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Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Harley Benton SC-550 II
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Playability
68
Sound
72
Build
67
Value
69
Score
69
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Playability
77
Sound
71
Build
63
Value
80
Score
70
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Side to side spec comparison >

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Harley Benton SC-550 II

Reasons to Get
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster over Harley Benton SC-550 II

Country of Manufacturing
Japan vs Indonesia
Built with higher quality standards
Release Year
2023 vs 2021
From a more recent year
Neck Profile
U Shape vs Harley Benton '60s
Comfortable neck with more grip
Nut Material
Bone vs Graphite
Good quality nut with rich tone
Neck Joint
Bolt-On vs Set
Allows you to detach and swap the neck
Pickups
SS vs HH
Beautiful cleans
Nut Width
1.615'' (41mm) vs 1.654'' (42mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm) vs 24.75'' (628.7mm)
Lower action and brighter natural tone
Fretboard Radius
9.5'' (241.3mm) vs 12'' (304.8mm)
Easier to play chords without muting strings

Reasons to Get
Harley Benton SC-550 II over Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster

Decorative Top
Flame Maple vs None
Finished with beautiful natural wood patterns
Fret Material
Stainless Steel vs Nickel Silver
Best fret material that will last forever
Neck Profile
Harley Benton '60s vs U Shape
Thin and flat neck for playing fast
Volume Knobs
2 vs 1
More volume control
Tone Knobs
2 vs 1
More tone control
Pickups
HH vs SS
High output without hum
Number of Frets
22 vs 21
Allows to reach higher notes
Nut Width
1.654'' (42mm) vs 1.615'' (41mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Scale Length
24.75'' (628.7mm) vs 25.5'' (647.7mm)
Easier bending, shorter fret separation and warmer natural tone
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm) vs 9.5'' (241.3mm)
Flatter fretboard makes it easier to play single notes and bend
Value Score
80 vs 69
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Harley Benton SC-550 II

Bridge Pickup
Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele vs Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5
Different Bridge Pickup
Neck Pickup
Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele vs Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5
Different Neck Pickup
Body Wood
Basswood vs Mahogany
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Maple vs Mahogany
Different Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Maple vs Pau Ferro
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs 3-3
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Bone vs Graphite
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Harley Benton SC-550 II

Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Switch Positions
3
Same pickups versatility
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Bridge
Fixed
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings

Common Strengths

  • High-Quality Frets
  • Top Pickup Brand

Common Weaknesses

  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • Weight Relief
  • Locking Tuners
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Price History Comparison

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Prices

SET PRICE ALERT

Harley Benton SC-550 II Prices

SET PRICE ALERT

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Which One is Better for Beginners?

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, while the Harley Benton SC-550 II 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.

New Player Friendliness

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

New Player Friendliness

Harley Benton SC-550 II
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing an instrument, 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.

Sound Quality Comparison

The wood used in an electric guitar or bass is not as important to determine the final tone. However, some people prefer specific wood types, so we'll take a look at those first. Then, we'll take a look at the electronics to determine the versatility and sound quality of each instrument.

Woods Used in the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple
Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood

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. Find out more about Maple.

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. Find out more about Basswood.

Woods Used in the Harley Benton SC-550 II

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany
Pau Ferro wood pattern used for guitar building
Pau Ferro

Mahogany is a fairly rare wood nowadays. It's used mostly for bodies due to its relatively lightweight. Gibson popularized it with their Les Paul guitars during their golden years, so this wood has a lot of good reputation behind it. The most expensive type comes from South America and it's still used by Gibson even today. Find out more about Mahogany.

Pau Ferro has a dark, chocolate-like color with straight dark grains that is being used as a replacement to Rosewood due to the regulations. It produces a warm tone that is somewhere between Mahogany and Rosewood. Find out more about Pau Ferro.

Winner: Harley Benton SC-550 II.

Pickup Configuration

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has an SS configuration while the Harley Benton SC-550 II has HH pickups.

