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Harley Benton vs Fender

Harley Benton vs Fender. Which one sounds the most like a Telecaster?  ·  Source: YouTube/intheblues

I love blind tests! They pull me out of my comfort zone and force me to listen closely instead of relying on visual cues like the brand name. YouTube is certainly not the best platform for this, but the results of listening to the audio can be interesting. YouTuber intheblues has done a new video that invites you to blind test two guitars: the Fender Telecaster and the Harley Bendon TE. Do you dare to do the blind test – and tell us if you were right?


Telecaster vs. TE

When Leo Fender invented the Telecaster in the early 1950s, he may not have anticipated how many similar-looking guitars would one day be on the market. To avoid producing 1:1 copies, other manufacturers, for example, make the horn a bit more pointed, the cutaway deeper or add a belly cut.

Should I only play the original – or is it OK to use one of these other versions of the same design? Everyone has their own answer this question, of course. Some need that big name on the headstock. For them, it’s a big part of the warm feeling they get when playing a certain type of guitar. Others just smile knowingly and automatically grab a replica, either because it’s (significantly) cheaper or deviates from the original in certain areas. That might be because of certain upgrades or enhanced features. For example, boutique hand-made guitars sometimes push the design further.

Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series

Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series

Take the blind test

In this bind test you can listen to both models and find out for yourself whether the ‘voices of wisdom’ on the guitar forums are right.

The Harley Benton TE-52 Vintage* has – apart from the headstock, a slightly deeper cutaway and a flatter, upper “horn” close in design to the Fender American Original 50 Tele*. But it costs a fraction of the price: 139 € vs. 1599 euros . OK, the paint job is different too, but I don’t believe that matters all that much here.

Fender AM Original 50 Tele MN BTB

Fender AM Original 50 Tele MN BTB

Blind Test

Do they sound the same? If not, what are the differences? And the crunch question: Can you tell the inexpensive guitar from the more expensive one? Is there a clear difference at all?

And when you are through with the video blind test, take part in our poll and let us know if you were able to tell which was which. I guessed correctly, but I’d be interested to know what others think.



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by Jef

10 responses to “Fender Telecaster vs Harley Benton TE: Can you tell the difference?”

  1. eat yr Ghost says:

    I misunderstood the ask, so I was thinking about which I preferred. I chose what turned out to be the Fender for all tones except the last tone. Then again, I love Teles, and live in the clean space most of the time.

  2. Alan Sirvent says:

    I picked A. Felt like the tone was just a touch more complex. I did feel the the final difference didn’t justify costing about 10xs as much but that there should be a feel difference which could justify paying more. But…. Tonally, I didn’t pick the Fender!!!

    • Jef says:

      I agree with the ‘feel’ of a guitar completely and would suggest that you can adjust a lot of the parameters yourself to taste. However, things like ‘rolled fretboard edges and fret ends’ do require a bit more work. But these are certainly things that I apply to my own guitars, using very basic tools, so well within every players reach with some basic training.

  3. Dennis Lane says:

    HB deffo warmer tone on the neck.Picked it up from that, but, to be fair,I own one,so not really a fair test.
    Mine is a basic HB Tele, picked up second hand for£60.Fitted a set of Slinky’s , tweaked the action slightly,and it sounds just like that one!
    Can’t beat them for value.

  4. Roger Black says:

    I picked the Fender. It has a richer clean tone. But for the money the HB would be hard to beat.

  5. Peter says:

    In the first clean part I could hear the A guitar had a string rattle on the high E, so I guessed that would be the HB. Also the B guitar had a bit fuller tone overall, all chords sounded in tune, so that made it the Fender. To be honest, if you buy a HB and put a bit of work in it, it will stand up against almost anything out there. Good video 🙂

    • Jef says:

      I’d agree with you on all your points. You make a valid point about the string rattle, and again as you say, these are things a player could easily remedy.

  6. Bill Robertson says:

    I actually picked guitar A. Thought the notes were more clear. I’m waiting for a TE52 from Thomann. Been waiting a bit over a month. Have a set of Cavalier Nashville pickups waiting for it. Mot so sure if which ones I’ll keep.

  7. nice video, i buyed the TE 52, i loved the tone and the price :-), once i receive it, i made many work on it to make it more compfortable to play, and i hesitate to change the pickups, i liked the tone but i felt there wasn’t equilibrated, i finally buyed fender custom shop nocaster 51 pickups and i also changed all the electronics making the broadcaster connections, and now i have an amazing guitar, very happy with it, all changes had a cost and i know that’s not fair for resale, but i don’t care i keep it 😉

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