Harley Benton ST-90SA Swamp Ash DLX Series

Electric Guitar

  • Deluxe series
  • Body: American swamp ash
  • Bolt-on neck from Canadian maple
  • Neck profile: C
  • Fretboard: Blackwood
  • Radius: 350 mm
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Double action truss rod
  • Pickups: 3 Roswell STA Alnico-5 Vintage ST-Style single coils
  • 1 Volume and 2 tone controls
  • 5-Way switch
  • Tortoise pickguard
  • Chromed DLX hardware
  • 2-Point tremolo system
  • Vintage style machine heads
  • Ex-factory stringing Daddario EXL .009 - .042
  • Colour: Natural satin
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  • Blues
  • Funk
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Further information

Colour Natural
Body Ash
Top Ash
Neck Maple
Fretboard Blackwood
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Pickups SSS
Tremolo Standard
incl. Bag No
incl. Case No

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4.3 / 5.0
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38 written ratings Read all reviews
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One in the eye for Eytschpi42

05.01.2017
Sorry Henning, but you called this one dead wrong.I've had this guitar for a month now and I have to say it is totally a S***t, you know...... that guitar that American company makes (Shhhhh). Finish, fit of parts are quality something a certain German gentleman on YouTube said was poor. In fact he said it felt like a beginners guitar not a quality instrument at all. Maybe because of the natural oiled finish it is reminiscent of the very cheap Yamaha Pacificas of the 80's? But it is way beyond that. Mine arrived fully set up (and I'm very picky about my set up) and ready to go, but I changed the strings anyway. Harley Bentons are the only guitars I've owned that are string fussy. Some really play well with the obligatory XL's that come with. Others just sound crap. The ST90 swamp ash doesn't like XL's, but it does adore Elixir's 9-46. They take a bit of the bite off the alnico pu's, not a bad thing, they sound more vintage (slightly warmer) as you back the tone off on the neck and middle pu's. My ST90 has not one blemish to its body or neck finish it's perfect. The fret board has no issues and all the frets are seated correctly with no sharp ends. And if, like I have been doing, you sit there in the evenings rubbing your wood........Oooooer! By that I mean rubbing the guitar body; the natural oil from your hands very soon rids the body of its matte finish. It becomes silk like with a gorgeous sheen to it (sorry my tinkle is fizzing now)
I've changed the pu covers, the 5 way switch tip and the volume and tone knobs for 'ivory' coloured as the bright white just didn't look right to me. I stained the edge of the 3 ply faux tortoise shell scratch plate to match and now it looks (to me) far more in keeping with the 'vintage' theme and natural woods (also the faux tortoise shell sits better aesthetically). Sometime back I ordered, and returned a Rosewood deluxe ST90 because that did feel cheap and nasty, plus the neck pocket was out of alignment, so I was a bit worried about how this ST would be. I have owned Fender Strat's American, Japanese, Mexican you name it and Squier's (my 82 Squier being the best strat I've ever owned) But no matter where I purchased these Fender's and Squier's not a one, NOT ONE, ever came with a 'out of the box' working vibrato system (here after refered to as a 'Trem') Henning dismissed the Wilkinson trem on this instrument 'out of hand' saying and I quote "There's probably a trem arm in the box for this, but frankly I wouldn't bother on a guitar in this price range, just put extra springs in and block it off." Henning nooooo! This is not a dive bombing Floyd or Kahler system, but it is an excellent 'vibrato' system and it worked and was fully floating right out the box (!!??!!??) Brilliant! Quick tip, not just for Henning, but for everyone not in the know. Make yourself some small wedges that you can push in around the trem block at the back of the guitar when you change your strings. This will stop the mechanism moving whilst you release the tension. Pre stretch your strings prior to concert pitch tuning (or your favourite key) then once the tuning is stable remove the wedges. You may need to fine tune slightly, but it will not set the trem off and you will have stable string tuning. My only other 'mod' was roller string trees, a must if your going to use your trem and I do...... a lot 'Shine on you crazy diamond' (Lovely) 'Sleepwalk' Oh yeah. 'Cavatina' and even 'Sultans of swing' as I can't do 3 finger vibrato like Knopfler. But now I have my 'trem' (My tinkle is fizzing again). Shame on you Eytschpi42 don't judge an S type by its cover. Oh and that 'Fizz' in the pick up's when you over drive your amp isn't present in mine, but not to say I couldn't replicate it if I set my EQ up different. This is a bargain of a guitar and 'Swamp ash' body? Take a look on some custom web sites at replacement S bodies in swamp ash and you'll see what a bargain this guitar is. Well done Harley Benton. Well done Thomann and well done me for taking a chance and getting a damn good s***t. Well worth the money 5 star all round.
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Total
features
sound
quality

Nice guitar

Dusko, 15.08.2017
My exemplar looks good. Its not the best looking grain but certainly not the worst. The strings were rusty but Thomann agreed t send new ones. The middle pickup's g-string pole piece is staggered too low. It basically on the same level as the b-string pole piece. This is wrong and Thomann agreed to compensate me for it, selling me the guitar as B-Stock which is ok with me. Otherwise the pickup sounds good.

The pickguard is UGLY :) but we all have heard this so many times right ;) Will change that soon to Brown 4 ply Tort.

All electrics work well. Pickups sound good but need some brightening up on my Bugera V5 Infinium.

The frets and fretboard is flawless! Awesome fret work here eventhough some frets dont touch the board completely. They should have been pressed in a bit more. As long they dont start moving all is good. They sure are well leveled and crowned! Frets had slight patina which was kids stuff to remove with some fine steel wool (first protecting the fretboard of course).

The Tremolo works very well and needed a bit tightening so to create balance between the string tension and the trem springs. This is important especially if one plays bending style a lot.

Nut is very likely bone and is cut well.

NOW! The neck heel and neck pocket were not in tight fit! I assume the guitar builder first assembled the pickguard on the body and then fitting the neck to the body. I say this because the pickguard is hanging 2 mm over the edge of the neck pocket pushing the neck away from the body for that much. I had to shave the pickguard a bit to get a ood fit.

Low E string sounds dull above the 12th fret even after changing new strings. Im still trying all the tips and tricks to fix this (lowering pickups, adjusting intonation, arious string action, down tunning, fixing the saddle for Low E ...)

All in all a very good guitar for the money! Oh and the neck is C shappe but not thick nor too thin, just right I would say.

EDIT; after trying for some time now to adjust the intonation above the 12th fret and not succeeding I lloked closer at the fretboard and discovered that the frets above the 12th fret were misplaced!!! No wonder I could not fix the intonation they were spaced wrongly. Thomann took the guitar back and gave me back my money. I ordered the ST-62MN Black instead and now have a very fine guitar indeed.
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