Harley Benton R-458BK Fanfret

8-String Electric Guitar

  • Progressive Series
  • Body: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck attachment: Bolt-on
  • Neck profile: Speed-D
  • Fretboard: Amaranth
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Frets: 24 Fanned medium jumbo
  • Fretboard inlays: Offset dots
  • Scale: 686 / 648 mm
  • Dual action truss rod
  • Nut width: 54 mm
  • Pickups: 2 Hi-Gain humbuckers
  • Controls: 1 Volume, 1 Tone
  • 3-Way-switch
  • Nut: NuBone
  • Hardware: Black
  • Machine heads: Deluxe diecast
  • Strings: .009/.011/.016/.024/.032/.042/.054/.065
  • Tuning (1-8): F# / B / E / A / D / G / B / E
  • Colour: Black high-gloss
  • Suitable gig bag available under Article Nr 142777 (not included)

Further Information

Colour Black
Body linden
Top -
Neck maple
fret board Amaranth
Frets 24
scale lenght 686 mm
Pickup HH
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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68 Customer Ratings
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4.3 /5
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understand what you're buying
Doug L., 10.01.2021
Use Case:
I would consider this guitar a novelty for an intermediate player. I personally wouldn't give one of these to a beginner because it will give them false impressions of how an 8 string/multiscale instrument can be utilized. I think it would mislead a beginner in their early learnings. I believe anyone who considers themselves proficient at playing guitar would laugh at the quality of the instrument, and happily invest the few hundred extra to buy into multiscale/8 strings at a level with more reliable hardware and construction. That leaves a small window, in my opinion, of this being appropriate only for intermediate players that have no reason to buy an instrument with these features but want to try it out.

It would generally apply to anyone that this is an excellent feature set for the price, but I would highly recommend that if you're a beginner looking for a new guitar to buy something that's known to be reliable and quality built. In the long run it will serve you better than this. Advanced/professional players looking for a deal, this is probably going to need a full hardware/electronics upgrade(pending preference and ears..) and a setup at the end of it all so put aside a few extra hundred if you really think you want this...or check out established manufactures offerings in the same price range and have a more sound investment...

My purchase:
My example showed up in a timely manner even with them constantly being out of stock. Packaging was on par with most guitar shipments in my experience. Out of the box there was small cosmetic blemishes to the paint on the body and the headstock. One of the height adjustment screws on one of the saddles was mangled for some reason. Besides the bare metal being unsightly on a black saddle/instrument, it was just broken hardware on a brand new instrument. The nut is not shaped to the neck. Not sure if they're just mass manufactured and no one takes the 5 minutes to file them to shape or if my example is just a lemon. None of the frets were seated completely/correctly along the entire neck. The neck pocket wasn't cut well. Fair bit of play on either side left by an uneven cut, presumably by a dull bit. Both potentiometers on had bent shafts on arrival. One of the knobs had an anodizing(or whatever the process may be) error and was just silver across a significant section of it. None of the string ferrules are secured in the body in any fashion. They fall out as soon as string tension is released.

All of that said, the fretwork was rather impressive for an instrument in this price range and the setup out of the box isn't bad. As others noted, there is little to no fret-bite, the edges of the fretboard have a small roll and were dressed very nicely for this price range. Given the issues with the neck pocket, nut and damaged saddle, they somehow managed to get the strings on straight and get a respectably low action out of it. However, my example arrived with dead strings and frets that needed to be cleaned. Appeared as if it had been sitting around for sometime. Makes me wonder about the stocking issues they 'seem' to have.... The neck has a very comfortable 'slim D' style carve. Very reminiscent of an ibanez or a legator but with just a bit more shoulder meat. All of the listed specs are true in my findings. Wood, measurements, construction, etc. For my expectations the tuners aren't going to cut it but I'm sure some people would say ''they're fine." I imagine a gentle fingered bedroom player might get away with using the tuners but I like to chug/bend/squeal and these things tuners cant take it. The bridge seems functional for now but I can tell you its made from pretty cheap alloy looking at my damaged saddle..time will tell how it stands up. Not looking forward to dealing with upgrading the individual bridge pieces(praying they copied someone's screw pattern). I think others have covered the pickups pretty well but I'll chip in that with enough equipment/tone shaping options, I think the pickups can be usable enough to noodle *while you wait for fluences to show up* lol..

