Price paid: $ 124
Purchased from: Guitar Center, Philly, used and in bad shape
Features — 9
Electric blue, 24 frets, dual Duncan-designed humbuckers, 1 volume, 1 tone control, 1 3-way Les-Paul-type pickup selector. Really nice arched top; most people see it and think it's like a rally expensive PRS or something. Sometime I tell them it's an "entry level" guitar, sometimes I don't. It's a Strat-type double cut-away style, with easy access to all 24 frets. Something that I REALLY like about this guitar: it has a bolt-on neck, which I know some people don't like, but the butt of the neck and how it fits into the body is very comfortable and makes it very easy to solo high on the neck. I have an ESP Les Paul which I also really like, and it's neck-through, but the heal is so thick that it's not comfortable on the high frets. Oh, it also has Seymour Duncans, a JB and a 59, but they don't sound better than the "Duncan-Designed" Schecters.
One tuner was replaced with a similar but not exactly the same one, but it works, it's not noticeable, and who cares? Not me; it works just fine.
Sound — 10
I play rock, hard rock, metal, blues, really just about all styles of music, but mainly what I guess I would characterize as bluesy-bases hard rock and metal. I play through a pedal board most of the time, with a Cry Baby wah, mainly for lead boost, a Boss CS-2 compressor, a Boss OD-2 Turbo Overdrive, an Arion analog delay (these 3 are on all the time), and an Arion chorus. I have experimented with a LOT of pedals over the last 3 decades, and I mention these specifically because I have found that these give me an incredible tone, one that has a lot of people asking me "how in the hell are you getting that tone"? Like Billy Gibbons says, the majority of the sound/tone is in your hands, but the equipment certainly has to be right too. All the effects are mounted in a Boss BCB 60 pedal board. I use a small Fender 15 watt all-tube combo, and 2 solid-state Peavey Bandit 65 amps (!). People are so caught up i what kind of amps they can be seen playing in public, and they think these Peaveys are crap; they are not. These amps, on the clean channel, really come alive behind pedal boards. I can use a Peavey or a Mesa Boogie, and I always sound pretty much the same.
The guitar is not noisy, the three settings give completely different sounds, and they're all useful. The bridge pickup is bright and powerful, the neck pickup has the classic Les Paul type "woman tone," thatI call a kind of underwater sound, and the middle position, both pickups, has a really full, different sound, when it's time for a little different tone. I play on the. Bridge pickup more than any other setting, and on leads I use the bridge alone and neck alone, mostly. I find that I can play rock, blues, metal, anything on this guitar. This may sound too good to be true, but this thing is a tone machine on which I can do whatever I need to.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought this guitar used, so I can't comment on how it was initially set-up. I bought it at a Guitar Center, on sale for $124.50. It was filthy, had 5 rusty strings, had pretty noticeable dings, and the action was so low the strings were practically lying on the fretboard. I cleaned it up completely, adjusted the set-up, the truss rod/action mostly, even after this, the intonation was pretty much spot-on perfect, which is something that is an absolute necessity. I took a black and and a blue Sharpie, used them on the dings, blended them in, and the dings are pretty much invisible unless you know to look for them. The frets are very nicely dressed and smooth, the tuners don't slip, and there is no noise in the controls. This thing looks like a million bucks. It was a "Diamond I the Rough," pun intended. There are no issues with anything else, nut, saddle, stop-tailpiece (which I have found is a rarity on these guitars, they usually have string-through, but there is no lack of sustain here), overall a very solid feel.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I gig without any worry. The strap buttons are really big; it's the only guitar I own which never has the strap slip off, no need for a strap lock. I have no worries about the finish or anything else with regard to the solidity of the instrument. I own about 25 guitars, and this is the most gig worthy, least problematic of them all. The only reason I would ever feel the need for a backup would be if a string broke, and I actually break less strings on this guitar than any of my others. I always get a LOtT of comments from other musicians about this guitar; everyone thinks it's an expensive model, and with the arched top, it really does look like one. I should probably just let them think that, but I usually spill the beans about it being inexpensive.
Overall Impression — 10
Rock, metal, blues, I play it all on this axe. I've been playing for 35 years, and own American Strats, a Telecaster, 2 Les Pauls, a Jackson/Charvel, Danelectro, Ibanez, Washburn, etc, etc, but when I am asked to play with a band, just some friends jamming, whatever, I always grab my Schecter. I also really love my Tele; it has a neck humbuckers and a 5-way selector, and I can really get the Keith Richards sounds I love so much, but the Schecter gets every job done, and never fails me in any way. I've read reviews where people say it's basically good for metal and little else, but I really don't understand that. It's true that the pickups are hot, actually hotter than standard Les Paul pickups, but if you know how to ride a lively horse, you can restrain him; if you know how to play guitar, you can deal with high-output pickups. I'm glad it's a hard-tail, I don't really like playing whammy-equipped guitars so much. I HATE out-of-tune instruments, and this one has spot-on intonation (very rare in my experience), and stays in tune.
In closing, I have to explain possibly the thing I love the most about this guitar: there is the Fender neck scale, a little longer with more space between the frets, and a little more spacing between the strings also. There is the Gibson scale, as in the Les Paul, with less space between the frets. This is just my opinion, but the Fender has a little more snap, and a feel that Imlike, and the Gibson is really easy to play and especially shred on leads high on the neck. This Schecter has a scale that is in between the Fender and Gibson, with a really good feel but still very shred-able with the leads, and it has 24 frets. I find myself missing the 2-3 extra frets when I pick up my other axes. This, coupled with the spot-on perfect intonation, and really GREAT pickups, make for a really awesome instrument, at any price.