Cort G280 Select vs Harley Benton ST-20MN

Swap
Cort G280 Select
Playability
73
Sound
68
Build
65
Value
79
Score
69
Swap
Harley Benton ST-20MN
VS
Playability
73
Sound
66
Build
53
Value
84
Score
64

Reasons to Get
Cort G280 Select vs Harley Benton ST-20MN

Country of Manufacturing
Indonesia vs China
Built with higher quality standards
Decorative Top
Flamed Maple vs None
Finished with beautiful natural wood patterns
Release Year
2021 vs 2020
From a more recent year
Compound Radius
12" to 15.75" vs 13.78"
Balanced playability for chords and single-notes
Neck Profile
Ergo-V vs Harley Benton Modern C
Great if you like to hang your thumb over the fretboard
Pickups
HSS vs SSS
High output with beautiful cleans and tone versatility
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings

Reasons to Get
Harley Benton ST-20MN vs Cort G280 Select

Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Neck Profile
Harley Benton Modern C vs Ergo-V
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Tone Knobs
2 vs 1
More tone control
Pickups
SSS vs HSS
Beautiful cleans and good tone versatility
Value Score
84 vs 79
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Cort G280 Select vs Harley Benton ST-20MN

Bridge Pickup
Cort Voiced Tone VTH-77 vs HB Single Coil
Different Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 vs HB Single Coil
Different Middle Pickup
Neck Pickup
Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 vs HB Single Coil
Different Neck Pickup
Body Wood
Alder vs Basswood
Different Body Wood
Fretboard Wood
Rosewood vs Maple
Different Fretboard Wood

Shared Features
Cort G280 Select vs Harley Benton ST-20MN

Neck Wood
Maple
Same Neck Wood
Nut Material
Plastic
Same Nut Material
Strings
6
Same tuning options
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Switch Positions
5
Same pickups versatility
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Number of Frets
22
Same maximum octave
Nut Width
1.654'' (42mm)
Same string separation at the nut
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Bridge
Tremolo
Simple vibratos without too much maintenance
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Neck Joint
Bolt-On
Allows you to detach and swap the neck
Type of Frets
Medium vs Medium Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings

Common Weaknesses

  • Neck-Through Build
  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • Weight Relief
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • High-Quality Nut
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • Top Pickup Brand
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio

Cort G280 Select Prices

Harley Benton ST-20MN Prices

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Cort G280 Select vs Harley Benton ST-20MN: Which One is Better?

After going through our comparison algorithm, the results show that the Cort G280 Select is probably the better product overall with its final score of 69 compared to the Harley Benton ST-20MN's 64 score, although not by a lot.

The Cort G280 Select wins when it comes to sound, build quality. On the other hand, the Harley Benton ST-20MN has the upper hand when it comes to value for the money.

If you got small hands, you'll probably feel that the Harley Benton ST-20MN is easier to play.

Which Guitar is Better for Beginners?

If you're looking for your first guitar to learn how to play, the Cort G280 Select is the better choice.

The Cort G280 Select meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, while the Harley Benton ST-20MN meets only 5. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players.

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing a guitar, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Cort G280 Select Overview

  • From Cort's 2021 G series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" to 15.75" Fretboard Radius
  • Flamed Maple top
  • Alder body
  • Hard Maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTH-77 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Cort CFA-III Tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • Ergo-V Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium frets
  • Cort Staggered Locking tuners

Harley Benton ST-20MN Overview

  • From Harley Benton's 2020 Standard series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 13.78" Fretboard Radius
  • Basswood body
  • Maple neck
  • Maple fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: HB Single Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: HB Single Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: HB Single Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Harley Benton Tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • Harley Benton Modern C Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Closed Machine Heads tuners

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the guitar. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Cort G280 Select compares to the Harley Benton ST-20MN.

Country of Origin Comparison

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Cort G280 Select was built in Indonesia while the Harley Benton ST-20MN was made in China.

Indonesia is becoming the most popular country for guitar building because they can make good instruments for a low price. Some people think that they're 'the new China' when it comes to build quality. But the truth is that Indonesian guitars are more consistent, although Chinese quality has improved a lot in the last few years.

China has a bad reputation when it comes to building quality. However, times have changed and now respectable brands use China's cheap labor to build good instruments for a lower price. Don't discount a guitar only because it was built in China, but also expect more quality from countries like Korea.

Winner: Cort G280 Select

Woods Used in Both Guitars

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple

Maple is one of the most popular necks for good reasons. It is a strong wood that is relatively cheap to make and looks beautiful. The highest quality maple is the hardest that comes from North America.

