Harley Benton R-457BK Fanfret

45 Customer Ratings
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4.4 /5
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Great basis for an upgrade
ZoltanP, 20.01.2020
This is a great option for those who want to venture into the territory of extended range: 7 multiscale strings are not easy and not cheap to come by, so this price point is simply killer, and gives everyone the opportunity to try something special for less than a fortune.

That being said, you also get what you pay for, more so than on most other Harley Bentons I've bought over the years.

Out of the box, the setup was alright given the guitar's stock features, but there was a lot of room for improvement:

- The nubone nut was a bit loosely set and fell off, so I had to reattach it with superglue;

- The nut's slots deserved to be filed down a full millimeter on every string, its top trimmed down by 2-3mm, its corners rounded and sanded (otherwise they protruded too much and got in the way of playing on the first fret);

- about a third of the frets were high, so I gave them a complete levelling, dressing and polishing:

- the stock humbuckers were okay but very dark and muddy, so I replaced them with Fishman Fluence pickups and electronics (that kit alone cost almost twice as much as the guitar, but Fishman pickups sound amazing, so totally worth every penny);

- The stock tuners were decent but 1:19 ratio locking tuners (also from Harley Benton) are much better for stability for these heavy strings;

- The string ferrules on the back of the body all fell out when I destrung the guitar: their holes are a tiny bit too big in diameter, but a blob of Loctite on the side of each ferrule solved that issue;

- When properly intonated, the springs of three out of seven bridge saddles got so loose that they rattled. You either need to put longer springs in there, or add pads of some sort to compress the springs and cut out the parasite noises (I used small strips cut out of a leather strap);

- Finally the blackwood fretboard is acceptable, but be careful with lemon oil: it soaks it up quickly and spits it back for days. My biggest grievance though is this: why on earth is there no second marker at the 12th fret? Especially as there are three of them at the 24th!

Note also that the stock pickups were base-mounted and their routs are too narrow for any top-mounted alternative, including my Fishman humbuckers. So I had to get the Dremel out, rout the cavities wider (thank God it's a basswood body!), drill deeper into the body to get enough clearance for the top-mounting screws, and craft and attach home made pickup rings for top-mounting, as the guitar has no pickguard.

A nice touch is that the back control cavity was covered in shielding paint ex factory. Another positive is that the maple neck is really sturdy, stable, well shaped and smooth (I nevertheless wet sanded the back of it with some 600 grit paper for even better feel). And the overall guitar remains relatively light for something this big, and exactly balanced. No neck dive whatsoever.

Once all of the above was done (roughly 3 days of work), I could do a proper setup, adjust the trussrod, lower the action, perfect the intonation, and... ENJOY WHAT IS NOW A REAL HEAVY METAL MONSTER \m/ THAT'S ALSO VERY EASY TO PLAY, EXTREMELY VERSATILE SOUNDING, AND DEAD ACCURATE FROM FRET 1 TO 24. The last bit of buzz that remains is just because I missed a high spot on fret 13. It will soon be fixed.

Agreed, if you add the extra parts I used and the manhours I spent, this project is in the end not any less expensive than some of the entry level and even mid range alternatives from Ibanez, Jackson or Schecter, but I still love it, and have greatly enjoyed the upgrade process. Plus now my guitar is truly unique.
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Wanted 7 string Fanfret
Ole Man , 16.12.2020
Wanted to try out a 7 string fanfret to see how I’d like it. Do to COVID I’m unable to hang out like I used to. So spending time at the local guitar shop was non-existent. Also buying an outrageously priced guitar to try and return just didn’t seem right. So I’d heard good things about Harley Benton Guitars and I thought I’d give them a try. I thought for the low cost that I’d get the Harley Benton R-457BK Fanfret to try. Glad I did! Was thinking that if I didn’t enjoy the guitar or that the 7 string multiscale wasn’t for me I’d give the guitar to my grandson (or The Son-In-Law). To bad, they’ll have to wait, as the comfort, setup, and quality was well beyond what I was expecting. I’m enjoying the playability and tone. Playing through Boss Katana 100 and after a little tweaking the amp settings, this guitar sings like an American Fender HH. Cleans are clean, crunch is focused, and driven has headroom galore. Chugging is new to me and finding Dgent is coming along! Since I’m 65 and can still get a heartbeat, I need to add it to the 7th string! DGENT!
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Solid and reliable guitar.
Zak Rahman, 20.04.2018
I have waited for several months before writing this review. Several months of use. These are not my 'first impressions'.

Limitations/Cons:

The nut is cut a little strangely, and sharp at one edge. Can be easily fixed.

The back of the neck isn't the smoothest. I am comparing it to a Jackson Soloist and an American Stratocaster. This is to be expected.

