Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute Review & Prices

Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute Review
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  • From Harley Benton's 2023 Tribute series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 24.72"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Flame Maple top
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Pau Ferro fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • DLX Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Harley Benton '60s Set neck
  • 22 Medium Stainless Steel frets
  • Gotoh Kluson tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 80
Sound 71
Build quality 65
Value for money 82
Overall Score 72
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Expensive Wood
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Weight Relief
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • 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 $850, which means that the Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute is around 62% 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 Indonesia.

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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!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute 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 SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • 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-550SL Gotoh Tribute'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 SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute's 24.72" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute Scale Length Comparison
Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is considered a normal short scale length. The advantages are that it is easier to play for people with small hands, and it has a mellower sound. The disadvantages are that it is less versatile than a full-size guitar and harder to find in some styles.

Neck Profile

Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute Neck Profile
Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute'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-550SL Gotoh Tribute's neck thickness is approximately 0.787'' (20mm) at the first fret, and 0.866'' (22mm) 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 D type neck. It's similar to a C shape, and it's one of the most common shapes right now. It's a bit flatter and thinner, even though sometimes it has a bit more shoulders. It's a fast type of neck that is comfortable, and shredders love it.

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-550SL Gotoh Tribute has a 12" fingerboard radius.

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

Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute'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 SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.72'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.643'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute Nut Width
Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute Nut Width

The Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute 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 SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute 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 SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute Fret Size Comparison
Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute'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-550SL Gotoh Tribute'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 90
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 70
Playability 80

Tone Analysis

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

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body, Neck
Pau Ferro wood pattern used for guitar building
Pau Ferro Fretboard

Mahogany Body and 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.

Pau Ferro Fretboard: It's a beautiful wood used mainly for fretboards. It has a high density and looks very similar to Rosewood with its straight grains and dark brown color. According to Fender, it has a warm tone with a fast attack.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Tesla. 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 SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute'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
Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 Bridge Pickup
Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 Bridge Pickup
Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 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-550SL Gotoh Tribute pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute'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 90
Sustain 70
Versatility 53
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 71

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 SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute 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

DLX 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-550SL Gotoh Tribute has a Graphite nut. This material is self-lubricating, which allows the strings to slide over the nut without too much friction. This helps to keep the guitar in tune when bending and using the tremolo. It's not as resistant and it doesn't sound as good as bone, but it is much better than a plastic nut.

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 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 75
Features 55
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 65

All Specs

Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute
General
Brand: Harley Benton
Year: 2023
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Tribute
Colors: Yellow
Left-Handed Version: Yes
Body
Top: Flame Maple
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: DLX Tune-O-Matic
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Gotoh Kluson
Fretboard: Pau Ferro
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: pearloid trapezoid Inlays
Scale Size: 24.72"
Shape: Harley Benton '60s
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.787'' (20mm) - 12th Fret: 0.866'' (22mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Stainless Steel
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Graphite
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Bell
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 2
Bridge Pickup: Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Tesla OPUS-1 AlNiCo-5 (Humbucker / Passive)

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