“Compact but mighty, designed for guitarists on the move”: Harley Benton launches a super-short-scale HSS Strat-a-like for $89

Harley Benton ST-Junior HSS SBK
(Image credit: Harley Benton)

Harley Benton has unveiled its new short-scale Strat which, going for just $89, offers a highly affordable route into guitar playing for young musicians-in-the-making.

The new electric guitar may be as tiny as its price, with its 492mm (19.37") scale length much more compact than a traditional 578mm (22.76") 3/4 build, but Harley Benton assures us its new ST-Junior HSS SBK is not just for kids.

The budget-conscious luthiers have put all you’d expect from its instruments into a condensed-sized guitar that could potentially transcend the young player’s market and into travel-heavy guitarists, too.

Harley Benton says its “compact but mighty” new model is designed for “players with smaller hands or guitarists on the move”, and features a bolt-on neck, poplar body, maple neck and a roseacar fretboard, a common feature of its cheaper builds. Naturally, whilst those woods will do a job, they’re chosen for their affordability above all else.

The short-scale fretboard is the calling card here, with a 350mm radius, 21 frets, 42mm nut-width, dot inlays and a double-action truss rod. The strings-through-body build and diecast tuners, meanwhile, should see the guitar hold its tuning fairly well, which will be a key factor in winning over traveling musicians.  

There’s also your standard budget configuration of one volume and one tone knob, as well as a five-way pickup selector to jump between its own-brand bridge humbucker and the single coils located in the middle and neck.

Interestingly, it comes loaded with 009-042 strings tuned to A standard, while aesthetically, it takes the ‘more black’ approach, looking stealth bomber-esque with its sleek satin black finish, equally as black hardware and striking amber pickguard.

The Thomann-owned Harley Benton brand is still a young company, with its latest model continuing its trend of builds that come in at a lower price point than alternatives in the same field.

Although coming in at slightly larger 578mm scale lengths, the Squier Affinity series comes in at around $212, and the Ibanez Gio GRGM21 Mikro around $244, for instance. HB's new near-pocket-sized guitar joins its growing range of guitars, amps and pedals.

To find out more, head over to Harley Benton.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.