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Harley Benton Dullahan review

Are no heads better than one? The Dullahan makes a great case for you to lose yours and be part of your six-stringed arsenal

Harley Benton Dullahan
(Image: © Harley Benton)

MusicRadar Verdict

Harley Benton is once again equipping you with a well-rounded axe, at a price tag that belies its potential and plenty of finishes to suit all tastes. It is time to lose your head.

Pros

  • +

    Good build quality.

  • +

    Coil-split vintage-voiced pickups offer a wide variety of tones.

  • +

    Roasted maple neck with stainless steel jumbo frets add to an already great value guitar.

Cons

  • -

    Headless design not to everyone's taste

Harley Benton Dullahan: What is it?

Harley Benton is well-known for providing excellent bang-for-your-buck electric guitars that are, mostly, based around established designs. But it’s not all pastiche at the house of Benton as there are a few original designs in the lineup too. The Thomann brand released its take on the headless guitar with the Dullahan marque and in 2021, updated the range with four new models.

Broadly speaking, the Dullahan range is split into flat-top and arch-top variants. On test, we have one of each, an AT 24 PBB (Purple Black Burst) and the FT 24 Roasted SP (Shell Pink). 

The ATs come with a bolt-on maple neck and ebony fretboard, while the FTs are complemented with a bolt-on roasted flamed maple neck with a roasted maple fretboard. The neck profile is a modern C on both models and each features the same 24 stainless steel jumbo frets and Graph Tech Tusq XL nut.

Hardware-wise both models are loaded with the same hardware and pickups, all in black. The pickups are Roswell HAF alnico-5 bridge and neck humbuckers, while at the business end, each model comes with an Apollo mono HL-STB02 bridge. The dual humbuckers are controlled with a five-way selector switch, plus master tone and volume controls.

Harley Benton Dullahan

(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton Dullahan: Performance and verdict

Something that could put potential headless guitar buyers off may well be their design. The likes of Strandberg, Ibanez and Ormsby come close to a more traditional shape, compared to the headless OG, the Steinberger, but come with a large section of cutaway behind the bridge. Of course, this allows for access to the bridge-mounted tuners. 

With the Dullahan, Harley Benton has achieved something that few headless guitar-makers have managed and that’s to preserve a more traditional silhouette and in turn, retains the traditional strap button placement at the heel of the guitar. 

Harley Benton’s solution to this is simple with a carved heel section that still allows enough room to wrap your fingers around the tuning pegs. Aesthetically, we’re big fans of the design, which is far more pronounced on the alder FT models with their sharper, cleaner lines.

We found the flat-top beats its sibling in the neck department too, that roasted flame maple neck is an absolute delight to play and while all the measurements are the same, it feels smoother to play than the plain maple version.

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Sonically, the two differ very little with the alder-bodied FT sounding ever so slightly brighter and richer in tone than the mahogany-bodied archtop. The pickups are Roswell’s take on the vintage PAF design (HAF-N and HAF-B) are at the hotter end of Roswell’s vintage offering, but not melt-your-face hot. 

Instead, you are treated to a well-balanced output across the frequency spectrum. Both the neck and bridge pickups deliver a similar heft in the low-end, while the HAF-N is more mid-focussed compared to the swept-mid vibe of the HAF-B.

The five-way selector switch conjures up plenty of tonal variation with coil splits at position two and running the neck pickup in parallel at position four, alongside the traditional bridge, combo and neck selections. 

The coil-split position really impressed us on test. There’s no drop in volume or intensity especially when cranked with some gain, it reinforces the Dullahan’s ability as a workmanlike all-rounder.

Straight out of the box and included gig bag, both models were equally well set-up, shod with a .010 - .046 strings. The action was higher than we’re used to, but far more fun to play than expected. In fact, it demanded the strings be attacked more ferociously than usual and with the solid build quality, could take a good ol' hammering and hold its tune well.

Harley Benton Dullahan

(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Overall, there is very little to set the AT and FT apart, any weight difference is negligible as is the difference in tone. It’s there, but hardly noticeable once you start pumping up the gain. 

So really, it comes down to aesthetics and we have to say, for us, the 24 FT Roasted SP is a clear favourite. There’s something about the muted pastel hues in a matt finish that feels more contemporary compared to the glossy mahogany AT with its flamed maple veneer. 

Of course, if pink isn't your thing then there's the Daphne Blue model and the slightly cheaper Ice Blue variant in a gloss finish.

The new Dullahans are yet another winner from Harley Benton, with the Thomann brand providing features you expect to find on guitars over twice the price, such as a spoke-wheel truss rod nut, superior wood choice, coil-splits… it’s all there. They come in a few bucks dearer than the previous models, but the improvements more than justify the small hike in price.

MusicRadar verdict: Harley Benton is once again equipping you with a well-rounded axe, at a price tag that belies its potential and plenty of finishes to suit all tastes. It is time to lose your head.

Harley Benton Dullahan

(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton Dullahan: The web says

"Harley Benton Dullahan is perfect for guitarists who want to experiment with an affordable headless guitar or players who are often traveling and need a lightweight instrument."
Rock Guitar Universe (opens in new tab)

"Harley Benton may be a budget brand aimed at beginners, but these guitars are no slouches. The construction is excellent, and they both look gorgeous. You can’t go wrong with either model."
Gearnews (opens in new tab)

Harley Benton Dullahan: Hands-on demos

Harley Benton

EytschPi42

Harley Benton Dullahan: Specifications

Harley Benton Dullahan

(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton Dullahan-FT 24 Roasted SP

  • Ergonomically shaped alder body
  • Bolt-on roasted flamed maple neck
  • Roasted maple fretboard
  • Offset black dot inlays
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • Scale: 648 mm (25.51")
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm (13.78")
  • Nut width: 42 mm (1.65")
  • Graph Tech Tusq XL nut
  • 24 Blacksmith stainless steel jumbo frets
  • Roswell humbucking pickups (HAF-B-BK AlNiCo-5 bridge / HAF-N-BK AlNiCo-5 neck)
  • Controls: Master volume / master tone
  • Switch: 5-way blade (bridge humbucker, bridge and neck single coils, bridge and neck humbucker, neck humbucker parallel, and neck humbucker)
  • Apollo mono HL-STB02 bridge
  • Hardware finish: Black
  • Strings: .010 - .046
  • Colour: Shell Pink Satin
  • Includes gigbag

Harley Benton Dullahan

(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton Dullahan-AT 24 PBB

  • Ergonomically shaped mahogany body
  • Flamed maple veneer top
  • Bolt-on maple neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Offset pearloid dot inlays
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • Scale: 648 mm (25.51")
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm (13.78")
  • Nut width: 42 mm (1.65")
  • Graph Tech Tusq XL nut
  • 24 Blacksmith stainless steel jumbo frets
  • Roswell humbucking pickups (HAF-B-BK AlNiCo-5 bridge / HAF-N-BK AlNiCo-5 neck)
  • Controls: Master volume / master tone
  • Switch: 5-way blade (bridge humbucker, bridge and neck single coils, bridge and neck humbucker, neck humbucker parallel, and neck humbucker)
  • Apollo mono HL-STB02 bridge
  • Hardware finish: Black
  • Strings: .010 - .046
  • Colour: Flame Purple Black Burst
  • Includes gigbag
Simon Arblaster
Simon Arblaster

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.