Harley Benton is one of the first names that come to mind if you are looking for a budget guitar with good quality. They produce lots of different models inspired by the most popular electric guitars, and their value-for-price ratios are incomparable.
One of their greatest lines is the Harley Benton DC series, with Harley Benton DC, DC-60, and Junior guitar models on the line. The series was inspired by Les Paul Junior style guitars, and they shine with their design of combining vintage looks with modern specs and sound.
The guitar in review today is the Harley Benton DC Junior, which is a great guitar with a great value-for-price ratio, lightweight and balanced design, smooth neck with great finish for increased playability, top-quality tuners and hardware, good-sounding pickups, and vintage looks.
|Great value for the price||Not as versatile as DC Junior FAT|
|Lightweight and sits very balanced on the lap||Minor quality control issues|
|Smooth neck with a great finish|
The guitar sounds pretty good and gives the authentic Junior vibes to the fullest. But, this model is not as versatile as the DC Junior FAT due to the lack of the push-pull function. Also, quality control issues were reported in some cases. However, it is still a great-looking and sounding guitar that would get 4.5 stars out of 5 without question.
If you are not a total newcomer to the guitar world, you might have heard Harley Benton or Thomann Music. Harley Benton is a German company and part of Thomann, one of the world’s greatest and largest music retail stores. Over the years, Harley Benton made a great name for itself thanks to the high-quality and detail-oriented as well as affordable instruments it offered, especially among beginner players.
Founded in 1954, Thomann is a great music store and is one of the biggest retailers in Europe and the world. Today, they sell globally and are one of the best-selling online music stores in the world. Many people love the store thanks to its versatility and options available, as well as its amazing customer service.
But, Harley Benton is still a relatively young brand that is getting bigger with experience each day. All Harley Benton gear and instruments are produced in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, which is the main reason behind the affordable prices of the brand.
As these are some of the most popular countries for entry-level instrument production, this is not a surprise. However, Harley Benton guitars are made with great touches and attention to detail, which means the end products are more than satisfying, especially for beginners.
Specs Of Harley Benton DC/DC-60 Junior
Let’s look at the specs of the Harley Benton DC/DC-60 Junior and what it has to offer.
|Series||Harley Benton DC|
|Number of Strings||6|
|Hand Orientation||Right – Left|
|Colors||Faded Cherry, TV Yellow, Pelham Blue, Benton Blue, Polaris White, Faded Blue|
|Weight||5.95 lbs (2.7 kg)|
|Body Shape||Les Paul Junior|
|Body Construction||Double Cutaway|
|Scale Length||24.72″ (628 mm)|
|Truss Rod||Adjustment at the neck|
|Truss Rod Type||Alen Wrench|
|Fingerboard Radius||12.01″ (305 mm)|
|Number of Frets||22|
|Fret Size||Medium Jumbo|
|Nut Width||1.69″ (43 mm)|
|Bridge Pickup||Roswell P90D Alnico-5 Dog Ear single coil|
|Controls||Volume & Tone|
|Bridge Type||WSC Wrap Around|
|Tuners||Wilkinson vintage style with 15:1 gear ratio|
Harley Benton DC series features many different models, but we will focus on three different ones, including Harley Benton DC Junior, Harley Benton DC-60, and Harley Benton FAT. There are different color choices, including Faded Cherry, TV Yellow, Pelham Blue, Benton Blue, Polaris White, and Faded Blue. Plus, there are also some left-hand variations available on some models and colors.
The guitar, Harley Benton DC-Junior, is quite light and weighs around 5.95 lbs (2.7 kg), which is great for beginner and younger guitarists.
As this is a Les Paul Junior-inspired guitar, it features a solid body with a double cutaway design. The body is made of mahogany, and the top and back feature the same wood. The finish on the body is matte or high gloss, depending on the model and color option.
The neck is also made of mahogany, and the fingerboard on top is made of amaranth. Like in Les Paul Junior, it is a set-in neck. The scale length is 24.72″ (628 mm), which is typical on these types of guitars.
The truss rod can be adjusted from the base of the neck with an Allen wrench. Again, a classical approach to the guitar.
The fingerboard radius is 12.01″ (305 mm), quite thin which gives way for more control on the fingerboard. On the other hand, the nut width is 1.69″ (43 mm).
There are 22 medium jumbo frets on the amaranth fretboard, and the position inlays are quite classic with dots. The nut, by the way, is made of graphite.
There is the Roswell P90D Alnico-5 Dog Ear single coil pickup on the bridge position, the only pickup on the guitar. The versatility is provided by the volume and tone knobs, but the lack of a push-pull switch on this model is one of the negative aspects.
There is the WSC Wrap Around bridge along with Wilkinson vintage style with a 15:1 gear ratio as the tuner machines. Although it depends on the model, most of the hardware on these guitars features a chrome finish.
Sadly, these guitars do not come with any accessory pack, a case, or a gig bag. So, you will have to buy them separately.
The Sound, The Feel Of The Harley Benton DC/DC-60 Junior
Harley Benton DC Junior is a great guitar with an amazing feeling, to be honest. I always felt that Les Paul Junior or SG-style guitars have a neck dive and that they do not sit balanced on the lap. So, I was expecting the same issue on these, but I was surprised.
The guitar weighs around 2.7 kg which is pretty light. But, the balance is amazing as it sits very balanced on the lap without any neck dive, as even Epiphone SG guitars suffer from that problem.
The neck is one of the stars of the show as it is very smooth, thanks to the high-quality finish. It feels really good in the hand and is great for beginner guitarists to learn and get more experience.
The setup out of the box was quite good, and the action was low. But, I am not sure if this was just in my case and if other guitars have different setups.
