Harley Benton launches new DIY guitar kits – and one lets you carve the body yourself

Harley Benton Square Guitar Kit
(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton has launched its latest run of DIY electric guitar kits, and while these are no-brainers for the fiscally conscious aspiring luthier in your life, the budget-gear giant has gone one step further with a carve-your-own-body kit.

That’s right. You are supplied with a blank piece of tone wood to do what thou whilst with. Though at first blush, in its rectangular birthday suit, there is a Bo Diddley Cornflakes box vibe that might make our jigsaw redundant. Still, there’s nothing like a blank canvas – or sheet of Rengas, a tropical hardwood from east Asia – to get the imagination going.

There are five new kits in total. All have one thing in common: like all Harley Benton guitars, they’re darn pretty cheap. At $137, the bass guitar kit is the most expensive. The Square kit, ie, the one you must carve yourself, is just $105, with the new semi-hollow TL T-style kit is just $108. 

Everything you need to make the instrument – besides the patience – is included in the box, and it offers a great introduction to luthiery, allowing players to get hands-on with tuners, hardware, and pickups. 

These blanks are not quite a blank slate. Harley Benton has done the pickup routing for you. The routing for the tuners, bridge and electronics has also been prepared. 

Thankfully, all the builds have bolt-on maple necks, so it’s not like you’re heating up the hide glue and trying to set a long-tenon neck joint. You don’t have to be Nik Huber to put these together – but all the greats started somewhere.

The kits ship with unstained wood, so you have the option of giving them a custom finish before assembling. We would advice against letting the 12-year-old burgeoning guitarist in the family develop their own nitrocellulose lacquer in the potting shed, or taking a can of automobile paint to the body. But under adult supervision, this paint room at home could be a fun part of the assembly.

Harley Benton TL T-style Guitar Kit

(Image credit: Harley Benton)

And if anyone has any fur leftover from Halloween, then why not make a ZZ Top inspired electric?

The new kits also include left-handed T and S-Styles, and an MB-style bass. The Square kit comes with a dual-humbucker paring.

The T-styles, both solid-bodied and thinline, have dual single-coil pickups, while the MB bass has a single passive humbucker pickup. All have amaranth fingerboards with dot inlays.

You can check out the full range at Harley Benton. They are exclusively available through Thomann.

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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.