Harley Benton releases lightweight T-style Thinline and sleek offset baritone electric guitars – and both retail for under £200

Harley Benton TE-69TL and JA-Baritone
(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton has just increased the options for anyone looking for a cheap electric guitar with a pair of budget six-strings in two very different styles. 

For the traditionalist, there is the classy looking TE-69TL Hot Rod, a lightweight semi-hollow with an f-hole and a lot of mojo for a budget guitar. 

And for the guitarist looking for a low-cost way of invading the bass player’s frequencies, there is the JA-Baritone, an offset with a Black gloss finish and a 30” scale, and a pair of P-90 style pickups that suggests that this might well have a broader appeal than most baritone guitars.

Let’s look at the JA-Baritone first, then bring it up to EADGBE with the TE-69TL Hot Rod. Looking much like a stretched out Jazzmaster, with a minimalist styling that calls to mind one of Fender’s Jazzmaster signature guitars for Jim Root, it has a solid poplar body and a bolt-on Canadian flame maple neck. 

The purple heart fingerboard has 21 medium jumbo frets, and block inlays, and that is about that as decorative flourishes go, on an instrument on which its gloss black finish is matched by black headstock, pickguard, knobs and hardware.

Speaking of which, the JA-Baritone is fitted with a neat and tidy six-saddle hardtail bridge, with sealed vintage-style tuners. It’s P-90 pickup pairing at the neck and bridge positions is selected via a pickguard-mounted three-way selector switch, with volume and tone knobs for dialling in a sound.

It will be interesting to hear how this all sounds through a guitar amp. For many players, the baritone electric is solely the preserve of the metal player, and with P-90s, the JA-Baritone should be hot enough to deliver a filthy riff, but will have quite a different voice to those fitted with humbuckers – and often active humbuckers at that – with maybe an accented twang in there too.

It’s a tantalising prospect, and for under 200 bucks, it is the sort of instrument that is within reach of both beginners and more experienced players looking for a low-end runaround.

The TE-69TL Hot Rod nails that Nasvhille sessionist's guitar vibe, a T-style with a natural finish and a black pickguard, vintage-style tuners, a three-saddle ashtray bridge and an ash body that’s all grain. Naturally, with its semi-hollow construction, this has a lightweight build, with an over-sized f-hole on the upper bass-side bout. 

Like the JA-Baritone, it has a 12” radius fingerboard, so the feel might be a little different to what you might expect from a Fender-esque guitar. It has a caramelised maple bolt-on neck, a regular 25.5” scale, maple ‘board, 22 frets, and has a pair of Roswell Alnico 5 single-coil pickups in the neck and bridge positions, the latter positioned at an angle.

The C-profile neck, if conforming to a typical carve from the Harley Benton shop floor, should be welcoming to novice and expert alike.

Both the JA-Baritone and TE-69TL Hot Rod are available now via Thomann. The JA-Baritone is priced £174, while the TE-69TL Hot Rod is priced £191.

For more details, head over to Harley Benton.

Jonathan Horsley

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.