Schecter Guitars have a long, rich history that goes beyond just making guitars for Metal. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about Schecter, so you make an informed purchase!
Schecter Buying Guide
Schecter Guitars: An Introduction To A legacy!
Schecter guitars have been a staple of the guitar community for a very long time, but many people only associate the brand with “Heavy Metal Guitars”. I have played Schecter exclusively for quite some years now, and while the brand does make some over-the-top “Metal” models, there is much more if you dig just a little bit.
That being said, Schecter Guitar Research does have a rich roster of artists that play heavy music. Schecter likes to associate with Heavy Metal bands, and even uses some “horror movie” titles to name the different models. You have titles like “Omen” or “Hellraiser” when it comes to the guitar model names. This is perfect actually, since heavy music, and dark imagery usually go hand-in-hand!
Schecter really became popular when the band Papa Roach started playing the guitars in MTV videos in the early 2000’s. This gave the Schecter Diamond Series the boost that it needed to become mainstream. Now, those Diamond Series guitar models are sold all over the world, at all major retailers.
These Diamond Series import models, are the main focus for Schecter Guitars as a company. Since these guitars are available all over the world. They also have various price tiers for these models. This means that Schecter has something to offer when it comes to budget guitars for beginners, but also have more professional-grade instruments as well.
Schecter may make many import models, but it also offers USA Custom Shop guitars as well. These can be custom ordered, or be “USA Production” instruments. The USA shop does not do mass production, however. Currently, Schecter only produces about 15 guitars a month, with a small team of professional luthiers. The import Diamond Series is what you are most likely to see in stores.
Schecter makes a lot of different types of guitars for the Diamond Series. These range from popular “classic” styles, all the way to more unique “exclusive” styles. The last 5 years have been very important for Schecter, as the company has offered more variety than ever. There is something for everyone, and today we will go over the difference in price tiers, models, and guitar types.
I think it is very important to dispel the rumors, and any stereotypes that Schecter may have attached to the brand name. I have seen the memes, and heard people make fun of some of the “edgy” guitar models. Schecter Guitars has so much more to offer than that, and the quality is very high across all price tiers. But first…
Schecter Guitars: History
The modern Schecter team is much different from where the company started. These days Michael Ciravolo is the president of Schecter Guitar Research, and he is a guitar player himself! Michael likes to try out new stuff all the time, and he is responsible for the company’s direction for the last 25 years. But he started out as just another employee, working for David Schecter in Van Nuys.
The history of Schecter Guitars begins in 1976, with David Schecter. The company was founded out of necessity actually, and offered replacement parts for big name manufacturers like Fender and Gibson. David offered a lot of different products from his workshop in Van Nuys, California.
- Tuning Machines
- “Hot Rod” Parts, Modifications
This was because buying replacement parts for the major brands was often difficult. Even if you could get a replacement neck for your Fender, for instance, your options were limited. Eddie Van Halen had sparked an interest in modifying your guitars, and this became a huge trend in the 80’s. David Schecter made tons of parts to make your guitar a “Super Strat”.
Contrary to popular belief, Schecter never directly supplied parts for Fender or Gibson in an official capacity. David Schecter offered over 400 different parts at the height of the company, but none of them were specifically licensed to any major brand. The parts fit the popular brands, but Schecter was an entity alone.
At this point, Schecter was not making, or building full guitars in any capacity. The workshop was making parts only, and while this very successful, Schecter wanted to branch out. Many famous guitarists had been buying parts from Schecter, so during the 80’s the business model changed.
Schecter started offering full, complete guitars built to mostly Fender spec in 1979. These first Custom Shop offerings were very high quality, but also very sparse. The original Schecter guitars were only sold at 20 different retailers across America, and they were very expensive. But many famous artists took notice, and bought these guitars to use on tour.
Everyone from Prince to The Cure wanted to use Schecter guitars, and the company was at maximum capacity by 1983. The Custom Shop could no longer meet the demands of the customers. In 1983, the company was bought by some Texas investors that wanted to expand the company. Schecter had a reputation for high quality, and attention to detail, and these investors wanted to capitalize on that brand recognition.
This moved production to Dallas, Texas for a few years. Schecter announced a huge lineup of 12 guitars and basses at the NAMM Show in 1984. The most popular model was the one based on the Telecaster, which Pete Townsend (The Who) played on tour. These guitars were very well made, and are still sought after today.
Up until this point, Schecter and Fender had an amicable relationship, since Schecter had only been making Fender parts. However, Fender noticed that Schecter had used some trademarked designs with these new models that had become so popular. Specifically the headstock designs. This resulted in a lawsuit that has never been made public, but it lead to the Schecter closing the doors in 1987.
The Texas Investors were left with a popular brand name, that could no longer sell the instruments that made the company famous. The investors gave up, and decided to sell the brand name. The Schecter brand was sold to Hisatake Shibuya, a Japanese businessman and entrepreneur. Shibuya owned the legendary Musicians Institute in California, as well as ESP Guitars.
Shibuya moved the company back to California, and put emphasis on sales of Custom Shop guitars again, devoting all efforts to producing high-end guitars. But at this point, it is important to note that these were still modeled after Fender guitars, specifically the Stratocaster. This was all that Schecter had to offer until 1996, when Shibuya asked Michael Ciravolo to become president of the company.
Did You Know?
Schecter Guitars was one of the first companies to offer coil split/coil taps! You see them on humbucker equipped guitars all the time now, but it was not so common 40 years ago. Dave Schecter started this when he made “prewired sets” that were custom made for dual humbucker guitars! It is still a staple of the brand even today, as most models offer a coil split option.
Michael had a much different approach to the brand, and has even stated on record that he is not a fan of “making Stratocaster guitars” primarily. Michael spent the next year trying to distance Schecter from Fender designs, and make the brand something totally new. Since Michael was a musician himself, he had tons of connections in the industry, and he could get these new guitars into the hands of artists.
This meant reaching out to the newer generations of artists, to see what kind of designs guitarists would be interested in and want to play on stage. Michael made some interesting models that catered to bands that played heavier music. Most notably White Zombie and Stone Temple Pilots. Schecter Guitars were going to have to go in a different, and new direction to stay relevant.
