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Review: Harley Benton WL-20BK

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Finding a good and cheap electric guitar for heavier riffs isn’t that difficult these days – and the Harley Benton WL-20BK is a great proof of that.

In today’s quick review, we’re going to take a close look on the WL-20BK model. Maybe it’s not ideal, but it definitely deserves a lot of attention.

So let’s get into it!

About The WL-20BK

The Harley Benton WL-20BK, part of the Rock Series, is a testament to what modern guitar manufacturing can achieve at an accessible price point.

Its basswood body and bolt-on maple neck, shaped in a comfortable C-Form, make it both lightweight and durable. The amaranth fretboard with dot inlays and 24 frets offers a smooth playing experience, while the 648 mm scale and 43 mm nut width accommodate both rhythm and lead playing styles.

The black high gloss finish not only looks sleek but also adds a touch of class to its appearance.

What Makes It Good

  • Tone Quality: The dual high-gain humbuckers are the stars of the show, delivering powerful, articulate sounds that can easily cut through a mix. Whether you’re laying down crunchy rhythms or screaming solos, the WL-20BK has the sonic flexibility to cover a wide range of tones.
  • Playability: The C-Form maple neck and smooth amaranth fretboard make for an exceptionally comfortable playing experience, whether practicing at home or gigging on stage.
  • Build Quality: For a guitar in this price range, the WL-20BK impresses with its solid construction and attention to detail. The double action trussrod and tune-o-matic bridge ensure stable tuning and intonation.

What Could Be Better

  • Component Quality: While the overall build is solid, some components such as the diecast tuners and electronics might benefit from an upgrade, especially for those looking to push their gear to professional levels.
  • Factory Setup: Out of the box, the action and intonation may require adjustments to match personal preferences or playing styles, which is a common trait among budget guitars.

Specs

SpecificationDetails
SeriesRock
Body MaterialBasswood
Neck ConstructionBolt-on
Neck ShapeC-Form
Fretboard MaterialAmaranth
InlaysDot
Number of Frets24
Scale Length648 mm
Nut Width43 mm
Pickups2x High-Gain Humbuckers
Controls1 Volume and 1 Tone
Switch3-Way
Truss RodDouble Action
BridgeTune-o-matic
TunersDiecast
Hardware FinishChrome
String Gauge.009 – .042
ColourBlack High Gloss

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Exceptional value for the price
  • Versatile tone with high-gain humbuckers
  • Comfortable playability with a sleek neck and fretboard
  • Attractive design with a black high gloss finish

Cons:

  • Some components may need upgrading for professional use
  • Initial setup may require adjustments

Other Cool Guitars

If you’re digging the Harley Benton WL-20BK, you might also want to look at some other awesome guitars that won’t break the bank.

The Harley Benton Extreme-76 rocks a cool retro vibe and has a beefy sound that’s perfect for rockers and metalheads. This budget Explorer really gets the job done.

harley benton extreme-76 photo

If you’re more into the classic twang and crispness, the Squier Sonic Telecaster is a no-brainer. It’s got that iconic Tele look and sound but at a price that’s music to your ears.

squier sonic telecaster

And for those who vibe with something a bit out of the ordinary, the Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar is a total gem. It’s got a unique look, a super comfy short scale, and a quirky switch setup that lets you dial in all kinds of cool sounds, perfect for surf tunes, indie rock, or punk jams.

squier classic vibe jaguar body

Each of these guitars has its own special flair and could be the perfect pick depending on what tunes you’re into.

FAQ

1. Can the Harley Benton WL-20BK handle different music genres outside of rock?

Absolutely! While it shines in rock settings thanks to its high-gain humbuckers, its versatile tone controls and pickup configuration allow it to adapt to genres like blues, jazz, and even pop with ease. Dialing back the volume and tone can unveil warmer, cleaner tones suitable for a wide range of musical styles.

2. Is the WL-20BK suitable for beginners?

Yes, the WL-20BK is an excellent choice for beginners. Its comfortable neck profile and lightweight design make it easy to play for extended periods, ideal for those just starting their musical journey. The affordability and quality also mean that beginners can start with a guitar that encourages practice and development.

3. How does the guitar’s weight compare to other models?

The WL-20BK, with its basswood body, is relatively lightweight compared to guitars made of denser woods like mahogany. This makes it a comfortable option for younger players or anyone who prefers not to be weighed down during longer playing sessions or performances.

4. What is the maintenance like for this guitar?

Maintenance for the WL-20BK is straightforward. Regular string changes, fretboard cleaning, and occasional adjustments to the truss rod (to combat neck bowing) will keep it in top playing condition. The hardware, like the tune-o-matic bridge, is user-friendly for basic adjustments.

5. How does the tune-o-matic bridge benefit playability?

The tune-o-matic bridge on the WL-20BK provides enhanced stability and sustain, contributing to its rich sound. It also allows for precise intonation adjustments, ensuring that the guitar stays in tune across the fretboard, enhancing overall playability.

6. Are there any recommended upgrades for this guitar?

Players looking to customize or upgrade the WL-20BK might consider swapping out the pickups for a different sound or replacing the tuners with locking tuners for improved tuning stability. These upgrades can tailor the guitar to personal preferences or specific tonal goals.

7. How does the WL-20BK’s neck profile affect playability?

The C-Form neck profile is designed to fit comfortably in the player’s hand, making it easier to navigate the fretboard. This profile suits a variety of hand sizes and playing styles, from chord strumming to fast lead playing.

8. Can the WL-20BK be used for recording?

Definitely! The WL-20BK’s dual high-gain humbuckers and versatile tone make it a great choice for home or studio recording. It can deliver clear, articulate tones at low volumes, which is ideal for recording environments where noise levels must be controlled.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Harley Benton WL-20BK stands out as a prime example of quality meeting affordability. With its solid basswood body, comfortable C-Form neck, and powerful high-gain humbuckers, it’s a versatile choice for both beginners and seasoned players.

Whether you’re into shredding solos or strumming chords, this guitar delivers impressive performance without denting your wallet. Sure, it might need a few tweaks or upgrades here and there, but its overall value and playability far outweigh these minor issues.

If you’re looking for an electric guitar that’s both reliable and flexible, the WL-20BK is definitely worth a look.