Harley Benton upgrades its $279 SC-550 single-cut with stainless steel frets and Tesla Opus-1 humbuckers

Harley Benton SC-550 II
(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton is, in every sense of the word, currently on a roll. In the past two weeks alone, we’ve seen the champion of affordable electric guitars upgrade its range of headless Dullahan six-strings, bolster its left-hand lineup of Amarok models and debut the stunning semi-hollow Aelous.

Now, the company has announced the latest addition to its series of single-cutaway guitars, the SC-550 II – a revamped version of the existing SC-550, which has been kitted out with an impressively hefty hardware overhaul.

Let’s start with what’s new, because there’s a fair amount of “new” with the SC-550 II. First on the spec sheet is a fresh arched AAA flamed maple top, which is available in an array of undeniably stunning colorways – Paradise Amber Flame, Black Cherry Burst, Desert Flame Burst, Faded Tobacco Flame and Silver Burst.

Elsewhere, while the previous incarnation of the SC-550 Plus had a roasted jotabo fretboard, the new-and-improved SC-550 II has a pau ferro fingerboard, which sports 22 stainless steel frets – a rarity at this price – and a 12” radius. 

Under the hood, the model boasts a set of custom-voiced Tesle Opus-I Alnico 5 humbuckers, which aim to cater to six-string slingers from all corners of the sonic spectrum. These are adjusted via a standard three-way switch, as well as a set of volume and tone controls per pickup.

In terms of build, the SC-550 II boasts a chambered mahogany body and set mahogany neck with a ‘60s C profile. In keeping with the classic single-cutaway aesthetic, the guitar also has pearloid trapezoid inlays, a DLX tune-o-matic bridge, stopbar tailpiece and DLX Kluson-style tuners.

Among the collection is a left-handed iteration, which sports exactly the same features as its peers, though is only available in Paradise Amber Flame. This shouldn't cause too much concern among southpaws, however, given that the colorway in question is arguably the cream of the crop.

The Desert Flame Burst, Paradise Amber Flame and Faded Tobacco models are all available now for $279, while the Black Cherry Flame iteration is currently listing for $299. The left-handed version, meanwhile, is priced at $280.

Head over to Harley Benton for more information.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.