Harley Benton TE-20 Review & Prices

Harley Benton TE-20 Review
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  • From Harley Benton's 2017 Standard series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 13.78" Fretboard Radius
  • Basswood body
  • Maple neck
  • Purpleheart fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: HB Single Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: HB Single Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Harley Benton bridge
  • Harley Benton Modern C Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Diecast Machine Heads tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 72
Sound 62
Build quality 50
Value for money 76
Overall Score 61
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Harley Benton TE-20
  • 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 TE-20 is around 75% 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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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

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Harley Benton TE-20 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 TE-20
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • 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 TE-20'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 TE-20's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Harley Benton TE-20 Scale Length Comparison
Harley Benton TE-20'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 TE-20 Neck Profile
Harley Benton TE-20'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 TE-20's neck thickness is approximately 0.807'' (20.5mm) at the first fret, and 0.886'' (22.5mm) 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 TE-20 has a 13.78" fingerboard radius.

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

Harley Benton TE-20 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Harley Benton TE-20'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 TE-20 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
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.65'' Nut Width
9.5'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Harley Benton TE-20 Nut Width
Harley Benton TE-20 Nut Width

The Harley Benton TE-20 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 TE-20 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 TE-20 Fret Size Comparison
Harley Benton TE-20'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 TE-20'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 75
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 72

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

Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Purpleheart wood pattern used for guitar building
Purpleheart 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.

Purpleheart Fretboard: Also known as Amaranth, it's a hard, dense wood with a brilliant tone. As its name suggests, the purple color makes this wood look exotic.

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 TE-20's configuration is SS. This is the classic Telecaster configuration and it's used mainly for playing clean or with low-gain distortion. It doesn't give you as much versatility as a Strat SSS configuration, but you might like the cleaner look of a guitar body with fewer pickups.

More with the same pickups

22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
HB Single Coil Bridge Pickup
HB Single Coil Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
HB Single Coil Bridge Pickup
HB Single Coil Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
HB Humbucker Bridge Pickup
HB Single Coil Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
HB Single Coil Bridge Pickup
HB Single Coil Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
HB Single Coil Bridge Pickup
HB Single Coil 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 TE-20 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Harley Benton TE-20's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with SS configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Country 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 70
Sustain 60
Versatility 54
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 62

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 TE-20 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

Harley Benton: 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 TE-20 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 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 46
Features 50
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 50

All Specs

Harley Benton TE-20
General
Brand: Harley Benton
Year: 2017
Configuration: SS
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Standard
Colors: Sunburst, Black
Left-Handed Version: Yes
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Basswood
Bridge: Harley Benton
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Diecast Machine Heads
Fretboard: Purpleheart
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Dot Inlays
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Harley Benton Modern C
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.807'' (20.5mm) - 12th Fret: 0.886'' (22.5mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 13.78"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: HB Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: HB Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)

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