Schecter Tao Series Review: The John Browne Signature We have ALL Been Waiting For!

Schecter Tao John Browne Monuments

The Schecter Tao is the newest signature model, set up to John Browne’s specs From MONUMENTS. We have all been itching to see what Schecter and John were up to, and we finally got the chance!


The Schecter Tao: It Has Been A Tease…

The band Monuments has been around, and making waves for quite a while now. They came around during the time that Periphery, Animals As leaders, and many other bands from the “New Wave of Progressive Metal” started to make their mark. But guitarist John Browne has proven to be a mastermind of down-tuned guitar, and his brutal yet melodic riffs put Monuments on the map.

John had been using Mayones Guitars for quite a while, and while the brand makes some stellar instruments the prices usually leave out the “everyday player”. Mayones is a specialized company that makes gorgeous custom shop creations, but cost quite a bit of money. His signature guitar with Mayones has been popular, but mostly inaccessible for the general public. You can’t GANK unless you pay up!

Like a lot of us, John Browne has a YouTube channel and he is obsessed with guitars and gear. Over the years he has praised Schecter Guitars for the quality and features that the brand has to offer. John even added a few to his personal collection after checking them out for reviews. As a Schecter fan, I certainly don’t blame him!

Recently, he had released some playthrough videos of a Schecter guitar that looked a lot like the KM Series. Schecter fans all over social media shared screenshots of the guitar, thinking that maybe it was just a “one off” guitar. Others speculated that John had moved to being a Schecter Artist, and they were right! The Schecter Tao Series was announced right after the video leaked.

There has been a huge migration of artists lately in the Metal genre moving over to Schecter. Aaron Marshall from Intervals recently made the switch, as well as our recent review with Jack Fowler. So why are these artists leaving other companies to move to Schecter?

That’s an easy question to answer, they want the fans to be able to buy the signature guitars. But Schecter is also known for making quality instruments, and that goes hand in hand with the customer-friendly prices. So people like John and Aaron can now get their signature guitars into the hands of regular guitarists that could never afford the expensive models they previously played.

These are big moves for Schecter, and it seems like the brand is making some great choices for the 2023 lineup. Schecter has often been called “gaudy” or silly because so many of the guitar models give off an “edgy” vibe. But Schecter is moving in a brand new direction, while staying focused on the needs of the modern Metal player.

We got to check out the new Schecter Tao 6 string, and if the entire series is anything like this…we all should start saving up our money right now!


Schecter Tao: Features And Specs

Schecter Tao

I am sure that Schecter is more than happy to have John Browne on the Artist Roster. But the thing about all of these artists moving away from expensive custom guitar brands, is that Schecter has to compete with that kind of quality. These are the same guitars that John will use at home for his projects, so they have to meet some high standards.

I am happy to say, that the Schecter Tao looks deceptively simple, but it packs some quality. It is almost a blend of the KM Series, USA Custom Shop, and The Reaper Series that we recently checked out. The Schecter Tao looks like something straight out of the custom shop, but the price is well under custom prices. The specs are outrageous for this beast:

  • Comes in 6, 7, and 8 String Models
  • Swamp Ash Body
  • Flame Maple Veneer
  • 5 Piece Neck: Wenge And Padauk
  • Thin U Neck Profile
  • Ebony Fretboard
  • 16” Radius
  • 24 Extra Jumbo Stainless Frets
  • TUSQ Nut
  • Luminlay Fret Markers
  • Hipshot Grip Locking Tuners
  • Hipshot Fixed Bridge
  • Push/Pull Coil Tap
  • 3 Way Toggle
  • Schecter USA Colossus Humbucker (Bridge)
  • Schecter USA Chaos Breaker Humbucker (Neck)

The Schecter Tao might as well be straight out of the USA Custom Shop with these features. This thing is sleek, and I think I like it just as much as the Keith Merrow Series. Every aspect of this guitar has been upgraded, continuing a trend for Schecter. So far, all of the high-end guitars that have been released recently have been 100% upgraded with hardware and pickups.

Unfortunately, we only got to try the 6 string version out this time around. But if we get our hands on any of the other models, we will definitely update this article. The 7 and 8 string variants share the same features as the 6 string, so if this one is great, I think it is safe to say those will be also.


Schecter Tao 6 String: Out Of The Box

For those of you that are new to how we do things, we always do a first impression right out of the box with guitars. This includes the setup, and an overall inspection of the instrument. We look over everything in great detail.

Right out of the box, the finish is much brighter and richer than what any of the photos have shown. I have been keeping tabs on this guitar since it was announced, and the moment our affiliate got one I rushed over to see it. The Flame Maple veneer is like most Schecter models, and it has a real “3D” look to it. Purple is my favorite color, this shade in fact, exactly.

I was told that I cannot take the sample home, which is good. I would have broken out my wallet immediately. Spoiler alert!

Schecter Guitar Research John Browne Tao
$1,599.00

The Schecter Guitar Research John Browne Tao-6 signature guitar is sleek and sexy with a killer instinct. Flawless in every way the Tao-6 comes loaded with Chaos Breaker neck and Colossus bridge pickups, which are sweet, articulate and punchy. 

I could not find a single flaw, and that is saying a lot since there is no binding to separate the colored top from the unfinished body. You can tell that the body was at least two pieces, but it appears to have a veneer on the BACK of the guitar as well. It looks book-matched? The all satin “feel” is awesome.

The Body is a lot like the Reaper Series, and it is super slim and surprisingly lightweight for a Schecter. WE measured just over 7 LBS. The contours are all fantastic, and the heel joint gives you plenty of access to the upper frets. You get the feel of a neck thru guitar with the options that a bolt-on supplies. It certainly feels a lot like some of the Custom Shop guitars.

