Damien Special review by Schecter

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (20 votes)
Schecter: Damien Special
1

Price paid: $ 449.99

Purchased from: Best Buy

Sound — 8
Through my Line 6 Spider II practice amp the guitar does a wonderful job at representing the raw power and emotion of metal music. Say what you will about the amp but it's served me well in replicating bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Silent Civilian, DevilDriver, System Of A Down, Mastodon, Godsmack and a whole mixture of other bands I won't bother to bore you to death with by listing them. I will be trying it tomorro with some larger tube amps by Vox and Marshall at a local studio a relative of mine runs. Right away I noticed the pickups in the guitar are audibly better than other dual humbuckers I've worked with before, even in guitars more expensive than this one. Despite the pickups being passive, the EMG brand actually does translate to a huge difference in quality. However, because of my spoiled, overly high standards, I'll probably be replacing them relatively soon with a pair of active EMG 81/60's or Seymour Duncan Blackouts. The pickups are dead silent until you play which is always appreciated, they stay clear when the volume is cranked or on a lower setting, they are generally fairly punch (the actives will probably be a bit better, but thats what you pay for) and have a nice growl to them that other guitars don't have. As far as variety goes, I've never been much of a clean setting person, but this guitar does a pretty good job without distortion, or with a mixed settings for a style like blues or grunge. So no, you do not have to have the gain cranked to enjoy this guitar. Will it be a replacement for an expensive Fender or Carvin custom as far as cleans go? No. But can it compete with or even completely destroy guitars like Gibsons, ESP's, Jacksons or Ibanez's with it's killer metal sound even with stock equipment? Yes. And the best part is that the previously mentioned brands can easily cost 2 or 3 times as much to get a similar sound.

Overall Impression — 10
As far as genre, in case you couldn't tell I'm very into Metal and Hard Rock of all sorts, grunge and Acoustic pieces are my thing. I own an Epiphone Les Paul an Alvarez AD70-SC, and a Spider II 112 practice amp (I Live in an apartment so no half stacks for me). But for recording I will use a Carvin Stratocaster, a 1970's Dean, a Schecter C-1 Elite and an 80's Gibson Les Paul with a Vox or Marshall half stack. This new Schecter will find its way into both lineups with ease, and with some new pickups will probably beat the other guitars for the type of music that I play. If it were stolen or lost I'd easily buy another, especially considering what I paid for it. I can only hope that Schecter sees what a good move they made and keep this guitar in production for years to come. This guitar is truly a wonderful instrument, not a single thing I don't like. The only thing I can say is that I wish they were free. But honestly, Schecter deserves your money for putting these together. The sound it gives off stock is phenominal and I'm excited to see how many faces this will melt with rediculously expensive, high output pickups in it. What a great value. I compared this guitar directly to the C-1 Hellraiser. I chose the Damien for a few reasons: -Bolt on neck allows for easier repairs, control, resonance and more attack (see my user name). -Multi-ply binding looks a little bit less "frilly" and more "down to earth" than pearl binding, though both are nice. -Significantly cheaper model with nearly identical construction and components to the Hellraiser I was going to rip the pickups out of anyway. Again, I can't stress enough that Schecter is earning every dollar they charge you for a guitar you buy from them. I'm convinced that money spent towards a Schecter, any model, is money well spent. If you like the idea of having a high profile Hellraiser/Eclipse/Ibanez/Jackson/Epiphone quality guitar but you aren't into what seems to me like a stale EMG 81/85 set that so many artists use, take a really solid guitar like this Damien and run with it. Newer players will love the sound and wouldn't change a thing, those of us Who have high standards and more experience will like the sound as it is, and can easily mod it above par for less money than buying a predictable signature series guitar if they so desire.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I'm certain that the guitar will withstand normal use on stage and regular gigging provided you take the proper precautions like a gig bag or case. The hardware it made of solid metal as opposed to cheap plastic, so it's certainly more dependable than other hardware I've seen on brands such as some BC Rich, Dean or Epiphone guitars (although I like, have used and respect all of those brands). The strap buttons and sound jack were rock solid, and refused to budge with moderate pressure. I didn't exactly go in for the kill trying to take them off, though. I hope none of you would either. The guitar feels like an instrument that costs more and I'm confident in its quality. I could use it without a backup provided I don't pop an E string while playing. Bear in mind, that would be MY fault. Be smart all of you Live players and bring another guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action on the guitar neck was actually flawless when I picked it up, everything seeming perfectly straight. Not only that, but this guitar was actually on display for people to touch, not a new in box. The pickups were great when I tested them, everything was set correctly as far as the bridge and binding is concerned, the sound jack, etc. I was unable to find any blemishes (which I found remarkable) and get this: It was even in perfect tune! The guitar looks absolutely gorgeous, and as most people will say about the Schecter C-1 Hellraisers or other similar guitars: The pictures you find on the internet simply don't do it justice. It truly is a sight you need to see in real life to truly appreciate it. If you're into metal, picture it as a swirling tide of blood of vanquished lamer, sissier metal bands that you hate. Or if you'd prefer that I describe it more seriously, it's a very rich, rose-red type of color that seems to reach out and grab hold of you every time you look directly at the body.

