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  • Writer's pictureBarış Şahin

Harley Benton TE-62DB LPB Review

Harley Benton TE-62DB LPB Review

Harley Benton telecaster TE-62DB LPB Review

It had been a long time since I wrote a new guitar review. In recent years, my guitars have been really good, so I haven't felt the need for a new guitar or the next one. Nevertheless, this didn't stop me from browsing through these new guitars or feeling “how i wish that this axe could be mine” when seeing models like the Ibanez AZ's or new Charvel DK's :) Harley Benton, on the other hand, was a company I had limited personal experience with, but I had been closely following what they've been up to for a long time.


By chance, I acquired a TE-62DB model guitar, and I must say, I can't thank Harley Benton and Thomann companies enough for this. The guitar they sent me exceeded my expectations by far. How so? Let's find out how.


PS: I need to thank all the guys from Thomann for sending me this elegant looking axe.


Meet the Harley Benton Tele



When you first open the box, you are greeted by a beautifully looking guitar. Those who think only expensive guitars look good might want to reconsider, as the €160 price tag on the guitar guarantees a very good score in terms of cost-effectiveness. But there's more, I assure you. Without even trying to like it, I can easily say it's a very good guitar. In what aspects is it good? How good is it? I'll talk about that.


Let's start by looking at the technical specifications first

Basswood body

Bolt-on neck made of vintage caramel maple with Roseacer skunkstripe

Laurel fretboard

White double binding on top and back

Neck profile: Modern D

Dual action truss rod

Fretboard radius: 305 mm (12")

Nut width: 42 mm

Scale: 648 mm (25,5")

21 Frets

Pickups: 2 Roswell Alnico 5 TEA-F-CR/TEA-B single coils

1 Volume and 1 tone control

3-Way switch

3-Ply white pickguard

Hardtail bridge

Deluxe hardware

Kluson-style machine heads

Colour: High-gloss Lake Placid Blue


The color of the guitar is "Lake Placid Blue," which is one of my favorite metallic color tones. I can say it's applied at a premium level. Some flaws that you might see in some mid-range guitars or even some U.S.-made guitars are not present in this guitar, at least. Moreover, the double binding really elevates the guitar to another class. The guitar looks really classy, ladies and gentlemen.

Harley Benton TE-62DB LPB Review

When You Touch It


I won't comment on the comfort of the guitar. This is a classic Tele. If you've played an average classic Tele, you'll know how it feels standing or sitting. This guitar is no different from them. Unfortunately, some details that exist in every Tele and that I don't like are also present in this one. This criticism certainly applies to all Tele and standard derivatives as well. It's quite lightweight, and I must admit I was surprised by this. I had experienced much heavier basswood in some more expensive East Asian-made guitars than the TE-62DB. It turned out to be much lighter and relatively softer basswood compared to them. I liked that.

When you reach out to play, all you need to do is a quick tune-up and here you go! I didn't need any neck adjustments. The neck profile is somewhere between modern C and D in my opinion, even though the catalog information says Modern D, the shoulders are not as pronounced/sharp. It's a comfortable neck. I don't think it will disappoint either those who prefer very chunky necks or those who prefer very thin ones. I don't understand why guitar manufacturers don't provide more details about necks. Considering that the neck is such a critical component in a guitar's playability, comfort, and tone, I see their lack of detail as a major shortcoming. This applies to all of us, doesn't it? We might really like the appearance of a guitar, so we might strongly desire it. We might really like the tone of a guitar and want to use those tones in our recordings. However, if the neck profile doesn't feel right in our hands or if we can't adapt to this new neck shape, there can be quite serious consequences, ranging from neck replacement to selling the guitar. In this regard, some neck profiles, in my opinion, can be considered a bit more specific, and while some people may feel very comfortable with them, others may feel oppressed. Ibanez's wizard, for example, is like that; a very thin D shaped neck profile. You may love it or hate it. R7 Gibson Les Paul profile. If you like thick necks, it's like heaven, if you don't, it's damn hell. But I don't think you'll have this kind of problem with TE-62DB. It's quite an all-around profile. Here are the measurements I took from the guitar's neck;



Nut Width: 1,650”

Thickness of 1st fret: 0,851”

Thickness of 12th fret: 0,887"


I love roasted maple necks. I can't say what they will look like in 10 or 25 years. But today, they look very chic, and generally speaking, they are tonally better than non-roasted ones because they undergo better drying due to roasting.


Laurel Fretboard of Harley Benton

I met Laurel for the first time. It has an adequate color tone; dark enough. I couldn't find anything special or bad about it. But it's hard to say anything positive or negative. So, just because it's called rosewood, using the very light brown fretboards that Gibson uses seems less visually reasonable, indeed. Son o problem with laurel. The fretboard has a 12" radius, which is the Les Paul radius. It's my favorite radius because it's neither as curved and problematic as 7.25" ones, nor as flat and unnatural as 16 or 17" ones. Best of both worlds.

neck of Harley Benton TE62DB LPB

The frets came very well set up. I'm not sure if it's just my luck, but there are no issues with any of the frets. No choking, no dead notes on bends, no fret buzz. It's clean. However, when you slide your hand along the neck, you feel a slight sharpness. I have two regrets: the lack of 22 frets and the absence of stainless steel frets. The size of frets are particularly good. They are tall frets which i always prefer because of bending ease.


