MS15 review by Harley Benton

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  • Sound: 4
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reliability & Durability: 5
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 5
  • Features: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 5 Decent
  • Users' score: 6.5 (55 votes)
Harley Benton: MS15

Price paid: € 100

Purchased from: Thomann

Sound — 4
The pickups are all *really* noise and sound very sterile. You can get interesting sounds out of this guitar but nothing that could described as warm or smooth. If you are using the combined positions of the pickup switch the sound a bit less noisy and more acceptable to play. The neck pickup is good for clean sounds while the bridge pickup would be great for solos but is so noisy that it's really hard to use. One of the two tone buttons doesn't make much difference, the other one does but there is no real warm setting. With a better amp the sound gets near to acceptable for the clean and the high-gain settings but you never get a good crunchy sound.

Overall Impression — 5
This is a good starter guitar, not more, not less. I would probably buy one with a humbucker instead now to be able to play with more gain without the brutal noise of the cheap single-coils. But as this will be the first electric guitar for most people you never know it advance. If you stick to playing electric guitar you will get something around the 300$ (or more) range in two or three years and otherwise you didn't loose that much money. It's probably better to get one of these instead of spending 150-200$ for a guitar that won't bring you much further either.

Reliability & Durability — 5
This is not a guitar you would use on stage, well, maybe as backup if you have nothing else. Cabeling and soldering is rather weak and could cause problems. I had to fix mine once or quite (just using it for practicing). Mechanically it is rather impossible to destroy this thing as it is really solid. If have this for 10 years now without handling it very softly and there is not much of scratches you can see on it. You shouldn't open and close the screws to often though as they will become loose at some point.

Action, Fit & Finish — 5
Mine came with a broken cable inside but a bit of soldering helped. In general you see that this one was produced cheap but things are working and it does have a decent look as long as you don't start disassembling - inside it looks pretty horrible. Forget about the tremolo though because it *will* destroy your tuning. In general it detunes rather fast while playing. Compared to my Yamaha Pacifica and some others (~300$ range) I played over time the playability isn't too bad but bending is definitely harder and I killed a couple of string while bending on this one.

Features — 6
This Strat-like guitar was made around 2002 most likely somewhere in Asia with 22 frets, three single coil pickups and a five way switch. It has some kind of Vintage tremolo. There is a volume control and two tone controls. Mine was all black with a white pickguard which was covered by a thin plastic film which is almost impossible to remove cleanly. The body is laminated while the neck is maple with a palisander fretboard. The neck is attached with 4 screws. It came in a bundle with bag, cable and Fender Frontman 10W Amp.

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