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This article was originally published in issue #15
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In the market for a no-nonsense shredder's delight? Schecter has long been one of the prime contenders in this demanding market. We gave Rick Graham two Blackjack SLS models to try. Go on, Rick - knock yourself out!
Schecter makes absolutely no bones about the market it is aiming with its distinctive guitars, giving them names like Hellraiser, Omen and Demon, so you'd be right in thinking that a Schecter is probably not what you'd have tucked under your arm if you were setting off for a gig at the local Jazz club. On the other hand, if you are a nu-metal head with a penchant for extreme gain, or a virtuoso shredder looking for an instrument to meet your high performance demands, things look very different indeed and these two Blackjack SLS models (it stands for Slim Line Series, by the way) certainly look the part! We were loaned two models from the range to sample the various options. Shred-tastic? Let's find out!
Schecter BlackJack SLS C1-FR-A-STBB
Keeping it in the same order as in our video review, we'll kick off proceedings with the Floyd Rose equipped C1. This guitar has a solid mahogany body with a carved flame maple top, and is a brand new addition to the SLS range. These now feature a thinner arched top body (45mm) for a lighter and more streamlined guitar. The C1 features a set neck, constructed from three-piece maple which, combined with the Ultra access neck joint shape, makes for a deadly combination for the discerning shredder! The neck is a two octave design with jumbo frets and the fretboard itself made of ebony. Just to add to the look of the thing, there's a very cool 'Hell's Gate Skull' inlay in mother of pearl at the 12th fret. Neatly finished it is, too!
The headstock though appears to have a slightly more rounded shape to it and as a consequence is a little more subtle and less threatening than other headstocks in the Schecter range. The tuners and Grovers and the pickups of choice for this model are Seymour Duncan Blackouts in both positions, which are active types. This model also sports a Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo system with locking nut and our review model is in the See Thru Blue Burst finish, which looks very nice indeed.
Schecter BlackJack SLS C1-P-SB
As previously mentioned, this model has exactly the same construction as our other review Schecter, so what I'll do is point out the differences in terms of the options. The first is the change of pickups. This model features a Seymour Duncan Full Shred Humbucker in the bridge position and a Jazz in the neck position. This time, both pickups are passive. This configuration also has a coil tap feature for that single coil sound. The other main difference is the TonePros TOM with Thru-Body bridge as opposed to the Floyd Rose and the use of Schecter locking tuners, in place of Grovers.
Having had a bit of a shred upbringing myself, I had a sneaky suspicion that I'd like these guitars before I even picked them up. Well, I was right. Starting with the Floyd Rose model, everything about this guitar made the playing experience enjoyable. The comfortable shape and surprising lightweight felt fantastic, while the slim neck profile made playing a breeze and the ultra access made it so easy to reach those higher frets without the worry of any sort of impingement to halt you in your flow.
Tonally, this guitar was very impressive indeed and sounded very resonant unamplified. Once plugged in it became a screaming monster with a big, fat juicy tone and incredible sustain. Tuning stability was exceptionally good and it stayed in tune after significant amounts of abuse with the whammy bar.
The hard tail version was equally as impressive and produced some fantastic tones, especially with the coil tap engaged. The passive pickups delivered a lower output, obviously, but the sound had a lovely clarity and warmth, endowing every note with tons of character.
Both guitars had been impeccably set-up and were simply a joy to play.
In conclusion, I think these are both fantastic guitars. Although they may be somewhat limited in their application, they are exceptionally good at doing what they set out to achieve - pretty much perfect candidates for the market they are aiming at. In short, they are very well made, highly playable and superb sounding instruments. Fantastic stuff from Schecter!