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Harley Benton launches bold nylon and steel-string hybrid models and a trio of affordable solid-topped acoustic guitars

Harley Benton 2022 acoustics
(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton has expanded its ever affordable range of acoustic electric guitars with solid-wood topped parlour, orchestra and grand auditorium models, and a bold hybrid model that is offered with steel or nylon guitar strings.

The CLG-14SE grand auditorium, CLG-14SM orchestra model, and CLP-12SM parlour acoustics come fitted with piezo pickups and tuners, with the larger open chord friendly grand auditorium and orchestra models packing a three-band EQ. 

Similarly, the Hybrid Nylon model has a piezo, but it’s the Hybrid Nylon Steel where things get really interesting with its onboard transducer complemented by a magnetic single-coil electric guitar pickup for mixing and matching acoustic and electric tones.

Typically Harley Benton, these stack the spec high and hit the market via Thomann at a very reasonable price. Harley Benton CLG-14SE Solid Top grand auditorium is priced £183 / $240, the CLP-12SM Solid Top parlour is priced £250 / $329, the Hybrid Steel and Nylon models are priced £333 / $438.

Let’s see what you get for your money, starting with those Hybrid models, each featuring a single cutaway body that offers full access up to the 21st fret while coming in a little bit more compact than your typical classical guitar

The Hybrid Nylon is offered in a Natural finish and has a hollowbody comprised of solid spruce on top, back and sides. The African mahogany neck is bolted on to the body, carved into a C profile, topped with a rosewood fingerboard to match the bridge. The 24.72” scale and 52mm bone nut should make for a very approachable playing experience, and Harley Benton promises the thinline design will nix feedback at source. 

The Hybrid Steel meanwhile has a solid mahogany build and arrives in Black and Natural finishes. Designed to blur the line between the acoustic and the electric guitar, it has a much narrower 43mm nut width, but like its nylon-string kin it too has an African mahogany bolt-on neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, a bone saddle and deluxe chrome die-cast tuners.

The acoustics find us in more familiar territory. The parlour-sized CLP-12SM Solid Top As the name suggests, it has a solid Sitka spruce top with African mahogany on the back and sides, with Harley Benton supporting the soundboard with X pattern bracing. 

It has an African mahogany neck, purple heart fingerboard and bridge, and some maple and abalone binding to finish the instrument nicely. It, too, has a 24.72” scale, with a 43mm bone nut. A set of deluxe antique brass tuners adds a classy finish to the slotted headstock, and your finish options comprise high-gloss Brown Burst and Black.

The CLG-14SM orchestra has a similar tonewood combo, Sitka spruce on top, African mahogany on the back and sides, and again on the neck, and a purpleheart fingerboard and saddle. It is resplendent in an Orange gloss finish, and has a PPS bridge and saddle. Like the parlour, it is bound in abalone and maple, with a tidy little abalone rosette and fingerboard inlays. It, however, has a longer 25.6” scale.

Finally, the CLG-14SE grand auditorium complements its solid Sitka top with laminated striped ebony on the back and sides. It has an African mahogany neck, and a composite material on fingerboard and bridge – presumably a Richlite-esque material – and a set of deluxe open-back tuners. And it is finished in satin.

All of these acoustics are available now via Thomann (opens in new tab). See Harley Benton (opens in new tab) for more pics and details.

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.