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Sound Quality

The Southern Belle is a Tele-style guitar, one volume, one tone, a 3-way switch and two p-ups. I will admit that at some point I will want to try some different p-ups in it, but not yet. The 'Belle' certainly attains the 'quack' tone that Tele players rave about, and covers a lot of ground reasonably well.

Reliability/Durability

Form, fit and finish were surprisingly good for an inexpensive instrument. Setup was acceptable (every player has their own idiosyncrasies about set-up, be it string height, neck bow, string arc, etc.) so with some minor adjustments to suit me, we were riffing away in ten minutes or so. Guitar feels solid, hardware looks reasonably durable. Time and hard gigging will tell.

Price/Value

These retail at the HLK site for ~$200 [also on Amazon], no case or gig bag. Occassionally they offer  online discounts, of which I took advantage[25%!] Note that the instrument is slightly longer than a standard Tele, and case fitting is tricky due to that. What you get for that price is surprisingly well detailed. One color only, black matte, and that is the body, neck and headstock. I would stack the 'Belle' up against pretty much anything coming out of China these days under $300. Neck feels great, frets are trimmed correctly, strings are decent quality, plays good right out of the box.  Tuners nd bridge feel solid enough, and the nut is slotted correctly.

General Comments

HLK has been around for a number of years and I ordered this guitar on a whim, as I had never seen one or tried one, but for the price with discount offer, there was no reason not to try it out. I have never owned a Tele, but have played a number of them over the years; I know how one should feel and sound, and the 'Belle' is right there. I'm not going to pretend this is as good as a 'real' Fender MIA, but for a copy axe, for the price, I think it beats the Squiers, Xavieres, etc., overall...did I mention the neck inlays?


Reviewer's Background

Been playing guitar and gigging  over 40 years, own several Gibsons, Fender, Guild, Martin, Epis, etc. and some custom made guitars as well. The name on the headstock means less to me than the feel, tone and over all mojo of a guitar.


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