Harley Benton TE-20MN BM Standard Series

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Not a modding platform
Peerlesstrat, 04.11.2019
First off let me say that, at €78, the TE-20 is remarkable value for money and is pretty good out of the box albeit with a slightly too high action.
Bought as a gift for my 11 year old son, it is our second Harley Benton guitar, the first was a HB-35+ which is a great guitar and a wonderful upgrade platform.

TE-20 - the Neck:
The neck has a nice satin finish. It is not thin but also not as heafty as the HB-35 or a Guild Starfire. Sustain is really good and this may be a contributing factor. It looks to be 12 to 14 inch radius with what looks like a well cut plastic nut. Frets are smooth and there is no fret sprout. With the truss rod fully lose it would be nice to have a little more relief from the stock 009" gauge strings. You may do better with heavier gauge strings.

Body:
There are no "body through mountings" or ferrules for the strings on the TE-20, strings mount through the back of the bridge. The finish on mine is metallic blue and while I can't fault it, I won't praise it either ... it needs more "sparkle" and depth to be truly metallic. Lets say its a VERY fine grain semi-metallic. Even in the sun it looks more like a solid colour than metallic. Nice blue though.
QC on mine was not good. The pickguard was mounted skew as was the jack plate. The jack socket was loose before even plugging in. The switch is WAY too stiff which naturally leads to the knob coming off too easily.

Sounds:
Sonically the pickups are both OK but unmatched. It was impossible to lower the bridge pickup enough or raise the neck pickup enough to achieve balance. The reason for this was later found to be a very close bridge pickup route with a sloping wall making it harder to lower the bridge pickup as it went down. The bridge pickup is "bold" with plenty of tele bite and some nice punch. The neck has a bluesy tone but is too woolly for my taste. Also the cover is a lot more curved than the fingerboard so you can't raise it too far. The middle position is hum cancelling and quite usable. The 3 way switch is both stiff and electrically noisy - could need replacing but WD40 did help.
There is no cavity screening.

Modding platform?
Talking of replacing, the TE-20 has been said to be a good modding platform.
I totally disagree. It is not. If you want better ... buy better ... and here are some reasons why ...

Other Harley Benton TE guitars have Wilkinson bridges with brass compensated saddles, so it stands to reason that this is a simple ten minute drop in replacement to upgrade right? - Wrong! A massive gap between the bridge and the scratch plate would be present IF you could get the pickup to fit back into the rout while lining up the tailpiece mounting screws - which I couldn't.
Swopping the ceramic bridge pickup for a more traditional alnico would also be easy eh? ... NO! - ROUTING was required! The stock Harley Benton bridge pickup is small and it would seem that the rout is specific to it's size!
Incidentally, the neck position is pre routed to take a humbucker so that pickup swop was easy. I put in an Iron Gear alnico. Better, but watch the screw lengths!
I decided to rout more space for an Iron Gear alnico bridge pickup, keep the bridge plate and install the Wilkinson compensated bridge saddles, screws and springs.
Unfortunately I was then unable to intonate the guitar due to the bridge position. HB had gotten around this by using unusually long M3 saddle screws. I had remove the Wilkinson screws and springs and reinstall the HB ones - luckily all were M3 so at least the saddles got upgraded and intonation finally achieved.
On removing the pick guard I discovered that the neck does not fit all the way up to the body - suspiciously by the same distance that prevented intonation earlier.
I also reversed the control plate and the controls and did a little rewiring to achieve this.
All in all it took over 5 hours to swop out the bridge with the pickup in it !

Again
About two weeks later I again removed the pick guard - this time to replace it with a Vanson white pearloid guard. The experience was exactly the same. I could only get one out of 8 screw holes to line up - and this only AFTER I had filed the pick guard so that it would fit the neck pocket. This admittedly could be Vanson’s error but without filing the pick guards “horn” was almost sitting off the edge of the body. I had to plug all the original holes and re drill for the Vanson - some holes were about 2cm different.

No. Don't buy the TE-20 to mod ... rather get a more expensive model like the TE-90 and save yourself the grief.