SS is the classic Telecaster configuration. It's used mainly for playing clean or with low-gain distortion, and it's very popular for the country genre because of their brightness. It doesn't give you as much versatility as a Strat SSS configuration, but you might like the cleaner look of a guitar body with fewer pickups.

On the other hand, Double Humbucker (HH) is the choice for people who want a fuller, more round sound with tons of mids and lows. Humbuckers also get rid of the hum noise that plague single-coil pickups. They can work out for almost any genre going from Djent to even Jazz.

Pickups Quality

Both come with very good pickups from at least one of the specialized brands in the market. With pickups like these, you probably won't need an upgrade anytime soon.

However, the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has a slight sound quality advantage when taking into account other factors like the type of pickups, magnet, position, etc.

You can purchase similar pickups to the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's and use them on any guitar:

Both 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: Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster.

Versatility Comparison

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

Switch Options

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

Neither of them come with some kind of coil split or pickup mod option. This makes both lacking in terms of versatility.

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's switch options
Harley Benton SC-550 II pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Harley Benton SC-550 II'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: Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 54
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 72
Harley Benton SC-550 II
Pickups 90
Sustain 70
Versatility 53
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 71

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the instrument. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster compares to the Harley Benton SC-550 II.

Country of Origin

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster is built in Japan while the Harley Benton SC-550 II is made in Indonesia.

Japan has a long history of high-quality guitar building. Little has changed in terms of their manufacturing and quality control over the years. Many guitars made in this country can be compared—and even beat—others made in the US.

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.

Winner: Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster

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 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.

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has a Bone nut. It's a type of nut found in high-quality instruments. They sound similar to Ivory since they give a lot of sustain and a bright sound (at least when striking open strings). The only problem they can run into is that you may get a bone piece that simply doesn't sound as well as others because that's just how natural materials are.

On the other hand, the Harley Benton SC-550 II comes with a Graphite nut. It's a self-lubricating material that will allow the strings to slide over the nut without a lot of friction. It's a good type of nut if you want to have better tuning stability than with plastic, although it's not as resistant as Bone or Tusq.

Winner: Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster.

Fret Material

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

In this comparison, the Harley Benton SC-550 II is the only one that has stainless steel frets. These frets will basically last for the entire life of the guitar. They will never need polishing nor replacement. And not only that, but some people also notice that bending and vibratos are much easier to perform when they upgrade to stainless steel.

Winner: Harley Benton SC-550 II.

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 come with a similar bridge: Fixed. It's a simple bridge that is very beginner-friendly since it doesn't require any set-up. You can swap strings easily. It might also give more sustain since it doesn't have complex moving parts that make the strings lose vibration. However, it doesn't have the same versatility as a tremolo bridge.

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

Both come with regular tuners. The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's are Fender Vintage F Stamped while the Harley Benton SC-550 II's are DLX Kluson style

Winner: Tie.

Neck Joint

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

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has 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.

On the other hand, the Harley Benton SC-550 II comes with Set neck joint. This neck is tightly glued to the body. They give you the least versatility because you can't swap them for a neck that fits your hand better if you want to, unlike bolt-on necks. Some people think this gives more resonance and sustain, but there's no real difference if the bolt-on joint is well built.

Winner: Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster.

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

Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
  • Made in Japan
  • Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock
Strengths & Weaknesses
Harley Benton SC-550 II
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Expensive Wood
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Final Build Quality Scores

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Quality of materials 66
Features 50
Quality Control 85
Build Quality 67
Harley Benton SC-550 II
Quality of materials 75
Features 50
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 63

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare their playability. Bear in mind that the instrument will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test before buying. 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 instrument for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar might be 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 it comes to feeling of the instrument in your hands. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Nut Width
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Nut Width
Harley Benton SC-550 II Nut Width
Harley Benton SC-550 II Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Harley Benton SC-550 II has the wider nut with 42mm (1.654'') vs 41mm (1.615''). This is a 1mm (0.039'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Harley Benton SC-550 II, especially closer to the nut. However, it's also easier to play without muting strings accidently. This favors people with big hands.

