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Harley Benton T Style DIY Kit

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Mark-spark86, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    Hi all,
    I’m new to the site so be nice.

    I recently bought a Harley Benton t style kit to put together and see if I can make it from a crappy guitar to something I enjoying playing. It wasn’t much to start with but I was impressed with it for the price, £85 with shipping.

    Of course with a kit like this the wood isn’t the best and the hardware is crap. I’ve been replacing it with parts I had left after upgrading my Squier Tele as I go. I plan to change the bridge, tuners, pick guard, pickup and nut. Of course this is all money dependant at the moments so doing it as I can afford it.
    So far it’s been a slow process but a great way how everything works.

    I've finished the colour and spraying the nitro onto the body and now just waiting for it to dry before I sand. the headstock came in the form of a butt ugly paddle so while I am waiting for the body to dry I will cut it in a Tele shape. I have already polish the frets and used some lemon oil to clean up the finger board.

    One thing I'm not sure about is replacing the nut, its 40mm across and I'm struggling to find somewhere that makes one to replace it with. Does anyone know of somewhere that can help me out? Or can you put a wider nut in but sand it back so it fits well?

    Thanks for the help in advice!

    Mark

     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
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  2. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Welcome along, there is a lot of useful information re all manner of guitars and building on here........I have gleaned some great tips on here, lot of knowledgeable folks.
     
  3. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    You can easily sand a nut back to the correct width.
     
  4. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Fun!
     
  5. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Nice work so far! I would bet that the Harley Benton kits are better quality than most cheaper kits - if they use the same hardware as they do on their finished guitars. I rather like the "cheaper" woods like basswood and paulownia. They are light, resonant and generally easy to work with. Heck, some high end guitars have been built with basswood and even pine!

    Unless you want to change the style of the bridge or tuners (e.g. because you want locking tuners or a modern six saddle bridge), I'd give the stock ones a go. If the tuners are smooth and stay in tune, why replace? Also, if the pickups are their Roswell brand, they are pretty decent too. I would change the PCB switch to a CRL or Oak Grigsby 3-way, though - I personally can't stand the feel of those PCB switches - but again, they do work.
     
  6. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I have completed 2 Harley Benton SG’s and they went together well and quality was fine, you do need a certain level of knowledge to get a good guitar out of a kit tho......in my experience the instructions are never that comprehensive.
     
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  7. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! It's been a lot of fun making it so far, I'm waiting for the nitro the finish and cut the head stock in the Tele shape that we all know and love.

    I emailed Thomann the other day to ask what the wood was and they just said an unspecified 1 piece body. its 4 pieces haha. oh well, its not the worst bit of wood but could be better.

    When I first put the guitar together the tuners didn't seem to bad but I only left it on one piece for less than a day before I started working on the whole project. The pickups are unbranded, from what I can work out, so I'm using the bridge pickup from my Squier Tele I took out earlier in the year and keeping the neck in place. Changing the wiring with soldered wires instead of the crap that came with. I will replace the switch though as you're right, they suck so much!
     
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  8. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    This is the first kit guitar I've put together and I've been enjoying it. Definitely a great way to learn about how everything works, I'd previously done both my Squier Strat and Tele so have some skills with what need to be changed but the instructions were lacking something!
     
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  9. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    Really? I didn't know that but now it makes sense. After checking it out more this week as I've been changing the headstock, its more of the height than the width that I need to change. Will do some research on this and decide what to do!
     
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  10. gimmeatele

    gimmeatele Tele-Holic

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    First mistake was thinking HB are crappy, they are not bad quality at all, I hear that they are loss leaders as the company know what us guitar folk are like and it will just lead to bigger sales,
     
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  11. the-woey-man

    the-woey-man Tele-Meister

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    I put a Harley Benton Tele kit together about five years ago. Like you I changed the bridge, tuners and nut and it turned out to be a great guitar. Mine had a lovely chunky neck. I sold it in the end and the new owner loves it. Look forward to seeing your finished product. Joey
     
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  12. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    My progress with the headstock, pretty pleased with it so far but got a lot of sanding to do before its nice a smooth IMG_5647.JPG IMG_5655.JPG
     
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  13. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    Hi Joey,
    The neck in my kit has a chunky neck too, far more than my Squiers so I'm looking forward having a play when its all finished as apart from my acoustic I've not owned a thinker neck guitar.
    Pickguard will have to be changed as it will just look wrong with the white guard that it came with!
    Mark
     
  14. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    I didn't assume they were crappy, I like the body and the neck but the hardware is cheap so I'll be happier when I've put in some slightly better componants.
     
  15. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    My HB is as good as any of my other guitars, but cost under £200.

    Junior5.png
     
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  16. gimmeatele

    gimmeatele Tele-Holic

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    I have a HB jazz bass, which is way better than the Squier CV one and a HB335 semi hollow which I love, changed the tuners but other than that superb guitars,
    I noticed during the last six months of lockdowns and stuff they completely sold out of all their HB guitars, something must be good about them.

    Also gone over to thomann strings, €1.10 a packet and I can tell no difference, the acoustic strings especially are very good
     
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  17. Biffasmum

    Biffasmum Tele-Meister

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    Hi Mark, looks like you’re having fun and catching the bug. I’ve been contemplating doing the same thing as you so keen to see how you get on.
    You can get pre-cut nuts which are relatively expensive to bone blanks which take a fair bit of work. Either way you can cut to shape, file, sand and polish as your heart desires. I have a special saw for cutting off big chunks and files for shaping, all from Stewmac. If you’re feeling brave you can use a Dremel tool with a cutting disk attachment.

    Cutting the slots to the correct depth requires special files that are pretty pricey but will last you a lifetime.

    Have fun and welcome aboard!!
     
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  18. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    Hi,
    I definitely enjoy doing my own work to my guitars and putting things together, very satisfying to do it yourself!
    I don't have any power tools so I had to borrow a drill from a friend to redo pick guard and bridge holes. Takes a long time when you're doing it all by hand!
    I've been looking at the pre-cut nuts, which is the way I'm thinking of going as blanks are most costly plus having to cut it would make me nervous! I'm probably going to try get the nut out this afternoon to measure so I can order a new one to fit. Trying to do this all on a budget, selling various things on eBay to pay for it haha!
    Headstock is coming along nicely today, I've got up to 120 grit sand paper. The shape is all there so just getting rid of tool marks and making it nice and smooth!
     
  19. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I found as soon as I started building guitars you become very emotionally attached to them, and you can build exactly what you want at half the price !
     
  20. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    Couldn't agree more. I fell into this hole last year when I knew I would never be able to afford the guitar I'd love and started seeing how much it would cost me to upgrade my Squirs, very happy I went down this route :)
     
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