pro, built very well, however, with the cheaper price comes a few downsides. The original strings need to be changed straight away as they sound cheap and whiny. Both the tuners and volume/tone knobs aren't very sensitive and take a bit of getting used to. A good strap needs to be bought with this guitar as it is surprisingly heavy.
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Great for the money
25.05.2016
A nice bit of kit. The neck and body are very nice as is the hardwear. The pickups are nice, full and what you would expect from this type of guitar, not thin at all. It was very much let down by the pick guard. That is something many have said, it looked like it was cut out with nail clippers. I chucked it within 5 minutes. I would pay the same, hell, 10 Euros more if they don't put one on. However over all worth more than the money you pay.
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you won`t find a better one for the bucks
19.10.2015
this guitar is well made and it look`s great and the pickups are bright and not muddy its set up ok,i`v been looking for a guitar of this type and for the price you can`t go wrong?you won`t find a better semi-acoustic for this price i`v looked so i`m happy with my new toy .
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Pleasantly surprised
Antony R., 13.09.2015
Bought this product on looks alone so imagine my surprise to find out that it actually plays well.
Lower the action to your taste and stick some slinky strings on and you will be amazed. Love it!
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T.Greenwood, 21.10.2018
After a quick setup playes great.
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Fantastic!
12.12.2015
Bought this hoping it would be as good as an Epiphone I had many years ago. I was initially disappointed, however this was because the strings are 9s a it really needs 10s.

I adjusted the action, which was much too high, and the intonation (which you can learn to do on youtube or pay a guitar shop to do for you) - after that it was fantastic. Lemon oil on the neck and with the new strings it plays really fast, sounds just georgeous and is perfect for my current attempt to work my way through Mikey Baker's Jazz book.

This guitar also sounds great when you play rock, I've been messing about with various styles and it really breaks up well, nice and warm.

Thank you so much Thomann for another amazing guitar!
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Harley Benton HB-35 VB Vintage Series

185 €
Including VAT; Excluding 20 € shipping
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