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Review: Harley Benton SC-1000 – Better Than ESP LTD?

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.*

In today’s review, I’m going to take a close look on the famous Harley Benton SC-1000 SBK Progressive Line. I recently added it to my collection and it’s probably one of the coolest cheap LPs that I had so far.

The SC-1000 is ideal for everyone who loves rock and metal. This axe is made for shredding! It’s basically a cheap copy of ESP LTD EC-1000. Perhaps it’s not as good as the original, but it offers a ridiculously good value for the money.

Since I had it for a few months now, I’m in a good spot to tell you what I like and what I don’t like about that model. It’s not a sponsored review, but you have to know that I REALLY like that axe.

Let’s start with a quick sound demo. Of course all sound samples and photos used in that article are mine.

harley benton sc-1000 sbk progressive line black body photo

About Harley Benton SC-1000

It’s pretty clear that this axe is mainly designed for all lovers of heavier genres. The black aesthetic and golden binding makes it look very cool, especially when you combine it with block inlays and golden hardware.

But it’s not only about the look – it’s also about the sound. Harley Benton decided to put two active humbuckers in here which sound really cool. If you’re into metal, you’re gonna love it.

In my opinion, it’s not ideal for everyone, but if you’re into this kind of stuff and you don’t want to pay 5 times more for ESP LTD EC-1000, this is the way to go.


These are the Active HBZ Hi-Gain humbuckers. They sound AWESOME. No matter whether you’re playing at home or rehearsing with your band, you’ll easily cut through the mix. They’re perfect for fast solos and fat riffs.

sc-1000 closeup photo

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of metal. I mean I like it, but it’s not my go-to genre – I prefer alternative rock (and Jazzmasters). But these pickups seriously made a really good impression on me. You can just feel that power witch each strum.

Since these pickups are active, you’ll need a 9V battery to use them. Unfortunately it’s not included with the guitar, so bear that in mind.


The golden hardware not only looks sick, but it’s also functional. The guitar stays in tune pretty well, so it shouldn’t be a problem (even if you’re into drop tunings).

progressive line headstock photo

The Deluxe diecast tuners used in that model are really good too. There’s also a Tune-O-Matic Bridge which also offers a great quality.

Build Quality

I’d give this guitar a solid 8 or 9 out of 10 for the overall build quality. Why not 10? Well, the string action could be a bit lower.

guitar frets and fret inlays closeup photo

This is a pretty common issue in axes made by Harley Benton. They’re usually awesome for the money, but sometimes their setup is just bad.

It can be easily fixed though. If you don’t know how to do it, you can always find someone in your area who fixes that stuff. It will definitely make the guitar a bit more comfortable to play.

Don’t get me wrong though – it’s not like the setup is terrible. It just could use some improvement, that’s it.


For those who want to learn more about the specs, I encourage you to visit the Harley Benton SC-1000 on Thomann. You can also check out the table below. If you’re a guitar nerd like me and you want to know everything, you’ll probably find it useful.

Neck ShapeC
Scale628mm (24.75″)
Truss RodDouble Action
HardwareDeluxe Gold
FinishMatte Black
Made InChina

Sound Demo

I took some time and I recorded a few sound samples for you. Grab your favorite headphones and make sure to check them out! These riffs are basic, but they should give you a clear idea of what you can expect from that axe. Here’s my full video review too.

Sound demo 1 – Overdrive

Sound demo 2 – Clean

Sound demo 3 – Chorus

Sound demo 4 – Fuzz


When it comes to the disadvantages, it’s not that easy to find them. It’s a budget guitar, so obviously it’s on a different level than ESP LTD EC-1000 which is five or six times more expensive.

The main cons of that guitar include:

  • factory setup issues
  • a lack of case (you’ll have to get it separately)
  • the battery for active pickups is not included

Apart from that, there’s just nothing to complain about. Some purists may argue that the tuners and strings in that model are basic, but come on guys. It’s a cheap guitar. I’d actually say that it’s underpriced, considering how functional and fun it is.

Will I Keep It?

Yeah, absolutely! Like I said before, I’m not a massive fan of shredding and I prefer more mellow and jazzy tones, but this is an EXCELLENT axe.

IMO the SC-1000 will be ideal either for metalheads who’re looking for their first guitar or more intermediate guitarists who want to save up some cash.

You can use that guitar for pretty much everything. Grunge, punk, hard rock, metal – you name it. It sounds awesome with pedals too. So honestly, sky is the limit in this case.

Alternative Options

Let’s imagine that SC-1000 won’t be a good fit for you. Is it a problem? Nope! There are a lot of other great guitars out there.

Here’s a few of my recommendations (I owned these guitars too and I can 100% recommend these models).

Harley Benton Extreme-76

This is a SICK budget copy of legendary Gibson Explorer. It’s not as good as the original, but it’s ridiculously cheap and it offers a very good value for the money.

harley benton extreme-76 photo

In comparison with the axe reviewed today, Extreme-76 doesn’t have active pickups. It sounds a bit different and maybe it’s not as punchy and sharp as SC-1000, but it’s still a very good instrument.

Oh, and you should also know that it’s a bit cheaper too. That’s a good thing, right?

Harley Benton TE-62

TE-62 is a bit more classic option – it’s a budget Telecaster. Obviously, Telecasters and guitars like SC-1000 sound way different, but they’re equally fun to use.

harley benton te-62 front photo

This red model has pretty much everything that you need from an electric guitar – low price, great look and a fantastic tone.

It’s definitely one of the coolest Bentons that I had, so if you’ll ever consider getting a Tele, this is a very good place to start.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there’s nothing wrong with getting the Harley Benton SC-1000 SBK Progressive Line. Trust me, you’re going to love it. And if not, you can always return it – Thomann has a 30-day money back guarantee.

But I don’t think that it will be necessary. Once you go black, you’ll never go back. Or something like that 🙂

Thanks for reading this review, hopefully it was helpful! I hope that you took some time and you listened to my sound demos. If you want to read more gear recommendations, everything that I ever tested is in the Gear Reviews category.

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