The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is a guitar that definitely lives up to it’s name in design! It has a mahogany body, set mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard and gothic cross inlays, and two active EMG humbucker pickups.
Schecter guitars have been going for 35 years, and also produce acoustic guitars, basses and guitar accessories. Starting out as ‘Schecter Guitar Research’ and originally only making replacement parts for other guitars, they are now one of the worlds top guitar companies. They cater to a range of styles, however they are probably best known for their rock and metal guitars.
Famous players of Schecter Guitars include: Avenged Sevenfold, JD from Black Label Society, Black Veil Brides, Steve Zing from Danzig, Papa Roach and Jeff Loomis.
Active EMG Pickups
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 definitely comes set up for the Rock or Metal player, with an EMG 81TW in the bridge position, and an EMG 89R in the neck position. Both of these pickups are ‘dual mode’, which means the can work as either humbuckers or singlecoils (which you switch between with a push-pull switch). Oh, and they’re so metal, they only come in black.
The bridge pickup provides a lot of crunch and aggressiveness, and is perfect for standard or heavy drop tunings. Even when coil-tapped, this pickup is definitely focused on rhythm playing and chords. With distortion, on the humbucker setting, powerchords (especially) sound meaty and full, and when in singlecoil mode, on a clean setting, chords sound clear, and resonant. You could try playing lead with this pickup, but the sound wont shine through as much as with rhythm playing.
The 89R in the neck position, however, is much better for solos. It, too, has the ability to turn into a singlecoil, and is essentially the same as an EMG 89, but in reverse. This configuration puts the singlecoil coil in a better position for a sweeter tone. This pickup delivers warmth and clarity for lead playing, with that active EMG ‘punch’ that you would expect.
Both of the pickups have push-pull functionality (accessed via the volume controls for each pickup) and Alnico V magnets, with separate preamps for each.
Other Key Features
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 also features locking tuners, with a screw pin to lock the tuners in place. This helps with the tuning stability, as you’re not going to accidentally knock your guitar out of tune by touching the pegs. It also means that the tuners wont slip and detune your guitar slowly over time.
The bridge is a TonePros TOM, through-body design, which means the bridge and tailpiece are locked down so there is no movement (which can cause intonation issues). This design also means the strings have a lot of contact with the body of the guitar, which improves the resonance and tone.
- Set-Neck w/ Ultra Access
- Arched, Quilted Maple Top
- EMG Active 81TW (bridge) and 89R (neck) pickups
- Mahogany Body
- Black Cherry (BCH)
- Limited Lifetime Guarantee
- Abalone, multi-ply Binding (black/white/black)
- Mahogany, 3 piece neck
- Rosewood Fretboard
- Abalone Gothic Cross inlays
- 25.5″ (648mm) Scale length
- 24 X-Jumbo Frets
- 14” (355mm) Fretboard Radius
- Thin ‘C’ Neck Shape
- Neck Thickness: 1st Fret- .787” (20mm)/ 12th Fret- .866” (22mm)
- 1.653” (42mm) Nut Width
- Graph Tech XL Black Tusq nut
- 2-Way Adjustable Truss Rod w/ 5/32” (4mm) Allen Nut
- Volume (Push-Pull)/Volume (Push-Pull)/Tone/3-Way Switch controls
- 3 way Pickup selector switch
- 9-volt Clip-in Battery Compartment
- Black Chrome Hardware
- TonePros T3BT TOM w/ String Thru Body bridge
- Schecter Locking Tuners
- Metal Knurled w/ Set Screw control knobs
- Comes fitted with Ernie Ball Regular Slinky #2221 (.010-.046) strings
- Also available in left handed
What We liked
The scale length of this guitar is fairly standard, at 25.5″, but something about this guitar is great when detuned to heavier tunings. The feel of the neck when playing is really smooth and easy- this is definitely a heavy rock and metal guitar.
However, that certainly isn’t all this guitar is! The bridge pickup is perfect for tight, distorted riffs or powerchords- without losing anything in terms of weight of sound. Then there is the coil-tapping power of these pickups, which make the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 also a great guitar for country, blues or even jazz. It’s a very versatile guitar, but you have to remember that its main focus is on ‘raising hell’ in Rock and Metal.
The natural sustain and tone clarity of this guitar may even rival a Les Paul for leadwork. This is probably down to the strings-through-body bridge design, and set neck- which is similar to a Les Paul in the way that a lot of that string vibration is sent through to the body of the guitar. This is what you want, because all the natural resonances of the body will add up and produce a fuller tone, with more sustain.
The locking tuners and 3-piece mahogany neck do a great job of keeping this giutar in tune for days- even after some pretty regular and aggressive playing! You’re probably want to use it for some heavy riffing, too. The neck is slightly thinner than a Les Paul, but you could almost think of this one as the Las Paul’s heavy metal cousin.
Also, this guitar is made to be solid. It could definitely stand up to the riggers of regular gigging. So, if you’re in a gigging heavy metal or rock band, this may be the guitar for you.
What We didn’t like
As with all guitars, you need to make sure the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is set up properly before playing. Otherwise you’ll have trouble keeping the guitar in tune, and producing such a fantastic tone.
Actually, talking about the tone, I- personally- like the sound of active EMG’s in a guitar. They are really suited to heavier sounds, but they also provide a strong signal to your amp, with very little interference. This makes them great for on stage or recording.
However, some would argue that these pickups lack some of the subtler qualities of passive pickups. It is true that active pickups can sound very ‘flat’, or too aggressive tonally. If you’re playing heavy metal, that’s probably something that you want, however, when playing the blues, you may feel that some of your expression is lost in the tone of these pickups.
I would also say that this guitar is probably slightly better at rhythm guitar than with lead. This is, of course, down to personal taste- and you can use the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 equally well for either role. Anyway, most guitarists spend around 80% of their time (at least) playing riffs or chords in a band. This just might not be the best guitar if you’re in a band and only ever play lead…but when does that happen?
Conclusions on the Schecter Hellraiser C-1
In conclusion, the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is definitely capable of raising some hell, but it also has a softer side. Some may argue that this guitar trying to play light jazz is like Zakk Wylde trying to hold a pyjama party…however if you want to rock out, this guitar is difficult to beat!