Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Anyone here own a Harley Benton Tele?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Sooper8, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Sooper8

    Sooper8 Tele-Holic

    May 24, 2011
    UK- Midlands
    I am seriously thinking about getting a used TE80 - but the new prices are so crazily low that it might make more sense to buy a new one (euro prices against the £ are making things pretty reasonable from Thomman at moment)

    I know you get what you pay for etc etc - but if anyone here owns one and could give an honest opinion on whether they play and sound good (I already accept they look great- but looks are only a factor if it sounds good).

  2. blue5joe

    blue5joe TDPRI Member

    Mar 25, 2015
    My friends got a harley benton but its not a tele model. Its an SG, and believe me you get what you pay for. No matter how much we wrangle the truss rod, the strings are way too high off the board, and the fretting isnt done too well. Not to mention, it doesnt sound great but maybe the single coils are easier to wind accurately. Could you get the seller to send pics of the finer details to you? And if things go wrong, you can always take the usable parts for later projects bridge, tuners, pickups maybe etc.

  3. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2014
    Behind my beard.
    I have a TE-40, and it's set up beautifully.

    I put a new nut on, and it's transformed the guitar from being 'clunky', to being a workable back-up instrument.

    From memory, I also shimmed the neck ever so slightly.

  4. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 13, 2011
    I have the "Prince" model of the Telecaster, apart from the weight it is a desirable guitar.

  5. Togman

    Togman Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 28, 2004
    Cambridgeshire, UK
    My son has owned a HB Tele. He got one new 4-5 years ago for a very good price. From memory, it was pretty good out of the box. The action was a bit on the high side for me but my son preferred it to the lower action on my Tele. By far the best thing about the guitar was the neck! After about a year we started to get issues with the wiring and pickups. By this stage my son was more into Acoustics, so the HB was kind of left alone.

    That HB neck ended up on a Strat body for a while and now adorns a Tele partscaster. The remainder of the HB Tele is in the parts bin waiting for another project.

    In hindsight, the guitar was worth the money, if only for the neck!

  6. Dave-B

    Dave-B TDPRI Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    I recently bought a TE-70 (Harley Benton rosewood tele). After some work (fret dress & full setup) it plays beautifully, and the Wilkinson pickups sound rather nice. I play it more often that I thought I would, and I have 'nicer' guitars hanging on my wall.

    I've bought 3 Harley Benton guitars recently, and the fretwork was quite shoddy on all of them. But they all turned into nice playing guitars following a full setup. So, if you can find a second hand one that has already been fret dressed & set up, it could be worthwhile buying that instead of ordering a new one.

  7. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Holic

    Jul 7, 2014
    I recently bought a 2nd hand TE-30 and was planning to put a review on this site (because I was looking for one on this site a while ago and couldn't find any).

    The pickups are a bit "muddy"/"warm" (depends on your definition), and there are some issues you might expect from a 88 euro guitar (like cheap tuners, ...), but after lowering the action and adjusting the pickup height, it is a nice player (not for anyone who wants a very trebly-sound).

    For most people the biggest negative point is the weight... It is by far the heaviest guitar in my collection, it feels like almost double the weight of a CV50s BSB.
    I don't mind, because I always play sitting down.

    Perhaps not an answer to the OP question, but if everyone else describes their HB, the OP might get an idea. I'm curious about the weight of the TE-20 (the cheapest), just for modding sake.

  8. hotpot

    hotpot Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 15, 2013
    Lancashire UK
    Yeah I've recently bought two of their Telecaster models a TE-90QM thin line & a "Prinz" TE-80NT Deluxe series LTD The Red thin line is just superb, those Wilkinson P90's are really nice, & it sounds fantastic unplugged as well.
    The "prinz" is also a terrific guitar. A big ol piece of Ash body which is on the heavy side for a tele but very resonant with great sustain, and again the Wilkinson pickups are really good. The only thing I had to do to both guitars was polish the frets, they were a little gritty. Both guitars are beautifully crisp sounding. other than that they are fantastic value for money.:)

    brookdalebill likes this.

  9. Sooper8

    Sooper8 Tele-Holic

    May 24, 2011
    UK- Midlands
    Thanks for all the replies.

    Maybe not the best guitar for gigging all night but a fun, budget , good looking piece, worth the money.

  10. wrxmania

    wrxmania Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 3, 2010
    I've just bought a Harley Benton TE-20 (black) as a base to do some work on, but also to see how cheaply I can get it giggle and playing really well. Done several builds and work on guitars over years.

    Any tips/help?

  11. DP305

    DP305 TDPRI Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    Worcestershire, UK.
    Have bought two Harley Bentons, the TE-30BE as a base for a Resocaster, worked out very well, and the TE-52NA as a conversion to an Esquire, again the finished article is a really good instrument. Both needed 'fettling', things such as dressing the fret ends on both, putting brass saddles and better potentiometers on the TE52. In truth the TE-52 is a much better guitar, (and a little more expensive), although the TE30 was ideal for its intended purpose. Remarkable at the price.

  12. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Holic

    Jul 7, 2014
    I got a TE-30 almost for free, and it certainly needed a good setup.
    I'm not too fond of the tuners, the bridge and the pickups.
    Mine is the heaviest guitar I own.

    I do hear people raving on about their TE-52, TE-80 and TE-90 though.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015

  13. harmann

    harmann NEW MEMBER!

    Apr 10, 2015
    I bought a b-stock TE-30 BE a few months ago, I must say that the setup was almost perfect. I guess the guitar was displayed in the shop. The guitar plays very smooth, is a bit heavy and no flaws in the frets. Mine stays in tune as it should, I've got a soft touch but do a lot of bending.