Pros:
Impossibly affordable - can’t even get a kit cheaper!
Good body paint and neck finish
No fret sprout
Good bridge tone
Good choice as a beginners guitar
Lovely neck “feel”

Cons:
Poor quality control
Poor Neck tone
Awful choice as a modding platform
Metallic - isn’t very
Action is a tad high and won’t respond to truss rod

Finally
I persevered and did my mods. This TE-20 now sounds killer and is fun to play. The action is still a bit too high for my taste (I like it very low) and the D string buzzes - even though it is set higher than the two on either side of it and they don’t buzz!
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Bought to learn on
Laine54, 10.11.2019
Bought this as an add on to an order. Now I have to steal it back from my Kid. Nice little guitar!
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Wish we had that 40 years ago
Karsten aus C., 23.10.2019
Oooookay,
so my Candy Apple Red and Metallic Blue TM20 arrived today. Outer cardboard box was slightly knackered, but inner boxes were okay, except for the styrofoam neck rests, who gave their structural integrity to protect the guitar inside.
No more plastic fillers, but only crushed paper, which I like. Try folded cardboard for the neck rests, you might get rid of those plastic pieces, too.
Have not received any goodies with the guitars, no stickers, no picks, nothing.
From the first looks, the guitars might even come from different factories. The metallic blue guitar is significantly heavier than the red guitar. Haven't had them on the scales - yet - but I'd say the difference is at least 1 kg.
Paintwork is more than acceptable. The blue is a tad lighter than expected, but the red one is that kind of deep "Oooh Yeah!" red that gives me an instant ... cough. Let's leave it there.
The blue one actually has a three ply scratchguard, so that's a pro. The chrome bridge looks better in reality than on the photos. I will check intonation and - yes, it's a Tele, you won't be able to intonate it properly - if it's okay, the chrome bridges may even stay.
Can't say anything about playability yet, as the guitars need to settle down a bit and adjust to the climate here, but so far I'm not disappointed.
Well, there are niggles, though. The neck for instance is cheap. Feels good, but it's not, what you would expect from a proper Tele neck. A maple fretboard Tele neck is hewn from one piece of maple, the truss is set in from the back, hence the prominent skunk stripe. With this neck, they just slapped a maple fretboard on. I know, it is possibly cheaper to use the same neck blanks for all of the HB Teles and then just use different fretboards, but, well, it's not THAT important, but I just noticed it.
Both guitars have a nice first feel. The neck is definitively NOT Tele,, it is wider and flatter than the usual Tele neck. Fret sprout is absent and the narrow thin frets are looking okay -n even though they are not polished. Switches and potentiometers feel solid. Tuners feel and look cheap, but they might do their job.
The red guitar has some issues with the strings not lining up properly, the strings are shifted about 2 mm to the bass side, but this might as well be dealt with by adjusting the bridge, there is enough travel there and then it might even align better with the pickups. The strings are not THAT far off, it's more a bit of a niggle.
Oh dear, the blue guitar REALLY is a heavy one. Don't want to wear that for a long gig ....
Both guitars fell off the production line and passed QC at the 15th of July 2019. Both were checked by Alan.
So, what is my verdict after just ogling over the new TE20 from Harley Benton?
Hardware is better than expected. Triple ply pickguards may stay. Chrome bridge is not too bad, but will be changed to a proper string-through-body part later. Not as soon as expected, but at a later stage.
Paintwork is as good as any Fender.Impressive.
I wish we had guitars of that quality at that price when I was younger. Now I'm in my mid 50's, but when I started guitars, we have had proper sh!t for ridiculous money, you have it good, you don't know how bad we've had it.
Am I happy? If the rest - playability, sound - is up to par, I could not be more happy. Buy the red one - the blue one is too heavy - help yourself to a 5-way super switch and some better pots, caps - without looking at those, they can't be good - and tuners, and you will have a modern Tele. Drop in some better pups if you have to and for way less than 200 €/£/$ you will have a fine, gigworthy instrument. If you ask me "Buy a TE20 HB, pimp it up and put the difference between that and a MiM into gear, lessons, beer?" my answer will always be "Fuck, yeah!"
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How is this even possible?
CharlieMay1, 20.10.2019
So, I bought this guitar for my son as a Christmas present as they appeared to be selling fast.

