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Review: Harley Benton MS-60 – Budget Mustang

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Attention all lovers of offset guitars – I discovered a very cool and affordable Mustang copy that deserves a lot of recognition! I’m talking about the Harley Benton MS-60 – I recently bought it and it made a really good impression on me.

The MS-60 is not exactly the same as Fender Mustang, but considering how cheap it is, it’s probably one of the best cheap guitars of this type at this price level. It sounds good and it feels good – and that’s what really matters.

So in today’s article, I want to show you what exactly makes this model so cool and who knows, maybe you’ll decide to get it for yourself too. There will also be a sound demo included, so make sure to stick around. All photos below are mine too.

About my Harley Benton MS-60

Why I bought it? Well, I was looking for an inexpensive short-scale electric guitar. I didn’t want to spend too much and the Squier Bullet Mustang seemed to be the only alternative option. But since I already had it in the past, I felt like I need something different.

playing on harley benton ms-60 vintage white budget mustang

So I did some research and I found the MS-60 which had great reviews online. The immediately decided to buy it and a few days later the package from Thomann arrived at my door.

And as you can see on the photos, the guitar looks awesome! I always had a thing for vintage white finishes.

Body & Neck

The MS-60 has a basswood wody and a C-shaped maple neck with amaranth fretboard. I wouldn’t say that it’s a heavy guitar, but it’s not lightweight either. I remember that the Bullet Mustang was super lightweight, so it was a completely different experience.

I also have to mention that the neck of that guitar has a satin finish on the neck which feels nice too. Since I’m not a huge fan of gloss finishes, that’s actually a plus for me.

ms-60 body

The fretboard was a bit dry though. Who knows, maybe this model was laying somewhere in a warehouse for a few months before I eventually got it. So it’s nothing unusual, but in case you experience that – just use some lemon oil and you’ll be good.

Electronics

Harley Benton decided to equip the MS-60 with a pair of Roswell single-coil pickups which do a great job at recreating the sound of Fender Mustangs. They sound bright, but not exactly the same as Stratocaster pickups. You’ll hear it in a minute.

It is also worth mentioning that in Fenders the pickup switches work differently – they’re electrically in-phase both ways. In this Harley Benton, they just go one way – so you just either activate or deactivate the pickup.

harley benton ms-60 closeup pickup switches and pickups

The controls are simple too – just two of them – one for volume and one for tone.

Hardware

The hardware is actually interesting in this case! The MS-60 has a Tune-O-Matic bridge and the DLX tremolo which is basically the same as in Jazzmasters and Jaguars. These trem systems are often associated with problems with tuning stability, but since the bridge in that guitar is stable, it’s not an issue.

So I have to say that the chrome hardware in that model is just great! The tuners could be better (it’s probably one of the first things that I would change here), but it’s not something that disqualifies that axe.

Playability & Setup

I’d give this guitar a solid 9/10 for overall playability! It sounds great and it stays in tune, although as I said before, the fretboard needs to be moisturized.

fretboard closeup photo

I didn’t experience any problems with the setup, but I can’t guarantee that your model will be the same. But from that I’ve seen, most people are happy with the factory setups of these guitars. So there’s nothing to worry about!

Sound Demo

For those who want to hear how the Harley Benton MS-60 sounds, I recorded a quick video review along with the sound demo. If you’re into surf rock, you will most definitely enjoy some of the sounds from that video. Feel free to check it out below.

Disadvantages

Honestly, I don’t see any major disadvantages of that model, but of course – there’s always something that you can complain about.

At the beginning I was worried about the tuning stability but it turned out to be good, so it’s not a problem.

If I had to choose the main con of that axe, I’d probably say that the tuners feel a bit cheap and they can be replaced. However, it’s not something that you have to do – you’ll be fine with them anyway.

Also you have to remember that the MS-60 usually comes without a gig bag, so you’ll have to get it separately. Is it a disadvantage? Maybe. It is something that should discourage you from getting this model? Absolutely not.

Who should get it?

Mustangs are generally very versatile – you can use these guitars for pretty much all genres out there. Whether you’re into country, classic rock, blues, alternative rock, indie, surf or grunge – you’ll be fine with the MS-60.

pickguard closeup photo

Since it’s a very affordable guitar, I’d say that this is an excellent option for those who are looking for their first electric guitar. It would be nice to start that musical journey along with that exact model.

Also, this guitar is also great for those who don’t want to spend too much money. Let’s be real – Mustangs are pretty rare – there are not that many of these guitars out there. There are a few alternative options, but most of them are simply more expensive.

Think about it – the cheapest Fender Mustang costs five or even six times more than the MS-60!

Other Cheap Mustangs

Finding a budget Mustang cheaper than the MS-60 won’t be easy. In the world of cheap short-scale guitars, this is probably one of the best options out there.

However, you can also consider getting the Squier Bullet Mustang or Squier Sonic Mustang. I recently tested the Sonic one and it was awesome! But there’s one significant difference – it doesn’t have the trem system.

squier sonic mustang review

So it all depends on what you’re looking for. The Squiers are available in a few different color versions, so if you don’t like that white MS-60, you’ll definitely be able to find a Squier that suits your needs.

What’s important, it also depends whether you want a guitar with humbuckers or single coils. As an example, the Bullet Mustang has a set of humbuckers. And when it comes to Sonic Mustang, there are versions with either single-coils or humbuckers available too.

Summing up – check out these Squiers and compare them with the MS-60. All of these guitars are great, but I’m sure that some of you will prefer the Harley Benton and some of you will prefer Squiers instead.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the MS-60 is a really cool electric guitar that can be used for a lot of different styles of music.

I think it’s awesome that we can find such good guitars at such low prices these days. It’s a game-changer and it means that we no longer have to spend thousands of dollars to find good and playable instruments.

Althought this budget Mustang is not for everyone, I’m sure that there will be a lot of guitarists that will appreciate its beauty. In my opinion, it’s definitely worth every cent.

Thanks for checking out this review, hopefully it was helpful! If you end up with the MS-60 in your hands, make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts about that model. I’m sure that it will be helpful for other readers :)!