Harley Benton Thinline modified with Guitarfetish P180 pickups
July 9, 2017
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This article is a review of the last guitar I modified, namely, the Harley Benton Telecaster Thinline
I equipped it with P180 pickups purchased on the Guitarfetish website, and I did the standard wiring that I perform on all guitars equipped with Humbucker pickup.
I have added two on-on-on switches to get my favorite modifications which are the ability to select each pickup in series, split, and parallel position.
On the tone control, I added the solo option. It is, of course, a 500k push-pull type of pot. In the mounted position, the solo switch is activated, which bypass potentiometers from the signal and allows the sound of the pickups without any filter.
On the volume potentiometer, I added a half out of phase option. There is a significant difference between the half out of phase and the out of phase setting. Indeed, an out of phase pickup needs to be opposed to an in phase pickup so that it gives a different sound. While with a pickup in half out of phase the sound is different even when the pickup is selected alone.
The sound differences between all the possibilities of pickup selection and modification depend heavily on the effects and amp settings. The sound may be identical or enormously different depending on the settings of this.
In the first part of the video, the sound settings did not allow me to get a big difference between the in-phase and half out of phase setting. I stopped the video and worked my sound to get more significant difference when the pickups are in half out of phase.
The half-out-of-phase wiring was invented by Stratocaster players who wanted a Telecaster sound. This wiring was originally installed on the middle pickup of the Stratocaster. This setting made possible to have the sound of a Telecaster on a strat. This wiring fitted to any guitar other than a Strat, and on a pickup other than the middle one gives quite different results from one guitar to another. This can be very interesting, average or unusable. I’m not using this setting often, but depending on the song and effects setting, it can create a beautiful and unusual effect.
I had to create an opening in the back of the guitar to be able to fit all my electronic modifications. Look at the pictures to see the massacre. Well, massacre… The result is very professional, but it always hurts to make holes in a guitar. Especially holes of such magnitude. Before proceeding with such an opening, I ordered a Gibson LesPaul backplate. I made the opening in function of this one, not to have bad surprises.
The Harley Benton Thinline guitar is an excellent guitar with a fast neck and a low action. Apart from electronics, I have not changed anything on this guitar. Originally, it comes with P90 stack Wilkinson pickups. These are very good, but despite the stack option, there are still single-coils. They are nevertheless quite noisy compared to humbuckers. The original pickup rooting is made for P90; so I was obliged to take P180 pickup not to be forced to modify the guitar body.
The microphones coming from the site Guitarfetish are of excellent quality. The Artec factory manufactures them. This factory offers custom wiring service. If you want, you can order them tailor-made pickups, even if you only buy one set. I do not know the price. Obviously, the more you buy, the less expensive it is, but the fact is you can order the pickups you want at this factory and badger them to your name for a very competitive price.
Watch the video below, where I test the guitar with all the changes I made.
This is what Guitarfetish does. Most of Guitarfetish pickup models are only available on their site. Artec does not market them under their name. The Artec pickups are different, and also of excellent quality.
Talking about the P180, they are among the best microphones that can be found at Guitarfetish. I have teamed several other guitars with pups coming from this site. Some disappointed me, but the vast majority of them are excellent. This site is an affordable option to customize cheap guitars to make extraordinary. Once again it is useless to spend a fortune to buy established brands who are ten times more expensive and offer the same thing.
The Harley Benton Thinline Telecaster guitar as it is sold may well be kept like this if you are not into heavy customization like me.
It is unfortunately only available on the site Thomann, to whom I bear a huge resentment compared to their honesty about their affiliation program. (I have never received anything from dozens of customers that I sent them …) However, this site remains one of the most affordable in Europe for high-quality material, and since they are the creators of the Harley Benton brand, we must admit that they have marketed guitars of very high quality at a price defying all competition.
Even if the wiring I have done on this guitar is fairly conventional, and already published many times on my site, I join you the different plan I used to make this guitar.
That is the series-split-parallel wiring from the Seymour Duncan site, the solo option, as well as the half out of phase wiring.
This is another guitar I modified. I couldn’t find any pic of the mod,
but this is exactly what I did with this guitar too.
I am Hervé Senni, a pro musician and performer for quite some time.
My main musical instrument is unquestionably the electric guitar. Nevertheless, I also perform bass guitar, mandolin, Ukulele, and invented string instruments. I am also a composer as well as an arranger. Over the years, repairing and trying to further improve electric guitars that a majority of times did not have to be upgraded converted me right into a self-taught luthier.