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Schecter Guitars Review: Hellraiser C-1, Extreme and Solo 6

Updated on July 24, 2015
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Guitar Gopher is a guitarist and bassist with over 30 years of experience as a musician.

The Hellraiser C-1, C-1 Extreme and Hellraiser Solo 6 are three incredible guitars form the Schecter lineup.
The Hellraiser C-1, C-1 Extreme and Hellraiser Solo 6 are three incredible guitars form the Schecter lineup.

The Schecter Hellraiser

Schecter is one of the top guitar brands for metal and hard rock, and the Hellraiser is one of their most successful instruments. The original Hellraiser is based around the Schecter C-1 body shape, but has spawned a legion of offshoots since its arrival on the scene, some with vastly different body styles and appointments.

This is a guitar that is quickly becoming a classic in the hard rock world. But it’s all par for the course for Schecter. The Hellraiser series is just another example of how Schecter somehow manages to build outstanding instruments with quality hardware and electronics for a reasonable cost.

If you play anything from classic rock to extreme metal grabbing a Schecter Hellraiser as your next guitar might be a no-brainer. The only problem is you may have trouble choosing one model over the others.

Once you dig into the Schecter catalog your head might start spinning with choices. There are bunches of Hellraiser guitars that look similar, have similar specs, but some subtle differences that matter.

In this review we’ll compare the Hellraiser C-1, Hellraiser C-1 Extreme and Hellraiser Solo 6, and hopefully by the time we’re done you’ll know which guitar is the right choice for you.

No matter which you pick you’ll be getting an amazing guitar. Schecter is among the best guitar brands in the world, and their guitars always deliver a little more than you'd expect.

So let’s get to it. On to the gear!

Schecter Hellraiser C-1
Schecter Hellraiser C-1

Hellraiser C-1

Body: Mahogany / Mahogany with quilted maple top

Neck: Three-piece mahogany, set neck design.

Fingerboard: Rosewood

Pickups: EMG 81TW bridge, EMG 89R neck

Electronics: Two volume controls with coil tap, tone control, three-way pickup selector switch.

The Hellraiser C-1 is built around the Schecter “C” body style. This is a very comfortable and attractive shape that has become synonymous with Schecter. It's used on their top-end instruments, as we see here, as well as lower-cost models such as the Omen series.

This guitar may look like a super-strat, and indeed has a 25.5" scale length. However, with all that mahogany it will have a feel a bit more like a Les Paul-type guitar. The C-shape body tends to be a little thick, and this along with the set-neck design means great sustain.

Sonically, the difference between the all-mahogany body on the solid finishes and the mahogany with quilted maple found on the see-through finish is minimal. Like most guitars in this price range, the maple top is more for aesthetic reasons, and not the thick, tone-altering maple cap you’ll find on more expensive guitars.

The Hellraiser C-1 has a mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard. This combination lends more to the low end, and along with the EMG pickup set helps to paint a picture of a guitar that’s made for heavy music. The 81/89 pickups are similar to legendary EMG 81/85 combination, except here you have the coil tap push/pull function. Because of this, the 81/89 set is a bit more versatile than the 81/85 set.

With its combination of dark, resonant tonewoods and hot pickups the Hellraiser C-1 has what it takes for hard rock, extreme metal, and everything in between. Good-looking bindings and cool gothic cross inlays as fret markers put it over the top.

If you’re thinking it would be perfect if it only had a Floyd Rose tremolo, Schecter also has the Extreme C-1 FR, which is the same guitar with a Floyd Rose 1000 bridge. How could Schecter possibly improve on this instrument?

The Schecter Hellraiser Series

Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Extreme
Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Extreme

Hellraiser Extreme C-1

Body: Mahogany with Flamed Maple or Quilted Maple

Neck: Multi-laminate Maple and Walnut, neck-thru construction

Fingerboard: Ebony or Flamed Maple

Pickups: EMG Active 81TW bridge, EMG 89R neck

Electronics: Two volume controls with coil tap, tone control, three-way pickup selector switch.

Bridge: TonePros Tune-o-Matic with thru-body contruction.

With the Hellraiser Extreme C-1 we’re looking at many of the same specs as the basic Hellraiser. It’s got the same EMG 81TW/89R pickups set, the same mahogany “C” shape body, and the same Tune-o-matic bridge. So what’s the difference, and what makes it so extreme?

Let’s start with the neck, and the way the guitar is put together. Neck-through construction means the piece of wood the neck is made of extends through the length of the guitar body. Sometimes the body of the guitar is one solid piece, but more often it’s assembled as “wings” added to each side of the neck piece.

While set-neck guitars are excellent for resonance and sustain, through-body designs are a notch above.

The Hellraiser Extreme C-1 has a multi-laminate maple/walnut neck. Mahogany is a warm, resonant tonewood that will give the guitar excellent low-end, and maple is a brighter wood that will bring some crispness and clarity to the sound.

