Harley Benton ST-20MN CA Standard Series


Electric Guitar

  • Standard series
  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • DOT fretboard inlays
  • 22 Frets
  • Scale: 648 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Double action truss rod
  • Pickup: 3 ST style single coils
  • 1 Volume control
  • 2 Tone control
  • 5-Way toggle
  • Chrome hardware
  • Synchronised tremolo
  • Enclosed machine heads
  • Colour: Candy Apple Red
available since September 2013
Item number 312058
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Color Red
Body Basswood
Top None
Neck Maple
Fretboard Maple
Frets 22
Scale 648 mm
Pickups SSS
Tremolo Vintage
incl. Bag No
incl. Case No
295 AED 74,79 €
Plus 275 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
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in ST Style Guitars
Good If You Know How
unclebanger 18.12.2020
So I bought this guitar just as a supplement for a set with HB Extreme-76, like if I have to pay quite a money for delivery, I want to order as much as I can in a single order, and I had just enough free money to get this one.

I have another guitar, a legendary beginner guitar, Her Majesty Squier Bullet Stratocaster (HSS version). I only play for almost 9 months, and it was bout time I get interested in new guitars. So this review will largely be based on a comparison between this and Squier.

- beautiful af. Finish is just perfect, it looks more expensive than Squier (AWT color), despite actually costing me almost 3 times less (Fender production pricing in Russia is a little bit... insane, to say the least)
- has 22 frets
- gives you an idea of how SSS configuration works (that is a thing in my case)
- frets are very well leveled (contrary to Squier)
- arrived in perfect setting
- tremolo system allows you to achieve lower notes (goes down 3 half steps, while Squier only goes 2 half steps down)

- neck is way thicker and feels completely different
- tuners aren't as bad, nor are they any good
- pickups actually can deliver up to classic heavy metal (almost as good as Squier's humbucker), and they aren't bad, but they surely do suffer from their cost
- also B string saddle had one of the screws totally screwed up, I couldn't turn it at all, so luckily I had some old Squier saddles to replace it with

- rough fret ends (they probably won't kill your hands, but they really needed work)
- nut is a joke (not even a funny one)
- mine's contact would get lost from time to time (if I was moving the guitar while playing, and I was moving a lot) - an issue with screwing the hole where you connect the cable

So what i did to it was:
- changing the nut to GraphTec (the one that matches these dimensions is too low, so I didn't make it go to the bottom of the slot and it's stuck midway; still A LOT better than stock one)
- screwing the cable hole properly - now it has no connection issues
- sanded all the fret ends (unfortunately, this is the only type of work I'm not skilled at, so I only had a sand paper and a rough idea of how I want it to be)
- changed string trees to Gotoh (just for memes)
- immediate restringing (stock strings were even more of a joke than the nut)
- screwing properly everything there was

And I ended up having a guitar that rivals Squier, which is also modded by the time! I think if I change pickups to more serious ones, learn to solder and to shield, this will be a guitar that will last for decades!


Amazing Value - Long Term Review (almost 2 years)
G R 14.02.2022
TLDR: Absolutely worth it!

I ordered this guitar in 2020 and it has been played extensively since.

- very playable comfortable neck
- no sharp fret edges, high frets or any fretboard issue
- holds tune decently (after strings have been thoroughly stretched)
- pickups sound just fine

- tremolo arm has a lot of play ( unless you screw it in so tight it wont move) making it basically unusable, or at least very cumbersome for nuanced tremolo playing
- the bridge block is very skinny but that's expected in this price range
- the nuts on the jack get loose pretty easily and sometimes there are connection issues. But as long as you tighten the nuts regularly you'll be fine.
- the pickups show a lack of 'clarity' 'depth' and 'volume' compared to lets say my Fender Player Telecaster (at many times the Harley Benton in price though)
- the tuners are not the best, the pegs are quite loose, but it keeps decent tune if you don't ram the tremolo, which I assume you wouldn't given its issues.
- the frets would benefit from a polish

I am truly nitpicking at the 'issues' with the guitar, because if one considers the price, there is no reason to complain at all!
It is a perfectly playable and enjoyable instrument, that can perform just as well as instruments multiple times its price, though I wouldn't say it is gig-able without some further adjustment.
It must also be noted that should one wish to upgrade it, a huge range of affordable and considerable in increased quality items are readily available, i.e. wilkinson trems, kluson tuners, loaded pickguards etc. It makes for a great project once you are bored with it and the cost is so low that you wont be afraid to experiment.
I would definitely recommend this guitar, if you want an affordable yet reliable and enjoyable instrument, not least because of Thomann's excellent customer service which are quick to resolve any issues with the product up to 3 years after purchase.


