Sound — 10
Like many other guitarists out there, I play a lot of metal. It is perfect for exactly that. I play a lot of heavy metal (Iron Maiden), groove metal (Lamb Of God), metal core (All That Remains, Killswitch Engage ), melodeath (Children Of Bodom, Soilwork), and many other metal genres. You can get killer tones from the active pickups which will please any metal-goer. Another notable thing I noticed was that I couldn't hear the tremolo vibrating or bending often associated with sensitive EMG pickups. This is good for doing clear dive bombs, pull ups, or any other tremolo tricks. However, there is a time when you may grow weary of metal and crave for another sound. This guitar, albeit a guitar designed for metal, can in fact do many other sounds quite nicely. In contrary to many of the "EMGs have bad cleans blah blah" arguments going on, I get beautiful cleans with my neck pickup in single coil mode. With a little change-up in effects and amp settings, I can get anywhere from a good mid-80s rock tone to a more bluesy surf tone.
Overall Impression — 10
My opinion: As a metal head, I claim this guitar worthy of any guitar player. Everything about it is perfect. The guitar plays perfectly and looks like the dream girl sitting next to you in class. The only difference is that I own it! I am amazed at how low of a price this is in comparison to what you get. The phrase "You get what you pay for" definitely does not apply here as I would have expected to pay at least $1,000 USD for something of this quality. In fact, since I love this guitar so much, I would buy a new one right away if this one somehow met an unfortunate demise. Things to look out for: My opinion definitely does not apply to everyone, and to help you buyers avoid a bad purchase, read what I have to tell you. If you have read a few other discussions about the C-1 Hellraiser, the guitar neck is often crucified. This is primarily because Schecter's Hellraiser necks are a lot thicker than most necks such as the Ibanez Wizard. This can be a bad thing or a good thing as neck type is all down to preference. Personally, I was born and raised on ESP which was notable for their very thick glossy necks which some people love or hate. However, many people find thinner guitar necks to be more easily accessible and playable. Again, this is all down to preference. If you hate thick necks, stay away from this. If you like them or don't care, I definitely recommend you this guitar. Another thing to note down is that this guitar has a Floyd Rose. Yeah, what about it you might ask? Don't buy this only to impress your friends as you will look like a fool when you don't know how to properly set up a floating tremolo. Learn about floating tremolos before you buy one, as tuning will become your nightmare. Properly setting up a floating trem takes patience and you will have to devote some time messing with the insides of the guitar adjusting spring tension and what not if you play with different tunings other than Standard EADGBE.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Although I have owned it for a little under a month, the guitar is surprisingly resilient. I admit that my clumsiness is one not to be envied, as I bumped the guitar in quite a few ways but the guitar stays as fresh as ever. The hardware should last me quite a while, only until I need to replace the batteries for the pickups (I recommend just popping in a Duracell 9-volt as soon as you get the guitar as EMG pickups tend to just slowly start sounding terrible when the batteries run dry). The strap buttons on the guitar are strong, although I fail to see how this would be a problem to people. Never in my life have I used a guitar where the strap buttons popped off, and I have played and owned quite a few. Anyways, I feel that this guitar will last me an eternity. The set-neck is perfectly implanted, the finish is perfect, and so far I haven't damaged it in any way, which I admit is rare for me not to get a ding or two here and there.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
As said before, the action was brilliant. The pickups were also perfectly adjusted, the binding around the quilted top was stunning, the frets were perfect, and everything else about it was perfect. The only thing that was not perfect was the tremolo as mentioned before. To me however, this was not a problem as I restrung the guitar and adjusted the springs anyways (Although the guitar comes in Standard tuning, I like to play in Drop and so after adjusting the tremolo, I had it working fine).
Features — 10
The Schecter Hellraiser Sunset FR is the 2008 model which I believe was also presented in NAMM '08. The guitar was made in Korea but was setup in the US. This 25.5" scale guitar uses 24 extra-jumbo frets with Gothic Cross inlays. The S shaped body is all mahogany, the neck is a 3-piece mahogany, and the fretboard is rosewood. The black cherry finish model of the guitar has a quilted maple top. The bridge is a Original Floyd Rose double locking floating tremolo in a chrome finish equipped with stock D'Addario .009 to .042 gauge strings. There are two splittable EMG active humbuckers on the guitar, the bridge pickup being the 81TW and the neck pickup being the 89. There are three knobs and one 3-way selector Switch. Two of the top knobs are volume control for the pickups which can be pulled up to split the pickups into single coil mode. The last one is a tone knob. The good: Everything about the guitar is great. The action of the guitar was perfect. Not too high, not too low. The tremolo was exactly as I expected, an Original Floyd Rose and not a licensed model or a copy. The black cherry finish on my guitar was absolutely stunning and was even more beautiful when exposed to a light environment. In addition to buying from Pro Guitar Shop, they offered me a free hardshell case as a gift during Christmas time along with a bunch of other tuning items such as a few allen wrenches. However, I am not sure that all of these things will come included free of charge if you buy from another retailer. The bad: The tremolo was just a little bit off as the base plate was leaning backwards a bit into the guitar. This was fixed with a little minor tuning. The finish was beautiful and the first time around, I didn't want to touch it in fear of smudging. I feared correctly, as CSI could use these to collect fingerprints from every criminal in their database. Nothing a little polishing with my shirt can't fix.