Scale Length

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's Scale Length
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's Scale Length
Harley Benton SC-550 II's Scale Length
Harley Benton SC-550 II's 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.

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has the longest scale: 25.5". The Harley Benton SC-550 II is only 24.75" long. This is a 0.75'' (19.1mm) scale length difference.

This longer scale means that the strings need more tension to get in tune. This is good if you want to avoid fret buzz, which can happen when the strings are too loose and touch the frets while vibrating. This is especially important when playing in lower tunings. This will also let you reduce the gap between fretboard and strings (low action) to make them easier to press down. However, this higher tension will also make it harder to perform bends and vibratos as the strings will feel stiffer.

This also means that the frets have a longer separation between each other, so this will make it harder for people with smaller hands when playing some chord positions.

Another characteristic of a longer scale is that it makes the guitar sound 'snappier' or brighter. This is due to the extra separation between harmonics and overtones produced by the tension. This influences tone more than any other factor (except the pickups).

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

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Neck Profile
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's neck profile
Harley Benton SC-550 II Neck Profile
Harley Benton SC-550 II'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 have different neck shapes:

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has a U type of neck. This is also referred to as ''baseball neck'' because of its shape. It's usually thick, which is why some people with big hands like it. However, they can also be thin, similar to a C shape, but with more shoulders for a better grip.

The Harley Benton SC-550 II, on the other hand, has a D neck. This is a thin and flat neck that is made for playing fast. If you prefer a neck that doesn't get in your way when soloing, this is the shape you should use. Guitarists that prefer to have a bit more grip won't like this type of neck.

Fretboard Radius

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Fingerboard Radius
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's Fingerboard radius
Harley Benton SC-550 II Fingerboard Radius
Harley Benton SC-550 II's Fingerboard radius

Most 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 Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's fingerboard radius is smaller, which means it's more curved than the Harley Benton SC-550 II's. This extra arc will make playing chords easier in this model. You won't be as likely to mute the strings, especially if you have big hands. However, playing single notes and bending will be easier on the Harley Benton SC-550 II.

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 Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster favors large hands more than the Harley Benton SC-550 II.

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Harley Benton SC-550 II:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster and Harley Benton SC-550 II Frets Size
Both have a similar Medium Jumbo fret size

Both have a Medium Jumbo fret size. These are slightly shorter than full Jumbo frets, so you'll still feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings. However, they interfere less with your fretting hand than medium-size frets. This is a good size if you like easy-to-press frets, but would still like to feel a bit of the fretboard when playing.

Final Playability Scores

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Bending & Vibrato Ease 65
Chord Playability 90
Solo Playability 50
Playability 68
Harley Benton SC-550 II
Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 75
Solo Playability 70
Playability 77

Specs Side-by-Side

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Harley Benton SC-550 II
General Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Harley Benton SC-550 II
Brand: Fender Harley Benton
Year: 2023 2021
Configuration: SS HH
Strings: 6 6
Made in: Japan Indonesia
Series: Made in Japan Limited International Deluxe
Colors: Orange, Red, Gray, Orange Burst
Left-Handed Version: No Yes
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Basswood Mahogany
Bridge: 3-Saddle Vintage-Style Strings-Through-Body Tele with Chrome Barrel Saddles DLX Tune-O-Matic
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Set
Tuners: Fender Vintage F Stamped DLX Kluson style
Fretboard: Maple Pau Ferro
Neck Material: Maple Mahogany
Decoration: Black Dot Pearloid Trapezoids
Scale Size: 25.5" 24.75"
Shape: U Shape Harley Benton '60s
Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 Medium Jumbo Stainless Steel
Fretboard Radius: 9.5" 12"
Nut: Bone Graphite
Nut Width: 41mm (1.615'') 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele (Single Coil / Passive) Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup:
Neck Pickup: Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele (Single Coil / Passive) Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 (Humbucker / Passive)
Switch: 3 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Dome Speed
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 1 2
Tone Controls: 1 2