HBL400 Review

manufacturer: Harley Benton date: 05/05/2010 category: Electric Guitars

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Harley Benton: HBL400
It's a classical Les Paul copy. It has 22 frets and a rosewood fretboard. The neck is made of maple and it's screwed. The guitar has a massive alder body with a rounded top.
 Sound: 7.5
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 5
 Features: 8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 4 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.8
HBL400 Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 05, 2006
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 162.54

Purchased from: Thomann

Features: The HBL400BK is produced in Korea for Thomann. It's a classical Les Paul copy. It has 22 frets and a rosewood fretboard. The neck is made of maple and it's screwed. The guitar has a massive alder body with a rounded top. There are two humbuckers (no-name products) and 2 tone and 2 volume controls. It has a 3-way toggle switch. // 8

Sound: I bought this guitar because after 7 years of playing acoustic guitar I wanted to try something new. I play folkmetal in a band with it. It has a very warm and full sound and an endless sustain, so it really fits this kind of music. I play it with a Harley Benton 20W Amp, sometimes I also use an overdrive, which really sounds quite OK. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar really looks very nice with it's shining black lacquer and the chrome hardware, but both the bridge and the neck were not adjusted when I got it, so I had to do that myself. The fretboard has a scratch in the 18th fret, but it isn't very bad. // 4

Reliability & Durability: The guitar had to survive some trouble, including a beer shower at a gig and some crashes with the walls of our very small bandroom. And it didn't get any damage except of some little scratches! I'm absolutely satisfied with it's durability. // 10

Overall Impression: I think that it's a quite good guitar for people like me, Who play electric giuitar not very professional. I am an acoustic guitar player first and I think that won't change. I play acoustic guitar for now 7 years and electric guitar for about 6 months now. So for me it's a nice thing to take this guitar if I want a different sound sometimes. If this guitar was stolen, I would buy it again. I mean, I would buy a Gibson or whatever if I had the money, but I haven't. So this instrument is a quite good choice for teenagers like me Who have to earn their money by baby-sitting and are not able to afford expensive guitars. I compared it with the Epiphone Les Paul Special, those guitars sound the same, but the Epiphone is J40 more expensive, so I took this one. I really wish it had a tremolo, so that I wouldn't have to torture its neck all the time! // 9

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overall: 7.4
HBL400 Reviewed by: stefanrosioru, on may 05, 2010
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 80

Purchased from: second hand

Features: I don't have an idea when it's made, but it seems pretty new. It was made in Korea, and it was originally bought from Thomann, in Germany. I got it from a friend, in mint condition, for only 80 euros. This is the left-handed model, HBL400BKL. Classical Les Paul copy, bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fretboard, 22 jumbo frets (I guess), alder body, carved top. The finish is glossy black, the bridge is Tune-o-matic, stopbar tailpiece; It has 2 passive humbuckers, 2x volume and tone controls, 3-way switch. It comes with an amplifier, headphones, gigbag, tuner, picks and a strap. I only bought the guitar with the gigbag. // 8

Sound: For a beginner, this guitar is ok, especially for its price.I can't really make a comparison between it and other entry-level guitars, but the original no-name pickups sounded muddy and undefined, especially on overdrive. The clean sound was clear and somewhat bluesy. But nothing special here. There was an annoying noise coming from the amp, but the problem weren' t the pickups, I think, but the crappy electronics. It seemed like it was made by an retarded 8-year old. The pots are weedy, and you really have to rotate them to head a change of the volume or tone. If the volume is down, when you hit a power chord, and you roll it up, the distortion comes up suddenly. That's why I changed them for some Epiphone G-400 pickups, which sound great (compared to the originals, of course). I hear no buzzing or noise at all. Now the distortion is crispier, the clean sound... Finally sounds clean and bright, overall, a big improvement. Long live Epiphone! Oh, and the Switch seems somewhat loose. Meh meh. I mainly play hard/heavy rock, and it sounds acceptable. I play it through a no-name amp (whigh sounds lame) and a Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal, and a Zoom 505 II processor (ocasionally), but at rehearsals, I mainly plug it through the pedals, then a mixer then 2 200 w speakers, which sound great. I will rate the guitar with the original pickups and configuration. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: Even if I bought it second hand, the previous owner didn't set it up. Neither did the guys from Thomann, I realise. Shame on them, I had to to all the work. Flaws? A small drip of paint on the neck, unnoticeable though; bad action, overall cheap hardware, loose tuning pegs and pickup selector, loose jack, nothing serious though (except the tuning pegs, they are driving me nuts). The real fun came when I adjusted the truss rod. When I tried to loosen it, the end, which fits an allen wrench, falled off. I mean it "screwed itself" off the end of the truss rod. Imagine that, if you can, I dare you. Now, I have fretbuzz and high action. Imagine that too. It feels a bit uncomfortable, but if I use it as a study guitar, on a better guitar, my hands will fly on the fretboard! // 6

Reliability & Durability: I played this guitar live 2 times, and at every rehearsal with the band, and it seems very sturdy. Although the hardware seems cheap, the strap buttons seem pretty solid. Since it is my only electric guitar, I use it without a backup, but I am not worried that it will let me down (only the tuning pegs are causing me troubles, I have to re-tune it every 2 hours (or 10-15 minutes of soloing) The finish is nice, although it has some micro-scratches on the top, but they'll go away, after some buffing. I chipped the headstock a little, banging it on the walls, but it's unnoticeable. // 8

Overall Impression: For hard rock, county and blues, it's ok. For heavier styles of music, not really. I play guitar for 3 years now, and it is my second electric guitar. If it were stolen, or lost, I'd save some money, and buy an Epiphone, or a Hamer, or something more expensive. Don't get me wrong, the guitar ain't crap, but for the money, it is a steal! If you have 100+ spare euros, you should try it. Favorite feature? The weight... Although this guitar is made of alder, the body is somewhat heavy. I use it for exercising in the morning. Very useful indeed! // 8

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