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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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!