Coming to the sound, as the guitar has a single pickup, the sonic versatility is not as high as in other guitars. But, the single pickup works great and delivers great tones. The versatility is higher on the DC Junior FAT as it has the push-pull function for reaching different tonal approaches.
Nevertheless, the pickup is a P90-style pickup and delivers tones closer to that iconic classic rock range. With this one, you can play anything from rock to blues, and with some effect pedals or a multi-fx processor, the guitar’s versatility can be increased.
The pickup’s tone is closer to the bridge pickup of a Fender Telecaster but with more slap and spank. So, along with classic rock, and blues you can also use this guitar to play amazing funky tones as well as country music.
One criticism is that the guitar does not have that mid-heavy sound that Les Paul Juniors are famous for. But with some tweaks on pots and effect pedals, it is not hard to get there.
Overall, I would say this is a great entry-level guitar, and I would totally recommend it to beginner guitarists who like iconic classic rock tones.
Harley Benton DC/DC-60-Junior Is Perfect For Whom?
Harley Benton DC-Junior is an ideal guitar for guitarists who love iconic classic rock tones from the 60s and 70s and want to play some rock tunes.
Some people like to experiment with different sounds and need the versatility to play different genres. But, some guitarists like to keep things simple, and they think the star of the show is the playing and technique instead of different sonic approaches.
So, these guitars are for the second group as the sonic versatility is limited, but the sounds you get from these guitars are amazing. So, it is all up to your hands to play good stuff.
If you want to keep things simple and learn to play guitar with some rock tunes, this is the perfect choice for you.
The guitar is quite light, so it is also a good choice for younger guitarists. The neck is also not thick and is compact, which is great for smaller hands.
I would not recommend this guitar to experienced players and guitarists who put versatility as the first criterion. But, as it is quite light and simple-to-play, it can be a great substitute guitar that you can play while you are on the go.
Other Harley Benton Guitars Worth Mentioning
Harley Benton DC-60 Junior
There is not much difference between Harley Benton DC-60 Junior and Harley Benton DC-Junior. The main difference is the body shape, as the DC-60 features an SG-style double-cutaway body, while the DC-Junior has a Les Paul Junior-style non-sharp double-cutaway body.
The rest of the specs are the same but DC-Junior has more color options.
Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT
Another model in the series is the Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT, which has similar specs to the Harley Benton DC-Junior but with a Roswell P90D Stack STK4P, Alnico-5 Dog Ear humbucker instead of a single coil and extra tone control with push/pull function for single coil/humbucker.
Harley Benton ST-Jun
Harley Benton SC-Junior
Harley Benton SC-Junior is another great junior model offered by the brand. It has the classic Les Paul junior design, and the specs are very similar to Harley Benton DC-Junior. The only difference between the models is the color choice options and that the Harley Benton SC-Junior is a single cutaway model instead of the double-cutaway design of the Harley Benton DC-Junior.
Is It Possible To Upgrade Harley Benton DC/DC-60-Junior?
As with almost all electric guitars, Harley Benton DC-Junior Series guitars can be upgraded. I would recommend upgrading the nut and the pick-up.
Although the nut of this guitar is made of graphite which is a decent material for a guitar nut, changing it with a bone nut would increase the tuning stability and overall performance of the guitar.
While the pickup on the guitar, Roswell P90D Alnico-5 Dog Ear single coil, is a quite well-performing pickup, for richer harmonics and more professional tones, you can change it with another P90 style pickup. Seymour Duncan and Gibson offer amazing P90-style dog-ear pickups that can suit this guitar amazingly.
Alternatives To The Harley Benton DC/DC-60 Junior In Terms Of Look, Feel, Sound, Specs, And Price
Epiphone Les Paul Junior
Epiphone Les Paul Junior is the first guitar model that comes to mind when talking about Les Paul Junior-style affordable guitars. As Epiphone is the brother branch of Gibson, they are expected to produce the best alternatives to high-end Gibson guitars.
Epiphone Les Paul Junior is a solid-body electric guitar like the original version. It features a mahogany body, a mahogany neck, an Indian Laurel fingerboard, and a single-coil pickup.
The set-neck has the Vintage ’50s shape and a 12″ radius. P-90 PRO Dogear Single-coil is the pickup of choice, providing great classic rock tones. Plus, GraphTech NuBone is the nut. These are all great specs that you can find on high-end guitars.
As the quality of construction and materials are better on this one, Epiphone Les Paul Junior costs almost double the price of Harley Benton DC-Junior.
Reverend Sensei Jr.
One of the most versatile single-pickup guitars is the Reverend Sensei Jr. It has a beautiful Korina body along with the body and neck binding, set neck, Reverend P90 pickup set, and the usual Reverend accouterments, which means pin-lock tuners, contoured body, four-screw input jack, and treble-bleed circuit.
The Korina wood does not only sound amazing but also looks pretty elegant. The bass contour knob gives great versatility to the sonic performance as you can shape the sound from the thickest sound to the thinnest. That is why it is one of the most versatile guitars ever.
It especially shines in recording sessions as you can easily record multiple layers with the same guitar. However, this guitar costs almost quadruple of Harley Benton DC-Junior.
Harley Benton DC Junior, Harley Benton DC-60 Junior, and Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT are all great guitars for the price they are offered. Their lightweight and simplistic design allow players to focus on playing rather than dealing with other issues.
These guitars’ shining stars are smooth necks with great finishes, which increases playability significantly. Plus, the top-quality tuners and great-sounding pickups are some aspects you expect to find in higher-end guitars.
The versatility you get from a single pickup design is not as high as other guitars on the market, but the great classic rock tones these guitars are capable of compensating for that loss. They give you authentic Junior vibes to the fullest. As there are not many Les Paul Junior-style guitars on the market, these guitars are definitely worth taking a look at.
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