Price paid: $ 274.5
Purchased from: Sound Control Glasgow
Sound — 9
The guitar is surprisingly versatile in sound, I only rarely use heavy distortion, and play nothing that could be described as 'metal,' mostly pop-rock, blues-influenced rock and alternative rock, ranging from Pink Floyd to Barenaked Ladies and most things in between, including Rage Against The Machine and Biffy Clyro. The guitar handles basically all these sounds brilliantly, it's a pair of humbuckers, so there's not much in the way of bright Strat twanginess, but it cuts through fairly well, particularly with my Boss DS-1 Distortion (a great pedal for the money.) I have a lovely Fender Champion amp which sounds great with this guitar, I also run it through a fairly nasty Zoom 505 II which I mostly use for the tuner function and delay. The string-through construction and lack of a trem means hours of sustain, and the guitar cleans up surprisingly well for what is marketed as a 'heavy rock' type guitar.
Overall Impression — 10
Buy this guitar. For the money, I think it compares very well to Mexican Strats, mid-range Epiphones etc. Sound control are advertising them at 189, they're usually very good at throwing in extras and discounting it. The quality is great, the sound is versatile, rich and full, perfectly balanced or bright depending on the pickups, it's not remotely noisy, and looks great. Very pleased!
Reliability & Durability — 9
In a word, bombproof. Body wood does seem soft and potentially easy to ding, which would be a shame, but it's not happened yet. Strap buttons are very good, at least compared to my previous Squire Strat which was terrible. I wouldn't expect any part of the actual guitar to fail when abused, it all seems really solid and well-built. Haven't had the scratchy volume pot problem a few others have mentioned, but if I did the electronics are all very accessible so would be fixed very quickly with some pot cleaner.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I fully expected to have to fiddle with the guitar once I'd bought it, and Sound Control offered me a free set-up and adjustment after I'd had a few weeks to play with it, but it turned out to be unnecessary. Action is great, intonation is bang on right to the last of the 24 frets and pickups were just to my liking. The glossy sunburst looks, in my opinion, far classier than the alternative black of white finishes, and particularly suits the curved top design. Very cool chrome control knobs and other hardware complement the finish. All over, a really great looking guitar.
Features — 9
New, 2006 I believe, Schecter Blackhawk, which appears to be a limited-edition promotional model. Features basically the same as the Omen-6. Basswood (I think) Strat-ish style body with bolt-on neck, and string-through body design with Tune-O-Matic bridge. Pickups are two Schecter-branded (Duncan Designed apparently) humbuckers with a master tone, master volume, and 3-way pickup selector (Gibson toggle type as opposed to Fender blade type). Schecter branded non-locking tuners, 3/3 on a very cool shaped headstock, which seem to be great quality. I've got the glossy sunburst finish, it seems the UK variant of this guitar has a glossy finish where the US version is matte, and looks great. Also has a 24-fret neck, again seems to be different from the US versions in that it has plain Dot fret markers as opposed to the 'tribal' inlays described in other reviews.