Price paid: $ 449
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 8
This guitar is very versatile for the money. I play through a B-52 100W Tri-Channel head into a 412 cabinet with Celestion speakers, and also have a practice 35w amp that I use, it sounds good through both. I play mostly metal and rock but I've branched out and have also played jazz, ska, blues and punk and it handles all of them beautifully. The coil tap and individual pickup volume controls make for an endless variety of options. The Bridge pickup has a very sharp sound, and lots of mid-range response, but can also have some early breakup. By pulling the tone knob and coil tapping the Bridge you get crisp fender-esque cleans, although the volume gets reduced a noticeable amount. The Bridge pickup gets really chunky, rich sounds from the mahogany and is perfect for jazz and with some crunch can play the blues like no one's business. With enough distortion and the right tone settings this thing can scream. I can get pinch harmonics from 1st fret 6th string to 24th fret 1st string, and the clarity is very nice, even when playing stuff like Machine Head, Lamb of God and Hatebreed. The harmonic response is noticeably better from the TUSQ saddle, in turn making pinch harmonics squeal really hard. In the right hands, this thing can sing anyone's tune. I give this section an 8 because for the price and because. This thing can handle anything.
Overall Impression — 8
For my playing style this definitely matches me, because I like versatility. It handles metal very well, especially for not having active pickups. I've been playing for 5 years, I also own a B.C. Rich Warlock (go ahead and laugh, but it's got some mean pups in it now), and I have a couple of pedals (Line 6 Uber Metal and Vox Tonelab ST). This guitar has everything I wanted, plus it's ones of the only guitars in this price range without a Floyd Rose in it. If it were stolen or lost there would be a large massacre in a Florida town, but I'd definitely but it or a higher end model from Schecter. This thing can handle so many different tones and is really comfortable to play, the only thing I dislike is the somewhat cheap hardware. My favorite feature is definitely the mahogany, because it makes such a rich texture. I looked through Ibanez and ESP, and this one seemed to have the most to offer for its price so I took the deal. It's kept me happy ever since I opened the box.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar seems like it was meant for looks and playability, but still more on the looks side. Two weeks after getting it I banged some furniture and it left a nice little scar by the right strap button. The strap buttons don't move and are nicely sized, haven't failed me yet, but I'd still get some strap locks. I'd never gig without a backup, but it's not because the guitar would fail. It definitely seems like it'd hold its weight and wouldn't fall apart, but strings do break. Especially if you only have on guitar. The finish seems sturdy for playing, because I play a lot and it seems to be pretty thick. The hardware seems really sturdy, although the knobs and the pickup selector seem a bit flimsy. I'd give this a 7 because it could be better.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The factory actually set it up pretty good. The action was a little high and the Bridge pickup was too low, but in 10 minutes I had it to my liking. Everything else was flawless, and out of the box the guitar looked amazing. The pickup selector however is where my problems started. I've read around and it seems to be a Schecter hardware problem, the pickup selector when moved to the Bridge position makes a crackle (if the Bridge was 3 and both were 2, if you moved it to 2.5 you'd hit the crackle) and sometimes it sounds like it dies. The coil tap seems to be the problem because if I pull and push the nob it fixes itself. Kind of annoying if I were to be playing a show with it and it died. Otherwise it was all very good, but for the hassle it gets a 6.
Features — 8
This C-1 Standard is from the 2005-2007 area, made in the USA. I've had it for about 6 months and have given it a very good test drive. It has a very smooth 24 fret rosewood fretboard with Dot inlays and medium frets, which make really nice for shredding on the upper notes. The neck and body are mahogany with a flamed maple top. The neck is advertised to be bolt-on, but it's clearly a jointed neck. The neck is thin and good for shredding but still thick enough for barre chords. The finish is nice and thick, very smooth and it really brings the deep red through. It offers a double cutaway making plenty of room for the upper frets and has a Tune-O-Matic Bridge with a string-thru body, and may I note that the nut isn't made out of ivory but instead out of synthetic material called TUSQ, which is supposed to make harmonics come through much better, but more on that later. The C-1 Standard comes H-H pickup setting containing two Duncan-Designed passive humbuckers, modeled after the JB 59 set. The hardware is chrome and comes with grover tuners, 3-way selector, volume knobs for both pickups, and a tone knob that is a push-pull for coil tap. For the price, I think that this section deserves an 8.