NGD: Harley Benton Fusion-HH FR MN Aqua - Pro Series

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by Lukhas, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    Id est: 90+% of the Indonesian Ibanez are now worthless. :cond:

    Specifications right there:
    https://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_fusion_hh_fr_mn_aqua.htm
    As an addition, the fretboard is satin finished on the back and finished with something that looks like polyester on the fretboard. The supposedly "three-way toggle switch" is a blade switch.

    Pros:
    - Overall great construction and nice look.
    - Barely no finishing issues bar some slight bleed inside the horns and very, very slight micro-scratching at the back that can be rid off with appropriate cleaning cloths and products. At least it proves someone picked it up before sending it...
    - Excellent fret job. Not PLEK level of course but very nice, no rough edges, no dead spots, no excessive buzzing, well crowned with well trimmed fret ends.
    - Stainless steel frets that won't melt on sight if you happen look at them wrongly. *cough* Fender *cough*
    - Electronics and hardware feel trustworthy. The pots are a bit stiff but smooth and consistent, the Floyd reliable, the switches are not flimsy.
    - Recessed spoke-wheel truss rod adjustment. Nuff' said.
    - Decent pickups for rock: decently warm, decent dynamics, nice brightness.
    - The pickup cavity looks clean to me.

    Cons:
    - Biggest con is that the 6th tuner is not straight. Is it noticeable when you use it? Yes. Will I let that fly? Yes, considering both the price point and the fact that it has a Floyd and that I won't be using the tuners all that much, but it is a bummer and I don't think it should be happening regardless of the price. :noway:
    - The neck and the neck pocket aren't flush, and there's a sharp edge on the treble side of the neck pocket that could've been sanded.
    - Plays better with a shim; at least it had no shim to begin with when I added one.
    - One of the Floyd Rose adjustment screw doesn't seem to have been mounted perfectly straight. Is it noticeable when you use it? Not at all.
    - While the pickup cavity cover is recessed, the Floyd Rose cover isn't. I wish both were; it makes accessing the pickup cavity a bit harder than it should be.

    I honestly think I haven't played a guitar that was better at that price, or anything significantly better at twice the price. Beyond that price point, guitars would be at least equivalent with none of the nitpicks I had and higher end pickups; which tells you how impressive Harley Benton/Thomann's offering is. It may not have high-end pickups compared to guitars twice the price, but it does have stainless steel frets and that's worth a lot more to me.

    As the pickups are not powerful or tight enough in the low end for metal, I'll most likely will be swapping them out. I have a pair of DiMarzio Tone Zone and Liquifire laying around. If I can re-wire the switch from coil-split to parallel-series, I'd enjoy it more: I really don't like the sound of splitted humbuckers.

    On another forum, someone bought the HSH version with a Wilkinson trem. The thread is right there:
    http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/135928/almost-ngd-harley-benton-fusion-pro-series-hsh

    If you have any questions feel free to ask. Pardon the picture quality, my phone isn't too great.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
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  2. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    The tuner is a bummer, other than that sounds like a good mod platform.
     
  3. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Very cool. Thanks for the review.
     
  4. possumkiller

    possumkiller Goose stepping in front of a mirror

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    Now that's a beat we can all dance to.
     
  5. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    Here's a pick of the trem cavity. The screw doesn't seem that bad on the picture, and it isn't that bad. Or maybe I need an appointment with an ophthalmologist real soon. :lol:
     

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  6. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    The tuner can be fixed pretty easily but probably the hole will be visible (had to be filled with something because the other hole for the proper position will be very close so toothpick if you go cheap) but it would bother me neither but you are right: that shouldn't happen independently of the price point.

    The top (veneer) looks quite nice but not as good as it was supposed to be (Cory Mura said they were stunning... well) but the finish is pretty nice: I really love the color. The bookmatching could be better for what I can see (small space between the two parts as I can see a straight line from the floyd to the end of the body) but hey! for the price it is still amazing to have a real maple top on a mahogany body and a veneer that doesn't look bad.

    The problem for me, about these guitars, is that I don't like SS frets... so... well... even if I like them a lot...

    What can you say about the neck profile? Fender stile or not so rounded on the fingerboard edges? In the pick of the frets the fingerboard edges doesn't seem to be rounded off like a Charvel or not even like a Fender: I'm asking just because nowadays I just can't feel comfortable playing without the rounded edges... it's something essential for me.

    Thanks and enjoy it!!

    What pickups are you planning to instal?
     
  7. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    I ain't going to touch it honestly: all of the tuners aren't perfectly straight, but "only" the 6th one is noticeably so. Which means that the small screw holes that hold the tuners in place at the back weren't drilled by a CNC like it's the case on most other instruments.
    Well it looks great.. for the price. :lol: It's not a 15A² (that's right, 15 A squared) top, but considering the grade of it, the finishing choice is appropriate and works very well at making the guitar look more expensive than it is. If you had a prettier veneer, you wouldn't use a jean-like finish at all. That said, I don't think it's a maple top, just a veneer: the natural wood binding looks like mahogany by the colour.
    I love SS frets. I'd take the very rumoured extra brightness if that means perfectly slick frets that don't scrub when you bend or do a vibrato and which durability will last for very long unless you're gigging as often as Albert Lee. That was what I was the most worried about: the fretjob. SS frets means that the instrument needs a perfect fretjob from the factory because otherwise your local luthier will hate you when you bring the instrument in for a levelling job; which would ruin the price point those guitars are at.

