Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Harley Benton S-580 WR review - Part 3: Sights, sounds and the final judgement

17.5.2014 Important update! 
I've been having some problems with the low neck angle (=high action) of this guitar and while the neck adjustments made the playability better they didn't completely solve the problem. So here's what I did: Harley Benton S-580 WR Mod - Part 1: Fixing the low neck angle

Direct link to Youtube:

“I’ve studied the early live footage. Townshend’s SG, when ‘windmilled,’ responds with an explosive power that can’t be explained merely by the force with which the strings are struck. More study is required, in that regard.” -Dr. Ricky Fromus

Okay, let's talk about tone. I've been playing my Harley Benton S-580 through my regular amp setup (Fender Super Champ XD) for about a week now and I have compared the tone to my other humbucker guitars. In the first two parts of my review (Part 1 and Part 2) I was a bit skeptical about the stock humbuckers since they sounded muddy and muffled through my portable rig (soundcard-iPad-Jamup app). So, are the stock pickups really that bad?

I'm happy to say that my first impression about the pickups was totally wrong. I thought that the pickups were lifeless and dull sounding, but it was the software. I have used a lot of different modelling amps in the past (Guitar Rig, Amplitube etc.) and made some cool tones with them (check out this song), but sadly I just couldn't get good sounds out of Jamup.

The ultimate tone secret: cheap humbuckers

The stock pickups sound very nice through my Super Champ XD and I especially like the neck pickup a lot. My Epiphone LP Traditional Pro (with Classic Pro™ humbucker on the neck and Epiphone ProBucker™-3 on the bridge) definitely has more overall clarity and definition, but the tone I'm getting out of my HB S-580 is pretty damn good.

The neck humbucker has that deep mid-range growl that is perfect for bluesy tones. The sound is thick, but there's still enough clarity and definition. The bridge pickup on the other hand is a bit lifeless and thin sounding on its own, but it combines really well with the neck pickup. So, soundwise the guitar sounds excellent. But how does it play?

The final judgement 

Comparing to my other guitars the HB S-580 is heavier and harder to play. I have tried to compensate the low neck angle (check out Part 1 for more info!) by adjusting the truss rod and the adjustments made a big improvement, but not quite enough and I feel that the action is still a bit too high. But I'm planning to use this guitar in alternate/open tunings and even play it with a slide, so the slightly higher action doesn't really matter that much. I haven't found any other reviews about the S-580 that mention the low neck angle/high action, so I probably just had bad luck with this particular guitar. Low price tag = less quality control.

Overall this guitar is well finished, sounds beautiful and the playability is decent. The HB S-580 is a nice guitar in the 100-150€ price range. Good value for money.


  1. Thank you for your review mate.I may buy this guitar.

    1. Thanks. Happy to hear that my review was useful! This guitar is pretty good and sounds nice, but sadly the string action is a bit too high.. If you have any extra cash to spend, I would recommend that you also check out other SG-style guitars from around 200e price range (Epiphone, Vintage etc.). They could be better investments in a long run.

  2. I have one ( Thomann ), the guitar is good fo the price , it's a good guitar for learning or jamming ! This review is useful and clear ... ++