Because of this, the guitars that were made between 1996 and 2000 are highly sought after by collectors. These Schecter Guitars were some of the best that the USA Custom Shop ever made. Some of these were made for artists, but some were also sold on the public market. If you can find one, buy it!
But the guitars were still very expensive, and Schecter Guitars didn’t want to be know as a brand that only rich musicians could afford. Michael Ciravolo ended up meeting with some overseas manufacturers to see if the high quality that Schecter Guitars is known for, could be replicated at a lesser cost to the consumer. World Music Instruments in South Korea was up to the task, and imports began production in 1998.
These few models were based on the same new USA models, just made in Korea. They included the popular Avenger, Hell Cat, Sunset, Hollywood Classic (C1), and Tempest models. Schecter Guitars also included the A-7, one of the first affordable 7 string guitars. In 2000, Schecter released the now famous “C1” guitar, which was played by Jerry Horton in Papa Roach videos on MTV.
This was a huge turning point for Schecter Guitars, and through the 2000’s the company sold so many import guitars under the Diamond Series brand name that the Custom Shop received and upgrade in 2012. This added 14,000 square feet to the Custom Shop, and allowed the company to make the new USA Production Series. Making guitars to customer specs, but also USA versions of Artist models.
Focusing on the Diamond Series has remained the primary business model for Schecter Guitars, and it has worked out very well for the company. The Diamond Series import models are still the most popular guitars that are sold, but the USA Custom Shop has also been very busy! New models comes out every year, spanning all kinds of genres and styles.
Schecter Guitar Types
Variety really is the spice of life, and when it comes to Schecter Guitars, there is plenty of spice! Schecter has just about every shape and style that you can imagine, and some that are totally original. There are only so many shapes that you can make a piece of wood into, and it still be a functioning instrument.
Like Harley Benton, there are plenty of familiar shapes to choose from. These are classic designs that most guitarists prefer to play. They say the classics never go out of style, and those kinds of guitars are available. But where Schecter Guitars really shines is the features that are offered for the cost.
Schecter offers all kinds of pickup upgrades, and professional-grade hardware. Even the more budget-friendly models receive a good bit of attention when it comes to features. This attention to detail and features are what sets Schecter apart, at any price tier.
Even the entry-level models offer some great features that assure you won’t “grow out of your first guitar” too quickly. The most important part of the lower price tiers is the inclusion of extended range instruments. From the absolute bottom tier, all the way to the top, you can get 6,7,8, and even 9 string guitars.
Schecter Series By Price: Understanding The Tiers
Like most companies, Schecter has a wide array of guitars that come in all kinds of shapes. The build quality and features are what dictate the price. Unlike some companies like Gibson who have Epiphone as the “budget brand”, Schecter is all under just two brands; The Diamond Series, and the USA Production Guitars.
But the Diamond Series guitars all have a price tier, set up by name. These names as we discussed earlier are usually references to horror movies. The name will dictate what price bracket the guitars belong in, and the quality goes up depending on the series. What is are, is that Schecter is one of the most “lefty friendly” companies, with all models having a left handed version.
So we can break down the entire price tier by starting with the lowest priced guitars, and move our way up. The only subset of guitars that is different, is the artist models. Those can vary widely in price, but usually start around $700. So here is a breakdown of the models currently available for 2022, starting with the least expensive/cheapest:
- C6 Standard/Deluxe: These are bolt on guitars, available in 6, 7, and 8 string models. They come with stable, albeit generic hardware. No upgrades. These are bare bones guitars. Comes in many colors.
- The Demon Series: These are still sold, but I believe they have been discontinued. These have active pickups of Schecter design, and some choice name brand options for under $500. 6 and 7 string models available.
- The Omen Series: Also bolt on constriction, this is where the uptick in quality starts to show. These have nicer inlays, and better attention to detail. Limited finishes.
- Omen Elite/Extreme Series: Like their less expensive counterparts, these are bolt on guitars. This where the finish options change, and you get better quality hardware like Floyd Rose Bridges. Comes in 6 and 7 string models, including multi-scale.
- Platinum Series: These come in a wide array of finishes, with matte silver hardware and matte paint. These models also feature a pair of EMG 81/85 active pickups. Platinum models feature Grover Tuners as a standard feature as well.
- The Damien: Originally part of the Platinum Series, the Damien is known for the “Bat Inlays” on the neck. These come in 6 and 7 string models, including multi-scale and Floyd Rose options.
- The PT Special: This is a stripped down, Telecaster shape. These bolt on guitars come in several finishes, with fast/slim necks. Many pickup options.
- Sun Valley Super Shredders: Like the name suggests, these are stripped-down shred machines. They feature EMG pickups with a Sustainiac option, Floyd Rose bridge, and two shapes.
- The Reaper Series: These are the first neck-thru guitars in the price tier. Featuring colorful Poplar tops, Floyd Rose and Sustainiac options are available. Comes in 6, 7, and multi scale string styles.
- The Corsair: These semi hollow guitars are throwbacks to 50’s style Jazz boxes. They come with a fixed bridge or Bigsby option.
- The PT Fastback: The famous PT shape, with dual humbuckers and tons of upgrades. Mainly the pickups and Bigsby.
- The C1 Exotic: These have the popular C1 body style, but made from exotic woods like Ebony, and Spalted Maple. These feature locking tuners, a 5 piece neck, and a Gotoh Trem system.
- The Traditional Series: Paying homage to the original Schecter guitars, these are Strat and Tele shapes with a flat, fast neck. The feature Roasted maple, TUSQ nuts, and locking tuners.
- The C1 Hellraiser: These guitars come in a fixed bridge or Floyd option. These are neck-thru construction, with all the bells and whistles. Featuring EMG pickups, and Abalone binding. This is the longest running production model. Comes in 7 and 8 string, and “Hybrid” models.
- The Solo II: Based on the famous single cut guitars, these are dual humbucker beasts with an ultra fast neck, locking tuners, and USA pickups. 6 string options only.
- PT Pro: This is a dual humbucker PT model, with USA pickups, locking tuners, and a shred-friendly neck.