Features — 7
This guitar is a new addition to the Schecter line-up for 2009, assembled in the USA. It features a 25.5" scale with 24 X-Jumbo rosewood frets on a bolt-on Maple neck. The body is comprised of Mahogany with a figured Maple top, in a cutaway design with Grover tuners. A classic Schecter string through body bridge accomapnis the single volume, single tone and 3-way Switch controls all powered by a pair of Passive EMG-HZ pickups.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    eXero
    I actually really like this guitar, played one in a local store and it didnt dissapoint.
    fugume
    qsceszxdwa wrote: I agree with griffo110. I would like to see maybe a small gallery, like a full body shot, a body hardware shot and another noticable detail shot. but interesting review, atleast you didnt rate all 10s.
    just click on the word pictures to see the full guitar
    CleanCanvas
    Quarbon wrote: Lol, Schecter Hellraiser copy? How sad.. :s
    it is a schecter... cant copy whats already yours this is kinda like a toned down version
    Way Cool JR.
    I have the Damien special fr i cant say enough good things about this guitar. it is just simply amazing you cant beat a guitar with this quality and tone. the licensed Floyd is as good as the real one to me there isn't really a difference that i can tell. mine says rite on the neck in paint (crafted in china SGR). and a sticker on the back plate cover (set up in the USA by schecter). the hz pickups are the passive equivalent of the active 81/60 and yes you can play anything from jazz to full out metal on it. i play metal myself and classic rock. I bought mine for $265 at AMS right before they discontinued them you cant beat that for a $730 guitar. I outright stole that bad boy and damn its so beautiful.
    HardAttack
    CleanCanvas wrote: Quarbon wrote: Lol, Schecter Hellraiser copy? How sad.. :s it is a schecter... cant copy whats already yours this is kinda like a toned down version
    Yes, lol. It's actually sort of a Schecter C-1 Elite with better pickups. It just has the Black Cherry color. I much prefer this edition over the first ever Damien with the bat inlays.
    HardAttack
    Yeah, actually I used to use the Schecter C-1 Elite I mess around with through a Line6 Flextone III. Pretty good for modern rock (not so much metal though).
    Cucui
    any schecter + line6 amp = good sound for some reason i have the Schecter C-1 Elite played though a Line6 Flextone II HD half stack , sounds amazing.
    HardAttack
    Eh, Floyd Rose string changing sucks period. I have the non FR version because I change tunings a lot and I'm lazy.
    Mr. Skull
    POWERMETAL! wrote: its got rosewood frets huh? lol the metal ones seem like they'd work a bit better.. (i know its probably a typo) i dont need stainless steel though., not interested EVH.
    haha i noticed that too, you beat me to it.
    jetwash69
    What makes you think it was assembled in the USA? Normally Schecters in this price range are made in Korea and "set up in the USA". It's not a Highway 1 Strat for cryin' out loud. I could be wrong, though, am I?
    HardAttack
    jetwash69 wrote: What makes you think it was assembled in the USA? Normally Schecters in this price range are made in Korea and "set up in the USA". It's not a Highway 1 Strat for cryin' out loud. I could be wrong, though, am I?
    According to Schecter, ALL current guitar production is based out of California, but their older models were crafted in Korea and set up in the USA. Good memory though, it wasn't extremely long ago. Reguardless, I haven't seen any issues with older Schecters I've tooled around with. Their recent guitars must have a good design blueprint that they follow through on. I'm happy to own it.
    justine3563
    the close up picture doesnt match with the one shown when you click "pictures".damn!
    POWERMETAL!
    its got rosewood frets huh? lol the metal ones seem like they'd work a bit better.. (i know its probably a typo) i dont need stainless steel though., not interested EVH.
    qsceszxdwa
    I agree with griffo110. I would like to see maybe a small gallery, like a full body shot, a body hardware shot and another noticable detail shot. but interesting review, atleast you didnt rate all 10s.
    griffo110
    why cant UG put up full pictures of the guitar instead of the shitty close up shots
    strummingintime
    samuraiLP you don't choose the picture for your review UG does... Otherwise they would be a lot more accurate.
    SamuraiLP
    Why does the photo feature a tremolo? You should really find the exact model for posting.
    againsteternity
    OMG that thing looks amazing I played one like it except cheaper and no tremelo, very nice. And you bought it in Best Buy? oh well I'm not going to argue
    iceh88
    the only bad thing i have to say about this guitar is that changing strings with the lower end floyd rose kinda sux