The Schecter CR6 may be in budget territory according to price, but it has features of a much more expensive guitar. Today we take a look at this budget shredder, and talk about what makes it a great choice.
Schecter CR6: A Best Kept Secret?
I looked around on the internet for a while trying to find some legit reviews and info on the CR6 yesterday, after I had the chance to play it. I figured there would be tons of people saying this guitar is amazing, and there would be choirs of praise for the Schecter CR6. Well, I was disappointed to only find a few mentions of this guitar. Schecter is notorious for not really advertising great guitars, for whatever reason. But then there are 5 star reviews all over the retailer sites, so I was confused after playing it for a couple of hours. Spoiler: It really impressed me!
Yes, we definitely talk about Schecter a lot here, and it would be easy to say that because I am a Schecter player, I have some kind of brand bias. But the truth of the matter is, we talk about Schecter for the same reasons we talk about Epiphone. These are great guitars that can take you from intermediate local gigs, all the way to festival stages. The price to value ratio is crazy high, and both Schecter and Epiphone can be upgraded easily. But you don’t have to upgrade these to rock the stage! That’s why we talk about them so much!
I play Schecter guitars exclusively, so I get try a lot of these guitars out on a regular basis. Now this also attributes the idea of some bias when it comes to these reviews, but there have been several Schecter guitars that I did not like at all. Particularly the SLS Elite 7 String guitars. There was nothing about that guitar that I liked! I didn’t like the neck, or the Fishman Pickups. But that’s okay, I don’t have to like everything the brand has to offer to be a Schecter player.
But then again, there are people out there that like the SLS Elite just fine, and in fact it is one of the best reviewed models. That guitar model was just not for me. Luckily, Schecter makes tons of different models and I think there is something out there for everyone. The NJ Traditional is a great example of how Schecter can make plenty of guitars that are not just made for shredders or metal players. But at the same time, Schecter does metal guitars really well!
Let’s not kid ourselves here, when guitarists think about Schecter the main model that comes up is probably the Hellraiser. The Hellraiser is the import edition of the “Sunset Classic” USA Custom Shop models. Guitars that carry this body shape are usually shortened down to the “C Series” for the classic body shape. So if you ever wondered where the “C” models name comes from, I hope this helps you out, because I was confused for a while on the naming system!
So that brings us to the Schecter CR6 that we are taking a deep-dive look at today. I can’t find out what the R stands for in the name, unless it’s because the Schecter CR6 shares some features with the Reaper models; burl tops, reverse headstock, slim bodies. Because the CR6 may look like one of the standard Schecter C1 guitars, until you actually pick it up and play it. There are quite a few differences!
What I found really strange, was the lack of reviews for these guitars. I have found some user reviews on guitar forums, and they seem to be selling really well according to our affiliates. But there are very few professional reviews out there. So even though this guitar has been out now for about three years, I think it deserves some time in the spotlight. Mainly, because it is deceptive in appearance. It looks very simple and barebones but there are quite a few cool features that are easy to overlook.
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to features. Time to dive in!
Schecter CR6: Features And Specs
The Schecter CR6 may look a bit spartan upon first glance, and that’s a pretty fair assumption. It may be fair to say that this guitar is built for a specific type of player, and that would be fair as well. This is a stripped down metal machine that is built for shredding. It also comes in a Floyd Rose version, but the ones that I got to test were all fixed bridge. So while it may look a little bare and sparse, this affordable guitar is more versatile than you would think.
The CR6 is a step above the new Omen Elite models, but still similar. From the front, the CR6 looks like so many of the other C Series guitars, but this one is pretty special. The Schecter CR6 has quite a few features that you won’t find on other Schecter C models. It also comes in lefty models! But let’s go over the basic stuff first before we take a deeper look.
