Harley Benton SC-500 Overview and Best Prices

Harley Benton SC-500 Review
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  • 2 Prices - New from €169 >
  • From Harley Benton's 2019 Vintage series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 13.78" Fretboard Radius
  • Basswood body
  • Maple neck
  • Blackwood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: HB Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: HB Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Speed knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Harley Benton C Set neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Dlx Machine Heads tuners
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 73
Sound 62
Build quality 50
Value for money 77
Overall Score 62
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Harley Benton SC-500
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • 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

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $400, which means that the Harley Benton SC-500 is around 55% 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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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:
gimin profile picture
gimin
01/12/23 10:50:33

Very good sounding, pickups do the job. Setup from store was OK. Some trussrod adjustment needed, easily done at home. Dry frets needed some oiling.

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Videos

Harley Benton - SC-500 WH - Vintage Series - Presentation -
Are Harley Benton Guitars REALLY Worth It? | Harley Benton SC-500 WH Vintage Series
Harley Benton SC-500 WH Vintage - Review
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Harley Benton SC-500 WH unboxing and review
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Playability

The Harley Benton SC-500 meets 4 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not bad for beginners, but it could be better. 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 SC-500
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • 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 SC-500'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 SC-500's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Harley Benton SC-500 Scale Length Comparison
Harley Benton SC-500's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Harley Benton SC-500 Neck Profile
Harley Benton SC-500'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 SC-500'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 SC-500 has a 13.78" fingerboard radius.

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

Harley Benton SC-500 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Harley Benton SC-500'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.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Harley Benton SC-500 has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
Asymmetrical Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
Asymmetrical Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Harley Benton SC-500 Nut Width
Harley Benton SC-500 Nut Width

The Harley Benton SC-500 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

The Harley Benton SC-500 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.

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 SC-500 Fret Size Comparison
Harley Benton SC-500'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 SC-500's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 70
Playability 73

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

Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Blackwood wood pattern used for guitar building
Blackwood Fretboard

Basswood Body: This is a soft type of wood that is very light and easy to work with. It's cheaper than many other kinds of wood used for guitar building, but it doesn't mean it's low quality. In terms of sound, it accentuates the mid-range, which matches the frequencies that a Humbucker produces.

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.

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

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

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

The Harley Benton SC-500'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
Fixed Bridge
HB Humbucker Bridge Pickup
HB Humbucker Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
HB Humbucker Bridge Pickup
HB Humbucker Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
HB Humbucker Bridge Pickup
HB Humbucker Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
HB Humbucker Bridge Pickup
HB Humbucker Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
HB Humbucker Bridge Pickup
HB Humbucker 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.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Harley Benton SC-500 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Harley Benton SC-500'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 60
Sustain 70
Versatility 53
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 62

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 SC-500 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

Tune-O-Matic: 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.

More with the same type of bridge:

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 SC-500 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.

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 Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 46
Features 50
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 50

All Specs

Harley Benton SC-500
General
Brand: Harley Benton
Year: 2019
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Vintage
Colors: White, Black
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Basswood
Bridge: Tune-O-Matic
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Dlx Machine Heads
Fretboard: Blackwood
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Block
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: Harley Benton C
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.898'' (22.8mm) - 12th Fret: 0.931'' (23.6mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 13.78"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Speed
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 2
Bridge Pickup: HB Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: HB Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)