Schecter Guitar Research is one of the go to brands when it comes to guitars for metal and other heavier genres. They build guitars with incredible playability, stunning finishes, and punishing tones, making them just about perfect for the metal niche.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we got hands on with one of Schecter’s most popular models, the Schecter Hellraiser C-1. It has a lot of competition from other well established brands, so we wanted to find out whether or not it’s a good buy if you’re in the market for a shredder.
Keep on reading to find out more about what we thought.
Who is This For?
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is clearly aimed at metal and heavy rock players. From the gothic finishes, to the active pickups, it’s perfectly suited to those niches.
We would go ahead and say that as far as ability level goes, this is primarily aimed at gigging and recording players, at the intermediate and above level. Having such a specialized guitar isn’t a great idea for brand new players, and active pickups can be difficult to manage if you’re not used to them.
Appearance / Features / Controls
The test model we received came in a fantastic gloss black finish. It had a genuinely mean look, and the aesthetic was perfectly topped off by the gothic cross abalone fretboard inlay and matching abalone binding. The C-1 also comes in “Black Cherry”.
It was made with a more premium wood selection than we’ve found on lower end Schecters. It came with a solid mahogany body in an S Style shape. The set neck was also made with mahogany, and had an ultra thin U shape profile, together with a fantastically sculpted heel for awesome upper fret access.
We loved the rich, dark rosewood fretboard, too. Of course, ebony would have suited the look better, but all things considered it really looked great.
The hardware selection was also great. Everything was finished in black chrome, which was a pretty unique touch, and not only did it look good, it performed well too. It had a tune-o-matic style bridge for easy adjustment, and it even boasted Schecter locking tuners.
As for electronics, the C-1 was equipped with EMG active pickups, with an EMG 81TW in the bridge position, and an EMG 89 in the neck.
Performance / Sound
The First thing we notice about the hellraiser was that it was a little heavy, but this was easily put down to the all mahogany construction. It wasn’t so heavy as to cause discomfort, but there are definitely lighter options out there.
We found that the playability was the C-1’s strongest suit. The thin U shaped neck was lightning fast to play, and despite having a gloss finish on the rear, we never found it to be sticky.
Being a shredder style guitar, it had 24 extra jumbo frets. They really assisted with easy playability, and allowed for a light tough in alternative tunings with no fret buzz. The edges of the frets were really well finished, and there was no sprout anywhere on the neck, resulting in a great, smooth feel. The crowns were well leveled, and even had a nice polish, which again, added to the slick feel.
The string through design added a lot to the resonance and sustain, and supported the pickups well in delivering guttural, menacing tones.
We really did love the pickups. When it comes to active pups, EMG really are the gold standard, and while the 81TW and the 89 models are some of the more basic active units you’ll find, they really are tried and tested.
The EMG81TW in the bridge had a dual mode, which let us work with either a thinner single coil style tone, or full thickness humbucking. It added some real versatility, and let us pierce through a mix easily when playing lead. The EMG 89 in the neck had a turbocharged PAF type sound, and delivered devastating chug without breaking a sweat.
Other Guitars to Consider
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 really does offer a lot of guitar for the money, but this is a highly competitive market sector, with competition from some well established brands. If you’re not entirely sold on the Hellraiser C-1, take a look at these excellent alternatives and see if they better suit what you’re looking for.
The ESP LTD Max-200 RPR just screams metal. Offering one of the most aggressive designs on the market, it’s certainly less conservative than the Schecter, so if you’re looking for a fast playing metal style guitar, with extreme looks, this might be a good option for you. It’s less expensive than the Schecter, too, but still comes with all the pedigree of a well established metal guitars brand.
Charvel is one of the best known brands when it comes to tricked out S Style guitars, so if that’s what attracted you to the Schecter, you’ll probably love the Charvel Pro Mod San Dimas Style 1. Tonally, it’s a little less aggressive thanks to its passive Seymour Duncan humbuckers, but it does offer the flexibility and tuning stability of a Floyd Rose bridge. Its compound radius fretboard makes it a fantastic all rounder for both rhythm and lead players, and the rolled edges give it a broken in feeling right out of the box.
Final Thoughts on the Schecter Hellraiser C-1
As you can probably guess from their full brand name, Schecter Guitar Research, technology and engineering is at the core of what they set out to achieve, and we think they nailed it with the Schecter Hellraiser C-1.
It offers excellent pickups, high end build quality, and great looks to boot. Would we call it the best guitar in this category? Probably not – but still, we found few things we didn’t like, and if you’re already a fan of the Schecter brand and you’re looking to upgrade from something like an Omen 6, you absolutely won’t regret it.