- Mahogany Body
- Poplar Burl Veneer Top
- Three Piece Maple Neck
- Wenge Fretboard
- Carbon Fiber Truss Rods
- TUSQ Nut
- Ultra Thin C Neck
- 24 Extra Jumbo Frets
- Reverse Headstock
- Bolt On Construction
- Schecter Apocalypse II USA Pickups
- Three Way Switch
- Coil Split Knobs
- Hardtail Bridge
My main three studio guitars are all a C Series. The Demon 7 and The Hellraiser get the most recording time so I am pretty familiar with the C shape body style. The Schecter CR6 is totally different with the body style, starting with being a lot thinner. There is no arch top like the usual C shape guitars, and this is much closer to the Reaper line. It’s almost a hybrid of the two guitars, mixing aesthetics of both body styles to make the Schecter CR6.
Personally, I really like the slim body, and it makes the guitar weigh much less! The front of the body has a beautiful Poplar Burl veneer that looks awesome, and a lot deeper and 3D than most veneers. The back is all natural Mahogany wood, though. I think this is super attractive and the diverse woods means that every guitar will look completely different and unique. The body has all of the usual cutouts for comfort, and a subtle black binding. Speaking of comfort…
The neck is one of the best Schecter necks I have ever played, which is weird considering the price. They call it an “Ultra Thin” neck, but it still has little bit of heft to it. If anything, it reminds me a bit of an Ibanez Prestige neck, and I am not kidding when I say that its THAT comfortable to play. The fretwork was really well done, and there wasn’t any fret sprout on the three guitars I tried. The 5 bolt neck heel is also much like an Ibanez, and you have access all the way to the 24th fret.
The back of the Schecter CR6 is an all gloss finish, but the neck is satin. This adds so much to the playability for me since I am one of those “sweaty hands” guys. The flat radius is designed to be able to fret chords comfortably, while also being able to play super fast up and down the neck. The Wenge fretboard looks really great, and has the same qualities as rosewood to my eyes. the offset inlays really make the neck “pop” with personality.
The headstock is angled back, but don’t fear, the Schecter CR6 has a solid volute to make sure the headstock doesn’t break off (Looking at you, Gibson!). The tuners are in house branded and look like Grover, but they work well and aren’t “grainy” or difficult to turn. I thought that these CR6 models came with locking tuners, but this is one of the features that remind you this is a budget guitar. The reverse headstock is a nice touch, and some people prefer it for down tuning, since you have a little bit more room for string tension. The TUSQ nut is a premium feature, and helps you stay in tune.
The bridge is solid, and it is a “Hipshot style” with rounded shoulders. The thing I like the best about these kinds of bridges is that you can palm mute without the saddle screws pinching your hand. This is because these style bridges have a metal “surround” that encases the string saddles. Two of the models I played were set with a low action so the saddles were super recessed and totally out of the way when playing.
The electronics are insanely good for the price, and this is where the value really starts to show. The Schecter Apocalypse II pickups are the newer version of the USA pickups that unfortunately don’t have the cool see-through bobbins. But what they do have, is TONE. These are supposed to be super high output according to the Schecter USA website, but these are also very clear sounding. The pots and wiring are also top-notch, and I was surprised to see 500k CTS pots inside the control cavity.
The Apocalypse Pickups are a big selling point for this guitar, and their construction is definitely not something you see everyday. These pickups are Alnico V based, but they have Ceramic magnets mixed in on the flanks. This is pretty unique, and it makes for interesting blends of sound. Alnico V is a powerful magnet made for clarity, while the ceramic additions are bright and mid-scooped. At 14k, these are high output and you would expect something like an Invader kind of tone. But this magnet combo is special, and not what I expected at all.
The Schecter CR-6 has the looks, feel, and sound of a guitar designed to catapult your playing into a whole new stratosphere. The Apocalypse-II pickups deliver a crushing mid-range while maintaining a tight, focused, and articulate response, designed to shake the ground you stand on. The volume/(coil split)/tone 3-way switch controls allows you to maximize all of the tonal capabilities these bone crunching pickups offer and with premium-grade CTS potentiometers!
The neck position has a full tone with lots of bass response, but also features some great high end that pokes through. It sounds really smooth clean, and under high gain you can get a sick lead tone. Like always, I rolled off the tone knob a little bit to see if I could get that signature creamy tone, and the Schecter CR6 delivered for sure. Coil split mode was impressive as well. The coil split doesn’t quite get you that single coil Strat tone, but it does give you another option for dialing in some cool sounds. Smooth is the best adjective for the neck pickup.