- The Banshee GT: This is a slimmed down C1 shape without an arch top, with dual EMG pickups, racing stripes, and Floyd Rose Bridges. Ebony fretboard, and Grover tuners.
- The Ultra II/Ultra Cure: These offset guitars are based on the popular shapes of the 60’s. They feature USA pickups, neck-thru construction, locking tuners, and many other options.
- Silver Mountain/Apocalypse Series: Some the “best of the best” models. These have USA pickups, several options, tons of finishes, acid etch finishes. and name brand hardware. 6, 7, 8, Floyd Rose and multi-scale options available.
- SLS Elite And Evil Twin: Also at the top of the range, these feature slim 5 piece necks, Fishman pickups, and all name brand hardware. 6, 7, Floyd Rose and multi-scale options.
Artist Models Pricing
Artist models can be a little more complicated than the Diamond Series. These are still technically a part of the Diamond Series, since many are made overseas. Artists like Keith Merrow and Nick Johnston have both Diamond Series models, as well as USA Custom Shop counterparts.
The pricing on the Diamond Series really can be all over the place, and it will depend on the model and the features. The Keith Merrow KM-7 MKIII for example, can be up to $1800, and has the same features as the USA counterpart. Nick Johnston models on the other hand, are usually under $1000.
So the Diamond Series models that are Artist guitars, can be a little confusing when it comes to the pricing. But Schecter Guitars is a company where you “get what you pay for”, so when the price goes up that usually means the features are better.
Are Schecter Guitars Affordable?
The short answer is yes. Especially when you look at the Diamond Series guitars, which a good portion of models can be had for under $1000. Due to the current economic climate, every guitar company had to raise prices in 2020. Schecter tried to keep the price increases to a minimum, since the whole idea is to have a professional guitar for a good price.
The tiers that we described above are all based on the features and quality of each guitar series. For example, a guitar that has neck-thru constriction, premium woods, and name brand hardware is going to cost more to produce. The prices you get as a customer reflects those features.
That being said, Schecter Guitars are known to be a good value for the features that you get. There are very few companies that offer the kind of features that Schecter does, for guitars that are under $1000. The guitars the go over $1000 usually have all kinds of upgrades:
- Name Brand Hardware: Floyd Rose 1000, Tone Pros, Hipshot
- Locking Tuners
- Name Brand Pickups: Schecter USA, EMG, and Fishman Fluence
- Premium and/or Exotic Woods
- Neck-Thru or Set-Neck Construction
- Stainless Steel Fret Options
- TUSQ or Ernie Ball Compensated Nut
- Custom Neck Profiles
But even the lower end of Schecter guitars, like the Demon Series that we so highly praised on our review, is a great buy. For example, I added some locking tuners to that Demon model, and now it is one of the main guitars in the studio. It gets used all the time by myself, and clients alike!
I see many affordable Schecter guitars out in the wild, on stages and in YouTube videos. I think that really says something about a company, when accomplished artists can use your lower priced guitars just as well as the high priced ones. The quality is there, from the top to the bottom.
Where Are Schecter Guitars Made?
Schecter Guitars are sourced from three major manufacturers, two of which have been used for decades. Schecter USA makes all of the production models that come out of the Custom Shop. This is a small operation, and while the Custom Shop got an upgrade in 2012, the team is still limited. For example, a company like PRS Guitars makes 400 guitars a month in the USA Factory!
Schecter Guitars do not put out anywhere near that volume. During a factory tour, Schecter has stated they can do about 40 guitars a month at the very most. yet we rarely see that kind of output. These USA Series guitars are painted by a small team, and all the finishing is done by one or two people. The USA Guitars are still a good deal, starting where the major brands start in price, around $2500.
The Diamond Series Guitars are different, and the high end models are made in Korea at WMI (World Music) while lower priced models are made in Indonesian facilities. The lowest models in the price tier, such as the simple C1 models, have been known to be made in China.
The Korean World Music Factory is known for putting out some seriously nice, quality instruments. It has been called the “New Japan” since the quality is so high. Lots of other brands like ESP/LTD also use World Music for the high-end models. These usually cost over the $1000 price point, and have superior workmanship and features.
However, Indonesia is no joke either, and the PT Cort Factory makes PRS Guitars, as well as many Schecter models. Indonesia has been called “the New Korea” since the quality of the guitars has only gone up over the last 10 years. Cort manufactures dozens of brands, and has separate factories for each brand produced.
Schecter may be using some of the other Indonesian factories as well, other than Cort. It can be hard to track down, because the facilities are usually scattered geographically. The quality coming from Cort, Yamaha, and many other Indonesian factories is remarkable, though. Indonesia has caught up with Korea, and the quality really shows.
Schecter Guitars: Quality And Reputation
Schecter has a reputation for producing very good quality instruments, for a fair price. Along with ESP/LTD. Schecter is known to make incredible instruments for a budget price, highlighting modern features and brand name components. This is because most of the guitars are made by CNC machines these days that do the heavy woodwork, then finished by hand.
Schecter has mostly moved away from the Chinese Factories, because there have been some quality control mishaps in the past. My Demon Series guitar used to be made in China, but the one I have now is Indonesian made, and the step up in quality is apparent.
The most important part of any Schecter Guitar, is the treatment it gets before it gets shipped to retailers. Even the lowest priced Diamond Series gets checked in the USA before it gets shipped to retailers like Guitar Center. If you have ever purchased a new Schecter, you will see a sticker on the back that says “Quality Checked and Set Up To Play!”
The Quality Control Department opens every guitar before it ships out. It doesn’t matter which retailer you buy the guitar from, even if you buy directly from Schecter. The guitars are checked, and signed off on before they are repackaged and sent to dealers.
So that means that Schecter Guitars go through two full stages of QC! They go through the factory quality control, which is pretty good in both Indonesia and Korea. But those facilities really only have about 10 minutes per guitar, to check them out. Korea is the best, and they take more time per guitar than the Indonesian factories. But the sheer volume of guitars being made, makes it impossible to spend more than a few minutes checking each guitar.
Once they ship from the overseas factory to America, the Schecter USA QC Team then gives it a second look. The USA team has more time to address issues that might have been missed by the factories. The guitars can also shift due to weather conditions when they are shipped from Korea or Indonesia. Schecter can then fix any issues that happened during shipping such as “fret sprout” or truss rod adjustments.
