Schecter is a company that has changed a lot recently, both in the public eye, and in the actual execution of their products. That change was definitely for the better on both fronts, and a lot of that can be attributed to Keith Merrow.

Keith Merrow is a solo metal guitarist who quickly took the industry by storm with his tight riffs and knowledge of his craft. This has led him to a pivotal role at Seymour Duncan, wide critical acclaim for his engineering skills, as well as many signature Schecter guitars.

Schecter Keith Merrow models are some of the best bang for the buck you can get right now. We’re going to tell you why, and break down all the differences.

Why Are They Awesome?

The idea behind the KM series was to include features normally found on boutique guitars in an affordable instrument for everyone. Keith was the point of the spear for this, because not only had he had a lot of experience with boutique guitars, he also had just helped design a new line of Seymour Duncan pickups designed for modern metal players that would be installed in these guitars.

This is around the same time Schecter was picking up even more high profile artists than before, reintroduced their US Custom Shop, and increased the quality on control on their Korean instruments. There were a lot of branding and design changes happening simultaneously, and it’s cool to see Schecter on the forefront again. All of a sudden: great features at a great price without compromising quality was a reality.

What’s The Blueprint?

All Keith Merrow models have a 26.5” scale length for clarity and punch, as well as 24 jumbo stainless steel frets (sixes are traditional 25.5″ scale, which I will touch on later). The necks have carbon fiber reinforcement rods, and the fretboards are 12”-16” compound radius.

Bodies are choice cuts of swamp ash for light weight and clear tone, and all models (besides the solid colors) have flamed maple tops. Fretboards are ebony for smooth feel and aggressive looks, and all models feature offset side-switching face dots. Glow in the dark side dots as well!

Stripped down controls include one push/pull volume knob and a 3-way toggle, and locking tuners and Hipshot bridges round out the major design choices.

There is in fact, even more to cover, but you can see right off the bat that these specs are not only based on some of the best expensive custom guitars around: they’re also very genuine interest, as well as high performance.

These guitars, while metal-oriented, are precision instruments well suited to most players’ preferences.

Schecter KM 7

Original Models

This is the original model that started it all, being that Keith Merrow is primarily a 7 string player. The body is a classic superstrat shape, with an added comfortable arch top. Necks are 3-piece maple, a classic choice for punch and stability.

The flame maple tops have a very tight grain, and the guitar is available in both trans white, and a trans black burst to accentuate them.

This model is loaded with Seymour Duncan Nazgul/Sentient pickups. Keith helped design these, and they are specifically designed for modern extended range guitar players. Naturally they’re well at home in his seven string. The Nazgul is a very aggressive bridge pickup designed for maximum crunch and attack. The Sentient is designed to be both well rounded for technical soloing, and clear for quality cleans.

The Nazgul is definitely for those on the brutal end of the spectrum, but the Sentient is a pickup that I really can’t see upsetting anyone. The KM-7 is for seven string players looking for clear tone in a classy package. I’d say it particularly excels at prog.

  • KM-6

The flagship 7’s comrade, the KM-6 has near identical specs, with one less string! Mainly designed to give six string players an opportunity at his guitar, Keith actually does play a good bit of six string himself.

The difference here is that this model is equipped with Seymour Duncan Black Winters. I love these pickups. While initially designed for extreme metal players (and boy do they excel at that), the even harmonic saturation and upper mid-centric EQ-curve made it popular among… blues players? The split sounds are fantastic and the neck even has some single coil-like qualities. These pickups actually ranked in our top 5 seymour duncan models article!

Additionally, the 25.5″ scale on these definitely gives the guitar a slightly thicker tone, and makes wide intervallic licks and big chords easier.

The KM-6 really is a guitar everyone can benefit from. I will say that aggressive players (even if they’re not overtly technical) will love this guitar, and will find themselves chugging to their brutal heart’s content. That being said I’ve also played a lot of Silversun Pickups on it so who am I to judge?

So here’s the most radical departure from the entire line, and definitely a more soloing-centric instrument.

The FR S has, well, a Floyd Rose and a Sustainiac! The Floyd Rose is a 1500 series, which is even better than the already high-quality Korean Floyd 1000. It has more stainless steel parts for increased durability and tone!

The Nazgul bridge pickup is paired with a Sustainiac neck, and oh my god is it fun. You can read more about it in our Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR S review, but the short version is that everyone needs to try one of these. It’s great for rich leads, endless sustain without ear-shattering amp volume, and beautiful ambient sonic landscapes. It’s equally at home in prog, deathmetal, and alternative rock.

Another obvious change is the color! Keith’s a big car fan, so this has a Lambo Green finish! Note that this model does lack the figured maple top because of this. Consequently, Schecter also released a Lambo Orange version of the KM-7! (Which also has no figured top). On both of these models, the fretboard dots are color-matched to the body!

I’d say the KM-7 FR S is a guitar aimed at very technical players that need a huge array of sounds in their tonal palette. Of course, the color will make it even easier for you to be the center of attention.

Schecter KM 6 MKII

MK-II Line

The MK-II is the first major design revision of Keith Merrow’s signature guitars, and it saw the model pushed even further into boutique territory.

Aesthetically, the guitar has an aggressive bevel. Not only does this make the guitar look very unique, it is very comfortable. This model also has a 5-piece maple and wenge neck. The construction is also neck-thru, different from the previous set neck models. This lends some throatiness to the tone, as well as looking fantastic on the back of the guitar.

To complement this, the guitar is in an all-natural satin finish. The offset dots on these are just the outlines of circles, for as super stealthed-out look. Pickups on this version are also uncovered for a rawer look.

The final big change is the Ernie Ball Compensated Nut. This is the same nut featured on Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci models, and it does a wonderful job on intonating accurately.

The KM-7 MKII is for modern players looking to push the envelope even further. While I think a choice between this and the original KM-7 is largely cosmetic, if you’re basing it simply on raw specs I’d go with the MK-II.

Interestingly enough, as opposed to the KM-7 vs. KM-6, Schecter kept the Nazul/Sentient combo in the six string MK II.

Again, the  25.5″ scale on these makes it more welcome to most 6 string players. I also find it pairs very well with the Nazgul because the Nazgul can be very crunchy and the normal scale length balances it out a bit.

This honestly makes it the best avenue for six string players looking to get Keith’s tone. I personally also prefer the 6 string Nazgul to the 7 string Nazgul for very aggressive music. Just much easier to EQ your preferred sound out of it without having to worry about low string clarity fighting the integrity of your high strings.


So the guide to Schecter Keith Merrow models is complete! As you can see, there’s a guitar for everyone in the lineup. Wired Guitarist really appreciates everything Keith and Schecter are doing, and we’re excited to see where they go in the future!

If you want to read any schecter guitar reviews, then you can do that here.

This article was written by Kyle Karich, our editor located in Florida.

About The Author