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.
I have to say that I am amazed at the body fit and gorgeous satin finish and the joints are all but invisible and grain is nicely matched and is really hard to see where the joint is. I was expecting the maple neck to be a lighter colour to the body, but again they did a wonderful job in using maple that was an almost exact match colourwise to the body. It looks superb! I cannot stress just how good the body and neck are. It is better in real life than the photos,though the photos are very accurate in all aspects.
From past experience, I was expecting that I would naturally have to do some set-up and adjustments and was actually looking forward to that.... but alas.. NO.... everything was really perfect. Nut cut perfectly, action and relief set nice and low and the intonation was 100% perfect. Neck to body joint faultless and sounds just great so far. Pickups heights were spot on too. Perhaps the pickups themselves are sweet, and it has really good sustain but have truly great tone ( to me anyway!) and pos 2 & 4 real nice chimey sounds.. ..... All in all, I could not have asked for more.
I bought this because of what it is and had absolutely nothing to do with price - especially as I was going to buy a Mex Fender start 4 or 5 times the price!
The only thing I do not like is the pretty naff pickguard,
It came with allen key for truss rod and bridge but no key for the saddle height adjustment, though this is really a very minor issue and even came with a 1/4" lead.
I am glad that I bought this and did not spend much much more on a Mex Fender. I am amazed!!!!!!!!!!!!
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