HBD 500 BB review by Harley Benton

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 2.6 (11 votes)
Harley Benton: HBD 500 BB

Price paid: $ 150

Purchased from: Rebel Guitar (Budapest)

Sound — 8
I was kind of uncertain about how much I would actually want a guitar. There were guitar shaped objects in the house from my teenage years and I had no luck with them, I never became a guitarist so I had every reason not to buy this. But it was cheap, and apart from its blueburst colour it looked nice and sounded allright in the shop. (Of course on a very expensive tube Acoustic amp) So I took a chance and never regretted it! It has a nice, mellow sound (I use light gauge strings). On German sites it used to be in the "western guitar" category, well I do not know... I do not play much country and western, but I can imagine that it suits those needs too. For me, this is a practice guitar, I appreciate the soft, easygoing sound, not very rich or extra deep though. I play blues and some rock, and I am happy with how it sounds. I have an Orange crush 15R combo for my electrics, but I very rarely play this guitar amplified. I just doesn't sound as well as it should, or it takes just too much adjustments. (With a decent Acoustic amp, it does sound much better.)

Overall Impression — 10
In every rating I take into consideration that this is a cheap guitar and for the price it delivers good quality. I do not gig, 99% of the time I play for myself and I use this guitar as a practice/songwriting tool, and I am very pleased with its sound. I haven't got the slightest doubt, that for some more money I could have bought a really serious instrument, and someday I might buy another acoustic, but for the time being I am really happy with this one. I also own an Ibanez ARX100 and a Korean strat copy, and I play blues, for that this guitar is a nice addition. If this guitar got stolen/lost/destroyed I'd be very sad for a couple of days, and would probably keep good memories of it, but I would buy a different guitar. (This one is not in production anymore anyway.) I like the way this guitar sounds, and more importantly I like the way it feels. Its easy to play which gave me confidence, and every now and then when I come home stressed and tired I just strum a few chords randomly and it comforts me. Looking ahead, I will probably have some more guitars, maybe better ones, but I will surely keep this one.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I am not a heavy user, so I'm not the best person to comment on durability. I hardly take the guitar out of my room, maybe going over to my friend for practicing together, so the biggest risk is that the kids do some damage. Strap buttons are solid, however they do not hold the strap securely I had to catch the guitar a few times. I will have to make some adjustments there.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I was surprised about the finish of the guitar. I know what "cheap guitar" meant twenty years ago, and compared to those it perfect. But in its own right the guitar came well set up, no flaws on the body or neck, frets leveled and the whole guitar was pleasant. The only remark I may have is that the "gold" coating on the machine heads look a bit dodgy, I guess sooner or later we'll see the underlying metal parts. The tuners on the other hand are OK, they hold tuning quite reliably. The guy in the shop cleaned and oiled the guitar and re-stringed it, as it was probably there for quite some time. Since then I didn't have to bother about anything.

Features — 8
This guitar was made in China and it is supposed to be a cheap beginners' tool. For that purpose it is absolutely fine. It is an electro Acoustic with a laminated top and a plastic arched back with a cutaway. Rosewood fretboard and neck and imitation of grover tuners. The guitar has 23 frets and an active pickup with a 3 band EQ + a volume knob. It has binding on both the neck and the body and pearly cross inlays.

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