    Only 2 thing I don't like.
    - You can see 1 very big nut in the see-through finish of the body
    - The neck pickup has 1 screw hole that's too big, so the pickup isn't standing up straight.

    The sound of the neck pup is very warm en has very little definition. But I like that jazzy tone. The bridge pup has enough bite & aggression, matches great with the neck when selected together.

    This is definatly not the best guitar I ever played, but it's certainly not the worst.

    I might be lucky to have one of the better examples, but it's a bit ugly with that nasty nut in the body.

  14. koko1

    koko1 TDPRI Member

    Jan 16, 2013
    I like the heavy body of the TE-30. The colour aged through the years to some sort of butterscotch blond.
    But the neck got a twisting after 1,5 years. Thomann sent me a new one for free. The second one is better, but far away from a Fender neck or even a Yamaha 102s. This Harley Benton neck is always working ...
    If you plan a partscaster, I think it's better buying all parts seperately, rather then buying a cheap guitar and modding it.

  15. zen-box

    zen-box Tele-Meister

    Jan 9, 2013
    Stowmarket, U.K.
    I just bought a TE20 lefty ..

    .. for an amazing price; although it took about a week to get to me. Which was a bummer. Nice that you can track your axe step-by-step in it's journey to yours though; Nice one Thomann !!

    First impressions are of a neck shape and profile not dis-similar to my Am. Std :eek: with a lovely looking rosewood (?) fingerboard, sharp fret ends, and a piano black finish, along with hardware an' electronics that can be classed as acceptable at the price point. Nut seems ok, a little under-cut, but room for a little improvement. It came with a humbucker neck route, which is groovy !!

    Set up was poor with a very high action and woeful intonation (often the way for us poor lefties) but with just a few minutes tinkering, it became quite a playable instrument with a surprisingly good sound (for the money).

    I'd recommend it/them to a newbie, with the caveat that they'd need to take it straight 'round to a tech for a set-up .. Pickguard isn't of the greatest quality, but similar enough to a fender shape to be replaceable with just a tiny bit of filing, if you don't mind most of the screw holes being re-drilled .. still amazing value imho.

    Half an hour later it was down to it's constituent parts, I was going to recycle the neck straight onto t'ebay, but am now going to give it a go; I'm currently massaging it into a 'stealth' esquire with a p90 hidden under the pick guard and using a brass vintage style top loader bridge with an american standard bridge pickup, cts pots, vintage hi-fi knobs, and a fair dash of black.

    I'll post pictures when it's alive, if anyone's interested ? In the mean time, I managed to get a picture before I took it all apart ...


    And a first mock-up ...


  16. Hallo Spencer

    Hallo Spencer TDPRI Member

    Apr 13, 2011
    I have most parts for a partscaster but a body. I just found a Harley Benton TE-30 BE body in local classifieds and would like to know if standard aftermarket pickguards for Fender Telecasters will fit. Can anyone help? Is the shape of the body close enough to the original?

  17. claes

    claes Tele-Holic

    Aug 20, 2007
    The ash HB teles are insanely heavy. Like a les paul. I sold my prince because of that. Bought a tl-52 just to have a body to paint (les paul heavy). Another member bought the chambered tele and claimed it was surprisingly heavey

    I have the black paisley here and its going back tomorrow because they downgraded the pups from wilkinsons to rosewell.

    I wont tell you what to do...but I have given up harley benton teles...for now. have som alder teles ....

  18. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Holic

    Jul 7, 2014
    I have a TE-70 in Paisley, and there is no way in the world a regular pickguard would fit, because the control plate is in another location than on any other telecaster I have (and it cannot be moved around enought to make it fit). Chances are that on a TE-30 a pickguard might fit (more or less), but you will probably have to redrill the screwholes. (at least on my TE-30, I would have to redrill 6 of the 8 holes). And as noted in previous posts, the TE-30 is HEAVY.

    As shown, the TE-30 should fit a regular pickguard, but not match (the HB horn shape is slightly different than any other telecaster I own), but it is "doable".


    On the TE-70 it's a completely different story. The horn doesn't fit, the control plate cannot move around enough to fit an old pickguard I had on a MIM Standard. (and it's hard to see on the picture, but only one hole lines up)


    I too have given up on HB - qualitywise - as well, even though I like the concept of the TE-90 (dual P90-version in red). (but I got a Fender Modern Player Thinline now to fill that "gap" now)
    If I were to search for a cheap body, I'd go for a Squier body. At least the horn of any Fender compatible pickguard would look like it fits. I only once had to redrill one hole on a Squier body. On an HB it almost always looks like a prearranged marriage where the pickguard and the body only met at the very last moment, and don't fit together at all. (a re-phrased expression I heard before about HB pickguard-based telecasters).

    I would consider a HB body for a non-pickguard based look (like TE-80/TE-90), but with my HB neck experience (low quality varnish on TE-30, a knot that warped the neck on my TE-70), that would probably be the only salvageable part, along with the vintage looking straplocks. As can be expected at that price point, the hardware is pretty cheap. I liked the Wilkinson pickups on the TE-70, but as HB seems to move away from Wilkinson to Rosswell pickups that might change in the future.

    Or, I could have been so unlucky that I had a 2 out of 2 "bad" HB guitars (but to me it feels like 100%). If you are not so difficult to please as I am, you might like them (except for the warped neck I had, I suppose).

  19. Hallo Spencer

    Hallo Spencer TDPRI Member

    Apr 13, 2011

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.