Although Schecter isn’t as well-known as the dominant guitar manufacturers like Fender and Gibson, they have steadily amassed a loyal following since they emerged onto the scene.
It can be difficult to gauge whether the hype surrounding guitar brands is justified and whether their instruments are good.
This guide will present you with all of the information you need on Schecter guitars so that you can decide whether it’s a good idea to invest in one of their instruments.
Schecter Guitars – A Brief History
Guitar Repair Store Era
Schecter originated in 1976 when founder David Schecter opened up a guitar repair shop in California. He provided services such as replacing guitar parts, assembling pickups, and customizing instruments to musician’s likings.
This phase of Schecter’s history came to an end in 1983. During its incarnation as a repair service, it was frequented by some of the best-known guitarists of the era, including Mark Knopfler, Prince, Lour Reed, and Pete Townsend.
After being purchased by a group of Texas investors, Schecter delved into the world of guitar production. In 1984, they introduced twelve guitars and basses which were inspired by Fender designs like the Telecaster and Strat,
Lawsuits marred this period, and Schecter eventually was sold to a Japanese entrepreneur who also owned ESP Guitars at the time. This began their golden period, with guitars like the revered ‘S Series’ being introduced in 1995.
Throughout the late 1990s and 2000s, Schecter guitars were made in a factory in South Korea. However, in 2013, they returned to USA production for their flagship models, such as the popular C Series guitars.
They also began producing their range of amplifiers, which won many accolades upon their release.
Every guitar brand has their unique qualities which set them apart from the competition, whether it’s the smooth tone of a Fender, the exceptional playability of a PRS guitar, or the distinctive attitude of a Gibson model.
Schecter guitars also possess several inherent attributes which make them instantly recognizable and are largely responsible for their increase in popularity.
Build & Design
Once you get into the high end of Schecter’s guitar line, like the C-1 SLS Elite, for example, the build quality of these models is impeccable. They often use the ‘SuperStrat’ body type popularized by Fender.
There is a solid feel to Schecter’s guitars, which fills you with confidence regarding their longevity. After all, it’s inevitable that a rock guitar will be exposed to bumps and scrapes, so it needs to be robust to handle this.
The upper echelons of Schecter’s catalog perhaps don’t feature the same quality of components that a high-end Fender or Gibson guitar does, but that’s why they’re generally more affordable.
For the price, Schecter guitars are built to a very high standard. The joints are all sturdy, and there’s no doubt that their instruments are built to last.
Perfect for Metal
If there’s one style that Schecter’s guitars are associated with, it’s metal. The Hellraiser and Blackjack series are two of their most popular offerings that are ideally suited to the high-gain, energetic style of metal playing.
One thing that makes their guitars perfect for this genre is their active pickups, which combine with the design of the instrument to create high-octane tones. Then there are the fast-playing necks, which are great for tapping and shredding techniques.
Like all great guitar brands, Schecter isn’t limited to one style or genre. There are also many guitars in their catalog which encourage melodic playing and produce lighter, less heavy tones.
The PT Special is a good example of this, with its blend of single-coil and P90 pickups. These types of Schecter guitars are great all-rounders, so if you like to switch up your style frequently they’re worth considering.
From a design standpoint, perhaps the strongest feature of Schecter guitars is their necks. They tend to feel thicker than those of other guitar brands because Schecter commonly uses a wider nut width.
This results in a more solid, hands-on feel to many of their guitars. The chunkiness of their necks is great for expressive playing, and also makes it very easy to find your way around the fingerboard.
Indeed, there are some exceptions to this. Schecter also makes guitars with ‘thin C’ or ‘ultra-thin C’ profile necks, but they still feel thicker than their equivalents from most other manufacturers.
One of the best things about Schecter is its outstanding range of affordable guitars that are perfect for beginners. These models are made from less expensive materials than the high-end options, but they still produce good results.
They produce several affordable models which are great for aspiring metal guitarists. Many, like the Omen Extreme-6, use dual-humbuckers, which produce a thick sound that is perfect for shredding.
Although these guitars aren’t kitted out with flashy features and luxurious tonewoods, they still perform to a very high standard. The PT Special is a fine example of this, with its classic solidbody design and extra-jumbo frets for enhances playability.
The most abundant section of Schecter’s guitar catalog is their mid-range offerings These models provide the perfect medium between expensive, flagship models and guitars that are better suited to beginners.
Many of the mid-range Schecter guitars can compete with similarly priced Fender Teles and Strats in terms of tone and playability, which is a huge compliment to their quality.
The PT Pro is evidence of this, with its coil-splitting options and blend of accomplished tonewoods, including an alder body for extra resonance and quilted maple for a touch of aesthetical class.
In this price range, Schecter also produces some more traditional, vintage-style guitars. These models are great for playing genres like country or blues, thanks to their warm, immersive tone.
One particular guitar that embodies these qualities is the Traditional Van Nuys. The unique tonality and feel of this guitar are evidence that Schecter is not afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to designing their instruments.
Schecter’s selection of guitars is stacked with high-end offerings which combine exceptional tone, playing comfort, and aesthetics. There are so many great guitars at the top end of their range, that it’s hard to single out a few!
Although many of the high-end Schecter axes are designed predominantly for metal and heavy genres, some hybrid options can do anything you need them to, so if you’re a multi-faceted guitarist, they’re worth checking out!
Some of their guitars feature a unique thin ‘C’ wenge neck, such as the Sun Valley Super Shredder. This feature makes these guitars incredibly easy to play, especially for those who often play lead parts.
The higher up you go in the Schecter range, the better the onboard electronics tend to be. Schecter does design some of their pickups that are great for entry-level models, but it's common to find highly renowned choices like Lundgren devices on high-end guitars.
All of the pickups Schecter uses are carefully selected by their team of engineers to enhance the main qualities of the individual guitars. For example, the brilliant Banshee Mach-6 has two M6 humbuckers by Lundgren.
They’re also big fans of including coil-splitting on their guitars, which allows you to transform a humbucker into two single coils. This changes the sound of the pickup dramatically and is a pretty unique feature.
One of the aspects of Schecter guitars that doesn’t often get mentioned is their ability to produce some stellar clean tones. Perhaps their affiliation with metal and heavy gain is why this is sometimes overlooked.
Of course, it depends on the pickups and the style of the guitar, but in general, Schecter axes sound great when they’re played clean through a decent tube amplifier.
Schecter guitars flourish when they’re used with effects pedals, which might be of interest if you’re a pedal fanatic like I am! Gain-boosting pedals like distortion, fuzz, and overdrive go hand in hand with Schecter guitars.
Due to the reliable tone of their guitars, you can pair them with pretty much all types of effects and expect good results. Delays reverbs, and modulation pedals are all likely to sound great with a Schecter guitar.
Over the years, some fantastic guitarists have used Schecter’s instruments. This impressive list includes Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Pete Townsend from The Who, and Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple fame.
Although Schecter isn’t as well known as some other guitar manufacturers, they’re one of the best-kept secrets in the industry. If you give their guitars a try, I’m almost certain you won’t be disappointed by the value they provide.
Within their extensive range, there are guitars to suit all styles, genres, and ability levels. Their lower range is filled with great instruments for those just starting, or if you’re an accomplished guitarist you’ll enjoy the higher-end models they offer.