Harley Benton TE-90QM HH Trans Blue

Electric Guitar

  • Body: Mahogany, chambered
  • Top: Quilted maple
  • Neck: Maple, bolt-on
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Abalone dot inlays
  • Ivory binding on the body
  • Bonoid nut
  • Pickups: 2 Roswell HAF Alnico-5 humbuckers
  • 3-Way switch
  • Controls: Master volume, master tone
  • DLX Chrome hardware
  • Hardtail bridge
  • DLX Diecast machine heads
  • Strings: D'Addario .009 - .042
  • Colour: Trans Blue High-gloss
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Further information

Colour Blue
Body Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Maple
Fretboard Roseacer
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No

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42 written ratings Read all reviews
Total
features
sound
quality

TE-90QM HH Trans Blue

micoli, 23.01.2018
This is my 5th Harley Benton guitar, so I now consider myself a loyal Thomann customer as they have never delivered a bad guitar to me. The TE-90QM was ordered as a Christmas present to myself on the 12th December. After a few days I hadn?t had any progress confirmation and the money hadn?t been taken from my account, so I decided to cancel the order and reorder after the Christmas period as I didn?t want the guitar to be held up and knocking around a warehouse for a week or more over Christmas. Just after I sent the email, I got an email from Thomann that the guitar was actually going through quality control so I phoned Thomann and told them to ignore the cancellation email, (so full marks for the English speaking and helpful staff at Thomann!).

The guitar was received several days before Christmas and thank you Thomann for delivering at the busiest time of the year. My first impressions was of slight bewilderment as my guitar isn?t actually blue as shown on the web site but a deep sea green. You will have to believe me on this as I?m an artist and illustrator and work with colour all day! Although it is not what I expected, it is a very nice colour all the same. In fact I like it more than the blue and it is certainly more unique and it looks great.

First the bad points.
* On inspection there was a small amount, (and hardly noticeable), over-spray in one of the F holes which I removed by very carefully using the finest grade wet and dry paper I had.
* The fret ends were a little sharp so I let the guitar acclimatise for a few days and then lubricated the fretboard, which was a little dry, to help it to expand. That improved it a lot but a few days later I had to gently file some of the fret ends to take off the remaining sharp edges.
* Then I noticed the strings were not centred on the fret board and I originally thought the bridge had been positioned off-centre. However, after asking the question on the Harley Benton forum, it was suggested that the neck screws needed to be loosened and the neck held in position and the screws re-tightened, and a video showing that exact same problem was posted for me to view. So I followed the video and a few minutes later the neck was in perfect alignment. It was commented that this is a very common fault with bolt-on necks but this is the first time I have come across the problem, but you live and learn!
* The strings were a little tarnished with what looked like rust spots on a few areas. When I worked on the frets I loosened the strings and run some wire wool soaked with WD40 along them. Problem solved!

And now the good points.
* The general finish is excellent, allowing for the small imperfections stated above.
It has an amazing top and has nice quality binding around the body and inside the F holes, and is a great looking guitar.
* The strings at the 12th fret were perfectly set at 1.5mm for the high E and 2.00mm for the low E, and the intonation was spot-on for 4 strings, with the other 2 slightly off and easily rectified.
* The Wilkinson pickups are perfect for me, and they have a nice vintage tone, darker than a normal Telecaster but brighter than a Les Paul, and have enough individuality.
* The machine heads are cheapish but work fine and hold tune well but, if I do any modifications, the tuners would be the first thing to be changed.
* The neck is what I would call a shallow D and is very comfortable and has a light varnish. It is also a one piece neck.
* There was no buzzing on any frets at any part of the neck.
* I changed the nut to a bone nut, (as I had one laying around), but the original plastic nut was perfectly fine.
* The truss rod didn?t need any adjustment and the strings were correctly set at a fraction off the frets at the centre of the fret board when capoed on the first fret and the string was held down at the highest fret.
* The hardtail bridge is comfortable with its? rounded edges. And while the guitar is fitted with ?through the body? string ferrules, the bridge will also allow for the strings to be slotted through the bridge?s base if you so wish.
* The combination of the through body strings and the internal centre block gives this guitar quite some sustain.
* The control knobs work smoothly, but as the potentiometers are the small 16mm type, I might eventually change them.

The TE-90QM HH is a budget guitar that exceeds all expectations. For only £155 the build quality is excellent and in my opinion, far outstrips it?s competitors in this price bracket. The bad points I found were easily rectified, and not only would any experienced guitar owner be able to do the same, I know that top branded guitars also need adjustments when received, so this is almost to be expected, particularly at this price point. It would also be a nice guitar to modify!

In conclusion, the TE-90QM HH is well built and plays well. I?m very happy with this guitar and I know many others would be too.
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Total
features
sound
quality

A beauty, but needed some work

12.12.2016
Let me start with saying many things said here are copied form my review of the Tans Red version, because these guitars have many things in common.

This guitar costs 179 euros, but looks like a guitar that could easily cost 10 times as much. The finish looks nothing like the picture on Thomann's website. It's actually more green than blue; the perceived color varies, depending on the light. This guitar would look even more great if it would have a matching headstock.

The body has a flawless, seamless binding all over the guitar. I don't know it it's a real binding or just paint, but I couldn't care less. Even the F-holes have the same binding!

I have another semi-hollow guitar, a Höfner, which is as light as a feather and quite loud when played acoustically. This guitar is not lightweight by any means. It actually feels rather heavy, and when you look into the F-holes it's clear why: there's a massive center block in the middle, and the sides of the body are solid wood too.

The lack of a scale prevented me to weigh the guitar. In any case, this is not a flimsy construction, which I appreciate very much.

The 'string-through' system has definitely something to do with the above-average sustain. Just like the Trans Red version this guitars is acoustically just above average, the guitar doesn't 'push much air'. It's enough for practicing though.

The neck is typical for a Telecaster model. It's not as thin as your typical Ibanez shredder, nor as thick as the ones found on a Gibson Les Paul. I think it's just perfect. It's a one-piece neck, so there's no scarf joint. Instead Harley Benton opted for two string trees to get the necessary angle. The string trees are the cheapest you can buy, but they appear to work well.

The neck was perfect out of the box. Not perfect was the position of the bridge, which was 0.5 centimeters closer to the last fret than the Trans Red version. As a result the guitar was impossible to intonate properly. I had to move the bridge slightly, and cut some of saddle springs in half to get it right. Fortunately I like to fix things.

The tuners were a bit stiff at first, but accurate. They loosen up quickly. The nut is well cut for strings up to 010-046. For anything beyond that all bets are off.

The fret board can use some lemon oil or, even better, Dunlop 02 'Deep Conditioner', which will bring back the beautiful rosewood color. In the end I even used a generic 'dark wood conditioner' which made the fret board even darker. Just a matter of taste.

On almost all guitars I own the action was too high for comfort 'out of the box' and this Trans Blue is no exception. Just take your time to adjust the saddles to your own taste and don't forget to keep the radius of the neck in mind.

The sound of the Wilkinson humbuckers comes reasonably close to what you would expect from a Tele, Slightly on the bright side when compared to a Les Paul, and with enough character of its own. Nice.

In short: apart from the misplacement of the bridge it is a keeper. If you are not comfortable doing work on your guitar yourself and the guitar is obviously faulty, just send it back. Thomann will do everything to make you happy.
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