Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black Review & Prices

Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black Review
Add to Compare
FIND IT ON:
Thomann logo
Set a price alert
  • From Harley Benton's 2021 Standard series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 15.748" Fretboard Radius
  • Spruce top
  • Plastic back
  • Plastic sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Roseacer fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Pickup system with 3-band EQ (Preamp/Active)
  • Roseacer bridge
  • Acoustic C Shape Set neck
  • 23 Medium frets
  • Machine heads Open gear classic tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 70
Sound 81
Build quality 60
Value for money 85
Overall Score 70
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black
  • Expensive Wood
  • Electronics
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • 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 HBO-850 Classic Black is around 74% 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.

SET PRICE ALERT

These are affiliate links. We may earn a fee if you purchase after clicking. These prices are prone to error. Make sure you're buying the right product after clicking on a link from our site. We are not liable if you buy the wrong product after following these links. As an Amazon Associate site we earn from qualifying purchases.

Videos

Is The Harley Benton HBO-850 Acoustic Guitar Worth Buying?
Harley Benton HB850 nylon - the budget Yngwie ovation
Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Natural in action
$99 Round Back Harley Benton HBO 850 Classic Blue Nylon String Guitar Reviewed - Are You Serious!
Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Natural Test
Harley Benton - HBO-850 - Roundback Acoustic -
HBO 850 Classic Review
Améliorations Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Blue
Harley Benton HBO 850 Unboxing
Jazzy tune on Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic
More Videos

Your feedback

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!

Weight

Vote

Tuning stability

Vote

Neck speed (thickness)

Vote

Neck access to high frets

Vote

Neck profile shape

Vote

Fret edges

Vote

Pickups noise

Vote

Pickups power

Vote
View all user feedback

Explore All From Harley Benton >

Is it Easy to Play?

The Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black 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 HBO-850 Classic Black
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Soft Strings
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • 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 HBO-850 Classic Black's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

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 HBO-850 Classic Black's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black Scale Length Comparison
Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black Neck Profile
Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black'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 C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

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 HBO-850 Classic Black has a 15.748" fingerboard radius.

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

Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black's fretboard radius compared to others

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
15.748'' Fretboard Radius
25.591'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
99'' Fretboard Radius
25.984'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
99'' Fretboard Radius
25.984'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
14.96'' Fretboard Radius
25.6'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
23.622'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black Nut Width
Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black Nut Width

The Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black has a nut width of 48mm (1.89''). 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.

Fret Size

Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black Fret Size Comparison
Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black'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 HBO-850 Classic Black'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 75
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 70
Playability 70

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 Neck
Roseacer wood pattern used for guitar building
Roseacer 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 Neck: 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.

Roseacer Fretboard: It's just thermally treated maple wood, or in other words, roasted maple. This process removes most water from the wood, making it more stable than regular untreated maple wood.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This guitar comes with preamp pickups that will allow you to connect it directly to an amplifier and record with it, or use it live.

Sound Score

Sustain 65
Versatility 95
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 81

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 HBO-850 Classic Black 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

Roseacer: 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 HBO-850 Classic Black 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 51
Features 75
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 60

All Specs

Harley Benton HBO-850 Classic Black
General
Brand: Harley Benton
Year: 2021
Configuration:
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Standard
Colors: Sunburst, Black, Blue, Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Spruce
Bridge: Roseacer
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Machine heads Open gear classic
Fretboard: Roseacer
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration:
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Acoustic C Shape
Frets: 23 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 15.748"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 48mm (1.89'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: Pickup system with 3-band EQ (Preamp / Active)

User Reviews

Help others by sharing your opinion about this guitar. Note: to avoid spam, your review will be submitted for approval before appearing here.

You're reviewing as anonymous. to comment with your account.
Your Rating: