Believe it or not, but very cheap guitars can actually be good too – and Harley Benton TE-20 is a great example of that. I recently bought this popular model and I thought that it will be terrible, but it wasn’t that bad after all.
It’s very surprising that a guitar worth less than $100 can be that versatile. TE-20 is far from being perfect, but for that ridiculously low amount of money, it’s a VERY good deal.
I’m not sponsored by Harley Benton, so this post will also cover everything that I don’t like about that model (and yeah, there is a few things). I also recorded a few sound demos, so you’ll be able to hear how it sounds. Who knows, maybe it will all inspire you to get it too?
Let’s start with a short sound sample (recorded with Logic Pro X and Focusrite Solo audio interface).
About Harley Benton TE-20
This is actually one of the cheapest electric guitars made by this brand. The fact that it’s so popular doesn’t surprise me at all. Low price and decent quality makes it a perfect fit for everyone who’s looking for their first axe.
It was originally introduced back in 2019 and it seems that it’s still doing great. The amount of reviews of that model is insane! And pretty much everyone agrees that it’s a surprisingly good guitar, especially considering the price.
Body & Neck
TE-20 has a fairly lightweight poplar body and a C-shaped maple neck with a satin finish. It feels easy on the fingers and it’s quite comfortable. Definitely not the best neck I tried, but again – it’s a cheap axe. The fretwork could be better, but it feels like a Tele.
The blue high gloss finish looks AWESOME in real life! You can’t really see it on the photos, but I feel like the depth of that blue color changes from time to time and it depends on the room that you’re in. I think that it actually looks better than on pictures on Thomann.
Harley Benton decided to put a two basic single-coil pickups in here. They’re decent, but they’re not ideal. In my opinion it may be a good idea to replace them after a while. But if you’re a guitar noob, you probably don’t need to do that.
They’re suitable for both clean and overdrive and they have a bit of that Tele twang. But they’re definitely worse than the Roswells used in more expensive Harley Benton TE-62.
As you can see on my photos, TE-20 looks pretty much like any other Telecaster. The chrome hardware makes it look very cool. It also has die-cast tuners which are basic, but they do the job. Don’t expect wonders though! They could use a replacement in the future too.
Keep in mind that this axe is made in China. Is it a bad thing? I don’t think so. The quality of that model is surprisingly good and although it’s not flawless, it’s not terrible either.
The setup could be a bit better. Perhaps the string action could be a bit lower, but that’s a really subjective thing. The quality control must’ve been pretty good in the factory, because I didn’t notice any major issues here.
That’s actually quite surprising to me. I used to believe that Chinese guitars are extremely bad, but it turns out that it’s totally possible to find a cheap and functional axe from that region.
It’s time for a quick sound demo! I took some time and I recorded a few samples for you so grab your headphones and make sure to check them out. It’s all very basic, but it should give you an idea of what to expect. It was all recorded with Focusrite Solo audio interface and Logic Pro X.
Sample 1 – Clean
This is a comparison of clean tones in all pickup positions. You’ll notice that I played that part three times – firstly it was just a neck pickup, then both pickups and I finished with the bridge pickup.
Sample 2 – Overdrive
Sample 3 – Reverb & Flanger
If you want to hear more tones, make sure to watch my video review of that model.
For those who want to know all the boring details (I’m actually one of these people), here’s a table with all the specs.
|Truss Rod||Dual Action|
|Electronics||1x Volume & 1x Tone Control|
Who Is It For?
I have a strong feeling that Harley Benton TE-20 is designed either for absolute beginners (who are looking for their first guitar) or a bit more advanced players who want to get a solid foundation for modifications.
The more experienced you are, the more annoyed you’ll be by the basic components of that model. Hence, it’s a very good idea to replace the single-coils and tuning machines. Modifications aren’t necessary if it’s your first guitar though!
And since it’s a Telecaster, it can be used pretty much for any style of music. Blues, rock, indie, punk – you name it. It’s not the best guitar for metal though!
As I mentioned before, this guitar is far from being perfect. It’s totally understandable though – in the end, it’s a budget axe.
Main cons of that model include:
- basic pickups
- no gig bag included
- die-cast tuners aren’t the best either
- factory setup – I was lucky but in some models it may be worse
So that’s pretty much everything that you should be aware of before your purchase. But you know what? It’s all understandable. Since it’s a cheap guitar, you can’t expect it to sound like a Fender for a thousand of dollars. So the fact that it has basic pickups and tuners is pretty normal to me.
It’s usually sold without the case, but is it a huge deal? Probably not. And the setup was actually okay in my case, but I feel like it’s a lottery. You may be lucky and you may find a model without any issues, but on rare occasions you may experience some problems. But again, it’s totally normal at this price level. Keep in mind that TE-20 is worth less than $100!
Harley Benton TE-20 vs TE-62
If your budget is a bit higher, it may be a good idea to consider getting Harley Benton TE-62 instead. I tried both of these guitars and it seemed clear that the TE-62 is a way better sounding guitar.
I absolutely love the look of both of these guitars – the finish is awesome! But when it comes to the feel and tone, TE-62 is a winner.
The only problem is that it’s around two times more expensive than TE-20. Is it a lot? Probably not, because it’s still a relatively cheap guitar. But if you’re looking for the cheapest axe out there, it may not be the best fit for you.
So I think that it all depends on your own preferences. If you have the money for it, grab the TE-62 and you won’t regret it. But if you don’t even know if playing guitar is for you, TE-20 will probably be a more reasonable choice.
I recorded a quick comparison of both of these axes, so if you want to hear the sound difference, make sure to check out the video below.
I don’t really know how they did it, but somehow Harley Benton managed to create a very cheap and good looking copy of a legendary Fender Telecaster. It’s crazy to think that you can get such nice guitars for such low amount of money these days.
Overall, I’d give this guitar a solid 8 out of 10. I think that it’s one the same level as some of the more expensive Squiers. But when I think about how affordable it is… I kind of want to change that rating to 10/10. Absolutely great axe for the money! Worth every cent.
Thanks for checking out this review, I hope that it was helpful! If you end up with TE-20 in your hands, leave a comment and share your thoughts. I’m sure that other readers would love to hear what you think too.