Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 8
As a complete "Tele" novice, who has used every make & brand known to man, I was amazed at how something so simple could be so versatile. As a guitarist who has played with international rock acts, I would have no hesitation on using it on the road. I used my old trustworthy Gallien Krueger/Marshall JCM 800 Stereo rig in rehearsals. At home I used a Line 6 Spider combo. Believe me this baby sings when cranked. There is a specific Tele midrange honk, that literally no other guitar can copy (I play Highgain with screaming distortion) so whilst the single coils could be a little noisy it was worth it for the overall tone. After several hours wailing, I started playing without a pick ala Jeff Beck, you can see why everyone at sometimes goes "back to basics" or "beck to basics").
Overall Impression — 10
I would have no problem using endorsing this product, as someone who has had several endorsement deals with major companies I find this refreshing to champion the "little guys." I'm already looking at a "Jim Reed" natural grain Tele. Infact the similarities are striking between the H. Benton & J Reed guitars. Some have said that Harley Benton's are Jim Reed's for the German market. Ah well, tonight Matthew I'm gonna be Joe Walsh from the Eagles playing the "Hotel California" solo. It's official this shredhead is now worshipping at the altar or Tele!. Amen to that.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I would definately use it live, though the guitar might stand up to live playing I'm not sure whether I would with some of the more hostile crowds I have played in front of. Playing a bright orange Tele in front of a thrash metal crowd is definately making a statement!
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I bought this guitar second hand, it still had the protective film on the control backplate and tuners. Normally I would have to adjust it, but with this baby everything was cock on. Neck straight and true. body well balanced and responsive, hardware clean and shiny without looking cheap. I normally have my action set low but this was higher and yet easier to play? Again the lure of the Tele is mysterious. Came with 9-42's which were a shade lighter but it was worth it for all those challenging country bends!
Features — 10
This guitar is a Custom Telecaster with a stunning orange flame maple capped top. Rather unusal feature is the use of a mahogony body making this Tele sustain beatifully. The 22 fret maple neck is extremely easy to play and the satin finish makes playability effortless. The neck has the traditional "skunk stripe" and abalone dot inlays. The tuners are die cast and have been consistent throughout. The 2 pick ups are Kent Armstrong and are pretty evenly balanced (infact I prefer the middle position of the 3way Switch) which give it plenty of poke and versitility.