Customer service:
The issues I had with my example were eventually addressed by thomann after a very lengthy email conversation and several phone calls. They offered to engage in a return/exchange process but they also confirmed my shipment was not b-stock and didnt seem to think the damage or hardware issues were irregular or anything to worry about. It took a significant amount of contact to get in touch with someone who understood the issues.

Pros:
-feature set at price point(that's why we're all here GASing right?)
-acceptable upgrade platform if that's your thing

Cons:
-poor construction
-damaged on arrival
-lack luster, low quality hardware
-obvious QC issues

Conclusion:
While I imagine this review sounds fairly negative. I will add that I have already purchased another one(but the white with maple fretboard). I am curious to further assess the variation in QC and will update my review (and/or amend a note to the review on the listing for the white model) once it arrives.

I wish to make it clear that I am only satisfied with the product and have purchased another one because I am capable of doing the work to it myself and because I have reasonable expectations for the limitations of the instrument. Also, the second one is for a relative that is also capable of doing the work himself and has reasonable expectations for the instrument. For the money, its a multiscale neck and a body already punched out for you and the quality is just good enough that if you know how to put the work into it, it can be an acceptable practice instrument or multiscale/8 string entry point.

All of this is my opinion and surely there's variation in units. Please take it all with a grain of salt.

TL;DR If the money isn't a thing to you, this things pretty cool for small bucks. If this purchase needs to make sense and be a sound investment, keep shopping. Its a fun novelty instrument and can be a passable practice instrument with a good bit of work.
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For a great value introduction to 8-string fan fret guitars, this is unbeatable.
Spankplanker, 07.06.2020
I bought this guitar mostly for fun, but also to experiment with extended range tunings, during the Covid-19 lockdown for £138 inc shipping. It took a while to get here, but I wasn't disappointed!

Having read the other reviews here and from watching demos on You-Tube, I was expecting to have issues with pickups, frets and tuners, but it I may have got lucky with 2 out of 3.
Mine was almost playable, right out of the box (nearly in tune!) with only an adjustment to the intonation on 1 string and tightening the tuners required to get up and running.

Starting at the top:

Headstock
The pearlescent Harley Benton logo has been moved in-between the 4-a-side tuners; an improvement from previous models, where it was stuck at the very end.
The tuners are unbranded and non-locking but once tightened up should function well enough. Considering it's a fixed bridge guitar, you wouldn't expect tuning stability issues, but all the strings are angled at the nut and this caused my D string to stick slightly, so mine will need re-filed. (While I'm at it I may just replace it for a black graphite type nut, as the white one looks a bit out of place)
The strings that came on the guitar are pretty decent, although they are lighter than the 10s mentioned in the specification

Neck
The C-profile is comfortable with a fast non-stick, satin finish and a tidy scarf joint between the 1st and 3rd frets. Slight neck-relief helps with bends and stops the F# string from rattling off the frets. The fingerboard is excellent, but a little dry and will need oiled, with offset dot-markers (3 at the 24th fret but only 1 at the 12th). On my example, the fret-ends had been well filed, with no sharp edges and the frets were well levelled for a low, buzz-free action, without any dead spots.
On the down side however, after levelling, the frets have not been crowned or polished, leaving them feeling pretty rough and scratchy on the strings.

Body
The neck/body joint is tight and well constructed with 5 bolts and a rounded heel. Access to the top frets is unrestricted and comfortable.
The black gloss finish was pretty good, although I had a couple of tiny dents and scratches and you can make out a bit of orange peel if you hold it to the light.

Pick-ups/Electronics
A lot of people complained of muddy sounding pick-ups with this guitar. Looks like it has been addressed by ditching the pre-amp and going passive, because my example sounds great, on both clean and hi-gain settings.
The huge shielded control cavity seems empty considering it now only houses 1 500K volume, 1 tone control and 1 three-way selector, but I suppose it keeps the weight down and maybe adds some resonance.
I've yet to remove the pups, so I don't know if there's a connection available for a coil-tap, but if so, I'd change out the 3-way switch for a 5-way.

Bridge
On this guitar there are 8 individual bridges, each with their own intonation and string height adjustment. They are well rounded and comfortable for palm muting. Strings are routed through body and the ferrules are all standard guitar-string size, so if you want to use bass strings for the F# and B, you'll need to get do some modification.

