Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce Review & Prices

Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce Review
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  • From Harley Benton's 2018 Custom Line series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 23.465"'' scale
  • 15" Fretboard Radius
  • Spruce top
  • Mahogany back
  • Mahogany sides
  • Nato neck
  • Blackwood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: (/)
  • Blackwood bridge
  • Acoustic V Shape Set neck
  • 20 Medium frets
  • Machine headsBlack deluxe diecast tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 82
Sound 76
Build quality 59
Value for money 92
Overall Score 72
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce
  • Expensive Wood
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Electronics
  • Low-Quality Material Saddle
  • Laminated Top Wood
  • Laminated Side Wood
  • Laminated Back Wood
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $440, which means that the Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce is around 78% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce meets 5 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. 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 to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Soft Strings
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce's construction is balanced for most hand sizes.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce's 23.465" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce Scale Length Comparison
Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is a short scale guitar, which is great for new players. It will allow you to press down the strings without hurting your fingers so much, and makes it easier to reach difficult chords. However, this also means that you won't be able to lower the action too much.

Also, short scales give less space for the harmonics to breath, so this ends up making the tone of the guitar sound more 'bassy' than a loger scale where there's more separation between harmonics, which gives the tone more chime.

Neck Profile

Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce Neck Profile
Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a V type neck. This is a vintage type of neck that is not so common nowadays. Some people like it because they can rest their hand easily while letting their thumb hang over the edge of the fretboard. It's thicker than most modern necks, so it's great for playing chords but not so much for shredding.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce has a 15" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce's fretboard radius compared to others

This makes it more similar to Gibson guitars (12'') than Fender (9.5''). It's slightly flatter than most modern Gibson fretboards though, which makes it more comfortable for single notes, bendings and vibratos, but less comfortable for chords.. If you like the playability of a Gibson, which can be described as ''balanced for chords and solos'', and don't care about having slightly less curve for more comfortable solos, you'll like this radius.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

23.465'' Scale Length
V Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15'' Fretboard Radius
23.465'' Scale Length
V Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15'' Fretboard Radius
23.465'' Scale Length
V Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15'' Fretboard Radius
23.465'' Scale Length
V Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15.748'' Fretboard Radius
23.465'' Scale Length
V Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce Nut Width
Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce Nut Width

The Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce Fret Size Comparison
Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 90
Chord Playability 85
Solo Playability 70
Playability 82

Tone Analysis

The type of wood and even the shape of the body will have a lot of influence in the final tone of an acoustic guitar. Here's we'll talk about what kind of tone you can expect from its specs.

Wood

Spruce wood pattern used for guitar building
Spruce Top
Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Back, Sides
Nato wood pattern used for guitar building
Nato Neck
Blackwood wood pattern used for guitar building
Blackwood Fretboard

Spruce Top: This wood has a light color with tight grain patterns. It's very stiff but relatively light. It's known for producing a well-rounded tone with a broad dynamic range.

Mahogany Back and Sides: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Nato Neck: This wood is also known as Eastern Mahogany because it's very similar to Mahogany, although it is cheaper.

Blackwood Fretboard: It's even harder and denser than Ebony, and it looks similar to Mahogany but with a darker color. As a tonewood, it's also similar to Mahogany but still distinct with a lot of clarity and crisp sound.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This acoustic guitar doesn't come with preamp pickups, so you won't be able to connect it directly to an amplifier. Instead, you'll need to use an external microphone.

Sound Score

Sustain 60
Versatility 80
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 76

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Still, remember that we're taking about Harley Benton here, which is a brand with good renown. They know how to use cheap labor in this country without sacrificing too much quality. So you shouldn't end up receiving a useless or ugly instrument.

Bridge

Blackwood: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce has a Plastic nut. 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.

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 65
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 59

All Specs

Harley Benton GS-Travel Spruce
General
Brand: Harley Benton
Year: 2018
Configuration:
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Custom Line
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Spruce
Bridge: Blackwood
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Machine headsBlack deluxe diecast
Fretboard: Blackwood
Neck Material: Nato
Decoration: Dot
Scale Size: 23.465"
Shape: Acoustic V Shape
Frets: 20 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 15"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: ( / )

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