The middle position is often overlooked on most dual humbucker guitars, and that’s really unfair! Even though these are high output, in the middle position the pickups sound really pretty for clean tones. If you use the coil split option in this position, you have another really amazing clean tone to work with. The coil split kind of gives you an acoustic sound, which is great for open chords. Under high gain, I think it works for a warm lead tone as well.
The bridge pickup is a total BEAST. It has the power of a scooped ceramic pickup that is made to chug, but then the Alnico magnet makes the tone have clarity. So you get the best of both worlds when playing high gain power chords. However, complex chords sound out of this world since the string to string clarity is dialed in so well. You can hear every note in a chord, even through a cranked BOSS Katana on the “Brown” channel. It almost sounds like an EMG pickup to me, and that’s mind-blowing on an affordable guitar.
Both pickups have this crazy magnet combo that I wasn’t too sure about at first. But the best comparison I can make is they sound like a less compressed version of the EMG 57/66 set. There is of course, a bit of natural compression that happens with any high gain pickup. But the biggest shocker is the fact that these don’t have the same problems that a lot of high output pickups have, which is sounding brittle and “pokey”. These are warm, but they cut hard, and that’s a rare quality in any pickup much less a stock set.
I was not prepared to be so impressed by the Schecter CR6, but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that these guitars were going to be closer to the Banshee Extreme guitars that are about $500 MSRP. While I think the Banshee Extreme is a great guitar that plays well above it’s budget, the Schecter CR6 is absolutely next level. The quality in all departments is just a step higher than the other affordable models.
Schecter CR6: Final Thoughts…
If I had to record an entire song with only one guitar, and I had the CR6 as my only option…I would have no issues at all. There are more than enough tone variants to be had with this guitar to make it a monster in the studio. Between the useable split coil tones, and that beast of a bridge pickup, you could record some killer tracks. I would something like STL and be able to do a whole song without crossing frequencies and sounding rough.
Guys, I know I sound like a Schecter shill at this point, but this is honestly a great guitar that can do all kinds of different tones. If you are stepping up from beginner status to intermediate, this may be the perfect choice for you. This has totally different quality than any beginner guitar would ever have. It’s affordable enough for the masses, but good enough for a pro. Much like several other Schecter guitars that I have reviewed, I plan on buying one of these now. I sold myself on this one, but really the guitar speaks for itself.
Do I have any complaints, or is it all just heaping praise? Well, I do have one complaint, and it could have been solved without upping the budget too much. The tuners should be locking on this guitar. Schecter makes it’s own brand of locking tuners these days, and it would not be much of a jump in price to include them. I mean, this is an easy upgrade that you can do at home, but it should be included. Especially since it comes with a TUSQ nut, the locking tuners would complete the tuning stability.
Other than the tuner preference, I honestly have zero complaints. This is a great guitar for the studio or the stage, and it can definitely be used in a professional environment. This feels like a high end Ibanez to me, and I played Ibanez for quite a few years. I would love to have one of these for recording, because there are so many tones that you can get when it comes to high gain. The bridge pickup is something I would use for overdubs because it has so much “oomph”. But that can easily translate to the stage as well.
So whether you are a seasoned pro, or you are stepping up to your first real “nice” guitar, the Schecter CR6 will fit the bill all day. I suppose I have to start figuring out which color I want, since I will definitely be buying one!
Is The Schecter CR6 Worth It?
Definitely! This may be an affordable guitar, but it has plenty of professional appointments. Especially the TUSQ nut, Apocalypse Pickups, and beautiful Poplar Burl finishes. Schecter really excels when it comes to price versus quality, and the CR6 is no exception.
Does The Schecter CR6 Come With A Case?
It does not come with a case, but it will fit in just about any Strat style case, or the official Schecter Universal Case.
How Many Colors Does The Schecter CR6 Come In?
4 so far. Aquaburst, Auroraburst, Charcoal, and Dark Cherry Burst.
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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