All-in-all for the price, this a suprisingly playable guitar which could easily be made gig-able by tweaking the frets, nut and tuners. I know a lot of people are buying this as a cheap alternative to Ibanez/Jackson/Schecter and adding in custom pick-ups, which often cost more than the guitar itself. This might not be necessary any more to get a decent sound. Without the active electronics muddying everything up, with a bit of tweaking of your amp's EQ settings, this beast is capable of suprising tonal variety, from djent to djazz!
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Does it Djent
Dozbert, 25.03.2019
I?m working on a prog metal project for a friend and having read a few reviews of the Harley Benton R-458BK 8 string fanfret I decided to give one a go. So, to the unboxing. This guitar had travelled over 750 miles and straight out of the box it was almost in tune which was a remarkable thing in itself. The body was VERY shined and free of dents, blemishes and scratches. The finish on the back of the neck is very good too. As others have pointed out the fingerboard was bone dry but a couple of coats of oil and it?s all OK now. The neck is straight in all the right places and the intonation spot on. Just as good as you would get/expect on a guitar at three times the cost.

On to the hardware. Some reviewers had the saddles as being very sharp. As I tend to rest my hand on the bridge this was or slight concern but, HB seem to have listened and the saddles are now rounded and as smooth as a cashmere cod piece and very well made. The tuners are smooth in operation and hold there tuning very well. I bought this with a spare set of strings expecting them to be really poor, just bits of wire but how wrong was I. The supplied strings are of excellent quality, probably better than the ones I bought. So far so good!!!

Electronics. Pots and switches are smooth in operation and quiet. The pickups are active and? guess what??? They even supply it with a 9v battery. The battery sits in a secure enclosure not a lousy clip that I was expecting. Sound wise, the pickups are good and a decent range of sounds can be achieved with switching and dealing the tone knob.

OK, here?s the slightly negative bit that you were all probably waiting for. It has been observed by others that the frets are sharp and poorly finished on these guitars (probably true on other HB?s too). I experienced a slightly less that smooth finish in ONLY the top four frets (close to pickups) of the neck. It?s only a slight thing and can easily be remedied and only occurs high up the neck. I?m assuming the finishings done once the neck is attached to the body and access is limited due to the cutaways. It isn?t enough to put me off it as every other part of this guitar?s quality are WAY above the price you pay.

So in short, If you want to try an 8 string do not hesitate to give this one a go. at about £130 it is worth way more than the cost and is well worth getting. If you?ve never played a fanfret before it only took me about 15 mins to get used to. As I?d never played a eight string well, that will take a fair bit longer to get used to.

Finally, does it Djent??? Damn right it does!!!
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It's under € 200... BUT
7/8 of the time, 01.06.2020
Not a bad guitar for a first time 8 stringer, but there are some serious flaws.
First the bad:
1. Several people have mentioned the pickups being garbage, and they are totally garbage. They have a bad buzz/hum when the guitar is not being played or when long-sustained notes are played. Anything low-low mid volume that you want to play will have this buzz/hum present. Luckily, EMG makes several 8 string pickups that easily fit this guitar, but for a pair it costs more than the guitar.
2. The tuners are bad! They don't wind up smoothly and evenly. Also, they lose tune easily with the thicker strings.
3. Here's the big one: the guitar I was sent has a raised fret on the 16th fret and it could've been easily caught in the inspection that Harley Benton claims was done. It causes a nasty fret buzz sound on most of the strings from the 13th fret to the 15th. I can see the raised fret looking down the neck and I wish so badly that somebody would've caught that before sending it to me, because i have to exchange it and hope that the next one doesn't have the fretbuzz.

The good:
1. It's an insanely good deal for the money and I have no clue how they make a profit!? for the neck and body alone, It would be worth the same price. Adding a set of high quality tuners and pickups would cost 2x the guitar, making it something that could be played at shows, band practice and on basic recordings.
2. The neck and body feel great, very smooth and easy to play. I've played mostly 7 strings and 8 string guitars, this one fit right in with any of them. The fanned fretboard is smoothly playable and the fret edges were fantastic. My only complaint was the raised fret and hopefully an exchange will fix this.
3. It's easy to set the guitar up to the right levels. Dialing in the specific adjustments took very little time. I like to try different tunings and string gauges, so this easy adjustment is important.

My advice: This guitar is excellent if you're new-intermediate and want to test the waters with 8 string. If you're a regular player-professional then be prepared for some disappointment and/or after-market work.
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