Great for the price (only 10% of a Les Paul Standard)
I was looking for a copy Les Paul to practice on and also to change the strings to 11 guage. I am fortunate enough to have access to a Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul and a Fender Stratocaster but as I spend 99% of my time practicing 'unplugged' I wasn't too worried about the quality of this practice guitar. The Harley Benton guitar I ordered from Thomann came and I was 100% impressed by the quality (except the scratch plate which was very badly scratched but Thomann have replaced this free of charge) The finish is excellent. The neck has exactly the same feel as the Custom Shop Les Paul but the sustain when unplugged is fantastic! I like to play in the style of Paul Kossoff (from Free) and even unplugged and with full finger vibrato (even with the original 10-46 strings that came with the guitar) I managed to sustain a note on the 13th fret of the 3rd string for 7 seconds and even a Les Paul unplugged can't do that! Plugged in, it doesn't of course have the quality of a Les Paul but when you think that this Harley Benton (with a mahogany body and neck and the maple cap) is only about 10% of the cost of a genuine Les Paul Standard in the UK it is fantastic value. My only small cristism is as this guitar's first two knobs are push up and down to switch between a Humbucker sound and a single coil (which is great) and there are two labels inserted under these knobs telling you of this. Instead of having an 'easy peel' sticker they were stuck so hard to the bodywork that it took me two hours to get them off using my fingernails, cigarette lighter fuel and a pair of tweezers. Fortunately the varnish is so good it didn't appear to damage the guitar but perhaps Thomann could get this problem sorted out with their suppliers as all it needs is a simple supermarket type sticker around the knobs or a leaflet in the box. We only need to be told once. P.S. I used a 2mm plectrum to get that Paul Kossoff sound.
The Harley Benton SC-450Plus HB Vintage Series & the Harley Benton SC-Custom Vintage Black
This review is looking at the SC-450Plus Vintage Series
First off? I have to admit that I was a little bit worried about making an order. I live all the way in the central US (Missouri), and I had no idea of how long it would take to get the guitars?nor, what kind of condition they would be in once I got them.
I placed the order on January 15th, and I received the guitars on January 23rd. From Germany, to the central US. In my opinion, that is pretty good time.
The guitars arrived with absolutely no damage. The large box carrying the equipment was full of those small packing air bags, which kept everything inside mint. The outside box did have a small bit of wear, but it wasn't anything at all substantial.
One reason I made the leap and ordered these guitars, was because I had reached a point in my playing where I was Stratocastered out. For years, that was what I played, and I had just reached a place to where I needed something different. I wanted something that could handle everything I've played in the past, but also something that would inspire me to go into a new direction.
The MWCHB alnico vintage-style humbucker pickups seem to be able to handle pretty much anything. I've played in choirs, at church, the blues, old fashioned rock, and really, just about everything in between. For the most part, Stratocasters get the job done, but I NEED something with a bit more edge. Both the SC-Custom and the SC-450Plus share the same pickups, and they more than meet that "dangerous" edge that I need from time to time in my playing. Single coils are nice, but they don't have that roar. With this, you are the king of the jungle!
The neck of the 450 is nice. I prefer it over the thinner neck of the SC-Custom. The frets are fine. No problem at all. The rosewood fretboard looked pretty. So far, I haven't had any tuning problems. I tuned it after receiving it, and it was only slightly sharp the next day. You have to remember though, this was after a lot of heavy playing!
The body of the 450 is solid. I'm guessing it weighs around 8 pounds? The neck is fixed onto the body tighter than the handle to an ax. No problems there.
I've seen some pictures of a few HB guitars where the flame top pieces don't match up very well. I've seen online one or two people complain about the ones they received. However, I can't do that with this. The pieces look fantastic together. In the right light, they look perfect. The right angle will show they aren't, but I'm not complaining at all!
To be honest, I find it hard to complain about anything. The only thing I wish would have been different is the pickguard. It's just a hard, blah piece of plastic. It doesn't really do anything for me..but it isn't a big deal. I could take it off if I wan't, but so far, I'm not planning on doing that.
Anyway, this guitar is amazing. It's worth the $150 or so price tag. You won't find ANYTHING nearly as good, for this price. More than likely, especially if you live in the US, you will have to pay 2..maybe 3.. times the price for something similar in quality.
These two guitars are the first of several I will be ordering. Thank you Harley Benton!
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