The tuning pegs are neither fantastic nor terrible. However, I would have preferred it to have locking tuners. I think it's a better option for guitars with fixed bridges. They are Kluson-style non-sealed type tuners.

The craftsmanship of the nut is one of the first and most important things I pay attention to. In the case of the TE-62DB, I quite liked the craftsmanship. The angles, widths, and depths of the slots on the nut are good. But I didn't like the material very much because it looks like a soft plastic that will wear relatively quickly. Overall, I can say that the weakest points of the guitar are more like these parts outside of the guitar itself. Considering the end-user price of the guitar, I can understand this, but it's worth mentioning.


The guitar has a tone that is somewhere between neutral and warm. It may not fully satisfy country/western players, especially. However, it's a tone that won't disappoint rock and blues enthusiasts.


Now, let's talk about the pickups... First, let's look at the measurements I took through the guitar itself by a short patch cable.


Neck: DCR: 5,62K  L:1,28H   C: -32,3nF

Bridge: DCR: 7,77K   L: 3,68H   C: -35,6nF

Roswell Tele Bridge Pickup

Roswell is a company that I've been very curious about. They produce pickups for different types of guitars, and when I look at reviews, I often see more negative comments. I think a large part of this prejudice comes from the mentality that "if the guitar is cheap, then the pickups must be bad." However, I can start by saying that I didn't like the neck pickup at all. I'm not a fan of standard type Tele neck pickups anyway. My sympathy for pickups that are more Strat-like, such as Fender's "Twisted Tele," is much greater compared to an average Tele neck pickup. The tone is very dark and the output is weaker than it should be. I don't like overly-wound and/or very powerful pickups in Tele and Strat guitars, but here, it seems like it's even hard to hear it. In this regard, I have to admit that there might be some truth to the writings about Roswell. However, I particularly avoid evaluating an entire company based on a single product.


Roswell Tele Neck Pickup

For the bridge tone, the shortest and simplest summary could be: not bad. It's nice and gets the job done on its own. But the neck tone alone and the neck+bridge tone fell well below my expectations. However, would this bridge pickup make a Bakersfield fan happy? No. Would it satisfy those who like pickups with screaming midrange? Partially, because the bridge pickup is snappy but a bit weak, either. By weak, I mean it's not underwound, let me clarify that. There are pickups on the market with the similar DCR but a more powerful and singing tone. I believe this guitar could do much more with better pickups. If I had a Lollar '52 T or Lindy Fralin Vintage Hot or Seymour Duncan Jerry Donahue Lead Tele, or at least a Dimarzio Twangking set, I would feel much better. That's for sure. But any way, stock state of TE-62DB will satisfy many rock and blues players, pop players, particularly.


Harley Benton TE-62DB LPB Review

As for the hardware, it also falls short of satisfying me. Yes, they look very nice with their shiny chrome plating. But over the years, I've dealt with so many guitars of that kind and their cheap components that I can clearly assess how the bridge, saddles, springs, switch, and pots feel under my fingers. I don't expect hardware made of quality stainless steel to come from guitars in this price range, and I'm telling you not to expect it either. Keep your expectations realistic! If you really like the guitar's tone, it's up to you to replace the parts with higher-quality ones. You don't have to, that's for sure. I mean, these parts won't let you down. But if you want to feel something better, you'll either have to look at more expensive guitars or spend some money on hardware mods.


Every modification is an investment and Harley Benton TE-62DB deserves that investment.


Harley Benton TE62DB LPB

Conclusion


This guitar deserves a very high score in terms of cost-effectiveness. That's for sure. It's extremely affordable if you don't live in a third-world country. And even if you do, it's not considered very expensive, especially when compared to its counterparts... It's a comfortable (for a standard tele, you know), lightweight, and very sexy-looking guitar, just as much as a Tele should be. Finish is beyond you may expect. Of course, it's not the "Holy grail of tone," but it's never a guitar with a bad tone, poorly produced to the point of being unplayable, or requiring major modifications just to be usable. It has great potential for modifications. Or rather, it deserves modifications. I'm not a big Tele fan, but it really impressed me. It's a fact that the quality of affordable guitars has risen to a very high level, much higher than 15-20 years ago. And companies like Harley Benton are raising the bar so high every year with their new models that it's becoming increasingly challenging for established companies. So i really want a guitar from Fusion III Series.

 

Harley Benton TE-62DB LPB Review

 

Harley Benton TE62DB LPB

 

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