Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: eBay
Features — 10
So I received a long awaited package. After furiously cutting the cardboard I pulled out a long black case, with the "Schecter Guitar Company" logo indented on it. Inside was the Schecter Banshee 6 FR-S. There are a ton of features and points to list and it might be easier for you guys to go online and look for yourselves but I'll try to hit the important highlights:
- The body is made out of swamp ash with a flamed maple top.
- Schecter "C" body shape.
- It's a neck thru, with the neck made out 9 piece maple and walnut.
- 24 X-Jumbo stainless steel frets, standard for this kind of Schecter.
- Has a Floyd Rose 1500 bridge and Sustainiac neck pickup.
- Schecter USA Supercharger bridge pickup (more on this later).
- For me it came with a case and strap, but the Schecter website says otherwise, I was just lucky to have a nice seller.
- Neck shape is what they call "Ultra Thin C."
- This is (at the time of writing) a recent model. I don't know the exact year but I would guess 2015 or 2016.
One cool thing is you can see the neck go down the middle of the entire guitar, with the walnut and maple layering stripes clearly visible in front and faded slightly on the back. It really gives the style some "motion." I dig it.
Finally the neck is what Schecter calls an "Ultra Thin C" as opposed to the standard "Thin C" found on the majority of other C-1 Schecter models. The thinner neck might appeal to those players who complain about Schecter necks being too fat. I would liken it to the ESP LTD Thin "U" shape found on the LTD MH-1000 NT. Both offer similar thickness, with the ESP neck having a bit more of a curve and the Schecter neck having a little flatter profile. Finally, the Schecter has a satin finish, making sliding up and down a breeze. Some players complain about gloss guitar necks accumulating sweat making movement difficult, so the satin finish is a nice touch.
All in all the Banshee has very excellent features. We have a true neck thru, a thin neck, swamp ash, Floyd Rose, Sustainiac and the Schecter pickup. No complaints here.
Sound — 10
So I play mostly metal on the electric. Children of Bodom. Avenged Sevenfold. Some Polyphia. Periphery. Your standard modern metal. I would say the Banshee with its Supercharger pickup is more inclined to bands such as Trivium or Avenged Sevenfold as opposed to death or melodic death metal. Riffs tend to sound more chunky and fat, rather than "ice cold and sharp" so to speak. But I mean I'm really splitting hairs here. With todays amps and pedals and effects and shit any guitar can play anything (if you are a competent player). Anyone that says otherwise is either a salesman or doesn't know what they are talking about. Often the two overlap. You really want that Alexi Laiho or Wintersun or Amon Amarth sound? Fine, slap a Seymour Duncan Black Winter or Nazgul bridge pickup on it. More of a Paul Gilbert or Polyphia or prog metal kind of guy? Grab a DiMarzio or a Duncan Jazz pickup. The world is your oyster.
There's plenty of material out there on the Sustainiac neck pickup and talking about it would require an entirely separate review. Suffice to say it is what it is, and people will have their own opinions. The sound is hot and sharp to my ears and the infinite sustain works as advertised. If you absolutely hate the Sustainiac there is a Schecter Banshee Elite model without it and without the Floyd Rose (it's cheaper too!). For me, it's all I can ask for. With the sustain features off it's a perfectly high output neck pickup and with the sustain features on it becomes a screaming beast.
Back to the bridge Supercharger pickup. This is what people want to know about. This is where a lot of people pause. Why did Schecter go away from Seymour Duncan? Why did they go proprietary knowing it might scare off some prospective buyers? Who knows. All I know is, this is one hot, fierce mama. It really screams. Bends and vibratos will sing and sear. But it's not so high and thin that it's unpleasant, as other pickups are wont to sound. It's a delightfully odd thing. Not super duper sensitive and bleeding, but still packs a hefty punch. Beginners beware, make sure you know how to mute unused strings. And it's crunchy, definitely not smooth and swanky. A bit rough around the edges. So again perfect for modern metal. You can lay down some crispy riffs for rhythm and still blast spicy solos that will cut through titanium. I love it. If you guys play death or doom or whatever the hell they call it nowadays, super heavy downtuned, tremolo up your ass metal then it might be worthwhile to look at a pickup change. The guitar is more on the crunchy side as opposed to the sonic wall of death side. But then again it can do anything just fine.
