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NGD Harley Benton Single Cut


MichaelDean
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I've wanted a single cut guitar for a little while. Just fancied something with two humbuckers, a Gibson scale length and lots of knobs to twiddle. I decided to sell some pedals I wasn't using to fund it. I thought I'd try just trading them in at PMT first for one of their Antiquity guitars, but they gave me truly awful prices. So I went to eBay and made a lot more money than I expected! I've had my eye on the SC-550 II since it launched, but didn't think I'd have enough dosh to get one. I was wrong!

 

I took delivery of one in Faded Tobacco Flame this afternoon. It s a lovely thing. Fretwork is great with stainless steel frets. Pickups are pretty decent. I've got it set up in drop C with the stock set of 10s, with very low action and no buzzing. The top is lovely - it doesn't have much 3d movement, but the figuring is really nice and even and it's pretty well bookmatched. Oh, and it weighs just over 3kg! I've been noodling around this evening in Reaper with a song idea and my GX-100, and I'm very happy overall.

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There are a few weird bits though. Since day one, people have been saying that the machine head keys are greenish, and the nut is white, which doesn't go with the cream binding. I wasn't sure if I entirely believed them. I should have. It's very odd overall. I've got some new tuners on order, and I think I can live with the white nut for now at least. 

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The only properly bad bit that I've noticed is on the back, by the pickup selector cavity. A bit of paint has chipped off. I've messaged Thomann, so I'll see what they say. I'll probably end up sticking some nail varnish on it though. 

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I love the front of it, but the paint work around that access port is rubbish. Looks like someone tried to do it with their teeth. I'm not even certain if that access hole is even round. I'd be embarrased if I'd printed that in draft mode on my printer.

 

After saying that, the frontand the rest  is gorgeous. Very jealous, Enjoy it.

 

Rob

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6 hours ago, rwillett said:

I love the front of it, but the paint work around that access port is rubbish. Looks like someone tried to do it with their teeth. I'm not even certain if that access hole is even round. I'd be embarrased if I'd printed that in draft mode on my printer.

 

After saying that, the frontand the rest  is gorgeous. Very jealous, Enjoy it.

 

Rob

Yes, the routing there isn't great, but for £255 all in, I don't think perfect routing is guaranteed and I don't mind it where most people won't see it. The chipped paint is disappointing though. You don't expect that on a new instrument. 

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1 hour ago, MichaelDean said:

The chipped paint is disappointing though. You don't expect that on a new instrument. 

Send Thomann an email with picture (if you haven’t already) and they’ll offer you a discount.

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So, they've offered me £25 off the purchase price. I think I'm ok with that.

 

I did have a moment of panic: Did I really like it? Was it worth keeping? Yes is the answer. My HB tele is also great, but so different. The frets are a bit smaller, satin neck, longer scale length, heavier, etc. It's just been a bit of an adjustment period. The tuners are truly terrible though. They just won't stay in tune with llight noodling, let alone some heavier handed stuff. The sooner the new ones turn up the better.

 

Not entirely sure I'm sold on the top hat knobs either. I've had speed knobs before and I think I much preferred them, so I'll keep an eye out for a gold/amber set.

 

The feel of the guitar is really nice though. Well polished stainless steel frets are a wonderful thing! I also like the tones from the pickups and the pots are decent as well. They don't just go on/off, but could be a bit smoother in operation - hopefully they loosen up a bit with use. Plus it's a pretty looking thing! Even the pau ferro fretboard is a nice colour and doesn't feel too dry. I'll still give it some lemon oil when I change the tuners and strings.

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1 hour ago, MichaelDean said:

So, they've offered me £25 off the purchase price. I think I'm ok with that.

It seems to be their standard, damage discount, amount (I received the same for my chipped bass headstock). It’s reasonable enough and certainly saves the agro of doing a return to the EU, plus instant mojo. :D 

 

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5 hours ago, ezbass said:

It seems to be their standard, damage discount, amount (I received the same for my chipped bass headstock). It’s reasonable enough and certainly saves the agro of doing a return to the EU, plus instant mojo. :D 

 

Yeah, I've seen the long return process stories on here. Didn't fancy that and the bones are good. Plus, yeah, already had the first ding/bit of mojo. And I'll need to ream out the tuner holes for the tuners I've bought, so I can't be too precious about it!

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They produce rather nice guitars for the money. I have an electroacoustic classical, a 5-string fretless electroacoustic bass, and a (now discontinued, I think) Dullahan:

 

Dullahan-AT-24-Purple-Black-Burst.jpeg

 

which did need a neck shim to sort the action out but was otherwise great.

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New tuners fitted. I got some fake Hipshot style locking tuners from Aliexpress. They're great. I had to enlarge the holes to 10mm, which was easy enough. One of the old screw holes then lined up with the old tuners too. They'll be super convenient when I get some new strings to put on it. It was quite a stabby faff fitting the old, curled, strings on again. Might want to fill and re-drill for one of the holes as the tuner is slightly off centre. I'll see how much it bothers me!

 

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The guitarist in my band has a couple of these and they sound great.

 

The tuners are green to replicate the original Gibson Les Paul tuners. 

I had the same on a Vintage brand Les Paul and didn't like them either. 

 

They just looked really cheap and tacky plastic to me. 

 

 

Edited by Newfoundfreedom
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@Newfoundfreedom, yes, I understand that the green is period correct on a reissue Les Paul. But when you're already not making a period correct guitar, with a different body shape, and you've got the green tuners, white nut and cream binding, I don't really think it makes a lot of sense. I know you're not arguing their point, but clearly Harley Benton disagree with me! 😂

 

It still feels like a lot of guitar for the money, and I kinda like doing mods 😅 Makes it feel a bit more mine. Plus, from a function point of view, these tuners are SO much better. I can play for 5 minutes and it isn't out of tune, and they do feel good quality.

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6 minutes ago, MichaelDean said:

I kinda like doing mods 😅 Makes it feel a bit more mine

👍

 

6 minutes ago, MichaelDean said:

Plus, from a function point of view, these tuners are SO much better.

They look better to me too and I normally like the plastic keystone tuners. Given that they're better at doing their job too is a win/win.

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9 hours ago, MichaelDean said:

It still feels like a lot of guitar for the money, and I kinda like doing mods 😅 Makes it feel a bit more mine. Plus, from a function point of view, these tuners are SO much better. I can play for 5 minutes and it isn't out of tune, and they do feel good quality.

 

So the original tuners are more period correct in function as well as appearance then.

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  • 2 months later...
Posted (edited)

I have a HB DC Junior FAT. I got it around two years ago for around £129. It was ok out of the box, apart from tall frets which had to get levelled, and the P90 was too far aw1ay from the strings, so I had to buy a P90 cover shim, and boost the pup height with foam. That done, I swapped out the black 'plate and control cover for tort, and changed the knobs from top hats to speed knobs. The 'board looked dry, so it got a stain and some Monty's wax. Finally, a year or so later, I decided to strip it, wet-sand, and polish to a light gloss. It's one of my favourite guitars.

 

The camera shows up sections of grain in the mahogany

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Edited by NikNik
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Three months in and I'm playing the most electric guitar I have in years. Plus I'm writing new riffs too. Still need to lower the nut height. I went too low with the original one and had to replace it. I've not dared lower this one too much yet but at least it's cream coloured!

 

I did find a guide on how to do it though. Press down at the third fret and there should only be a tiny gap above the 1st fret, enough that you can still press it down and make contact with the fret. If it's too high, file it a bit more. I'll have another go when I next restring it. Happy to be corrected if there is an easier way though!

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