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Review: Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT – Worth It?

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Good guitars don’t have to be expensive – and I think that the Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT proves that.

Maybe it’s not the cheapest axe made by this brand, but it definitely deserves a lot of attention. And obviously, in comparison with Gibsons – the value for the money is insane.

Let’s take a closer look on that model. Hopefully this guide will be helpful!

About The DC-Junior FAT

Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT

Striking the perfect chord between affordability and quality, the Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT is a standout in the crowded field of electric guitars.

This model, with its mahogany body and set-in neck, not only promises the robust, warm tones that mahogany is renowned for but also ensures sustain that can carry your notes to new heights.

The ebony fretboard is a touch of luxury, offering a slick, fast-playing surface that can handle anything from delicate arpeggios to furious shredding with ease.

The design pays homage to classic rock aesthetics while incorporating modern playability. The ’59 fat neck profile might sound daunting, but it’s a dream for players seeking that vintage feel, providing ample grip and enhancing playability for those soulful bends and swift licks. Furthermore, the DC-Junior FAT doesn’t skimp on hardware.

The Roswell P90D Stack STK4P Alnico-5 Dog Ear humbucker is a powerhouse, delivering that gritty, punchy tone that can go from clean and articulate to dirty and aggressive with a twist of the volume knob or a pull on the tone control, which cleverly switches between humbucking and single-coil sounds.

Aesthetically, the guitar’s faded cherry satin finish and 3-ply black pickguard give it a look that’s both timeless and edgy, ready to steal the spotlight on stage.

The chrome hardware and Wilkinson vintage-style machine heads not only add to its sleek appearance but ensure tuning stability, letting you focus on your playing without worrying about slipping out of tune.

It’s a package that screams attention to detail and dedication to delivering a high-quality instrument at an unbeatable price point.

What Makes It Good

what makes it good

The DC-Junior FAT shines for several reasons, but its versatility tops the list. Whether you’re laying down smooth jazz lines, crunchy rock riffs, or bluesy solos, this guitar can handle it all with aplomb.

The secret sauce is in the Roswell P90D pickup, which offers a tonal palette wide enough to cover almost any genre. The push/pull tone knob adds another layer of sonic flexibility, making this guitar a Swiss Army knife for musicians who love to explore different sounds.

Build quality is another significant plus. Despite its budget-friendly price, the DC-Junior FAT feels, plays, and looks like a much more expensive instrument.

The mahogany body and neck not only contribute to its tonal richness but also give it a substantial, reassuring feel in your hands.

The ebony fretboard and careful setup out of the box mean you can start playing immediately, with minimal fuss or need for adjustments.

What Could Be Better

However, the DC-Junior FAT is not without its shortcomings.

The fat ’59 neck profile, while a hit with vintage aficionados, may not appeal to players accustomed to slimmer, more modern neck shapes. It’s a matter of personal preference, but it’s something to consider if you prefer faster, thinner necks.

Additionally, the WSC Wrap Around bridge, while contributing to the guitar’s vintage vibe and sustain, might pose intonation challenges for some players. While many will find it adequate for their needs, those with a keen ear for intonation might wish for a more adjustable option.

Lastly, while the single pickup configuration offers a surprising amount of versatility, players used to the flexibility of dual-pickup setups might find themselves missing the extra tonal options.

Pros & Cons

pros and cons of Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT

The Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT brings a lot to the table, but like any instrument, it has its ups and downs. Here’s a quick rundown:

Pros:

  • Versatile Sound: The Roswell P90D pickup, combined with the push/pull tone control, offers a wide range of tones, from clean and crisp to dirty and aggressive.
  • High-Quality Materials: Mahogany body and neck, along with an ebony fretboard, provide excellent tone and durability.
  • Vintage Vibes with Modern Playability: The ’59 fat neck profile and classic aesthetics meet modern hardware for a best-of-both-worlds experience.
  • Great Value: Exceptional build and sound quality at a price point that’s hard to beat.

Cons:

  • Neck Profile Not for Everyone: The chunky ’59 neck might be off-putting for players used to thinner necks.
  • Limited Tonal Range with Single Pickup: While versatile, some players might miss the flexibility of having multiple pickups.
  • Intonation Adjustments: The wrap-around bridge might require some tweaking for perfect intonation.