I have personally purchased 6 Schecter Guitars. All of the guitars arrived to me in “playable condition” right out of the box. This includes the models with Floyd Rose bridges, and each one was intonated well. The all required minor tweaks to become “perfect” for me. The one that I had trouble with, was purchased from a place that had obviously stored the guitar in a warehouse for an extended period of time. Once it was setup, the guitar was fine.
Schecter Guitars prides itself on this quality control process, and it is a fundamental part of the brand’s reputation. You will see many reviewers talking about the build quality of Schecter guitars, and the attention to detail that goes into each instrument.
Schecter Guitars are one of the only companies that offer a left handed model of almost every production guitar. Even the Diamond series has a vast array of choices when it comes to lefty guitars. Schecter tries to offer lefty models in more than one finish option, which is rare from any guitar brand. Schecter is almost always mentioned when it comes to left handed guitar communities, since every model can be found in a lefty version.
Schecter is also one of the only brands that offers 7 string guitars in baritone scale length exclusively. This is deliberate, and a signature design feature of Schecter Guitars. Most other companies offer 7 string guitars in standard scale: 25.5. All Schecter 7 string guitars, even the budget models, are baritone scale: 26.5. This ensures that the bottom string has enough tension, plays more smoothly, and stays in tune better.
So Schecter Guitars are a pretty safe bet when you are purchasing a new guitar. Customers that are loyal to Schecter, know what they are going to get when they open the box. There are always some QC issues that slip through the cracks, but Schecter is very good at fixing issues and making the customer happy.
On more than one occasion I have had a Schecter guitar arrive for review that was missing something. Every time that I have contacted the company, the customer service has been stellar. Schecter is known to ship you any missing parts, or replacements for damaged parts if you have an issue with your guitar.
Are Schecter Guitars Good For Beginners?
We have already talked about the many different price tiers that Schecter Guitars has to offer. These prices reflect the features more than the quality when it comes to Schecter Guitars. Pictured above is the budget friendly Omen Elite model. We named this guitar one of the “best buys” for 2022, because of the quality and features.
Schecter guitars are great for beginners that want to spend a little more on a quality guitar, but still remain in the “budget” price tier. We are going to use the Omen Elite model as an example for this section, because it offers a lot for the price tag. If you want to go lower, then the Schecter C6 guitar models are also very good, even though they are at the bottom of the price tier.
When buying a beginner guitar, it is good to stay under the $500 price point, especially if you are not sure if you plan to continue playing guitar. But the thing about beginner guitars, is they are meant to be a step process. You buy a cheap guitar first, and then as you learn more and understand the basics, you move on to a more expensive model that suits your needs.
I tell my students that this is ok, but once you hit the “intermediate” stage of playing guitar, you will want something better. I think you should buy a good “midrange” guitar that can grow with you. The Omen Elite for example, is a “budget” guitar I own and enjoy very much, even though I have almost 30 years of guitar experience!
Schecter guitars does not offer any cheap, $100 guitar models like some other brands. This is part of the company’s business model, and even the low priced C6 Deluxe models are very good quality. The C6 is very bare bones when it comes to features, but it is a great beginner guitar. All of the parts can be upgraded as well, so it can “grow with you” as a guitarist.
Schecter Guitars are great for beginners, especially if the player knows that they want to play Rock or Metal music. Since even the C6 Series has big frets, two humbuckers, and a slim neck. These are all things that make the guitar easier to play. Check out this review of the lowest priced Schecter C6 guitar, by a professional musician:
Schecter Guitars: Woods And Materials
Schecter Guitars is know for using Mahogany as the primary wood for bodies, and use a lot of Maple/Roasted Maple for necks. Over the last few years, the company has really expanded, and use a variety of premium woods as well. As of 2022. the materials list has expanded to include many more wood options across all of the models:
- Swamp Ash
- Poplar Burl
- Flamed Maple
- Black Limba
- Quilted Maple
- Purple Heart
- Roasted Maple
- Canadian Maple
Many of the lower priced guitars that Schecter offers can cut costs by being bolt-on construction. Bolt-on guitars are much easier to produce since the guitar body and neck are two different pieces. Some models, like the Hellraiser And Platinum Series offers a “set neck” construction, and while this is still two pieces it looks like one piece, seamless piece when you add the finish.
Where the construction really shines is on the higher-end models. These are often neck-thru construction, and can be very labor intensive. Neck thru guitars mean that the body and the neck are all one long piece, adding “wings” to form the rest of the guitar. The 2022 Rob Scallon Signature is a neck thru construction, as seen below:
When it comes to the other materials that you find on Schecter Guitars, you also get better fretwork and inlay material as you go up the price tier. The more expensive models mostly feature stainless steel frets, and Abalone binding. Stainless steel frets is one of the most sought-after upgrades in the electric guitar market, as they require less maintenance than regular nickel fret wire.
The use of exotic woods is something Schecter has been testing the waters with over the last few years. For example, the Koa Series. The Sun Valley Super Shredder Series also used some exotic woods like Black Limba and Zircote. Since these woods all have naturally different grain patterns, every guitar is unique.
When it comes to finishes, Schecter uses Nitro for most of the USA Custom Shop guitars. The Diamond Series has a vast array of wood finishes that include: Reign Acid Etch, Matte Finish, High Gloss, Satin, and Pearl. The Diamond Series guitars also offer many different types of binding, from traditional to beautiful Abalone.
Pickups And Hardware
Schecter Guitars is known for using some of the best pickups and hardware available, and even make some of the pickups in the USA Custom shop. Beyond that, Schecter is also partnered with big brands like EMG Pickups, Fishman Fluence, Lundgren, and Sustainiac. As of 2022, Schecter is the only major company to offer mass produced guitars with the Sustainiac Pickup System.
The Sustainiac System replaces the neck pickup and allows you to hold a note literally forever, since it works like an E-Bow, magnetically vibrating the strings. Many of the budget models will feature EMG Pickups. As you climb higher in the price tier, you also start to see Fishman Fluence Pickups, and well as Lundgren Pickups. These brands are all well-known in the world of guitar for their quality, and are popular with Metal guitarists.