Woods Used in the Cort G280 Select

Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood
Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder

Rosewood is an almost purple-looking wood that is used mainly for fretboards since it's heavy, rare, and expensive. It's sometimes used on acoustic guitar bodies to create stronger warm tones.

Alder is the most popular wood that Fender uses in most of their guitars nowadays. Even though they say it's because of its balanced tone with an emphasis in the upper midrange, it probably is because it isn't too expensive, and it's also pretty lightweight—more than Mahogany.

Woods Used in the Harley Benton ST-20MN

Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood

Basswood is a lightweight type of wood that isn't as expensive as other popular choices for guitar building. It gives more power to the mid-range frequencies. Its color can vary from pale white to light brown.

Winner: Cort G280 Select.

Nut Material

If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same guitar model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

In this case, both guitars have Plastic nuts. This is a low-quality nut that you might want to consider upgrading soon. Bone and TUSQ nuts are the best for guitars with a fixed or simple tremolo bridge.

Fret Material

Most guitar fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most guitars end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive guitars come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, none of these guitars come with stainless steel frets.

Winner: Tie.

Bridge

The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

Both guitars come with a similar bridge: Tremolo. Tremolo bridges give you more versatility than fixed bridges. They let you perform the intense vibrato effects that would be impossible with a fixed bridge. However, since the bridge floats and there's less contact with the body, the strings lose sustain slightly faster. They can also be a bit harder to restring and set up correctly than fixed bridges.

Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

Winner: Tie.

Tuners

The Cort G280 Select has the best tuners of the two because they are locking tuners. They'll help to keep your guitar in tune because they allow you to tune the guitar without wrapping the strings around the posts. This avoids variations in the tuning due to the strings changing position at the post after a bend. They come at the disadvantage of being slightly heavier than regular tuners. Also, it makes it a lot easier to restring.

Winner: Cort G280 Select.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to an electric guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

Both guitars have a Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

Winner: Tie.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Cort G280 Select
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Tremolo
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • High-Quality-Standards Country
  • High-Quality Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • Weight Relief
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Strap Lock
  • Luminescent Inlay
Strengths & Weaknesses
Harley Benton ST-20MN
  • Tremolo
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • High-Quality-Standards Country
  • Expensive Woods
  • High-Quality Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • Weight Relief
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Strap Lock
  • Luminescent Inlay

Final Build Quality Scores

Cort G280 Select
Quality of materials 56
Features 75
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 65
Harley Benton ST-20MN
Quality of materials 50
Features 55
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 53

Sound Quality Comparison

Determining which guitar sounds better objectively is a difficult task since not everybody will love the same pickups. However, we still can take a look at the instrument specifications to determine how versatile, how much sustain, and the tuning stability it might have. Let's see now how both these guitars compare to each other when it comes to sound quality.

Pickup Configuration

The Cort G280 Select has an HSS configuration while the Harley Benton ST-20MN has SSS pickups.

HSS provides a great balance if you like to play with a lot of distortion, but also love to use clean tones. You'll get a lot of output at the bridge position, but you'll be able to play bright clean tones at the other positions.

On the other hand, SSS is perfect for players who like to play clean. The definition you get between notes and the crispiness is unmatched by most other configurations. You can still use it for distortion, but you won't get the same kind of output and power compared to a humbucker, and the hum they produce also makes them less adequate for high gain.

Pickups Quality

The Harley Benton ST-20MN pickups from a more specialized brand than the Cort G280 Select. Its pickups should give you a fuller, richer sound, although it all depends on what type of music you're going to play. We recommend these pickups for Funk and similar genres.

Both guitars use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

Winner: Harley Benton ST-20MN.

Versatility Comparison

Some guitars offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both guitars compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

Both guitars are equal when it comes to the pickup switching option.

None of them come with some kind of coil split or pickup mod option. This makes both lacking in terms of versatility.

Here's the diagram comparing all the pickup combinations you can get with both guitars:

Cort G280 Select pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Cort G280 Select's switch options
Harley Benton ST-20MN pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Harley Benton ST-20MN's switch options

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: Harley Benton ST-20MN.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Cort G280 Select
Pickups 60
Sustain 70
Versatility 71
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 68
Harley Benton ST-20MN
Pickups 70
Sustain 60
Versatility 73
Tuning Stability 60
Sound 66

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare the playability of both guitars. Bear in mind that the guitar will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test a guitar before buying it. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the guitar for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar is to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when we're comparing guitars. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width Comparison

Cort G280 Select Nut Width
Both Guitars Have The Same Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, both guitars have a nut width of 42mm (1.654'').

