Finding a good and cheap Telecaster is easier than you may think – and the Harley Benton TE-62 definitely proves that. Forget about the Squiers and Fenders – this one steals the show!
A few months ago I bought that model and it made a stunning first impression on me. It doesn’t feel like a cheap guitar at all. In fact, the TE-62 has pretty much everything you need from a Tele – twangy tone, classic aesthetic and a very reasonable price.
And no, Harley Benton isn’t paying me for saying this stuff. I genuinely like using that model, so hopefully today’s post will help you understand why I think it’s the best budget Tele at this price level.
Let’s start with a quick sound demo!
About Harley Benton TE-62
Harley Benton has quite a few different Teles in their offer and the TE-62 is probably one of the more expensive ones. It’s around two times more expensive than the TE-20, but at the same time it’s cheaper than its biggest competitor – Squier Affinity Telecaster.
All the Bentons are sold on Thomann – that’s where I got mine and it arrived very quickly. Honestly, I like buying guitars in there – they always pack guitars into two boxes. So the box from the photo below was inside of an another box. That makes it pretty much impossible to get damaged during transit. You also get a 3-year guarantee!
This red color looks awesome in real life, especially with the binding. I’m sure that once you’ll open the box, you’ll react the same as me – ‘wow, what a beauty’! It’s a basswood body, so it’s fairly lightweight. The caramelized maple neck also looks cool and it has a very nice feel.
It’s not a Fender, but it’s pretty much a real Tele. The hardtail bridge feels very solid and it keep the guitar in tune. As per usual, there’s a 3-way pickup switch and two controls for volume and tone.
It is also worth mentioning that this model has the Kluson-style machine heads. This is a pretty important feature, because it significantly improves the tuning stability. Say goodbye to going out of tone every couple of songs!
The electronics is probably the part that I like the most about that guitar. This is pretty much the biggest thing that differentiates the TE-62 from a way cheaper TE-20. HB decided to put two Roswell single-coils in here which sound absolutely amazing.
I took that guitar to my band rehearsal a couple of times and I tested it out with VOX AC30. Damn! What a tone. You would expect this guitar to be two, three or even four times more expensive if you would hear that.
This model has the twang that everyone loves in Teles. It’s ideal for clean tones, but it’s also perfect for a bit of overdrive or even distortion. Blues, rock, indie, grunge – play whatever you want. The versatility of that axe is awesome!
I wouldn’t say that this guitar is particularly good for metal, but if you’re into that kind of music, perhaps Harley Benton Extreme-76 would be a better option for you.
The factory setup was fantastic in this case, but maybe I was just lucky, who knows. I didn’t see any problems with the overall build quality. Everything is made with thorough precision and it makes a stunning first impression.
This is actually quite surprising to me, because the TE-62 comes from China. We all tend to believe that guitars from that region are crap, but honestly, I don’t see any issues with that.
So shoutout to the quality control in Harley Benton’s factories in China, because it’s all on a very high level, despite of the low price.
I took some time and I recorded a few sound samples for you, so make sure to check them out below.
Demo 1 – Clean (Pickup Comparison)
Demo 2 – Chorus & Reverb
Demo 3 – Fuzz
And if you want to hear more tones and watch the unboxing of that model, make sure check out my video review too!
If you’re a type of guitarist who wants to know everything about the guitar before they make a purchase (don’t worry, I’m the same), here’s a table with detailed specs.
|Neck||Vintage Caramelized Maple|
|Neck Shape||Modern D|
|Pickups||Roswell Alnico 5 TEA-F-CR/TEA-B|
|Truss rod||Dual Action|
Who Should Get It ASAP?
Most of the time, I recommend Harley Benton guitars for those who are just starting out. But to be honest, I feel like the TE-62 can be used by more advanced musicians too.
I don’t see any problem with using this axe for band rehearsals, live shows or even studio recording. What a guitar!
So whether you’re a complete guitar noob or an intermediate guitar hero, there is an extremely high chance that you’ll quickly fall in love with that model.
I’m not saying that you should run to Thomann and get it as soon as possible, but trust me – it will be worth it.
Believe it or not, but I don’t see any major cons of the TE-62. I love everything about it – the feel, the tone and the look.
You may potentially complain about the lack of case included, but it’s not a huge problem – you can get it separately.
In my case the setup was fine, but I can’t guarantee that all models are like that too. It’s unlikely, but you may experience stuff like high string action. It can be easily fixed though. Some people complained about the fretwork but again – it’s fine in my model, so I can’t say anything more about that.
Harley Benton TE-62 vs TE-20
As I mentioned before, TE-62 is a bit more expensive than the TE-20, which is also a very popular guitar. I had the pleasure to directly compare these two axes and it seemed clear that the quality goes up with price. It doesn’t mean that the TE-20 is bad though.
In the end, it all comes down to whether you want to spend more money or not. If you can afford it, go for the 62 version. If your budget is very tight, grab the TE-20. Perhaps it doesn’t have the Roswell pickups and it’s a bit worse, but it’s still playable and it can be modified.
If you want to learn more about the differences between these guitars, check out my video below.
Will I Keep It?
If you’re a frequent reader of my blog (or if you follow my YouTube channel), you probably know that I often buy and sell my guitars.
But I’m pretty sure that this one is going to stay with me for a while. I’m really interested how it will sound in a direct comparison with a Mexican or American Fender Telecaster, so once I’ll get it at some point in the future, I’ll definitely record a video about that.
So yeah, Harley Benton TE-62 is definitely worth keeping. I’m convinced that if you’ll decide to get it for yourself, it’s gonna stay with you for a while too.
Summing up, it’s totally possible to find a high-quality Tele copy at a relatively low price. While everyone’s focused on the Squiers and Fenders, Harley Benton is crushing the market of cheap guitars right now.
Let’s say that you’re a beginner and you want to get your first guitar. Why would you spend a thousand of dollars on a Fender when you can get a HB for less than $200? Just to get a nice logo on the headstock?
Obviously, you can do whatever you want with your money. But in my opinion, the TE-62 is actually underpriced. It’s crazy to think that you can get such a nice guitar at such a low price these days. You kids have it too easy!