The USA Custom Shop makes many different sets of pickups that were based on legendary designs. The Super-Rock, Sunset, and Pasadena Plus pickup sets are all based on Tom Anderson’s designs. Dave Schecter and Tom Anderson worked together for several years, and Anderson makes very high end pickups. Schecter still uses many of his original designs for humbuckers.
When it comes to guitar hardware, Schecter is partnered with Floyd Rose, Grover Tuners, Hipshot, Graph-Tech TUSQ, Ernie Ball, and Tone Pros. Schecter is unique when it comes to the relationship with Floyd Rose, as Schecter offers many different types of the bridge and even a “Hot Rod Special” designed especially for Schecter Guitars. This special version of the Floyd Rose has upgraded parts to stainless steel, so they will not wear out.
Schecter Guitars come equipped with Ernie Ball strings from the factory, but the relationship with Ernie Ball also includes nut technology. The Ernie Ball “Compensated Nut” can be found on many Schecter models, and it helps to keep your tuning stable. The Compensated nut also allows precise intonation.
The relationship between Grover Tuners and Schecter guitars is a very long one, and some of the first Schecter guitars featured these tuners. Most are the standard 18:1 gear ratio, and you will find Grover tuners on most Floyd Rose equipped models. Schecter makes a proprietary locking tuner for many other models.
These relationships with big brand name companies accomplishes two things for Schecter guitars. First, you know that you are getting a quality product like Floyd Rose, and not some imitation. Second, if you need to replace a broken part, it is much easier to find a replacement. You will never wonder what part you may need for your Schecter guitars, since they are widely available.
Schecter Guitars: Body Shapes
Schecter guitars have a lot of different shapes, and some of them are unique to Schecter exclusively. certainly, you can tell where many of the shapes are derived from, when it comes to classic shapes and designs. The picture above has the shapes that most series use, and some are a series themselves.
Schecter guitars are probably most known for the C1 shape, and many models from the cheapest to the most expensive use the C1 shape. The C1 is a standard double cut design, that looks familiar. But the C1 is unique since it usually has an arched top, like a Les Paul. The C1 also features cutaways on each horn, and this can be seen on the Hellraiser, Omen, and Damien series guitars.
But the C1 is also used for the semi-hollow electric guitars, and can also be found in the Exotic Wood Series. The C1 is such a versatile shape, and can be made as a 6, 7, or 8 string guitar. The C1 put Schecter Guitars on the map, and the brand is constantly doing something new with the C1 shape when it comes to features!
The PT and Traditional models are more like the original Schecter guitars that were based on fender designs. But if you have a good eye, you will notice some very important differences. For example, the knobs are further away than on a Stratocaster, and the input jack is on the side instead of the top. The modern updates and features set these models apart from the Fender models.
The E1 and Solo II guitars are inspired by Gibson designs, but again, these have been updated with modern features. Like the body have a belly cut, and more contours. The E1 is also larger than its Gibson counterpart, and some of the angles are much different. Both models also have a volute on the back of the neck joint/Headstock, to avoid the “headstock break” problem that plagues Gibson guitars.
The Tempest, Avenger, and Reaper series are all exclusive to Schecter guitars. These are designs that came about in the 90’s when Michael Ciravolo took over the company. He wanted to have some very original eye-catching models to go with the more “standard” looking C1 guitars. The Reaper is the newest addition, and takes cues from modern guitars like Strandberg, with matte Poplar Burl tops.
All of these shapes can be found in the lower range models, but the shapes are also used for the more expensive SLS Elite and Apocalypse Series. So if you like the features that the SLS Series has to offer, but you don’t want the standard C1 body style, there are so many other body shapes to choose from in the SLS Series. The same can be said for the Apocalypse Series, which features all body styles.
Not listed in the picture are the more “retro” guitars that Schecter also makes. These include an offset guitar called the Ultra. Robert Smith has been using the Ultra models for years, and has a signature called the Ultra Cure. You also have the jazz box styled Corsair Series, which are a modern take on the 50’s semi-hollow guitar shapes.
Schecter Guitars also offer these different shapes in Artist Models, as well as the USA Custom Shop. Sometimes this is because the artists started by using the production versions from the Diamond Series. This was the case with Nick Johnston, who had been playing Fender guitars until Schecter sent him a Traditional Model. Most artists that have a signature model, started by playing a production version!
Who Are Schecter Guitars For?
Schecter Guitars are very popular in the Metal guitarists community, since many of the Artists play that kind of music. But Schecter has been branching out, and going back to its roots over the last few years, offering Strat Style and Tele Style guitars at a fantastic price point.
There is a misconception that “Schecter only makes Metal guitars” that has been a subject of debate among the guitar community. Nick Johnston however, really turned the company around when he designed his Strat-Style signature guitar. Nick has since released a Telecaster style model as well, taking Schecter back to its roots.
So there is really something for everyone when it comes to Schecter guitars. Any guitar from the middle of the price tier and up is more than suitable for professional guitarists, but also appeals to the hobbyist. There are many professional guitarists that use Diamond Series Schecter guitars, and you see them everywhere from local bands to the guitarist for American Idol.
Schecter also offers more guitars in the extended range category than most companies. This means most models will have a 7 string, or multi-scale option and many will even have an 8 string available. You can find extended range guitars in all of the price tiers that Schecter has to offer, and the USA Custom Shop Keith Merrow 7 string models are something to behold.
Almost every guitar range in the Schecter catalog also offers you several types of bridges, like Hipshot, TOM, and Floyd Rose. Not everyone wants to have a trem system on their guitar, so many models come with both a Floyd and Fixed bridge option. This includes the extended range guitars as well, with many 7 string models offering a Floyd Rose.
Beginners, intermediate players, and even professionals use Schecter Guitars. This is a testament to the quality and features that Schecter has to offer. I have personally played Schecter guitars for almost 5 years now, exclusively. Schecter has outstanding customer service, and most professional artists have been with the brand for a long time.
