Harley Benton Manhattan Standard
Harley Benton Manhattan Standard

Manhattan Standard, Hollow Body/Semi Hollow Body Electric Guitar from Harley Benton.

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zolossi 09/23/2017

Harley Benton Manhattan Standard : zolossi's user review

"For Jazz – but not only"

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Value For Money : Excellent Audience: Advanced Users
Thomann had it made in China under the brand name Harley Benton, but this model has no longer been produced since September 2015 as far as I know. I bought the last model, a b-stock guitar, and I don’t believe that many were produced.
I’ve used it with tube amps to play Jazz exclusively. I have other guitars for other genres. I have been playing for over 50 years now.

Workmanship is perfect, the (very straight) mahogany neck is lightning-fast once the truss rod and bridge (for intonation) are set correctly. Its fretboard is made of rosewood and features thin, well-polished frets. Arched top, very basic rosewood bridge that requires either replacement by a tune-o-matic or adapting the saddle to the neck’s curve. The tuners do their job in the softest manner. The body is purely hollow, without a central block. Of course, it features flatwound 12/56 strings, very close to the neck except for the outer strings due to the non-rounded nut.

The guitar was originally equipped with a floating humbucker pickup and two basic potentiometers, almost a make or break. It will require being upgraded to a Classic 57-type pickup and good pots.

This is a quality pickup provided you upgrade it for approximately 250 euros – including your repairman’s work! You can find a Youtube video of Jean-Luc LACHENAUD playing AUTUMN LEAVES on this guitar equipped with a Classic 57: what a sound! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd7wCKSvzEA

If you manage to fin dit used for 120 to 150 euros, go for it provided you can afford a total upgrade. For a total 400 euros (much less provided you can service it yourself and gat a cheaper, used pickup), you couldn’t dream better. Or perhaps after spending twice as much?

Mine is still as i twas when shipped, except for the usual settings. I take my time to upgrade it, as I have other works in progress.

EDIT1: I've changed the pickup for a Wilkinson humbucker that I found on a Harley Benton Les Paul-type guitar – of course, the body had to be drilled. They come together fine, but the next step would be upgrading to a Gibson Classic 57. I’ve also changed the bridge for a Goldo Tune O’Matic, with a result close to what you can hear on Jean-Luc LACHENAUD’s video. I did it all myself for under the 300€ mark.

The good news is, Thomann now offers this model again.

EDIT2 : I got a used Classic 57 from AudioFanzine’s classified ads section and put it on the guitar straight away. I now have the exact sound I was after!