Price paid: $ 579
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
Works great with every music style I play, blues, rock, shred/thrash metal. I am currently playing it through a Boss ML-2 Metal Core and a Boss BR900-CD set for JC-120 amp modeling with chorus on one channel and flange on the other. Because of the over the top nature of the ML-2 pedal I have to dial back the tone and bridge pick-up vol. Once I got it adjusted properly the tone was almost ear-splitting and the pinch harmonics were full and rich thanks to the EMGs. I tested it out on a Line-6 2X10 spider before buying it and that's what sold me on this guitar over a Les Paul. On a clean channel the bridge pick-up offers a bright, cutting tone. Both middle and neck postions on the toggle offer a warm, thick tone.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing for about 13-1/2 years, and once I picked up this guitar my Washburn A-10 and Dean ML have been collecting dust on the other side of my guitar rack and I haven't even seen my Ibanez accoustic in god knows how long. If someone had enough balls to steal this guitar, they would have to gain citizenship in North Korea, otherwise they would be hunted, and on the receiving end of a beat down with a very heavy Dean ML. I went through a three year process comparing guitars to decide on the Hellraiser and do not regret it in the least. The little bit of adjustment I had to do was far exceeded by the rather small price tag. Schecter shows that the Hellraiser MSRPs for a little under a grand. If you can do your own guitar maintainence even that price seems more than fair when you look at comparable guitars with this pickup and hardware configuration.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I Play this guitar about 3-8 hours a day and have bounced it off a couple of very stationary objects and have yet to mark it or dent it that way. Despite several hits with a screwdriver, The black chrome hardware shows no damage at all. The wire cutters did take a small chip of finish off of the back of the guitar, but considering how hard I hit it, the ball point pen tip sized chip is a minute price to pay. Also, sweat and oil do not seem to phase the finish.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar was set up quite well at the factory with a smooth and very fast action. The pickups required a little adjustment to get a nice full sound but the wiring was not an issue. You can see the change in grain on the quilted maple top, but have to study very closely to see the actual split in the halves. The finish itself was perfect, I had to ding it with a pair of wire cutters while changing strings to see any flaws what-so-ever. The set neck is another item I had to strain to see, especially after the salesman told me it was a neck-thru. Hey he's a drummer, what did you expect! I had to do some file work on the 17th fret, something I noticed at the store, but once again, the salesman didn't see it. I also had to adjust the truss rod to alleviate some fret buzz that presented itself after 3 weeks. Probably because of my crappy apartment, lack of insulation, and winter. Once I did that and set the intonation I was even more impressed.
Features — 8
I have owned this guitar for a little over a month now and absolutely love it. It was made in South Korea in 2006 I believe. It comes with EMG 81, and EMG 85 active pickups that just scream. 24 jumbo frets, rosewood fretboard over mahogany neck, grover tuners. The body is mahogany with a quilted maple top in high lustre black cherry. Tonepros Tune-o-matic bridge. 3-way pickup toggle. 3 dial vol/vol/tone. I swithced out the strap posts with strap locks immediately. It also came with 3 allen wrenches.