Schecter Hellraiser C-1
Hellraiser C-1 Specifications:
Schecter’s Hellraiser series has become a staple in the metal world, and for good reason. They’re attractive, well-priced, and you’ll have a hard time finding a fault in playability. The series is characterized by its exclusive use of EMG pickups, which puts it in a familiar class for comparison.
There’s a ton of guitars that can give you the same specs at a similar price, but the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 has some fancy features and beautiful details that help it stand out amongst the crowd.
Body, Binding & Wood
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 utilizes a classic double-cut super-strat body with a carved top. It’s a shape that the brand has become most associated with – something of a flagship for the company.
The shape is very similar to that of the Ibanez SZ series, but predates them by quite a few years. It’s safe to say that Ibanez took inspiration from Schecter there, as other guitar companies (like DBZ / Diamond Guitars) are continuing to do.
Both the body and neck are made from mahogany, which has an excellent level of reverberation. The sound is noticeably bigger and warmer – even through the treble-heavy EMGs. It’s the perfect marriage of materials. To top it off, a beautiful piece quilted maple carved with a soft bevel.
The guitar comes in black and white variations, but the Cherry Red stained model is of particular note. The hue is rich and deep, and when combined with the maple figuring, the effect is similar to the rippling on the surface of a deep body of water.
The body and headstock have a multi-ply abalone binding that offsets the deep stained hues nicely. The abalone also has a level of depth and light refraction – not as much as the maple top, but it makes for a nice pair.
Neck & Fretboard
The 3-piece set-in neck on the Hellraiser C-1’s is particularly nice. As mentioned before, it’s made from mahogany to match the body. It’s built for speed and upper fret access, with a thin-C profile shape and a short heel. The heel’s ramp is pushed up as close to the body as possible. It’s steep but lets your hands slide up to the top of the fretboard without any change in the neck’s thickness.
Finally, there’s a nice little volute at the top to strengthen the scarf joint and provide a comfortable post to rest against for open chords. Again, you can see the Ibanez SZ series took cues from Schecter’s design when comparing necks as well.
(Russian video, but very little talking and a very thorough demonstration)
The fretboard is rosewood with a nice 14″ radius that’ll give your bends a wide area of pitch change to work with. The gothic cross inlays are the same multi-ply abalone material as the binding. An ebony fretboard might be a nice option for the cherry red model, but we can’t have everything.
Schecter had the foresight to include options for the bridge to satisfy a wider range of customers. You can select either an original Floyd Rose tremolo or a Tone Pros string-thru Tune-O-Matic. If you’re not interested in a double-locking tremolo, a string-thru bridge will certainly take full advantage of the mahogany body’s reverberation qualities. It’ll also increase your sustain at the same time.
The Tune-O-Matic version includes a graph-tech tusq nut, which is sort of like synthetic bone. It has a more uniform molecular structure though, so the marketing department claims it’s better than bone. That’s a difficult point to test, as the comparison would be very slight. The difference is nowhere near the level between plastic and bone.
(The Hellraiser C-1 with a Tune-O-Matic bridge)
(A metal-only demonstration)
Coil-splitting EMGs = a more diverse instrument
Finally, we come to the pickups. If you’re familiar with EMG actives or you’ve watched the videos above already, you’ll be familiar with the tone. It’s aggressive, defined, and big. The mahogany body helps bring a little warmth to round out the tone, but the note definition is still sharp as ever. It’s a perfect union – the Hellraiser C-1 may just raise your opinion of EMG actives.
Instead of utilizing the classic 81 / 85 combination, Schecter opted for an 81TW / 89R set. This allows for both pickups to be coil-split, providing a much wider range of accessible tones. The 89R has a reversed coil orientation (compared to the standard 89), which is helps deliver a single-coil Strat-type tone when split. If you haven’t heard this combo, it’s highly recommended that you check out the included videos again!
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is a beautiful instrument, to put it simply. The model has received fantastic reviews from satisfied players. Its most impressive features are the beautiful, easy-access 3-piece set neck and the coil-splitting 81TW / 89R pickup combo.
The mahogany body & neck help deliver a bigger, warmer sound than you’re used to with an EMG 81 / 89 set that you’ll commonly come across. The Hellraiser C-1 shines even brighter when you put it next to similarly equipped guitars in the same price range.