Harley Benton MR-Series – Review (2024)

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Harley Benton MR-Series fi

This is my review of the Harley Benton MR-Modern & MR-Classic guitars.

Harley Benton - MR-Series -

Budget-friendly guitars with a good ratio between price and quality, that’s how Harley Benton has become increasingly known. This added value has earned the company a solid reputation and a stable market segment. Now that a variant has been released for most guitar models, Harley Benton is venturing into more alternative models. The MR-Modern and MR-Classic, guitars in the so-called Mosrite style, are good examples.

In terms of appearance, playability and sound, these guitars of Harley Benton also offer more than value for money. Watch with me if these guitars will fit your guitar needs!

Let’s go!


Harley Benton MR-Series

In the 1960s, the Mosrite brand became increasingly popular among rock ‘n roll and country guitarists. The MR in the naming of these guitars refers to this brand. Innovative design, superior engineering, incredibly thin, low-fretted, and slender necks, and highly hot (high output) pickups were all hallmarks of Mosrite guitars. The Ventures Model, also known as the “Mark I,” was Moseley’s creation for surfrockers The Ventures and was widely regarded as the line’s flagship. A very small number of somewhat uncommon acoustic guitars were also produced by Mosrite. The Balladere model was produced between 1968 and 1969, and the Serenade model between 1965 and 1969.

This Ventures Model was succeeded by the aptly named The Ventures II, which gained cult status in the 1980s, in part because Johnny Ramone of The Ramones played on it.

Johnny Ramone's Stage-Used and Owned Mosrite Ventures II Guitar
Johnny Ramone’s Stage-Used and Owned Mosrite Ventures II Guitar

Other guitarists who played a Mosrite electric guitar are Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Robert Smith (The Cure), Dave Alexander (The Stooges), Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith (The MC5) and Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine). A varied group that distinguishes itself by its own guitar sound with rough edges, without taking existing conventions into account.


Harley Benton MR-Modern

  • Price indication: $ 280
  • Body: carved Alder
  • Neck: Maple, C” neck profile, 648 mm
  • Fretboard: Macassar Ebony, 22 frets
  • Pickups: 2 x Artec AHC-90 Soapbar Alnico-5 humbucker pickups
  • Controls: 1x volume control, 1 x push/pull tone control for coil tap, 3-way toggle switch
  • Hardware: deluxe chrome
  • Other: matching headstock, Wilkinson VS-50 II precision tremolo, Kluson-style Wilkinson locking tuners, equipped with D’addario EXL110 Strings (0.10 – .046).

Harley Benton MR-Classic

  • Price indication: $ 200
  • Body: Basswood
  • Neck: C-profile, 648 mm
  • Fretboard: Roasted jatoba, 22 Frets 
  • Pickups: 2 Artec P-90 Alnico-5 Vintage single coils
  • Controls: 1 Volume control and 1 tone control, 3-Way switch
  • Hardware: Deluxe chrome
  • Other: Bolt-on neck made of Canadian A-grade maple, Dot fretboard inlays, Headstock in body colour, Double action truss rod, Fixed bridge, Kluson style Wilkinson tuners, D’Addarío EXL110 strings (.010 – .046).


Harley Benton MR-Series

 The long horn at the bottom with a curve on the top immediately distinguishes the guitar from other guitars. The angled pickup further accentuates the quirkiness of this guitar. The white pickguard runs in a teardrop shape to the two black knobs and a jack output. The headstock has the same color as the body and is equipped with three tuning machines on both sides.


Harley Benton MR-Series

The guitar is beautifully finished. Although we are dealing with a budget-friendly guitar here, the frets are nowhere sharp or angular. However, the angular neck joint does make it difficult to reach the highest frets. The neck is C-shaped, has a silk finish and its medium thickness lends itself well to both chord playing and solos. The D’Addario EXL 110 strings make the guitar playable right out of the box.

Electronics & Hardware

Harley Benton MR-Series

The electronics are high quality: pickups. Unfortunately, the Wilkinson wVS 50 IIK tremolo of the MR-Modern tends to return to a position other than neutral. The consequence is that the guitar is out of tune and you have to push the tremolo in the opposite direction to get back in tune. The MR-Classic has the shortcoming that the wraparound bridge is set much too high. Soldering becomes a lot more difficult because of the high action around the 12th fret. In short: the price is budget-friendly, but when buying these Harley Bentons, always keep in mind that they need to be adjusted by a luthier (50-60 dollars).


