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Discussion in 'Guitar Reviews' started by ajsfreily, May 1, 2020.
Review here, Harley Benton te 20 telecaster model
This is the sort of guitar where I wonder how the business model even works.
You have to source wood. Cut it. You have to source hardware and electronics. You have to assemble the guitar. You have to package and ship the guitar. You have to unpack the guitar and keep it in storage. You have to have a sales infrastructure. You have to ship the guitar to a client. Every single one of these steps contains someone who needs to get paid for making this guitar. And it costs the equivalent of ninety dollars here in Sweden.
How does this even work?
It's worth noting that the Harley Bentons and SubZeros of the world genuinely don't run on the same business model as traditional instrument sellers. They are owned by Thomann and Gear4Music respectively; stores who want you to be a repeat customer buying all manner of other things that have a much better markup. Sure, they sell these at what must be extremely close to the cost to get them to you... But they know that people who buy cheapy guitars tend to also buy an amp, and cables, and cheap effects pedals. Small but regular bits of business with the same customer.
They do offer the kinda standard "starter kit" stuff that most of us got from Squire once upon a time - This segment is fairly price sensitive, so as long as they are cheaper and of reasonable quality people will buy them.
But they also sell what you might call "starter plus" stuff. They do different shapes and different finishes, to appeal to different types of people that aren't really well served elsewhere. Harlem (Gear4Musics other house brand) will sell you an Explorer or V(ish) shape for £130, in this kinda cool transparent black finish. They will sell you a headless one for £140. And for the truly edgy kid, they sell a Warlock shape for £170. Whether you are a teenager who just wants a cool guitar, instead of a boring strat, or someone who wants a fun project guitar... That's a damn good price. Subzero also sells baritones and 7 strings and even fanned fret 8 strings, and they too have cool finishes.
They know they are not the best guitars out there... But they are creditable ones. And they get you coming back to see what else you want to buy. And thus they make the money.
Look an Aliexpress. Specifically, at the supplier-side prices of crap like cases, cables, strings, etc.
Harley Bentons are loss leaders designed to make you shop at Thomann in the future.
Specifically, for lucrative stuff like $4 gigbags for $40ish, strings, accessories, etc., and hopefully eventually full priced brand name kit like Gibsons ESP etc. with the usual 50% dealer markup common to classic retail.