HBS200 review by Harley Benton

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  • Sound: 4
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reliability & Durability: 3
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 3
  • Features: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 3.8 Poor
  • Users' score: 4.8 (18 votes)
Harley Benton: HBS200

Price paid: € 95

Purchased from: Thomann

Sound — 4
First off, my friend got one of these as his first electric guitar, and I am reviewing it of the impression I got from it. The sound is ok for beginners but I doubt experienced players would be happy. Although my friend is using the Harley Benton amp (which sounds horrible) he got with the guitar, it sounds a bit better when I plugged into my Marshall 15w. A horrible buzz from the guitar which goes away when you touch a screw on the amp or the pickup height adjusting screws. There was also literally no difference at all in tone when switching from bridge to neck pickup.

Overall Impression — 4
I know that this review might sound like a hate message to Harley Benton, but I'm really giving my honest opinion of this guitar as someone with 6 years of experience. I'm not comparing it to any high-end guitars like Fender or Gibson either as I don't have any. I was going to buy one of the Harley Benton Les Pauls because they're so cheap, but after seeing my friend's SG, there's not a chance I would. I would highly recommend keeping your money and getting an Epiphone, Squire or another known brand guitar in the same price range. I wouldn't recommend this guitar for beginners, as you may not realise how poor the quality is. Again, it's nothing against the people who made the guitar, it's just very bad quality - at least the one I played was.

Reliability & Durability — 3
This guitar would definitely not withstand constant live playing and I would never trust it. The hardware should last but the tuners could be upgraded and the electronics will definitely give way sooner or later.

Action, Fit & Finish — 3
Playability was ok, but I didn't get a chance to see how level/unlevel the frets were and I don't know if the intonation was set (unlikely). My friend had some tone and volume problems with the guitar so I raised the pickup for him. The electronics are absolutely appalling on this guitar - I know from experience re-wiring my own guitars and I can tell a good from bad soldering job. The electronics are very cheap but worst of all is the soldering job. I never thought it was possible for it to be so bad. The wires are hardly soldered and one of the pickup ground wires is hardly soldered and most of it is hanging off the pot. I told my friend to upgrade the electronics and I'll rewire it for him (although these guitars and worth putting a lot of money into) which he said he wants to do. This will make a good difference and hopefully get rid of the buzz I talked about. The frets are dull looking and looked like there was kind of liquid dried onto them. There was a load of green gunk on the fretboard from the 17th-22nd fret. The control knobs are strat-style which look horrible and feel cheap. They are also just about touching the surface of the guitar. The control cavity looked like someone took a chisel to it around the components because the weren't long enough to fit through the body.

Features — 5
2 passive humbuckers (generic), 3-way toggle switch, 1x volume & 1x tone control, bolt-on neck with rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, Thomann nut width 44mm, scale 63cm, colour: Black.

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