Popular Schecter Artists:
- Nick Johnston
- Keith Merrow
- Aaron Marshal (Intervals)
- Avenged Sevenfold
- Rob Scallon
- Jack Fowler
- Machine Gun Kelly
- Zakk Wylde
- Tosin Abasi
The Schecter Artist Roster is way too long to post here, but these are some of the more famous players. Keith Merrow in particular has one of the best-selling models. Zakk Wylde teamed up with Schecter to make Wylde Audio, and Tosin Abasi also makes guitars with Schecter under the ABASI name.
While it may look like a lot of heavier music is what Schecter Guitars is all about, artists like Nick Johnston joined Schecter after leaving Fender. You also have Robert Smith from The Cure, who has used Schecter Guitars for decades on and off, and now exclusively. Studio musicians also seem to favor Schecter guitars, since most models are so tonally versatile.
Schecter Guitars: Considerations (Cons)
For the most part, Schecter have a very good reputation with guitarists from all walks of life. Schecter has worked over the last decade to erase the reputation that the company had for making “gaudy Metal guitars”. This reputation came from some of the more over-the-top models that were from the early days of the Diamond Series. These days, Schecter is more refined when it comes to appearances.
Schecter Guitars has really pushed to restructure the brand name, and offer more than just flashy Metal guitars. So far, the plan has been working. If you still want one of the flashier options, then Schecter definitely still makes those guitars. But you can also get more traditional options now with a more subtle, understated appearance.
Most reviews for Schecter guitars are positive if you dive into all of the different retailers. That being said, no guitar brand is perfect, and mistakes do slip through the cracks. Particularly when Schecter first moved some models to the Indonesian factory. This was about two years ago, and the issue has been addressed.
That being said, there have still been a few problems with the Indonesian factory recently. I have unfortunately experienced this first hand, when a guitar I ordered arrived with the Floyd Rose Studs crooked. They could have been mounted that way, or it could be the retailer’s fault. Either way, they are sending me a new guitar. Though, it is backordered and I am still waiting.
This backorder situation has also been a problem for Schecter guitars lately. Many models have been out of stock, and this is very much due to the pandemic of 2020. Many guitar companies are trying to catch up. The problem with Schecter scarcity as of 2022 is the partnerships, since they use so many brand name parts. Floyd Rose, and EMG pickups also had a hard time during the pandemic.
Schecter has said that 2023 will be a better year, and models are being built to restock as we speak. This is good news, and with our relationships with online retailers, it seems to be true. Guitars have become “back in stock” for the last few weeks at most retailers.
Some bad reviews that I have seen come from the guitar not being setup properly out of the box. With almost every guitar you receive, you can expect to do some minor setup tweaks. Schecter has the “set up to play” sticker on every guitar, so if one arrives with a poor setup, I can see why a customer would be mad.
PRS makes the same claim, and sometimes weather and transport can affect the setup. This is part of buying a guitar, unfortunately. Wood does shift, and shrink when it is in transport. It also depends heavily on how a retailer stores the guitar. Always buy from a trusted Schecter retailer.
That being said, if you do have a problem, if the retailer is no help then Schecter does honor the Lifetime Warranty with all instruments. If you receive a Schecter guitar with an issue that cannot be fixed, or a defect, Schecter guitars will honor the warranty. I have had no issues with the warranty service, and the customer service reps are all very professional.
Like any guitar company, there are good guitars that are made, great guitars, and then some “lemons”. Sometimes a lemon will slip through the QC somehow, and get to the customer. This happens with every guitar company, and there are plenty of “lemons” from every major brand that does mass production. But all in all, Schecter has a great reputation for quality, on any budget.
Older Schecter Guitar Models Not As Good?
Although most of the reputation that Schecter has tried so hard to avoid has been rectified, some of the older models will show where the reputation came from initially. Once you have a reputation, it can be hard to change people’s minds, especially in the world of guitar. If we go back to the mid-to-late 2000s, we can see what people were complaining about.
Older Schecter guitars that had maple necks for instance, were all dyed to a “vintage yellow” kind of color. In retrospect, these necks would have looked better if they were left alone, just a standard maple color. Schecter has since fixed this issue, and no longer dyes the necks.
The other issue that many people complained about with older models involved the neck designs. I have played some older Schecter guitars, and some of them did have a very thick neck. This was even more apparent when you compared them to say, an Ibanez guitar. The neck carves were often bulky, and this really showed on the 7 string models in particular.
That being said, neck shapes are very subjective. Personally, I like a fatter neck on most of my guitars. But I do understand the complaints from customers expecting a more “shred” style of guitar. Schecter Guitars started to correct this around 2010. The necks became slimmer, and the extended range necks got extra attention from Keith Merrow. The Schecter KM7 is now widely regarded as one of the most “perfect” 7 string guitar necks on the market.
The final complaint that many people had regarded the weight of the guitars. I own a 2008 Hellraiser model, and it is one of my favorite guitars. That being said, it is eight pounds of pure mahogany. Some of this is due to the Floyd Rose, but the rest is the wood itself. This is another issue that Schecter has corrected, but some of the older C1 models are extremely heavy!
The older models also featured gothic crosses, and other appointments that seemed aimed at youth, to be “edgy” in appearance. Schecter still does this to some extent, especially using horror movie titles for model names. On a personal level, this is what attracted me to the brand in the first place. But I can see why it may turn some people off at first glance. There are plenty of models that feature more “plain” designs now.
- Schecter C7 SLS Elite
- Schecter Guitar Research Demon-7
- Schecter Guitar Research C-8 MS Silver Mountain 8-String Multi-Scale
- Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder Exotic Hardtail
- Schecter Van Nuys
- Schecter KM-7 Lambo Green
- Schecter Hellraiser FRS
- Schecter Nick Johnston HSS
- Schecter Nick Johnston HSS
- Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder
- Schecter Nick Johnston Lefty
- Schecter CR6
- Schecter Guitar Research Jack Fowler Traditional
- Schecter Guitar Research Machine Gun Kelly PT
- Schecter Guitar Research Machine Gun Kelly PT
- Schecter Guitar Research Solo-II Supreme Cat's Eye Black Burst
- Flamed maple top with a mahogany body
- 3-piece mahogany neck in a thick “C”-shaped profile
- Ebony fingerboard with mother-of-pearl line inlays
This is a fully upgraded, ready for battle 7 string! Featuring locking tuners, premium woods, compound radius, and Fishman Fluence Modern pickups! This is the perfect 7 string for shredders looking for the best of the best.
