Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone Overview and Best Prices

Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone Review
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  • From Harley Benton's 2022 Vintage series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 27"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Artec AHC-90 Soapbar (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Artec AHC-90 Soapbar (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Speed knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Wilkinson VS-50 II Precision Tremolo bridge
  • Harley Benton C Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium Stainless Steel frets
  • Kluson-style Wilkinson locking tuners
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 70
Sound 77
Build quality 74
Value for money 84
Overall Score 74
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Coil Tap Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $750, which means that the Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone is around 52% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Tremolo bridge that are made in Indonesia.

User 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

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Tuning stability

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Neck speed (thickness)

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Fret edges

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Pickups noise

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Pickups power

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User Reviews

1 user reviews:
Damir Humić profile picture
Damir Humić
18/03/24 14:09:47

The main problem with the guitar is the fact that it doesn really stay in tune too good. Also, the nut was cut really shallow on my guitar.

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Videos

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Playability

The Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone meets 6 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 MR-Modern Baritone
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone'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 MR-Modern Baritone's 27" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone Scale Length Comparison
Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is a scale used for baritones and guitars with more than 6 strings. Since the scale is so long, the tension of the strings will be high. This means that bending will require a lot more strength than with a shorter scale. However, it also allows you to use really low tunings without causing fret buzz and without needing to increase your string gauge too much.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone Neck Profile
Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone'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.

The Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone's neck thickness is approximately 0.898'' (22.8mm) at the first fret, and 0.931'' (23.6mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Harley Benton website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

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 MR-Modern Baritone has a 12" fingerboard radius.

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

Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

27'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.417'' Nut Width
20'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.417'' Nut Width
20'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.417'' Nut Width
20'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.417'' Nut Width
20'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone Nut Width
Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone Nut Width

The Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone has a nut width of 42mm (1.654''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

The Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

Finally, these are stainless steel frets. They're the best fretwire available. This means you won't need to change your frets since they should last as long as your guitar. Some people also feel easier bendings after swapping to stainless steel.

More with stainless steel frets:

Fret Size

Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone Fret Size Comparison
Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone'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 MR-Modern Baritone'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.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 70

Tone

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Alder Body: This is a lightweight type of wood that was popularized by Fender. According to them, it's a wood that offers a balanced tone but that favors the upper midrange slightly.

Maple Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Ebony Fretboard: This is one of the most expensive woods there is, which is why it's mostly used for fretboards. It is dense, heavy, highly resistant and comes in a really dark color that gives any guitar a classy touch. Tone wise, it helps the high side of the spectrum and provides good sustain.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Artec. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More with the same pickups

22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Artec AHC-90 Soapbar Bridge Pickup
Artec AHC-90 Soapbar Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Artec AHC-90 Soapbar Bridge Pickup
Artec AHC-90 Soapbar Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

It has a Coil Tap option. This will allow you to get a single-coil sound out of your humbucker once you activate the power tap. The way it works is that it cuts part of the power coming from one of the coils, which ends up giving you a more real single-coil sound.

Diagram

Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 100
Sustain 60
Versatility 74
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 77

Build Quality

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 MR-Modern Baritone is made in Indonesia. Many people prefer the quality of an Indonesian guitar over a Chinese. Respectable brands like Epiphone, Ibanez and Schecter are building in this country because of the great quality and lower price. Some people like to compare them to the ones built in Japan during the 80s, when Japanese guitar makers made a name for themselves.

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

Wilkinson VS-50 II Precision Tremolo: This type of bridge allows you to change the pitch of the notes by pulling the bridge with the attached bar, which gives you better versatility. Also, since the bridge is not fixed to the guitar body, the bridge will move as you bend the strings. So you'll have to increase the distance of your bends to reach the same tension (note) compared to a fixed bridge. This allows you to perform smoother bends but will also make you slower. Finally, remember that this type of bridge requires a bit more maintenance than fixed ones, especially when changing strings.

More with the same type of bridge:

Tuners

The Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone comes with locking tuners, which helps with tuning stability and makes changing strings a lot faster and easier. As long as they're high quality, these are the best tuning machines you can have. The only disadvantage is that they are a bit heavier than normal tuners.

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 MR-Modern Baritone has a Ivory Tusq nut. This material is made to look, feel and sound like Ivory. It's made of organic polymers and doesn't contain oil or animal products. This is probably the highest quality nut you can get, so you can expect good tune stability and more clear tones when playing open strings. Most people seem to agree that it looks nicer than any plastic and even some bone nuts.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 86
Features 70
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 74

All Specs

Harley Benton MR-Modern Baritone
General
Brand: Harley Benton
Year: 2022
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Vintage
Colors: Sunburst
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Alder
Bridge: Wilkinson VS-50 II Precision Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Kluson-style Wilkinson locking
Fretboard: Ebony
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Dot
Scale Size: 27"
Shape: Harley Benton C
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.898'' (22.8mm) - 12th Fret: 0.931'' (23.6mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Stainless Steel
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Ivory Tusq
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Speed
Pickup Mods: Coil Tap
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Artec AHC-90 Soapbar (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Artec AHC-90 Soapbar (Single Coil / Passive)