Good guitar for a very low price!
vortaenius 15.07.2021
What I love: the look of the maple neck. It's why I bought this specific version of this Harley Benton Strat. Very nice! Also, the price is obviously unbeatable. Great as a fun project to replace a part every now and then.

Overall, the build quality is unfortunately one of the worse aspects of the guitar. The frets are fine, even the default strings were totally okay, but what I find lacking is the whammy bar. In terms of functionality, I might as well leave it off (if it wasn't for the cool look ;-)), because the bridge creaks and groans every time I use the whammy.

Also, I recently found that the finish is chipped off in a place (luckily not where you'd really see it, so no big deal). I don't think it is something that I did myself, maybe it happened during shipping or before that, but there's no real way to know.

I had to majorly tweak the intonation and the action of some of the strings, but about half of them were already really well intimated. It's not something I'd obviously expect from an 80 euro guitar to have perfectly intonation fresh out of the factory, so no worries there; I spent about half an hour of fiddling with a screwdriver and it's much better now.

Other than that, the sound is pretty good for these stock pickups! Note that the wiring is classic Strat wiring, so keep in mind that the two tone pots control the neck and middle pickup, and the bridge pickup has no tone control.

Once I slap on some Elixir strings and polish the fretboard a bit (tip: buy lemon oil wipes), I think I'll be very happy with this steal of a guitar! Definitely recommended, aside from a few weak areas.


My most difficult review
NevermindMe 28.12.2022
I've done over 30 reviews of different products on this website and this one is by far the most difficult one I've done; not because of lack of words, but because of expectations.
People will immediately scold me not to expect a lot from an instrument at this price point, and this argument seems to be present a lot when reading the other reviews on this page, 'the price point', 'for this price', etc.
Let's cover all we can:
Looks and feel - out of the box, the red is very deep, well done on the outside. Inside the cracks (inside the output jack, around the back of the bridge) not so well, but it doesn't bother me.
The neck is quite pale, the fingerboard is a separate piece, the frets seem to go very deep. The neck size is chunkier than other guitars I have with a C neck. The satin finish may be satin, but not a lot of coats. It felt slightly coarse, so I did a pass with 1200 grit sandpaper. Much smoother now. Compared to my MIM Player strat, definitely not the same.
Removing the neck from the pocket, it seems as the inside of the neck is several pieces glued together. Some saw dust inside there and in the output jack, but again, nothing terrible.
The output jack is not smooth. I play this guitar with a cable I have previously used around the house. The grip is so strong that I have to pull on the cable. I thought over some time it would relax, but I still do not see it. May be a candidate for replacement.
Tuners - possibly the worst I have tried on. Some of them were too tight and others significantly more loose and the guitar just wouldn't hold tune with them. I had them replaced with a set of factory Fender tuners (with redrilling, of course) and it is much better
Pickups - out of the box and no setup, not a bad sound. they look like ceramic (I swapped them). The pleasant surprise was the middle pickup, which sounded really good, very bright reminiscent of a thin/jangly strat pickup.
Weight - 3.2kg. The basswood body shines here.
Switch and pots - you know they are cheap and do not expect anything else. They are mini pots, but they do the work and they stayed on for the time being. The pots follow the traditional strat wiring, mid tone is for neck, bottom tone is for the mid pickup. I had that changed to include the bridge pickup, where tone changes would actually be useful. There is audible tone change, but you need to be very slow in movements; when on 5 it is like it is on 0.
Tremolo system - you will probably need to overtighten the bar to have it stay somewhere useful. The system itself is quite reactive.
Biggest nuisance - all three tremolo springs in the back were completely rusty. This is something needed for the bridge assembly to work and cannot be explained with the price point. Luckily, I had a cheap set at home, and I'll tell you, it does a better job. The inspection card says this guitar was inspected end of May 2022, so rusty springs in 6 months? Makes me wonder about the spring material or storage.
Edit here: Biggest positive surprise - the body cavity is shielded. You can see the grounding wire soldered to the spring claw in the back. It is very quiet. Edit: it is not shielded, so no rings or bells there. The wire goes from the claw to the volume pot, and I'm not sure what kind of grounding that does, but it is still quiet.

Final thoughts: I added stock Player Strat pickups and the thing is quite usable, especially in the in-between positions. The pickups here are slightly darker than I remember them, possibly the wood/electronics combination. A nice modding thing where I can experiment with lower or open tunings, maybe make it a slide guitar, considering how flat the fretboard radius is (edit: I did try with success the Grover extension nut, item 370224). There really are a lot of options in play. And I look forward to all of them.


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