    If some extra brightness and slick feel mean that I will not need to get the fret levelled, not need to change them in a decade, not need to scrub them every two string changes, I'll take that any day of the week.
    The edges feel rounded off to me. It's not noticeable in the pictures because as I wrote, the finish is different on the fretboad and the back of the neck. The fretboard as a poly finish and the back of the neck has a satin finish. The finish doesn't leak over the edge at any point. I think it's a bit bigger than a Fender neck but not as big as a Gibson 60's neck (which, for Gibson't standards are pretty thin) or than a Ibanez Andy Timmons neck. It's definitively thicker than a Schecter or Ibanez Wizard neck. Reminds me I haven't played on a Strat in a long while: I honestly can't accurately remember how the necks are. :lol:
    Now I just need a tutorial on how to re-wire that coil-splitting switch to a parallel/series switch. Sent an e-mail to DiMarzio, we'll see what they have to say about it.
     
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  8. Nlelith

    Nlelith Motion Designer

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    This thing nails down the specs I like to see in a guitar way too good. I don't need one, but I want it so bad. HNGD.
     
  9. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    Oh yes, you are right, is one of those "scratch bindings"... just the paint off the wood so it looks like a top but it isn't.

    What you say about the neck is quite interesting... The only guitar I am loving now (and can afford) is my EVH Wolfgang Standard because of the neck profile so if this one is not too thin and is rounded I might like it... I just wish they will release a cheaper one without the SS frets as I don't mind polishing my frets every string change so they are smooth and bright but HATE that "brightness" of the SS frets... I just had to sell an AMAZING Carvin I had because I couldn't stand with the frets...
     
  10. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    The cool thing is that it's pretty much playable as is without modifications if you play the kind of stuff that these pickups can handle. I think that aside from the pickups and wiring, I'll add a Tremol-No for flexibility.
     
  11. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    Well that sucks. Guess I have to deal with it.
     
  12. eloann

    eloann SS.org Regular

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    Or get a 4PDT switch - wouldn't be an option with a push-pull but with a mini-toggle it is
     
  13. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    It's not a push-pull but a mini-toggle. But please elaborate, it may prove useful: I think I melted the plastic casing of my switch with one of the worst soldering irons I've ever bought. Despite being brand new, it barely had any heat, and now when I try to plug it in, the whole electricity shuts down in my house. Yup, 30W worth of current is making my whole house kick the bucket.:flame:Tried in my veranda as well that has a separate electrical installation and the electricity died just the same.
     
  14. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    Well that sucks, episode 2.
     
  15. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    I think @eloann is talking about one like this:

    [​IMG]

    So is the "normal" mini-switch you will find for a series-parallel wiring but with double the poles so this way you can wire both humbuckers to the same switch: you will switch from series to parallel both humbuckers at the same time, of course, if you want every pickup to have individual switching you will need two of the normal ones but this works. As you can see, you only need 6 for one humbucker to do the switching:

    [​IMG]

    Yep! If you cannot get one from DiMarzio or any other brand just go to an electronics shop (that's what I do normally: cheaper) and buy one there... there should be with different shapes and options...
     
  16. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    Sounds like you'll need a new iron - 30W definitely can't kill the electricity. And how can it shut down the whole house? Don't you have separate circuits/fuses per room?
     
  17. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    Went back to the shop and they confirmed that the iron activates the circuit breaker when plugged in. Went home with a 40W iron from another brand instead. Now I need to replace the switch; the whole switch didn't die, but the bridge outer coil position that I was trying to solder did melt. Ironically with the new iron it went very well and didn't damage the switch any further.

    @eloann & @Zhysick :
    Asked the question to DiMarzio, and this is the reply I got. Too bad I don't care about splitted coils, but better have too much than too little.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    That's a 3 position mini-switch then, very cool indeed. That's a very versatile layout.
     
  19. Boojakki

    Boojakki SS.org Regular

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    ignore/remove please - wrong thread... Sorry!
     
  20. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    @eloann & @Zhysick:
    I sent my guitar to Thomann to have this cabled and received it today. It costs 15€ to send the guitar via my country's postal services, and aside from the price of the DiMarzio EP 1111 switch (a whooping 34€), Thomann charged me 35€ to install the switch and rewire the guitar. The switch is pretty big, about as big as a regular toggle switch and I see some sawdust on the pickups, so I assume the hole had to be widened a bit. So apparently it's cheaper to ask for a wiring job (35€) than ask for a setup (55€) at Thomann! :lol:

    However, they wired the pickup selector upside-down: the position closer to the neck engages... the bridge pickup, and vice-versa. Sent them a mail about it, we'll see what happens.
     

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