Purchased from: private collector
Features: - Solid mahogany body with raised center
- 25-1/2" scale set-in, 3-piece Mahogany neck
- Rosewood fingerboard with black pearl moon and star inlays
- 24 extra jumbo frets
- Seymour Duncan '59 humbuckers
- TonePros TOM system
- Grover tuners
- Chrome hardware
- 2 Vol (tap) / Master Vol / 3-Way Switch
Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to pick up a Schecter UltraCure, the signature model of The Cure's Robert Smith. Living in the Netherlands, finding this guitar is terribly hard, since few stores sell these, and are quite expensive when they do. I bought it from a collector with too little room, which means the guitar was hardly played and in pristine condition.
The guitar, made in South Korea, is based on Schecter's Ultra bodystyle, enlarged to fit the 24 fret neck Smith dreamt up. For those unfamiliar with the Ultra, it can be described as a mixture of a Telecaster and a Fender, offset with a deep lower horn. This unusual body, together with it's distinctive inlays and incredibly large dimensions (the guitar is literally as big as the Jazz bass I own) make it quite the head-turner. // 9
Sound: Being an incredible fan of The Cure, learning Robert Smith has a signature guitar really peaked my interest. From the interviews I've read, he had a huge part in the design, from the aesthetics (inlays, color, pickguard) right down to the pickups and the layout of the knobs.
This guitar, however, is by no means reserved for Cure-fans only. Of course, the '59s are more than capable of producing the sparkling cleans the Cure have become famous for, but the sonic range hardly stops at 'dreamy'. The possibility to coiltap both pickups gives an immensely wide range of tones. I play this guitar through a Blackheart Little Giant halfstack, occasionally lead through a Boss ME-70 multi-effects pedal. Personally, having a deep love for New Wave and Indie, I love to add layers and layers of delay and chorus, but even without all effects this guitar stands above and beyond many of the other guitars I tried out. Having both pickups coiltapped can make the guitar shimmer, almost in a Rickenbacker-esque way, whilst heavily distored this guitar still cuts through, without sounding too muddy. It really can go from Smith and Marr to Page and White by the flick of a switch, which honestly is all I could ever want.
I wouldn't recommend using it for metal, though. The is actually quite slim, far more slim than the body would suggest, but the access to the 24th fret might be a bit of a reach. I'm not sure if this can be called a negative, since it is hardly marketed for that audience. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: Some might be put off by the "Crafted in South Korea", painted on the back of the headstock, but to dismiss a guitar like this on grounds like those would be utterly foolish. It is build like a rock, and whilst I bought it secondhand and can't comment on the set-up from the factory ("Set up to play in the USA", as said on the sticker which still was on the backplate), this guitar feels very sturdy. The paintjob is immaculate, and all the knobs and switches are wiggleless and solid.
The neck is painted, which some might dislike, but I enjoy playing it, and can't say it ever became sticky, even after playing it for several hours on end. Nontheless, it's a choice some might not feel the same about, so bare this in mind.
I actually bumped the headstock against a wall, carrying it upstairs, but it was the wall that dented, not the guitar! The craftsmanship speaks for itself, given that the guitar was made in '05 and is only a cleaning away from mint condition. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I am not an actively gigging musician, but from the warmth and comfort of my bedroom, this guitar feels like it could withstand the world. Do not take this guitar too lightly, literally! It is the heaviest guitar I ever held, and might work best with a bass-strap if you plan on being on stage for several hours. I personally play it with a Fender Hello Kitty strap, which feels a little flimsy holding up a slap of mahogany like this. The strapbuttons are quite solid though, and haven't proven a problem yet. As said before, the finish, and everything else on this guitar, is well crafted and seemingly build to outlast me. // 8
Impression: This guitar has proven itself to be everything I ever wanted in a guitar, and seems to keep up with everything I can think of. Having been playing on and off for over 7 years now, this guitar is in itself a reason to keep improving and learning. Every sound I can tweak out of it, inspires me to learn new songs. If it were lost or stolen, there still be no alternative for me.
Some might be put off by the humongous size, but honestly - pictures don't do it justice. The armcut makes this guitar sleek and proportioned, and gives it the "elegant gothic" style I fell in love with. Looking for versatility, playability and a way to stand out from the crowd, everyone owes it to themselves to give this guitar at least a try. Absolutely not for everyone, but those who happen to fit it, will fall in love and never look back. // 10