I had the urge for a small customisation project this summer, so I wanted a cheap guitar I could upgrade. Having good previous experience with Harley Benton I went for the Mockingbird replica which is excellent value for the price.
- The neck is wonderful for this price! Comfortable "C" shape with a smooth satin finish on the back. No sprouting and the fret ends have been nicely smoothed - great job! Neck was straight, no abnormal fret buzz and no truss rod adjustment required.
- Excellent paint finish, no blemishes or missing spots. Other than a tiny tool mark on the nut this looked perfect out of the box.
- Tuning stability and tuners are good. Machine heads feel precise and tuning only needing a minor correction a week after initial tune-up.
- Quality control on the strap buttons was bad. I needed to screw them in tight, since one worked loose after fitting a strap.
- True to the original design, this suffers from neck dive. I've put 400g weights in the control cavity to act as a counter balance, but it's not perfectly balanced yet.
Sounds fine out of the box, with two humbuckers that are well balanced and adequate for the job and there is some warmth from the neck pickup. I was also very impressed there was almost no background noise from the original pickups and electronics. I've replaced the pickups with DiMarzios to give it a more classic hard rock sound.
The biggest drawback is lack of comfort. Because of the design, the neck feels like it starts further back so you need a slightly longer reach. The neck dive I've already described. I had difficulty finding a good posture while standing and playing and I think this could be an uncomfortable instrument for playing a full concert.
For the price this is excellent value. The neck is one of the most crucial parts of any instrument and this plays as well as guitars many times the price. If you can work with the neck dive and overall shape you've got a cool looking instrument for a great price.