Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
This guitar is extremely uncharacteristic for the extreme metal I play (black metal, death metal), both in looks, and setup, but I love it to death. The bridge pick up is nice and bright, and VERY sensitive. It handles fast, technical, palm muted riffs very well without getting too muddled. It picks up harmonics very well. You shouldn't expect Zakk Wylde style ridiculousness, but you'll have no trouble making it squeal like any metal would. The neck pick up is very smooth and clear. It's fantastic for high gain leads that come out crystal clear, and really scream. It seems to favor low end frequencies which makes it sound incredible for clean playing. Strummed chords and more technical picking riffs come out sounding fantastically deep, smooth and warm. My only complaint here is that this combined with my B-52 AT-100 tube half stack results in quite a bit of feedback at mid to high volumes if you mute the strings. This is easily remedied with a noise gate, but it's annoying nonetheless.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar has been nothing but great to me. It is a fantastic guitar for the money, I really can't see why they discontinued it. It sounds great for any genre of music, is ridiculously easy to play, and is just plain beautiful. I can honestly say that it is a much nicer all around guitar than my Gibson Les Paul Special, while costing much less. I have come to find out that Gibson quality is surprisingly lacking outside of their really high end models. If if were lost or stolen, I would probably look for something else just to have a little variety, but I honestly don't think I would be able to pass one up if it were a good deal. I highly recommend picking one of these up if you can find one. It is an incredible instrument for the money. I will hold onto this guitar for as long as possible. I don't think I could ever sell it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
In 6 years, this guitar has been played almost constantly. It has been dropped, knocked over, bumped into walls, had things fall on it, and has played shows all over southern California. It has a few nicks, chips, and scratches, but I still get complements on it all the time. About three years ago, my drunken cousin knocked it over while it was sitting on its stand (I could have cried). It fell off of a 1 foot step and landed face first onto the tile floor. It was all OK except a 1.5" crack about halfway down the neck, right below the fretboard where you rest the top of your palm. I spread some filler over it, and smoothed it over with 220 grit sand paper until you can barely feel it. Still plays perfect. All of the hardware still functions perfectly. It holds a tune amazingly well as long as you don't bump the tuners. It stays tuned in the back of my bumpy truck from San Diego to L.A. (in a hard case) just fine. I did have to replace the input, and re-solder a few of the connections at the volume knob, and pick ups, but nothing major. The gold is wearing off on the bridge, the volume knob, and the top of the bridge pick up from years of use and lots of palm muting.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar came perfectly set up from Schecter, as is to be expected. The action was set extremely low without any fret buzz, making it an absolute dream to play. The frets are just the perfect depth that you don't have to push down on the strings very hard at all. This took some getting used to coming from a cheaper Ibanez RG. The fit and finish came absolutely perfect. The wood is just plain gorgeous, and the top coat was flawless. The inlays look fantastic and don't follow a repeating pattern down the neck. The hardware is all topnotch and is very easy to tweak.
Features — 10
I bought this guitar in 2006 from Guitar Center. It was on clearance for a ridiculously low price. I originally came in looking to buy a lower end Damien series, but I'm so glad I found this. 24 frets, gorgeous vine of life inlay on the fret board, red transparent quilted top, neck and Sting through body, six way pick up selector, Grover tuners, Seymour Duncan Jazz p-ups, and gold hardware. I fell in love the moment I saw it.