This is a classic combination of tonewoods that has worked well for decades. The walnut helps to round out some of the brightness of the maple.

The Extreme also offers the choice between a maple and ebony fingerboard. Maple will sound crisper than rosewood, and ebony lands somewhere between the two. With these subtle but significant differences in construction, the Extreme is a guitar that not only has the low-end growl needed for extreme metal, but also better articulation and bite in the mid-to-high frequencies.

So, what makes it so Extreme? Better construction, more options and a wider tonal palate. It also comes in a Floyd Rose version, if you need your whammy. The Hellraiser Extreme is a cut above the standard Hellraiser, so where do we go from here?

Schecter Hellraiser Solo 6
Schecter Hellraiser Solo 6

Hellraiser Solo 6

Body: Mahogany with Quilted Maple

Neck: Three-piece mahogany, set neck design.

Fingerboard: Rosewood

Pickups: EMG 81TW neck, EMG 89R bridge

Electronics: Two volume controls with coil tap, tone control, three-way pickup selector switch.

Bridge: TonePros Tune-o-Matic with thru-body contruction.

The Hellraiser Solo 6 has been removed from Schecter's lineup for 2015, and appears to have been replaced by the Solo II. But the Solo 6 was a popular guitar that can still be had new if you are willing to look around a bit, and worth mentioning here.

On paper, the Hellraiser Solo 6 looks like the same guitar as the Hellraiser C-1. In person, it looks like something else entirely. The Solo 6 body style is a departure from Schecters C shape, and looks amazing in its own right.

It’s a single-cutaway design that may appeal those who like the Les Paul look, but want something much meaner.

The Solo 6 has a mahogany body, mahogany set neck and rosewood fingerboard tonewood configuration like the C-1. Practically speaking, the mahogany bodies will put all of these guitars on the deep end of the tonal spectrum. But the C-1 and Solo 6 are both going to sound just touch darker than the Extreme.

However, you may not be able to tell the difference between these tonewood combinations, or perhaps you simply don’t care. That's okay! Guys like me are always trying to explain the sounds of guitars with words, when really its your own ears that matter.

When it comes down to it, you may choose the Solo 6 body style over the C-1 body for aesthetic reasons alone. Just to make things even more complicated, the Solo 6 body style is available for the Hellraiser Extreme as well. It’s got similar construction, woods and electronics as the Extreme.

The Schecter Hellraiser lineup doesn’t end with the Solo 6. There are seven and eight-string models, baritone guitars, and even models available with the wild Sustainiac pickup. As a guitar company, Schecter always has something interesting up their sleeve.

Hear the Schecter Hellraiser Solo 6

More Hellraisers

Schecter’s website features dozens of variations on the Hellraiser theme, and this article only scratches the surface. From pickups, to whammy bars and different fretboard materials, there are a lot of choices here.

If you are looking for a killer 7-string you might consider the Hellraiser C-7 or Extreme C-7. Both have all the awesome stuff you’ll find in their six-string brothers, with the added benefit of a low-B.

If you are a lefty, Schecter has you covered. Unlike some guitar companies, Schecter makes an array of left-handed guitars in popular models like the Hellraiser. No need to string that thing upside-down!

There’s also the Hybrid series, a stable of Hellraisers build with some of the great appointments found in the Schecter SLS collection. That means thin, super-fast necks, perfect for shredding and precision playing.

I am more impressed with Schecter each year, and they continue to innovate and raise the bar for high-quality, affordable guitars geared toward metal and hard rock. They have really become a force to be reckoned with in the past few decades, and if metal is your thing you owe it to yourself to give Schecter a hard look.

Which Hellraiser?

So now what? I’ve thrown a bunch of information at you, but I’ve not really helped you make a decision, have I? Well, I can tell you what I would do. Given the option between the Hellraiser C-1, the C-1 Extreme or the Solo 6, I think I’d be looking hard at the C-1 Extreme with a maple fingerboard and TOM bridge.

I’ve owned a couple of guitars with thru-body construction and loved them, I’ve always gravitated toward maple fingerboards and I’ve basically lost all patience with locking tremolos lately.

However, at a price bump of a few hundred dollars between the Extreme and standard versions, I think I’d have trouble justifying spending the extra cash, especially when the more basic Hellraiser models are so darned good. The Hellraiser C-1 with the TOM bridge and white finish looks gorgeous, and that’s probably the guitar I’d end up taking home.

However, you’re not me, and you have to make the choice that makes the best sense to you. The Extreme may be a notch above the standard C-1 and Solo 6 designs, but all are incredible guitars, perfect for everything from classic hard rock to extreme metal.

Whether you go for the basic Hellraiser or the Extreme depends on whether or not you feel the extra cash is well spent, and whether you choose the C-1 or Solo 6 body style comes down to your personal preference.

You can’t go wrong with any of the Schecters, so don’t lose too much sleep over your decision! Good luck and have fun.

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