Harley Benton MR-Series

Harley Benton - MR-Classic & MR-Modern - Overview

Both guitars give a full and round clean sound. The P-90s of the MR-Classic give a little more clarity than the humbuckers of the MR-Modern. When you switch the MR-Modern via the push/pull pot to the single-coil elements, the sound becomes a bit brighter (but also a bit less full). On the other hand, the humbuckers offer a much rougher sound when you play with fuzz or distortion.

The P-90s are kind of like single-coil-plus elements: they’re a bit more powerful than an average S-model and allow an overdriven amp to sound good. Don’t think hard rock or metal, but surf rock, grunge or other alternative music that uses power chords, riffs and melody lines. The MR-Modern allows individual notes to come out a little better, both in single-coil and humbucker modes. Additionally, there is only a slight difference in output between the push and pull positions of the tone control. As a result, when playing, it feels more like you’re pressing a volume boost pedal when the single-coil humbuckers are dialed in, and the EQ section gets a boost in the lower and middle regions.

MR-Modern Customer Reviews

Harley Benton MR Modern Metallic Blue

 I’ve been playing with it for a couple of days and it’s really good from many points of view. Well finished, silent electronics, ugly but functional mechanics, excellent sound. The split is fabulous, the lever is certainly not designed for sleight of hand and the system is well thought out.


  • Great shape, beautiful vintage looks
  • Good range of tones 
  • Stainless steel frets for this price is amazing 


  • Not all of them are set up well right out of the box, so it probably needs to be adjusted a little by a luthier (50-60 dollars).

MR-Classic Customer Reviews

Harley Benton MR Classic - Affordable Headbanger!

I had never played or owned a Harley Benton prior to this one, so everything I knew was from second-hand reviews, which, in general, were overwhelmingly positive, especially for their price point. I love the vintage Mosrite Ventures guitars, so I ordered one as soon as I heard about them. If you don’t care for it right away, sit with it for a couple of weeks and let it adjust. It’s got a super cool punk rock vibe and I’m enjoying it!


  • Very affordable/cheap
  • Sounds good, plays great


  • Not all of them are set up well right out of the box, so it probably needs to be adjusted a little by a luthier (50-60 dollars).

Harley Benton MR-Series – Alternatives

Eastwood Sidejack

Eastwood Sidejack

Eastwood’s Sidejack Series instruments are based on the legendary vintage Mosrite guitars from the first half of the 1960s. The Ventures and other surf bands associated with the era’s prominent guitar sound made the originals more well-known. Eastwood’s Sidejack designs are a true homage to the originals and have a distinctive offset shape with a German Carve and a reverse-Stratocaster appearance. They also have current quality, improved playability, and serious tone.

Halmark 60 Custom

Hallmark 60 Custom

Hallmark Guitars has re-created the original from 1960 by Semie Moseley and Joe Hall. These guitars come in unique hues and at an affordable price for everyone.

The guitar has been redesigned with all of the characteristics. The have used cast alnico magnets and custom hot wound coils in the pickup design in place of the originals’ problematic components. These are quieter than the originals and may be used in high gain amplifiers without producing feedback squeal and hum.

Danelectro 64XT

Danelectro 64X

For any guitarist who wants a distinctive tone and eye-catching appearance, the Danelectro 64XT, Ice Gray w/ Marble Pickguard is a must-have. This guitar not only has a stellar reputation, but it is also creating waves in the market. It received Guitar Player Magazine’s Editor’s Pick award.


Harley Benton is living up to its reputation: it has managed to make the MR Modern and MR-Classic look and feel like a precious vintage guitar. Especially the MR Modern offers great value for money as it features locking tuners, a floating tremolo bridge and split pickups with many tonal options. Guitarists who want to keep their savings account intact and step off the beaten path with a fine guitar, after a good tune-up, can go for the MR-Modern and MR-Classic.

Harley Benton MR-Modern


Harley Benton MR-Classic

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Friso is as excited about playing guitar as the moment when he picked up the instrument for the first time, about 35 years ago. He is the founder of GuitarNeeds.com where he likes to share his knowledge about guitars, guitar gear and guitar playing.

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