The pickups are a little too muddy for my tastes. Pickups are easily replaceable.

PROS:

- Fun to play.
- Came with perfect intonation out of the box. Zero fret buzz. Every fret articulated well. I didn't need to adjust anything.
- The pickups aren't to my tastes, however they still sound good if you understand basic amplification and audio production. Clients *loved* what I could do with this guitar.
- Fanned frets are super comfortable.
- Light weight.

REVIEW:

I got way more than I bargained for with this guitar. It should not exist for this price.

If I were to upgrade the pickups and change the nut, it would be a solid and reliable guitar to gig with, or certainly a good back up guitar.

Congratulations to Thomann and Harley Benton on a superb product.
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For the price you can't find better
fm257, 19.04.2021
This guitar is probably the gateway to the Fanfret world for guitarist on a budget, it changed my style of playing. The active pickups are noisy, but a noise-gate fixed that.
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Better than expected
Agrigore, 10.02.2021
The quality is excellent. It looks great, has a nice, pleasant and readable sound. It feels like holding an expensive guitar in your hands.
There are several disadvantages:
1. The upper nut is poorly chiseled, you need to carry the guitar to the master.
2. The corner on the head of the neck is not painted.
3. With strong bands, the guitar gets upset, it is better to buy new tuning machines.

All these disadvantages can be corrected by yourself. They do not affect the sound in any way.

I am very happy with the purchase. To me in Russia(Siberia) the guitar came in 11 days, it is excellent. Thanks to Thomann store.

*I apologize for my English, my native language is Russian
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Merely good as a guitar, great for the price.
moses423, 08.04.2020
I have many 7-string and 8-string guitars (even a couple with 6!) but none with fanned frets so I thought the price was right here to try it out. If you're reading this to get an idea of how much of a learning curve there is to fanned frets, let me tell you: almost none.

My complaints are: 1) the frets feel weird. Bending strings against them feels like I'm going to end up filing them down until they break. I'll probably do some work to smooth them out a bit.

2) the bridge pickup on mine was really poorly made - I hope it's not common to all these guitars. Playing the low 6 strings was fine but I got almost no signal out of my high E string. I raised that side of it as much as I dared but it still sounded about 10db quieter than the other strings. I contacted support and sent a video of the issue and was told that this is acceptable to them for guitars in this price range. I understand! I happened to have an EMG-HZ 707 (not active) sitting around - I have no idea where from - and I put that in and all the strings pick up evenly now. Since I also had a push-pull pot, I now have coil tapping on the bridge pickup. :-)

I should mention that the stock pickups are have 2 wires (for those interested in upgrading) and the neck pickup had none of the issues the bridge pickup did. The guitar in general sounds fine, although I haven't tried it in a lot of different settings yet. So while it's not the best guitar I have, for the amazingly low price I paid and the hour or so of work I put into it, this is a pretty nice addition to my collection.
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Anatoli C, 04.05.2020
Immediately became a favorite guitar (and I have 10 of them). Everything is not simply good, but very good. Soft strings, good tuning. If you like rock with a bias in the classics - this is your choice.
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maybe the best buy for the money
zedart, 16.10.2019
pros: high quality for very low price, surprisingly well built, ergonomy is at it's best but maybe that comes from the fanfret, factory setup is just right
cons: some fretbuzz, very lowcost machineheads, the fretboard seems a bit "rigid" at first but it's oki after a while
I own some gio series from Ibanez and a 7 chord from them also, this guitar, in my view outclasses what i own in every way
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Good guitar for its price
Roman Gladyshev, 02.09.2019
I bought this guitar in order to have a closer look what a 7-strings guitar is.
My impression is the guitar costs its price.
The frets are well installed and polished smoothly.
Electronics/wires are assembled and soldered pretty good.
I replaced the strings to .10-.60 and was able to tune the scale length simply.
But there were a couple of minor issues I have to mention:
- quality of the tuning machines is in doubt, one of them was defective (slipped gear)
- the pickups are passive (no power element inside the guitar), but it's even better, imho
Can definitely recommend this guitar, but you should understand pros and cons of buying a cheap instrument.
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Great 7 string guitar for its price
Totes Grinsen, 27.01.2019
sounds really good for its price and it handles really good.

pros:
1. great price for a 7 string guitar especially if you want to try out a 7 string guitar and don't want to pay much.

cons:
1.just wish the nut would have came in black instead of white but that can be easily fix.
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Harley Benton R-457BK Fanfret

185 €
Including VAT; Excluding 20 € shipping
In stock within 4-5 weeks
In stock within 4-5 weeks

This item is expected back in stock soon and can then be shipped immediately.

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