Specs

FeatureSpecification
BodyMahogany
NeckSet-in Mahogany
FretboardEbony
Fretboard InlaysDots
Neck ProfileFat ’59
Scale628 mm (24.72″)
Fretboard Radius305 mm (12.01″)
Nut Width43 mm (1.69″)
NutGraphite
Frets22 Medium Jumbo
PickupRoswell P90D Stack STK4P Alnico-5 Dog Ear humbucker
ControlsVolume, Tone (Push/Pull for single coil/humbucker)
BridgeWSC Wrap Around
Pickguard3-Ply Black
HardwareChrome
Machine HeadsWilkinson Vintage-Style (15:1 Gear Ratio)
String Gauge.010 – .046
ColourFaded Cherry Satin

Other Affordable Electric Guitars

harley benton sc-550 ii ftf body

For those who might be looking for alternatives within a similar budget range, there are a few other guitars worth considering:

  • Harley Benton SC-550: This model offers a more traditional dual-humbucker setup, providing a broader tonal palette and the classic look and feel of a single-cutaway electric guitar.
  • Harley Benton SC-450PLUS: Another excellent choice for those who prefer the single-cutaway style, this guitar comes with a pair of humbuckers and offers great playability and tone at an affordable price.
  • Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar: For players drawn to a more retro style and sound, the Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar delivers with its unique pickup configuration, shorter scale length, and distinctive offset body shape.

Each of these guitars has its own set of features and tonal characteristics, making them worthy contenders for anyone looking to expand their collection without emptying their wallet.

squier classic vibe jagaur headstock closeup

What I Like About Harley Bentons

I’ve played a ton of Harley Bentons over the years and shared all those tests on my YouTube channel, Best Guitars Now. Here’s the deal: these guitars are affordable and give you a bang for your buck. It’s amazing how they manage to make guitars that feel and sound good without costing a fortune.

te-20 and te-62 photo

What’s really cool about Harley Bentons is that they’re for everyone. Whether you’re picking up a guitar for the first time or you’ve been playing for years and just want a new axe that won’t break the bank, there’s something in their lineup for you.

They nail the quality, even with the low price tag, using good materials and parts that usually only show up on more expensive guitars.

Every time I pick up a Harley Benton, I’m reminded that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot. That’s why they’re always on my list of recommendations for friends and viewers on my channel. Whether you’re into rock, blues, or anything else, Harley Benton’s got you covered without emptying your wallet.

FAQ

Where is the Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT made?

The DC-Junior FAT, like many Harley Benton guitars, is produced in carefully selected factories in Asia. These facilities are known for their ability to deliver high-quality instruments while keeping costs low, allowing Harley Benton to offer such great value.

Is the DC-Junior FAT suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! Its solid build, straightforward controls, and comfortable playability make it an excellent choice for newcomers. Plus, its versatility across genres ensures that beginners can explore various styles without needing multiple guitars.

Can the DC-Junior FAT handle different music genres?

Yes, the DC-Junior FAT is remarkably versatile. Its Roswell P90D Stack STK4P Alnico-5 Dog Ear humbucker provides a rich palette of tones, suitable for everything from blues and jazz to rock and punk. The push/pull tone control adds even more versatility, making it easy to switch from warm, humbucker tones to the brighter, sharper sounds of a single-coil pickup.

What about the playability for players with smaller hands?

The ’59 fat neck profile might be challenging for some with smaller hands, but it’s all about personal preference. Many find it comfortable after a brief adjustment period, appreciating the extra grip and control it offers for certain playing styles.

Where can I buy the DC-Junior FAT?

Harley Benton guitars are available through various online retailers, including Thomann, their primary distributor. Their wide reach ensures easy availability in most regions around the globe.

Final Thoughts

The Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT is a shining example of what Harley Benton does best: creating affordable, high-quality guitars that appeal to a wide range of players. Its combination of a warm mahogany body, smooth ebony fretboard, and versatile Roswell pickup makes it a standout choice for anyone seeking great tone and playability without spending a fortune.

Boldly breaking the stereotype that price dictates quality, the DC-Junior FAT is a testament to Harley Benton’s commitment to making music accessible to all. Whether you’re just starting your musical journey or looking to add an affordable yet reliable workhorse to your collection, the DC-Junior FAT deserves your attention.

Remember, you can dive deeper into my experiences with this and many other guitars on my YouTube channel, Best Guitars Now, where I explore the nuances that make each model unique. The DC-Junior FAT, with its exceptional value and versatile performance, is sure to be a beloved addition to any guitarist’s arsenal.