All in all I love the sound. I did research before and it's exactly how I expected. I can shred and riff to my heart's content. Truly a versatile axe. (If you're curious on my reference of experience, I have EMG 85/81s on one guitar, and Seymour Duncan JB and 59's on another. I have also owned and played Seymour Duncan SH-2 (jazz) and SH-6 (distortion) models).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I received this guitar used so I can't really speak on how well it was setup. It was strung with regular gauge strings and since I like my strings how I like my women, tight on the top and fat on the bottom, I restrung the guitar with Not Even Slinkys. The Floyd Rose required standard adjustment afterwards. Action required some tweaking, but again, I got this used, so who knows what the other person preferred. My experience with Schecter guitars has always been positive. No major setup required, just standard stuff.
As far as finish goes, it's pretty decent. I usually don't inspect my guitars with a microscope. Areas I usually check (besides the obvious surfaces and finishes) are where the top meets the body and where the neck attaches to the body. As far as where the top meets the body goes, the edges are smooth, smoother than my ESP LTD MH 1000, indicating good construction. The neck and body junction is also solid. There are some slight sanding and glue marks where the neck meets the body but it's inconsequential. I suppose if you are the most anal person in the world it might bother you? In my opinion the surface finish is flawless and the guitar is nicely attached together.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Seeing how I only owned this guitar for less than a day I'm not quite sure how to answer this question. My other Schecter, the C-1 Hellraiser FR, is 10 years old and still kicks ass. It's a little dinged up, one of the pickup guards (not the pickup) cracked, and there are some scratches. It still works and plays like a dream. I've let that guitar drop multiple times and it still comes back strong. I see no reason why this guitar won't perform the same or better. The tuners are tight and solid and the knobs aren't wobbly. The finish seems solid and durable, but only time will tell. Would I gig with it? Is that even a question? Let's move on.
Overall Impression — 10
As a mostly metal player, with some other stuff thrown in now and then, I have to say this is a fantastic guitar. But then again, I believe you can play almost anything with almost anything so I try to shy away from pigeonholing an axe based on marketing or specs. That being said after a 3-4 hour love session with the Banshee I can confidently say it does everything I want and more.
I've been playing guitar for about 13 to 14 years now. Just enough to maybe be called good. More than enough to realize how much I can still improve. I've got two other great electric guitars. I've owned multiple amps. I went through the whole effects and pedals phase. I've worked at a music store before. Needless to say I've been around town just a little bit. And I can confidently say this is a fantastic guitar, maybe the best one I own. It plays like a dream. The finish is great. The sound is amazing. If this baby were stolen I wouldn't buy it again. I would Liam Neeson "Taken" style track the thieves and do gruesome things to them. If it were lost I would buy two just to be safe. I find no glaring flaws or lack of feature with the Schecter Banshee 6 FR-S. Because I did research, it's everything I wanted and more.
As far as competitors goes, I would say it directly compares to the Ibanez RG series. About the same styling. Whether you like Ibanez or Schecter more is completely user preference. I personally dislike how most Ibanezes have bolt-on necks. But to each their own. If you're still wondering if you should buy this guitar, wonder no more. Buy it, you won't regret it.
P.S. I bought this guitar for 800. It normally retails around 1300 for the FR-S model and 1000 for the non FR-S model. I got really lucky with the pricing and I had a quality, trustworthy seller. Now is this guitar worth 1300 dollars? Yes. Absolutely, without question yes. This is in my opinion one of Schecter's finest offerings. Go get it.