Schecter C-1 FR-S Review WiredGuitarist April 3, 2016 Articles, Reviews, Schecter Guitar Reviews Today we’re reviewing the Schecter C-1 FR-S. Schecter is a brand with a unique history, including fantastic custom shop roots, and a goal of bringing guitars with good specs to customers at a budget price. For example, Tom Anderson of Anderson Guitars honed his craft while working for Schecters Custom Shop. Around 2006 – 2008, a lot of players had complained about the neck profiles featured on Schecter’s metal oriented guitars like the Hellraiser series. Over the last few years however, Schecter has done exactly what players have asked and modified their offerings to deliver immense value at very fair prices. This particular model is the current iteration of one of their classic guitars. How are Schecter faring in the modern era? Let’s find out! Features: The Schecter C-1 FR-S features the following: Set 3-Piece Mahogany Neck with Ultra Access Rosewood Fretboard Abalone Gothic Cross Inlays 25.5″ scale length 14″ radius Mahogany Arch-Top Body Quilted Maple Top Multi-Ply Abalone Binding 24 Extra Jumbo Frets C-Shape Neck Profile Floyd Rose 1000 Bridge EMG 81 Bridge Pickup, Sustainiac Neck 1 Volume, 1 Tone, 1 Sustainiac Intensity Knobs 3-Way Pickup Switch, 2-Way Sustainiac On/Off Switch, 3-Way Sustainiac Mode Switch Transparent Black Cherry Finish There are a lot of cool things going on with this guitar. As we’ll talk about in the tone section, the all-mahogany construction is a great choice, and the Sustainiac gives you a lot of options. The neck on this is thicker than Ibanez necks, for example, but is not the infamous old school Schecter baseball bat neck in any way. It’s a comfortable middle ground great for extended play sessions, and the 14” radius is good for both soloing and chording. The aesthetic is really beautiful. I’m normally not an abalone fan but in combination with the cherry finish and deep quilt, it makes for an aggressive-yet-classy look. The Floyd 1000 is a great bridge choice. These are made to the specifications of the OFRs, but in Korea to keep costs down. When set up properly, they hold tuning great and are not susceptible to wear overtime like the cheap pot metal low-end Edge tremolos, for example. Tone: Mahogany neck and body guitars can be very dark. This is a desirable tone to many people, as evidenced by Les Pauls, but it isn’t for everyone. Luckily, the 25.5” scale length of the Hellraiser pulls a lot of the mud out, and in combination with the EMG makes for a very thick and aggressive tone for metal players. It’s also good to have a nice lower-midrange focused wood when a guitar is routed for a Floyd to keep the guitar from sounding thin. Speaking of EMG, the 81 is actually a good choice for this guitar. I do prefer passive pickups, but you can get amazing Deathmetal tones with this, and the 81’s ability to cut through the mix really is right at home in a guitar like this. Obviously the Sustainiac is an important feature of this guitar. I’ve been playing them for years and just adore them. The literally infinite sustain is invaluable for both lead playing and textural cleans. You can switch the Sustainiac on and off, as well as change modes from fundamental to harmonic, to a mixed setting. The normal neck humbucker tone is fine from the Sustainiac, but I love the increased harmonic response you can have from the mix mode engaged; a perfect balanced of fat neck tone and saturation. It makes a lot of sense that this is on a Floyd-equipped guitar, because the harmonic mode is perfect for all of your divebomb, horse-effect, and elephant-diving needs, and can even help them last longer because of the sustain! Between the 81, Sustainiac, and Floyd, this would be a great guitar for studio metal musicians, as creative vibrato-laden soundscapes are becoming increasing popular in extreme metal genres. This will ensure you cut through the mix, have infinite harmonically rich sustain, and stay in tune while playing. Being so metal-centric will obviously come at a small cost. As far as cleans are concerned, this guitar thrives for ambient work due to the infinite sustain, and can actually get pretty good jazz tones due to the mahogany construction and nice sweep of the tone knob, but other cleans suffer. Spanky strat tones and sparkly pop/funk tones don’t really exist in this guitar. You can fake it with a compressor, but this is definitely a guitar for someone who likes meaty, rough around the edges humbucker “cleans.” Build Quality: I’ve been following Schecter for a long time throughout their journey, and many years ago had actually written them off as a good attempt, but with better options existing elsewhere. Around 2013 when they brought back the US Custom Shop, I started trying them again, because the Custom Shop guitars, by the way, are absolutely fantastic. The new models looked like they had fixed some complaints and had improved specs, and it turns out they are actually solidly constructed now, and have been getting better with each consecutive year! I’m going to give you an idea of some of the small flaws I’ve found on this guitar, to give you an idea of their quality control standards. Most of the issues are aesthetic. The finish is overall executed very well, with a small imperfection on the lower horn that looks like a particulate maybe got under the clear. You can only notice it up close while staring at it for an extended period of time, and it impedes the clarity of the top slightly on about a 2-3mm range. There is also a slight overspray onto the edge of fretboard on the treble side of the neck in 2 small places. i.e. the line is clean between neck and board all the way up and down the neck, besides these two small spots. This is a very good quality standard given that the guitars are mass produced in Korea, and the high-level specs you’re getting on an inexpensive instrument. I think this is due in part to the fact that Schecter’s US team in Calfiornia checks them over before they go out to dealers. The only functional issues I could find are a small ding in the 13th fret and that doesn’t cause any buzz or fretting out, and one slightly sharp end on the bass side at 22 (I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever played that fret before on the lowest string). Overall I’m very satisfied with the quality of guitar Schecter puts out right now for the pricepoint. Final Verdict: This is a feature-laden instrument for a modern metal guitarist on a budget. There are better constructed instruments out there, but not with these appointments at this pricepoint, and nothing impedes playability or functionality. This would not be my go-to instrument for clean tones, but it covers a lot of distorted ground between the EMG’s cut and bite and the Sustainiac’s sustain and harmonic richness. As authorized Schecter dealers, we can get you any current Schecter you’d like at the best price possible. Check out our current stock here. Also be sure to check out Schecter USA!