The Neck is a 5 piece, and the raw feel of the Wenge is something that I have come to really appreciate with Schecter. The frets were perfect, and we checked both for high frets as well as any fret sprout on both sides. It needed a slight turn of the truss rod to get the neck straight, and the string height was set to exactly 1mm on the low E string. I would lower it slightly considering the radius, but this is not my guitar (unfortunately).

The Hardware is all Hipshot, and I have come to really appreciate most of the Hipshot products. I have the open gear locking tuners on my personal guitar, the Omen Elite 7. The tuners are all perfect, and very precise just like my own set. The Hipshot bridge is something I have become accustomed to as well, and I love how compact and “out of the way” this bridge is when it comes to playing.

Usually I have a complaint in this section, even with Schecter! But I went over the Schecter Tao with the most critical eye possible, and I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. The guitar was even intonated out of the box, and other than the slight truss rod adjust (probably due to the psychotic weather) I didn’t have to do anything to this guitar to get it playing. Maybe the messy paint in the pickup routes (see below)?

I would love to point out a flaw if I could. Trying to capture the true color, and just how nice the top of this guitar looks in person is almost impossible. The combo of the light raw wood back, dark neck, and bright purple Flame Maple is just stunning.

Schecter Tao

Schecter Tao 6 String: Playing And Review

If I am being completely honest with you, this neck on the Schecter Tao feels a whole lot like the neck on the Reaper Elite Series we looked at last month. The thin U profile seems a little slimmer maybe? People that are familiar with Ibanez Prestige necks will be right at home with this guitar.

That being said, the neck is extremely fast. I play in the classical position most of the time, and this neck just feels so unobtrusive. Like, it works as a perfect thumb rest for gliding up and down the neck playing scales. I wish I had the Reaper still, so I could compare both. But they seem very similar when it comes to feel and carve.

The neck “reveal” carve on the headstock is one of my favorite touches when it comes to Schecter design. I believe I first saw it on the standard Reaper guitars, and now on the Schecter Tao. You can see all of the pieces that make up the neck on the headstock. The TUSQ nut was cut perfectly, and it fits into the slot without any overhang or “poking” your hand when you play an F chord.

Some people prefer to have fret inlays, but personally it doesn’t bother me if they are there or not. I use the side dots mostly when playing. The stainless steel frets were all perfect, and I have decided that from this moment on…I am exclusively a stainless steel fret guy. The string just glides when you do a full step bend, and the Schecter Tao feels so effortlessly smooth to play.

The Colossus bridge pickup is a total monster. I maxed out the gain on both the 5150 and BOSS Katana Amp that we frequently use, and the sound remains crystal clear. I would compare these to something Bare Knuckle would make, which is a huge compliment, Schecter. There is no flub in the low end, and no spiky treble either. Just a super-tight midrange focused sound that is highly articulate across every string.

The Chaos Breaker neck pickup is more bass heavy, but it still remains very articulate. It makes lead tones sound really smooth, without the need for a tone knob. This is a bit weird for a guy that always uses his tone knob, but it didn’t bother me at all. This pickup really shines when you use it on clean tones. Again, there is plenty of articulation without any of the annoying treble frequencies or booming bass.

Coil split/taps are usually something that I can live without, since they never quite get the tone right. Strangely enough, you CAN get some really solid single coil tones out of the Schecter Tao. They are awfully close in both positions to sounding like the real thing. There was also very minimal volume loss on the clean channel. I suppose that is because these pickups are pretty hot in design, to get the articulation.

I would honestly buy these pickups if Schecter offered them for sale. They are close to my Pasadena Plus USA pickups that I have in my E1 Koa guitar when it comes to performance. Again, usually I have some criticism here. There is usually something about playing ANY guitar that I don’t like, or could do without. There’s usually some type of constructive criticism that I give a company.

I honestly don’t know. I cant find any fault in the Schecter Tao. Maybe if it had a Floyd Rose Bridge I would say it was the perfect guitar. But honestly, I think this is about the best that Schecter and Korea could possibly have to offer under $2000. This review section is usually longer, but this guitar is pretty much perfect for any Metal guitarist. I don’t know what else to say about the Schecter Tao!


Schecter Tao 6 String: Wrapping Up…

So, I never outright tell anyone to “go buy this guitar” in a review. Sometimes, I will mention that I bought one myself, because it is that good of a guitar. I’m going to change that today for the first time ever: Go buy this guitar. Pre-order the Schecter Tao now, and the first shipments are looking like the end of February 2023.

I mean, the Schecter Tao certainly wont fit everyone’s standards. It has a rather spartan design, and not a whole lot of special features under the hood. But if you play heavy music professionally, or in the studio and you like purple? Then yeah, this would be a killer guitar for you.

I cannot wait to get my hands on the Schecter Tao 7 string, and I have already started saving up for it. The combination of the amazingly articulate pickups, and super thin neck make this guitar an absolute shred machine. I can only imagine the same quality will carry over to the 7 and 8 string models.

The Schecter Tao was something I was already excited about. I love this direction that Schecter is going and I hope that more artists from the Progressive genres start moving over. I think that Schecter is absolutely killing it right now, especially with extended range guitars. Companies like Ibanez should start to worry, because Schecter just got classy.

The Schecter Tao Series should ship to dealers in mid to late February, so go ahead and pre-order!

Schecter Guitar Research John Browne Tao
$1,599.00

The Schecter Guitar Research John Browne Tao-6 signature guitar is sleek and sexy with a killer instinct. Flawless in every way the Tao-6 comes loaded with Chaos Breaker neck and Colossus bridge pickups, which are sweet, articulate and punchy. 

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