It arrived super quickly in double cardboard boxes in perfect condition. So top marks to Thomann for that. They always send plenty of emails regarding the status of the item which I like.

When buying such a cheap guitar there really is no risk at all. If it's rubbish then so what? If it's great then hooray!

In our case, this guitar is absolutely mind-blowingly good. I was going to buy the kit version but I knew I wouldn't be able to achieve the quality finish on the body, which is immaculate. Beautiful colour and lovely metallic sparkle.

Frets are mint with perfect filing. The satin feel maple neck is a joy. It was set up really nicely and just needed a little tune-up, of course, to get the ball rolling.

We will be using this guitar as a project later on, upgrading pick-ups and machine heads etc as we go, but for now this is an absolute steal.

My son already has a CST24 and a CST24HB both of which as fab too.

Feeling lucky today that I can be the great provider (for not a lot of cash) :-) Very, very happy.

Thanks again Thomann, another great deal.
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Fantastic initial impression!
Squawker, 16.10.2019
The guitar arrived this morning. I unpacked it, checked it over, tuned it, plugged it in and played for 10 minutes.
I bought a TE-30 a couple of years ago, for an Esquire/Bigsby project. Sadly the body on that was very heavy (asian ash), and I muffed the bridge/Bigsby alignment a bit so when I spotted the TE-20MN with the lovely metallic blue basswood body I had to have it to fix my project.
The body really does have a great finish. The neck is nicer than the TE-30 neck too - the C-profile feels a bit slimmer which I like a lot. No fret sprout and a nice rounded-off finish. Tuners are ok - not super smooth and precise but perfectly usable. Pickups and electronics all sound/feel great, especially given the price. The action was high, but that's easily fixable (maybe partly due to transport in wet, autumn conditions).
It's a beautiful guitar that's playable out of the box, at an absolute bargain price.
Docked a single star for features because, well, it's a T-style - they don't have fancy features and neither should they!
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Amazing for the price
damo, 16.10.2019
Baffled by the quality of this guitar for 80 euros.
Nice neck, no pokey frets.
Tuners work.
Finish looks amazing, can't find any visual flaws.

Surprisingly heavy for a basswood body, but in a good way.
I can't get over the finish quality for the price. It's better finished than the TE-70 deluxe model I owned.

Sounds like a tele, a little screechy on the bridge pickup, but overall very good.

Very playable guitar, action is nice and low.

I'm delighted and might spring for the CA red model also.
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Vintage style T guitar for reasonable price
antonl1911, 16.10.2019
Ordered this one to have something more that superstrats in my collection.
First the neck feeling - it's C-shape close to nut, but then gradually becomes somewhat of a D-shape, hence the modern-C in the specs.
The bridge is the most basic vintage style you can get, with shared saddles for 3 couples of strings. Volume/tone and the 3 pos switch work as intended.
After setting up the action & neck relief the guitar sings.
Frets are of the vintage variety (thin and low).
The color is beautiful. Tuners work pretty well. Nut was cut bit too deep for bundled 9-42 set of strings (the 6th string is completely submerged into the nut), but at the same time it's too high to get really low action.
Overall, I am impressed with the level of the instrument for the money, it sets the new heights.
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Max Anderson, 21.10.2019
I arrange and work as a session musician, for a long time I chose an inexpensive instrument for creating solos and rhythm of parts in daw. Just shocked by build quality and sound. The best guitar, very happy with the price! I advise everyone
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Amazing for the price
Sarg, 18.10.2019
I got it a few days ago, more out of curiosity than by real need.
I really wanted to know what the deal was with the famous Harley Benton everyone's talking about.
Now I understand : I'm astonished by the overall quality for the price.

For the objective part :
The fret job is perfect, the finish is wonderful and it's fully playable out of the box. It's a bit more heavy than expected, thought.

In a subjective way, now :
The guitar sound really good and the neck is amazing :')

10/10, would recommend.
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Harley Benton TE-20MN BM Standard Series

966 SEK
inklusive moms, 99 SEK frakt tillkommer
I lager om 7-8 veckor
I lager om 7-8 veckor

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