Harley Benton Custom Line CLD-15MCE

170

Steel-String Guitar with Pickup

  • Design: Dreadnought with cutaway
  • Dovetail construction
  • Top: Solid mahogany
  • Scalloped X-bracing
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro
  • Neck profile: Modified oval C
  • Fretboard inlays: Snowflakes
  • Body binding: Wooden
  • Scale: 643 mm
  • Nut width: 43 mm
  • 20 Frets
  • Nut: Bone
  • Compensated saddle
  • Bridge: Pau Ferro
  • Machine heads: Chrome-plated diecast DLX
  • Strings: D'Addario XTAPB1253 Light (Article Nr 471307), .012 - .053
  • Pickup system: Fishman Presys-II preamp system with built-in tuner
  • Colour: Natural matte
Top Mahogany
Back and Sides Mahogany
Cutaway Yes
Fretboard Pau Ferro
Nut width in mm 43,00 mm
Frets 20
Pickups Yes
Colour Natural
Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
available since July 2014
Item number 333968
795 AED 192,44 €
Plus 207 AED shipping
The price in AED is a guideline price only!
Since we ship from Germany, additional costs through taxes and customs may be incurred
Available immediately
Available immediately

This item is in stock and can be dispatched immediately.

Standard Delivery Times
1
13 Sales Rank
K
Pros and Cons
Kezz 28.10.2021
I purchased this guitar a month ago, as the better HB model I wanted wasn't available for about 3 months (and still isn't!!). It had plenty of rave reviews and, as I only needed it as a stop gap during a prolonged stay overseas that's keeping me from my other guitars, I decided to jump right in.

I've purchased several items from Thomann down the years, and remain totally committed to their excellent service/pricing. This guitar arrived at my door in Ireland within 5 days of ordering - which is incredible considering Covid. Packaging and protection were great.

Pros: Out of the box, I was immediately struck by its Tayloresque beauty.
The top and body are a deep Mahogany which resonates beautifully.
Finishes to the body, neck, and frets are very good, so all in all, it's a lovely instrument to hold, look at, and hear!

Beyond the tuner, I've not used the pre-amp, so can't comment on electronic performance, but I would add that the battery is easily accessible for replacement - at the rear of the body. I'll move onto the cons now, as there are a few.

Cons:
As many have commented, the tuning pegs are not very responsive. They look fine in chrome finished metal, but they don't operate smoothly and are a bit of a pain if you use plenty of alternate tunings. Joni Mitchell would probably have trashed it in an hour.

The on board electronic tuner is basic, probably with that 5% +/- accuracy, which means that the tuning between 2 strings can regularly be 10% out, so a decent ear is needed or a decent tuning app is required to make it ring - but once in, ring it certainly does. It doesn't time out and switch off automaically either, so the handily accessible battery compartment came in use far too soon!

On playing, it was immediately apparent that the action was set to the higher end of acceptable, and the strings (which were fine in terms of quality) were a gauge higher than I normally like to play. I dropped the action half a millimetre by shaving a mill off the saddle and restrung with 11-52 gauge Phosphor Bronze Elixirs. That's made a huge improvement to the playability. I can slide up and down the neck now without grating my fingertips to shreds. Beginners take note, as there's nothing worse than learning on a finger killer. If you find the 'action' is too high, check out vids on YouTube to see how to improve the set up on your guitar. The out of the box playability was no better than a 2.5 out of 5 for me. It's above 4 now.

I should add that the fingerboard was filthy, too. It took 2 days to wash the black staining out of my shredded fingertips! Obviously I cleaned that off when restringing, and it's fine now.

There is one truly horrible feature, and that is the cheap and nasty strap button on the rear. The very first time I went to attach a strap, the pathetic plastic button just fell out of its hole! It literally is a peg pushed into a hole with nothing to hold it in place, not even a spot or two of glue! Whoever thought that was a good idea needs to have a serious rethink about their career. Luckily, I was sitting down at the time, otherwise the guitar could easily have fallen to the ground and disintegrated.

There is no strap button at the base of the neck, which is probably a good thing considering what happened at the rear! A couple of decent strap buttons would elevate the user experience considerably - as this bit of 'cheap and tacky' besmirches what is otherwise an excellent guitar at this price-point. I think most would willingly pay a couple of bucks more for a reasonable pair of metal strap buttons, properly affixed.

Finally, the scratch 'plate' is a cheap 'stick-on' and would best be supplied as a separate item - on a 'stick it on if you want to' basis. It's nothing to worry about though.

Conclusion:
In a way, I wish I'd had the time to wait for the higher end CLC-650SM-CE VS in Solid Wood - and I'm now tortured in a 'what might have been' kind of way. I don't know what is causing the hold-up, perhaps demand outstripping supply? Who knows, but needs must I suppose.

All in all, this is a great instrument for a beginner - though take heed of the strap button warning and the possibility of additional set-up. Intermediates will be fine too. At this price, the pluses outweigh the cons. Above that, of you can wait for delivery, go higher. An HB guitar at twice the price of this one is going to be really something!
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Excellent - right out of the box
Korwyn 23.09.2019
I use this guitar for playing small groups and for leading worship at church. It has now become my primary acoustic guitar.

Pros: Beautiful - I personally prefer a satin finish as opposed to the usual gloss finish, so this was a pleasant surprise for me; well set up; tone; price; pickup and electronics carry the natural tone very well.

Cons: If I had to pick out one thing, the only item I could come up with is that the built-in tuner seems to 'float' a little bit. For casual playing or on-the-fly quick tuning it's adequate but the Snark seems to be more consistently accurate.

Detailed review:

I intended on taking it to a local luthier for setup (adjusting the action, etc.) but there was no need. Did a quick tuning upon arrival - amazingly it was still almost in tune but about a step low.

* The tuners are tight and even without being too stiff.

* It plays smoothly, couldn't find any fret buzz even using capo up to the 8th fret.

* Intonation is spot on so harmonics are clean, pure sounding, and easy to hit.

* The tone is rich and full at the sound hole, and bright and full strumming at the bridge.

* The pickup is very good especially taking into consideration the price point of the guitar.

I will be purchasing additional guitars (and gear).
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Hard to beat
pennah 29.11.2021
I bought this beautiful Harley Benton a few years ago, and I can say it's worth every penny. From the finish, to the materials and the sound.
Easily one of the best acoustic guitars in the price range, and easily competes with more expensive ones.
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Tommaso Antico 15.12.2020
For its price it's definetely a good guitar!
Nice sound and beautiful look.

The sound of the pick up is better than most of the guitars in its price range, probably even better than more expensive ones.
With minor eq, compression and a bit of reverb you can definitely have a pro sound.

But if you plan to use it on a daily basis as I do for my gigs, get yourself a hard case...
Build quality is definitely not the best and it's falling apart...
I already had to replace my jack input as it got out of its place.

Generally a beautiful and good sounding guitar, with some issues due to its very low price
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