Compared to the average 43mm nut width, these guitars will feel better in the hands of people with small hands. You'll feel that it's easier to play bar chords, although you might be more likely to mute strings accidentally when playing open chords.

Scale Length Comparison

Cort G280 Select and Harley Benton ST-20MN's Scale Length
Both guitars have the same scale length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

In this case, both guitars have a scale length of 25.5".

This is the scale used in most Stratocasters. It's slightly longer than the typical 24.75'' size found in Les Pauls, and it's one of the main reasons why Stratocasters have such a bright sound in general. A longer scale also means that the strings will have higher tension. This will help you get lower action without suffering fret buzz, which will also be helpful when playing in lower tunings without having to increase your string gauge.

However, this also means that there will be more separation between frets, which can make it more difficult to play. Also, bending the strings will require more strengths due to the increased tension, but remember that a tremolo guitar will offset this difficulty.

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile Comparison

Cort G280 Select Neck Profile
Cort G280 Select's neck profile
Harley Benton ST-20MN Neck Profile
Harley Benton ST-20MN's neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

In this case, both guitars have different neck shapes:

The Cort G280 Select has a V type of neck. This neck shape was more common during Fender's early years. Some people like it because they use their thumb over the edge of the fretboard to press the lower strings. It's rather thicker than most modern necks, so it's not usually used for playing fast solos.

The Harley Benton ST-20MN, on the other hand, has a C neck. This is what you'll find in most modern guitars. Most people feel like the thickness of a C neck is simply the less intrusive one for playing fast, while at the same time allowing you to grab the neck easily for resting if you want to.

Fretboard Radius Comparison

Cort G280 Select Fretboard Compound Radius
Cort G280 Select's Compound Fretboard Radius
Harley Benton ST-20MN Fingerboard Radius
Harley Benton ST-20MN's Fingerboard radius

Most electric guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

In this case, the Cort G280 Select is the only one with a compound radius. This is a huge win because it will give you the best of both worlds: a more curved radius in the first few frets for chords, and flatter as you come closer to the body for soloing.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

And after taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that the Cort G280 Select favors large hands more than the Harley Benton ST-20MN.

Cort G280 Select:
Big Hands
Balance
Small hands
Harley Benton ST-20MN:
Big Hands
Balance
Small hands

Fret Size Comparison

Cort G280 Select Frets Size
Cort G280 Select's Frets Size
Harley Benton ST-20MN Frets Size
Harley Benton ST-20MN's Frets Size

The Harley Benton ST-20MN has Medium Jumbo frets, which should be taller than the Cort G280 Select's Medium frets.

Some people prefer taller frets because they result in more sustain since the strings get pressed cleanly without interference from the fretboard. However, if they're too tall—like Jumbo frets—, you might change the pitch of the strings accidentally if you press too hard because you won't be touching the fretboard with your fingers. This is also why some guitarists with a heavy grip prefer smaller frets. They like to feel the fingerboard to avoid pressing down too hard and getting out of pitch.

Final Playability Scores

Cort G280 Select
Bending & Vibrato Ease 60
Chord Playability 100
Solo Playability 60
Playability 73
Harley Benton ST-20MN
Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 70
Playability 73

Cort G280 Select vs Harley Benton ST-20MN Specs Comparison

General Cort G280 Select Harley Benton ST-20MN
Brand: Cort Harley Benton
Year: 2021 2020
Configuration: HSS SSS
Strings: 6 6
Made in: Indonesia China
Series: G Standard
Colors: Black, Yellow Red
Left-Handed Version: No Yes
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Alder Basswood
Bridge: Cort CFA-III Tremolo Harley Benton Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Bolt-On
Tuners: Cort Staggered Locking Closed Machine Heads
Fretboard: Rosewood Maple
Neck Material: Hard Maple Maple
Decoration: White Dots Dot Fretboard Inlays
Scale Size: 25.5" 25.5"
Shape: Ergo-V Harley Benton Modern C
Frets: 22 Medium 22 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12" to 15.75" 13.78"
Nut: Plastic Plastic
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'') 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Switch: 5 Way 5 Way
Knobs: Dome Bell
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 1 2
Bridge Pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTH-77 (Humbucker / Passive) HB Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil / Passive) HB Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil / Passive) HB Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)