Ready for your most face-melting riffage and heaviest down-tuned rhythms, the extended-range Schecter Demon-7 is loaded with their Diamond Active pickups, perfectly voiced for aggressive playing. With the famed Schecter C1 body shape, a fast maple neck with smooth wenge fingerboard with gothic cross inlays, the Demon 7 is a great budget shredder!
When six or seven strings won't suffice, reach for the Schecter C-8 MS Silver Mountain. This 8-string extended range guitar is geared for high output metal, but is formidable regardless of genre. The mahogany body pairs with a 3-piece mahogany neck that's reinforced with carbon fiber. The profile is a thin C-shape; the ebony fretboard has a 27–25.5" multi scale with long lasting stainless steel frets. An ultra-access neck heel puts every fret within reach.
The Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder Exotic electric guitar blends the best of throwback styles and modern playability for ultimate shredding potential. It features corrosion-resistant stainless-steel appointments and an eye-catching black limba body/zircote. The wenge neck has has an ultra-thin profile for high-velocity soloing. The 12”-16” compound radius ebony fingerboard is outfitted with 24 extra-jumbo frets and the 25.5” scale neck offers an ideal amount of string tension to accommodate lower tunings.
The PT Van Nuys from Schecter is a lean, mean rock ‘n’ roll machine with its own modern twist. Equipped with a calibrated Schecter USA SuperRock Vintage pickup set, the PT Van Nuys delivers a sweet mix of definition and power for a range of tones from rich and brilliant to overdrive with a little more bite.This Schecter Custom Shop Quality on a budget!
The Schecter KM-7 is an absolute beast of a guitar, and it has every feature a 7 string player could possibly want. featuring a KM Fishman Fluence pickup in the bridge, and a Sustainiac in the neck, you have all kinds of tones to choose from. The sleek neck has a compound radius that was made to be a shred machine.
The ultimate shredder's axe! This is the best of the best when it comes to Schecter Guitars! This guitar has a proper Floyd Rose, and EMG 81 pickup in the bridge, and the amazing Sustainiac system. Featuring a thin and modern C-shaped neck that plays itself, and beautiful abalone binding and inlays.
The Schecter Nick Johnston Traditional HSS brings new punch and potential to Johnston’s beloved guitar model at a budget price. The Schecter Nick Johnston Traditional features a 14” radius roasted maple neck carved to his signature “C” shape, outfitted with a 25.5”-scale roasted maple fingerboard, brass circle inlays, locking tuners, and 22 extra-jumbo frets. This is a tone machine!
The Schecter Nick Johnston pairs classic looks with modern day features. The Schecter NJ is designed to be a speed machine that cleans up as nicely as it roars!
This awesome 80's/retro inspired guitar is loaded with everything you need to shred. Active EMG Pickups, Bolt-on construction, and a Floyd Rose 1500 bridge. Start shredding!
Nick Johnston is world-renowned for his impeccable musicianship, stellar performance, as well as his beautiful Custom Shop Schecter Guitars. And now, for the first time ever, Schecter’s new Left Handed Diamond Series Nick Johnston Traditional delivers many of the specs of Nick’s signature axe at a price point that is accessible to working musicians.
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!
Featuring dual Pasadena pickups, this is NOT your typical "Traditional". Locking tuners, a TUSQ nut, and a bridge that can dive AND stay in tune! Extra Jumbo frets and a great neck make this a shred machine!
Locking tuners, TUSQ nut, and a no frills single pickup setup. This guitar is ready to rock.
Locking tuners, TUSQ nut, and a single humbucker in the bridge. This is all you need to rock!
Buying Advice: The BEST Schecter Guitars
This is a tough topic to cover, since I have played almost every model, and I really honestly love them all! But I have to be unbiased here, so I went to see what the most popular reviews were from all kinds of sources. These are the ones that I have found that have the most appreciation from the general public, and had the best reviews in general.
#1. Nick Johnston Traditional
Yes, The Nick Johnston Traditional looks a lot like a Fender if you just take a quick look at it. But once you play it, you will know that this is a guitar that is very much unlike a Fender. I have owned mine for a year now, and it is one of my favorite guitars. If you want these to “do the Fender thing” when it comes to sounds, they will deliver that in spades.
But the neck sets this guitar apart from anything that Fender has ever made. It has a flat radius, and thin C shape, and jumbo frets that feel like a shredder guitar! But it sounds like a much more vintage guitar. Some people call this the “Poor Man’s SUHR” and I can see the comparison. It melds the old with the new in many ways.
The trem system is the best I have ever used outside of a Floyd Rose, and it stays in tune perfectly. This is because you get a TUSQ nut, locking tuners, and a well made bridge. I have played the USA Custom Shop version of this guitar, and the much cheaper Diamond Series is very close in quality!
#2 The KM6/KM7 MKIII Series
These are metal machines, designed to be fast and slick. The Fishman Signature Pickups deliver great high gain tones, but also clean up really well. You would probably never imagine a guitar with a single knob would be so versatile! The body is made of a thin, but lightweight Swamp Ash, with neck-thru construction. The Burl tops look incredible, and each one is unique.
The neck on the Keith Merrow guitars is the real star of the show. I appreciate the 6 string variant, but the 7 string model is one of the best necks I have ever played. It has a thin C shape, that manages to be thin without giving your hand any cramps like an Ibanez. This guitar is an absolute monster, and there are too many upgrades to list here!
The KM Series does come in at the top of the price bracket when it comes to Schecter Guitars. But that is because every part is name brand, and the construction is the best that Korea (WMI) has to offer. You will be hard pressed to find anyone that has purchased one of these, and did not enjoy it.
#3 The Sun Valley Super Shredder Series
The Sun valley Super Shredder Series comes in at the mid-tier of the price points, but it still has a ton of features to offer! These come in lots of cool colors, and all feature EMG or Schecter USA pickups. These guitars are based on some of the 80’s “Super Strat” style guitars. They are stripped down, and ready to shred!
