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.
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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.