Schecter Guitars Review: C-1 Classic vs. Hellraiser vs. Omen 6
Schecter is one of the top guitar builders out there, and the C-1 body shape is quickly becoming iconic in the rock world. If you play anything from classic rock to extreme metal, grabbing a Schecter 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 guitars that look similar, have similar specs, but some subtle differences that matter.
In this review we’ll take a look at the Schecter C-1 Classic, the Hellraiser C-1 and the Omen 6. These are three of my favorite guitars in Schecter’s lineup and each for a different reason.
- The C-1 Classic is a gorgeous guitar, with a sound that matches its looks. As its name suggests, this is classy instrument with the same vibe you’d expect in a high-level Gibson or PRS.
- The Hellraiser takes the C-1 design and turns it to the dark side. This is an instrument made for metal, with pickups and hardware to match.
- The Omen 6 is a good-looking, good-sounding guitar for a very affordable price. If you like what you see in the C-1 Classic or Hellrasier but don’t quite have the cash, this is the way to go.
No matter which you pick you’ll be getting an amazing guitar. Schecter is among the best guitar brands in the world, and I have found that their guitars always deliver a little more than I expect.
So let’s get to it. On to the gear!
- Body: Mahogany with quilted maple top
- Neck: Maple/Walnut Multi-ply, neck-thru design
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Pickups: Seymour Duncan JB SH-4B bridge; Seymour Duncan Jazz SH-2N neck
- Electronics: One each volume and tone control, 5-way switch
The C-1 body style is a 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.
The C-1 Classic is the guitar that turned me on to Schecter, many years ago. I can remember when I played one for the first time, what music store I was in and even which amp I was using. There aren’t a lot of guitars I can say that about.
The C-1 Classic and guitars like it are what made guitar players flock to Schecter over the years. While metal players will love the C-1 Classic, this is a guitar suited in both style and sound for just about any genre.
The C-1 Classic was gone from Schecter’s lineup for a bit, but now it’s back. Today, while some of the specs have slightly changed, this guitar is still one of the best bargains out there. And, it still sounds as good as it looks, even with that gorgeous quilted maple top and abalone “vine of life” inlays.
The C-1 Classic 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.
Actually, I take some of that back. I think Schecter guitars have come to the point where we can accurately say this thing feels like a Schecter. There is definitely a certain vibe we have come to expect from them. It’s a bit edgy, a bit classy, and a whole lot of awesome.
The Seymour Duncan JB SH-4B and Jazz SH-2N pickups in the bridge and neck, respectively make for a great setup. The JB is renowned as one of the top pickups for rock – a little warm, a lot crunchy and great harmonics.
The chrome covers are a nice touch and match the classy look of the guitar. Neck-thru design and a TonePros bridge with string-through body mean a whole lot of sustain. The neck is actually maple/walnut mutli-ply for added strength.
The C-1 Classic would serve fine for metal, but there are darker spirits in the Schecter lineup. If you have to have a guitar built for extreme metal, you may want to look to the mighty Hellraiser.
- 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 takes the C-1 body style in a dark and heavy direction. This guitar is made for metal, but it still has that classy vibe that goes along with the design. So what’s the difference between the Classic and the Hellraiser?
They are many, but here are some of the key points: The solid-color Hellraisers skips the maple top found on the Classic, where the translucent-top guitars include it. 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.
The Hellraiser features an all-mahogany neck compared to the maple/walnut on the Classic. This is also a set-neck design rather than neck-through. Warmer, more resonant tonewoods lends more to the low end, and helps to paint a picture of a guitar that’s made for heavy music.
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.
Then there are the pickups. The Hellraiser features EMG pickup, a staple in heavy metal for the past several decades. The 81/89s 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.
If you’re thinking it would be perfect if it only had a Floyd Rose tremolo, Schecter also has the Hellraiser C-1 FR, which is the same guitar with a Floyd Rose 1000 bridge.
