Purchased from: Allegro Music (UK)
Features — 8
This guitar is the 2016 model of the Schecter C-1 Stealth. My one has the matte black "satin" finish with matching black hardware; it lives up to its name. I purchased this guitar earlier this month from Allegro Music in Chelmsford (UK). I paid £535. 00 for it, which is reasonable for the street price. You can find them cheaper online, but I prefer to play the actual instrument before purchasing it as guitars can vary a great deal even within a given range.
The guitar is made from mahogany throughout. This actually really surprised me as it is just about the lightest guitar I have ever played. When I first picked it up I assumed it was made from basswood. It's actually lighter than my basswood Squire Deluxe which is really saying something. The basic shape is that of a super-strat but it has a really nice carved top which makes for comfortable playing as well as good looks. But the real kicker has to be the neck joint. It's actually a set neck, but the joint reminds me of a thru-neck guitar. There's no nasty heel or block in the way so access to even the 24th fret is very comfortable. This was a major selling feature of this guitar for me.
It has a rosewood fret-board with large frets. I'm not sure of their official sizing but they're much bigger than those on either my Gibson or Squire. It can feel a bit strange doing slides at first, but it does allow for a very light touch when playing which is really nice. I'm already seeing improved speed with this guitar. The fret-board is also quite flat. Not quite so much as an Ibanez Wizard but getting there. Moving to this from a more traditional board seems to be really nice and makes string-bending and other lead playing that little bit easier.
The hardware is all Schecter branded, but it seems quite nice. The bridge is basically a Hipshot style with the fully adjustable saddles and the thick plate that gives good contact with the body. The machine heads are nothing to write home about, just decent 18:1 ratio tuners. I would have liked to have had locking tuners on this (and oddly they are present on some of the cheaper Schecter models) but at the end of the day they would not make the guitar play any better. Perhaps and upgrade for the future.
The pickups are also Schecter own brand humbuckers. They're routed to a single volume and tone pot. The tone pot is also a coil-split switch allowing the guitar to have a variety of tones. I'll talk about their sonic properties in the sound section below. The controls all feel solid with nice quality machined metal knobs and a good quality selection switch.
I'm going to give this section a solid 8/10. The guitar meets most of my expectations and exceeds most of the comparable guitar that I was able to try in most areas. It looses a couple of marks as the pick-ups are not my favourite, it does not have the rolled fretboard edges found on the Pro-Sol and it's missing locking tuners.
Sound — 8
The sound of the guitar is perhaps a little surprising. The pickups are warm but a not quite as thick and heavy sounding as you might expect given the visuals of the instrument. In humbucker mode they remind me of slightly hotter version of the Gibson Burstbucker pickups. They have that kind of vintage sound to them.
In all honesty I think I would rather something a little hotter in the bridge position, ideally with a little bit more bass response and a little less treble. I'm very tempted to switch it out for a Seymour Duncan JB sometime soon. But saying that it still sounds good as it is. Going into my Vox Night-Train I can get some really good Smashing Pumpkins tones from the bridge pickup and even some pretty convincing Avenged Sevenfold style sounds. I just think that a little more bass and a bit more of a rounded top-end would be nice.
The neck position is much better. It's the same pick-up there, but it seems better suited to the neck where a softer sound is fine, and the EQ of the pick-up is compensated with more rounded tones. For mellow lead lines, smooth legato or warm chords this sounds pretty good.
The coil split is also very impressive; indeed it is the best that I have ever come across on a guitar. The single-coil sound is very impressive and it has that Strat-like punch to it. The bridge pick-up comes into its own here, and some really nice articulate sounds are possible without ever getting too harsh. The neck sounds good too, but for the most part I prefer the Humbucker sound on the neck position if only because it has a little more warmth to the tone. Middle position is great and reminds me of the neck/middle combination of a Strat with a good balanced sound that is great for clean arpeggiated chords.
Overall I'm going to give this a 8/10. It offers a good range of sounds, and It sounds at least as good as the Gibson Studios and Mexican Stratocasters that are in the same price range. However, I don't think it quite stands up to the sounds of something like the Charvel Pro-Sol with its Seymour Duncan JB/59 pickups.
I'm also mindful of the fact that I am using a low-gain amp and therefore a higher-output pick-up is perhaps needed. If, by contrast, you were using a Blackstar/Marshall/Mesa-Boogie/Other high-gain amp then you may well find that the sounds from these pick-ups are just what you need.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The set-up on this guitar was great. I'm not sure if this was a factory set-up or if the store had given it a once-over. The action is very low. There is a little string noise but nothing that can be heard when actually playing. I've had to adapt to a lighter touch too given this which has helped improve my playing speed and accuracy.
The guitar is strung with 10-46 gauge Music Man strings, and they feel great on it. The nut seems to have been cut very well and the headstock design has the tuning poles in line with the nut-slots like on a PRS, meaning I've not had any issues with the strings going out of tune due to their getting stuck after bends.
The finish on the guitar itself is top-notch with no visible flaws at all. The body and neck are all done in a smooth satin black. There is also dark black binding around all the body and neck. It's a nice feature that is only just visible when you look close and gives the guitar a really nice added detail.
I've given the frets a once over and not found any issues; nothing high or low. They're well finished too with nothing sharp or problematic. The edges of the neck are a bit angular just as you would find on most other moderately priced instruments. I would have loved to have nice rolled edges here but at this price point I'm not really expecting features like that.
The hardware all looks good. The bridge is well made and the saddles all move well. The tuners feel stable and have a nice ration on them. The nut is made from graphite which is a nice touch, and the controls are all sturdy and feel like they'll last.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I don't really know what to say in this section. The guitar is a well made electric solid-body. It'll stand up to the same level of use and abuse as any other guitar of this type. I don't foresee any issues but I'd also treat it with respect and care. The finish is matte so no doubt that will tarnish as time goes on. I have a similar finish on my bass and I've got a section going glossy where my arm always rests. It's just the nature of such a finish and something I was well aware of when I purchased the guitar. I'm happy for some mojo provided its real wear from my actually playing rather than fake "relic" work.
As to if I can depend on it, it seems the strangest of questions. It plays fine and there are no moving parts so I guess it'll keep playing fine. Strings will break but other than that it's an electric guitar. Who makes these questions up?
Overall Impression — 8
I play a range of rock and metal music. Anything from Led Zeppelin to Avenged Sevenfold. The guitar's a good solid body electric and so it does most of this fine. The coil split gives the option of a nice clean Strat/Tele like tone too which is nice for a few things. I've been playing for around two years now. Aside from this guitar I have a Gibson Les Paul Studio and a Fender Mexican Strat. I pretty much picked this up as a replacement for the Les Paul as it has a few issues that I've never got along with.
Were it to be stolen I'd certainly look for another one. A big feature for me was the incredible weight (or lack thereof) of this particular guitar so I would have to check to see what others in the range are like. But there are some other really nice features here too and so I'd certainly be thinking about a new one the same.
The weight, excellent neck joint, neck profile and flat fretboard are the real selling features for me. As mentioned before I'd prefer some hotter pickups and I think I'm going to switch in the Seymour Duncan JB/59 combo over the next few months. Aside from that I really don't have any gripes to speak of.