These also feature the Sustainiac Pickup System as an option on all models. Otherwise, you get the EMG Retro Active Series, that mimic the “Hot rod” PAF tone from the 70’s and 80’s. The newer Exotic Wood SVSS Series feature USA Schecter Pasadena Plus humbuckers. Either way, you get a monster set of tones to play with!
The neck on this guitar is one of the best that Schecter makes. It is slim, but still has a rounded “C” carve, that allows for super fast playing. The necks are also fitted with jumbo frets that make bending a breeze. The Floyd Rose system has been upgraded with Stainless parts, like the screws that are prone to stripping on the base model. These are great guitars, and are ready for the stage!
#4 The Solo II Series
Upon first glance, it can be easy to write this off as a Les Paul copy from the picture above. It certainly may look like one, but it does not play like one at all. Gibson would never make a guitar like this! These are made like a Les Paul, with a set neck and all Mahogany construction, but the comparison ends there.
You have locking tuners, a TUSQ nut, and the hardware is all made by Tone Pros. The pickups are the Schecter USA Pasadena Plus, and these absolutely roar in this guitar. These can be coil split as well, and the single coil tones sound great for a tonal shift. If you want it to “do the Les Paul thing” then it will definitely do that too.
But the upgrades that you get, are design details that Gibson would never do. Design details like a volute on the back of the neck, so you never have to worry about a broken headstock. The neck is also slimmer than anything Gibson has to offer, and you get a 12-16 compound radius that is built for speed. The jumbo frets also feel better than a Gibson, which uses classic smaller fret wire.
But something else that has caught my attention with every variant of this guitar, is the quality of the construction. These are built like a tank, when you pick one up it just screams “quality”. If you look on YouTube, there are many people saying this is better than a Les Paul. I tend to agree, and I plan to add one to my collection!
Honorable Mention: The Schecter Hellraiser FR-S
This is my personal guitar, and it is my #1 in every way. I have 6 different Schecter guitars, and I like them all for different reasons. But this is the one that I pick up first, every single time. The FR-S in the name stands for “Floyd Rose-Sustainiac” with all models of Schecter guitars.
This was my first real experience with Schecter Guitars too! I had played Ibanez and PRS for my whole career. I got this guitar in a trade, and honestly thought I would sell it and make a profit. But I fell in love, and while some people do think the Abalone is a little garish, I love it.
The Hellraiser is one of the longest running series of Schecter Guitars in the C1 family. It has been around since 2006, and Schecter Guitars released it as the “flagship model.” The original Hellraiser models came in 6 and 7 string models, and the design has not changed at all since 2006! The Hellraiser is still one of the best selling models today, and it was the guitar that professionals started using, like Jeff Loomis.
This was the absolute best that the Diamond Series had to offer. It has a “real” Floyd Rose, the Sustainiac System, and an EMG 81 in the bridge position. The set neck construction allows the guitar to have no neck heel, so you can get all the way up to the 24th fret with ease. The arch top and body contours are all top notch.
The neck is the “Thin C” shape that all other Schecter Guitars feature, but this was the original. It feels a lot like a Fender in many ways, but it is thinner and more sleek with jumbo frets. The neck is what sold me, and I will hold onto this guitar forever. It feels like a custom guitar, built for me. Most of my Schecter guitars are the C1 shape, because I loved the Hellraiser so much.
All of that being taken into consideration, this model is also what got Schecter Guitars in the reputation of making “gaudy metal guitars”. I does have Abalone, and EMG pickups, and the gothic inlays. So if that is not something you like, then the other guitars above are much less flashy.
I just wanted to add this to the list, since it is such a great guitar, in every model type. It also comes in a fixed bridge option, with dual EMG pickups that have a coil tap. The Hellraiser is still at the top, and remains one of the best-selling of all Schecter guitars.
Schecter Guitars Buying Guide: All You Need To Know!
We hope this Schecter Guitars guide gives you all you need to know to make an informed purchase. Schecter is a great company that we personally endorse, but no one is perfect. Every guitar company makes mistakes, but it is how the company handles the situation. Do they address the issues?
Schecter is a trusted company as far as we are concerned, that offers some amazing guitars at a fair and budget price. Even the high end KM7 MKIII models are under $2000, and they look and feel like a Custom Shop instrument.
We give Schecter a 9 out of 10 rating for quality, customer service, features, and variety.
- Schecter Guitar Research Omen Elite-6 Floyd Rose
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- Schecter Guitar Research Omen Elite-6
The Schecter Omen Elite-6 FR electric guitar takes stunning looks, high performance playability and tone, and packages it into an incredibly affordable price. This Schecter Omen Elite-6 with Floyd Rose takes a poplar figured burl top and pairs it with a lightweight mahogany body, providing a rich and complex combination of warmth, resonance and sustain.
The Schecter Omen Elite-7 7-string electric guitar takes stunning looks, high performance playability and tone, and packages it into an incredibly affordable price. It features a poplar figured burl top combined with a lightweight mahogany body to provide a rich and complex combination of warmth, resonance and sustain.
The Schecter Omen Elite-8 Multiscale is sure to turn heads and steal the show with looks that kill and amazing appointments. The 25.5" – 27.5" multiscale neck is constructed from maple shaped to a thin “C” profile and reinforced with carbon fiber rods for extra stability. Its 20” radius rosewood fingerboard is outfitted with 24 jumbo frets. This is coupled to a mahogany body with a beautiful figured poplar burl top and a neck joint specially contoured to allow easy access to the upper frets.
A maple neck with rosewood fretboard, thin C neck shape, 14" radius, 25.5" scale length and 24 extra-jumbo frets is built for speed, tone and effortless playability. Lightning fast runs, arpeggios and hammer-ons have never been easier. Pearloid line fretboard inlays give a touch of class to this otherwise menacing machine.
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar, bass, and piano for 28 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. Chris has toured for years with several bands and music projects across the United States. He worked in Los Angeles as a studio musician and engineer working with many genres, but mainly Pop, Rock, and Metal. In between giving private lessons, he is usually recording under his various projects at home in Georgia. Christopher plays Schecter Guitars, BOSS Amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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