Price paid: € 129
Purchased from: thomann.de
Sound — 8
As far as entry-level instruments are concerned, this is a good guitar to start playing with. Since I play mostly rock and metal, I found its sound acceptable. Clean sound also is clear, and a bit bluesy. It should be noted that I use a Fender Frontman 10G amp, which no doubt plays an important factor in the end result. I have tried it with a friend's Marshall MG50FX amp as well, and the sound was satisfactory. I'm afraid I don't know how the guitar would sound with other amps, especially the crappy ones made by Harley Benton/Thomann. One note: while this guitar handles itself fine in standard EADGBE, I wouldn't recommend dropped tunings, as strings tend to rattle.
Overall Impression — 7
This guitar is without doubt a beginner's instrument. I doubt more experienced players would find anything interesting about it. Compared to other guitars of this price range, HBS580BK is actually a really good choice: in comparison to the Epiphone Les Paul Special II (same price in Thomann) this Harley Benton copy of an SG has better sound, in my humble opinion. All in all, I would recommend this to an aspiring guitarist that wants to start off with a rather decent instrument, without having to pay much.
Reliability & Durability — 6
The hardware is solid and well designed to stand home use, and perhaps a bit of live playing. However, the strap buttons are not as solid as I would like. It's not the guitar I would choose as my main live instrument (although it would be a decent backup).
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar I received had the basic factory setup. Most guitarists - including me - usually modify the adjustment of the pickups, but since it is a personal thing to how high you want them, it can't be considered a flaw. I noticed that the body had some slight traces of use - although it was expected, as it was clearly stated by Thomann in their cyberstore page. Other than that, the finish was ok, in fact better than many mid-range and even high end models I have received from time to time.
Features — 9
Harley Benton HBS580BK (this review is for the Left handed model) - successful copy of the original - alder body - 2 humbuckers - 3-way thomann toggle switch - 2x vol & 2x tone controls - bolt-on maple neck with rosewood fretboard - saddle width 44mm - 22 frets - scale 628 mm - colour: black Made in China (as are all Harley Benton guitars anyway - Thomann has a deal with Saein, which produces guitars for Ibanez, Epiphone/Gibson and Peavey. It's not a coincidence most HB guitars are Gibson copies).