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This article was originally published in issue #43
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For some reason I still think of Schecter as being one of the new kids on the block, but the company is actually just heading into its 40th year of business! Now well established, it has built up quite a roster of high profile artists over the years including Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Nevermore, The Cure and many more. Just reading those names you start to get an inkling of the demographic for Schecter guitars and it's true to say that when I think of them, I automatically think Rock. Which brings us to this review of the new for 2016 C-1 Custom. I say 'new for 2016' as this is in fact a new version of an old and well established design from Schecter, having originally appeared way back in 1999. Doesn't time fly...?
Pulling it from the case the styling instantly backs up my “Rock” comment above, it looks cool, very cool! From the headstock to the fretboard markers everything is just a bit different and unique, but never odd, lovely contours on the body finished in a stunning Natural Vintage burst. It was also light, and if you have ever read any of my other reviews then you will know that I think this is a good thing, back saving aside, light guitars just sound better. (Ducks for cover from a flying Les Paul...).
The three piece mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard was a pleasure to play. At a 12”-16” compound radius, thin C shape and 22 X-Jumbo frets it felt comfortable and effortless. A nice big cutout for the lower horn and ultra access neck joint made upper fret access a breeze, the set-up was spot on, nice and low but with no fret buzz or intonation issues. It's clearly set-up to be a shredtastic guitar and it does that very well. Schecter has opted for a mahogany body with a quilted maple top on this model. The maple adds a little zing and as the body and neck are the same material you get tonal continuity, the wood choice once again pinning down the Rock character, delivering a tight bottom end, with scooped mids and just enough top to make things cut through.
The body with its arched quilted maple top was super comfortable, feeling small and unobtrusive, oh, and did I mention it was light...? A fixed TonePros string thru body bridge on this model keeps everything in place and in tune, helped also by the Schecter locking tuners and Ernie Ball compensated nut, which is cut specifically to the scale length, with different break points for each string, making chords perfectly in tune anywhere on the neck. This set-up makes it a riffer's dream. You can really dig in and down tune with no concerns about things going out of tune, the same being true for Yngwie style vibrato and bends, once the strings are bedded in, this thing is as stable as anything!
The C-1 uses two Schecter USA Pasadena humbucker pickups with a three way selector switch. These are great and further reinforce this guitar's intentions. The bridge pick up is bright and cutting, while the neck is mellow and scooped for smooth lead lines, while mixture of the two gives you a fairly decent clean tone. The Tone control is also a push/pull type, meaning you can split the humbuckers. These are cool as they are intended to give you an all-round guitar, but as is the case with most of such designs, you suffer a massive volume drop when you use them as you are effectively halving the output. It's also true to say that even on a clean sound with the pickups split, it doesn’t give you the best clean chordal sound, it’s kind of “OK” but no substitute for really good single coils on a guitar that is designed to do clean well (I think we know what he's referring to - Ed). I understand why Schecter has done this - it's to make it appeal as an all round “superstrat” guitar, but it does Rock/Metal so well I don’t think the push/pull will see much use. Having said that, with a driven sound it does give a fairly decent Blues/Rock tone.
The C-1 custom is a fantastic guitar perfect for Rock and Metal, with pickups that have been designed specifically for that modern Metal sound. The neck shape and playability further back this up, and will have you rediscovering all your favourite shred licks and pushing your boundaries even more as it just begs to be played hard. I'm not a fan of the coil tap for this particular guitar, but I'm sure it gives it the extra selling point of many tones available. I say push that tone knob down, turn the amp to 11 and riff away, that's what this guitar is meant to do.