This arrived in Canada today, 6 days after I ordered it. That is impressive considering all the crap going on in the world today. UPS is a customs broker too so they handled that inhouse and there was no long delay as it sat in a customs warehouse. Cost another $50 in taxes and duties, which is about what I expected. Don't hesitate over shipping headaches if you're considering one of these guitars.
Now, for the guitar itself. To start with, the pictures don't do it justice. It is stunning. I couldn't find a single flaw in the finish (well, one minor one but I'll address that later). One thing I didn't like much about it was the light colored fretboard on the guitar in the picture, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it's much darker on mine and matches the guitar perfectly. I don't know if the color varies from guitar to guitar but I am very happy with mine.
It's still cold in Canada so I let it warm up a couple of hours before I tried tuning it. Yeah, maybe I should've waited longer but, you know - new guitar. Anyway, it wasn't far out of tune but it was a bit of a headache trying to get it right with the cheap tuners it came with. Always doing the dance between sharp and flat, and it quickly fell out of tune after a few minutes of noodling around. I'm sure this is partly due to the new strings but the tuners just feel cheap and have too much play for my liking so I will be replacing those right away. I read the reviews before I bought it and I knew they weren't the greatest, so I knew this was probably something I would be doing anyway. To be honest, for a guitar at this price point I would've expected a lot worse issues. If the tuners don't solve the tuning issues I'll try a Tusq nut and maybe a roller bridge.
I'm just a new player who only plays in my basement on a Mustang amp so as far as the pickups go, they sound just fine to me. They really can growl a lot more than my single coil Strat. They are a little tinny when I turn the dirt on though. They may get swapped out sometime down the road but for now they will work just fine.
As for that quality issue I mentioned, another reviewer said the screw for the pickguard was too long on theirs and had marred the finish. This was the case with mine too. It's nothing major - just a small dimply in the paint under the pickguard that can't be seen anyway. I cut about a millimeter off the screw and that problem is solved. Another thing, which is just me being nit picky - the screw doesn't sit flush in the pick guard. The hole is chamfered so it should but it's not wide enough. As soon as my son returns my drill I'll fix that so it sits in there the way it should. It doesn't effect playability at all and some might not care, but my OCD won't allow me to overlook it.
Overall, I'm very happy with my purchase. I knew it wasn't a high quality instrument but you are getting a lot more than the price point suggests. None of the small things I mentioned are at serious enough that I would hesitate to buy another Harley Benton guitar. It is an excellent platform to gradually improve upon as my playing gets better and I think I could end up spending a few hundred in upgrades and have a guitar that would rival one costing thousands. If you're on the fence about getting one of these, check out some online reviews - there are lots on YouTube. Unless you're expecting to get Gibson quality for a couple of hundred dollars, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.