Harley Benton refreshes the CST-24 and CST-24T in all-new finishes to make those figured tops really pop – what else could you want for $238?

Harley Benton CST-24 summer refresh models
(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton has given its CST-24 and CST-24T a summer refresh, offering the classy budget electric guitars in three smart new finishes – Amber Stripes, Purple Burst, and Vintage Sunburst.

Now, this is a guitar you can pick up for $238 from Thomann, but just look at those finishes, the three-dimensional figured maple veneer will make you wonder if the German retail giant has misplaced a decimal point.

You can see the inspiration behind these models. There’s no getting away from it; from a certain distance, your eyes are expecting to see birds. To that end, we do have a 25” scale length. 

But these are cheap electric guitars under $500 that successfully sell the illusion, and Harley Benton are offering them with a choice of wrap-over bridge or a Wilkinson WVPC tremolo unit. And southpaws who are watching the dollars and cents can rejoice – there are left-handed models available with each finish, and hardware options.

So what does $238 buy you? These all have solid meranti bodies, with highly figured maple applied to the arched top. They have glued-in meranti necks, topped with roasted jatoba fingerboards. 

As the designation suggests, there are 24 frets, each made of stainless steel to help take the strain out of those bends and vibrato, and they are marked out with dot inlays. 

The neck is carved into a C profile, which, if it is anything like the other C profile necks in the Harley Benton lineup, should be a crowd-pleasing mainstream neck shape, welcoming to players of all ages and abilities.

All of the models feature the same dual-humbucker pickup configuration, with Roswell HAF Alnico Vs at the neck and bridge position, a three-way toggle switch for selecting them, and knurled metal volume and tone pots. And there is more; there is a coil-split so you can throw some single-coil spank into the mix.

Other features include graphite nuts, chrome hardware, deluxe tuners with chrome buttons, and the ivory-colored binding on body and neck really ties it all together. A very respectable guitar for those just beginning their journey on the instrument. A very respectable runaround for those who would like a set-neck option. 

And while it is hard to imagine anyone outgrowing those finishes, you could always upgrade the pickups over time and future-proof this against appreciation expectations of guitar tone. 

For a taste of high-end electric guitar at prices cheaper than top-of-the-range Nike running shoes, head over to Thomann where these are exclusively sold. For more information, see Harley Benton.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.