If you are thinking it would be perfect if it were a 7-string, Schecter has you covered there as well with the Hellraiser C-7.
If you’re thinking it would be perfect if it were a 7-string with a Floyd Rose . . .well, you see where I’m going here. Schecter has ten different Hellraiser models in their lineup as of this writing, including a cool single-cutaway Solo-II model. It’s also worth mentioning that they have left-handed versions of each of them.
The Schecter Hellraiser Series
The Omen 6
- Body: Basswood
- Neck: Maple, bolt-on
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Pickups: Schecter Diamond Plus
- Electronics: One volume and one tone control, three-way pickup selector switch.
- Bridge: TonePros Tune-o-Matic with thru-body contruction.
Schecter instruments, in my opinion, are among the best values in the guitar world. Even so, the asking price for the C-1 Classic and Hellraiser may be a bit too steep for beginners and intermediate players. If that’s you, check out the Omen 6.
The Omen 6 is one of my favorite guitars in Schecters lineup, and I’m not just saying that because I own one. I’m saying it I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a guitar this good for a similar price, especially if you are a rock or metal player.
The construction here is a little different than the guitars discussed above. The Omen has a bolt-on maple neck, and a basswood body. While not as resonant as mahogany, basswood still has a nice warmth to it, and the maple neck helps to bring out a little crunch. There’s even a string-thru body for some great sustain
I bought my Omen over a decade ago for around $300, and the price hasn’t gone up all that much since then. I wanted a guitar I could detune and knock around a little without feeling badly about it, but I ended up with one that sounds good enough to play every day. And, for a while, I did just that.
As with other Schecter models, there are other choices here besides the basic Omen 6. There is the Omen 6 Extreme, with or without a Floyd Rose. These guitars feature a mahogany body instead of basswood, upgraded pickups with a push/pull coil split, and cosmetic improvements like quilted tops, multi-ply binding and cool fret marker inlays.
So, which guitar should you choose? I invite you to do your own research and form your own conclusions, but hopefully this article got you off to a good start.
The C-1 Classic lives up to its name. It's a gorgeous, all-purpose guitar with appointments beyond its price range.
The Hellraiser is a metal machine, built for extreme music and extreme guitar players. If that's you, you will appreciate what it brings to the table.
The C-1 Classic and Hellraiser may be a notch above the Omen 6, but don't rule out this inexpensive guitar. It is a great value for the money, and a smart choice for beginner or intermediate guitar players.
Or, even veteran players like me. I love my Omen, and even though it isn't my main guitar I doubt I'd ever part with.
You can’t go wrong with any of the Schecters, so don’t lose too much sleep over your decision! Good luck and don't forget to have fun.
Questions & Answers
What's your opinion on the Schecter Omen Extreme-FR vs. the Schecter Omen 6?
My opinion is that the Schecter Omen Extreme is an excellent guitar at an excellent price point. It’s a little more expensive than the Omen 6, but you also get a few nice upgrades. For beginners and intermediate players, I think it’s a solid choice, especially if a guitarist is into metal or hard rock.
The Omen Extreme Series is a step up from Omen 6. While many of the differences are cosmetic, there are a few significant changes to note. The Omen Extreme-FR has a mahogany body where the Omen 6 has basswood. Both are resonant tonewoods, and I like both, but given a choice, I’d prefer mahogany.
The Extreme also has more advanced electronics, with the addition of another volume knob and a push/pull coil tap function. The coil tap is nice, but I really like the extra volume knob. This, in combination with the 3-way switch, makes the Extreme similar to a Les Paul when it comes to pickup switching and using the selector switch as an on/off.
Of course, the major difference here is the Floyd Rose Special tremolo found on the Extreme-FR. I can only tell you that, in my opinion, the Floyd Rose Special is a good bridge. Whether I’d prefer a guitar with a Floyd Rose or Tune-o-Matic often depends on which way the wind is blowing. However, if you think you need a guitar with a Floyd Rose, I think this one is a great choice compared to some of the other options out there in this price range.