Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Goodtimes Music
Sound — 10
This guitar whispers hard rock, and screams metal. I've been playing this with a Peavey VK100 Head (Hartke 4X12 cab), a Epiphone Valve Standard combo, and a Roland Microcube for variety and to see how the pickups react to different amps. The pickups are definitely the star of this guitar. 9-volt active Blackouts, these humbuckers have less noise (moved around near lights, computers, and other electronics), and put out more highs, lows, and output than other active pickups I've tried. The have a more organic tone than other actives and the harmonics almost jump out and slap you in the face. In conjunction with the mahogany body, you can get a nice, deep, rich chug for your rythmic lines to very clear and well sustained solos. The OFR maintains it's tuning very well, able to perform dive bombs or ear piercing squeals while returning true. Although I still like the tone/sound of the EMGs in my Hellraiser, the temptation to swap the EMGs with another set of Blackouts is becomeing strong.
Overall Impression — 10
I like to play a variety of genres, encompassing anything from blues, hardrock, to heavy/symphonic metal. This guitar falls easily and heavily into the hardrock and metal zones. I had done quite a bit of research regarding this guitar and had been eagerly awaiting it's release this year, so there wasn't really much to question when I finally was able to get one in my hands. I love the antique white finish, with a simple yet very classy look, and the binding compliments it quite nicely. The single inlay, I'm sure will be a love or hate thing, but I think it looks fine, and I'm really liking the simplicity (I don't get lost because there are still side fret markers). I'm not sure if they meant to outdo their Hellraiser line with this model, but they sure did (as well as many other guitars that could easily sell for twice the price of this one). I'd almost wish they had made it under a whole new line instead of placing it under their "Blackjack" line. If it were lost or stolen, I would definitely seek to replace it. My only worry is the OFR, as this is my first OFR and therefore my experience with using and maintaining these is pretty lacking. Being an Original FR though helps alleviate some of my worries. The only thing I wish it had was an included case. Because of the locking nut, the guitar is a little longer than it's non-FR version, making finding a generic case that fits well somewhat of a chore (or one could simply spring for the Schecter made case). I've compared it (obviously) to my Hellraiser, and having already been comfortable with the way the Hellraiser played, there was no real difference, except with the OFR, making this a very easy guitar to just pickup and play. I've compared it to many other manufacturers similar in price (too many to name) as I've since wanted to get something with a floating tremolo, and given the features, price, and familiarity of feel/style, there was no competition. Definitely a great addition to Schecter's line.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This is a solid, well built guitar that could easily hold it's own playing Live. I would have a backup, but only due to the fact that it has an OFR, so a string break could be showstopping without a backup (like any OFR could potentially be). The hardware is all top notch (Grovers, OFR) and none of it (strap buttons, tuning machines, controls) has a hint of wiggle or looseness. A can't comment on how well the finish can last as I haven't had it long enough to make that determination, but I would imagine that it would last quite some time, with proper care.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar hadn't been at the store for very long, so I was able to pretty much inspect it as it had come from the U.S. facility (all Schecters are sent to the U.S. for final quality check and setup). The guitar was setup near perfect with a neck that was almost too straight, causing a light buzzing on some of the strings. In what took no more than a couple minutes, I gave it just a hint of relief in the neck and buzzing disappeared. The action is the lowest of any guitar I've had, or even tried. The finish on the guitar was perfect, not a nick or scratch anywhere. The routing for the OFR was clean and even had this little patch of what looked like felt lining the routing. Very professional look and a nice finishing touch. The pickups were at the optimal height according to SD's specs, and the OFR was perfectly balanced and level with the body. All the controls operate smoothly without so much as a stutter in operation or sound. The Switch operates without so much as a pop, and moves fluidly, yet secure. When I got it, intonation was spot on, and other than giving the neck a hair of relief, there wasn't much else that needed to be done.
Features — 10
This is the new, S. Korean made, Blackjack ATX FR for 2008. It's a solid body electric (done in the same shape as their other C-1 models) with 24 jumbo frets, 3-pc Mahogany set-neck and ebony fretboard. The 25.5" scale set-neck features their "Ultra Access" joint, giving it the feel of a neck-through. The mahogany body houses a set of two Seymour Duncan Active Blackout humbucker pickups, vol/vol/tone/3-way switch controls, and an original Floyd Rose tremolo. All the hardware, including Grover machine heads, are done in Schecter's signature black chrome. My particular model is a glossy, aged white color with an aged 3-ply binding. A single "Active" lightning bolt symbol adorns the fretboard at the 12th fret. The $800USD (list $1149) was for only the guitar.