Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder Exotic Hardtail Review
David Schecter started Schecter Guitar Research in 1976. At first, the company performed repairs and sold parts from its store in Van Nuys, California (much like their contemporaries, Charvel). But Schecter quickly developed a strong reputation with SoCal players and began selling complete guitars in 1979.
It’s no coincidence that the rise of Schecter Guitar aligned with the rise of the 80s metal scene in Los Angeles. And their Sun Valley Super Shredder guitars, originally released in 2017, offer a nostalgic throwback to when super strat ruled the world. Since its inception, the Sun Valley Super Shredder product line has constantly evolved, even adopting unusual features like a Sustaniac pickup. More recently, Schecter introduced the exotic Korean-made version of the range, which mainly features more unusual woods, such as zircote and black limba, the latter of which is featured on our review guitar. But it also introduced features like a Hipshot Ibby HM hardtail deck. This might sound like heresy to shredders accustomed to dive-bombing a Floyd Rose, but as our review instrument revealed, the hardtail bridge, black limba wood, and excellent Sunset Strip and Pasadena humbuckers from Schecter add up to a wealth of very cool tones that effortlessly span styles.
- Mic Centered 1″ Away — Dirty Bridge at Neck
- Centered mic 1 inch away — clean neck bridge.
- Mic centered at 1 inch at 45 degree angle — Clean neck bridge
- Mic centered at 1 inch at 45 degree angle — dirty neck bridge
- Mic right of center 1 inch away — Bridge dirty to dirty
- Mic right of center 2.5 cm away — neck clean bridge
Pick up things
Customizing guitars is so common these days that many guitarists are rushing to change the stock pickups on relatively affordable guitars like the Sun Valley. The Sun Valley Super Shredder Exotic Hardtail Black Limba pickups, which feature a USA Sunset Strip in the bridge and a USA Pasadena in the neck, are however fantastic. And unless you’re looking for a very specific tone, it’s hard to imagine a good reason to give them up. The alnico 5 Pasadena is 8.4k ohms and has a vintage PAF vibe, while the ceramic 8 Sunset Strip is warmer at 12.6k ohms. Interestingly, Schecter pickups sell for around $129 each, so they’re far from outsourced cheap components. In fact, they are more expensive than many Duncans or DiMarzios.
The SVSS EHBL has a simple control layout with a volume control and a tone knob. But the 5-way pickup selector is an interesting departure from the traditional Stratocaster-style 5-way setup. You can select bridge humbucker, bridge and neck in split-coil configuration, bridge and neck in humbucker mode, neck humbucker with coils in parallel, and standard neck humbucker. It’s a very versatile setup that makes the most of the pickups already considerable potential.
Fancy Lumber and Flat Fretboards
The build quality of the SVSS EHBL is impeccable. But the guitar is also a feast for the eyes. Rather than a typical mahogany or alder body, the black limba of the SVSS EHBL is an attractively grained hardwood that shares many tonal characteristics with mahogany. The neck is wenge (another rare wood in electric solidbody circles), reinforced with carbon fiber truss rods and a 2-way truss rod, and shaped into a slim C-profile that becomes slightly more thick as you raise the neck (from 20mm at the 1st fret to 22mm at the 12th).
The 12″-16″ compound radius of the ebony fingerboard is perfect for fast fretting and deep bends and features cool cosmetic touches in the form of staggered circular aluminum inlays and glow-in-the-dark side dots that contrast nicely against the dark sheen from the fingerboard and add a touch of subtle elegance.The guitar’s playability is further enhanced by 24 jumbo stainless steel frets and a nicely contoured heel that facilitates easy access to the higher frets.A Graph nut Tech XL Black Tusq and Schecter 18:1 locking tuners anchor the strings to the headstock.
The neck humbucker in parallel coil configuration has an almost P-90 vibe.
As delivered, the Schecter’s action was a little higher than I like. The truss bar’s spoked wheel is located in the space between the neck and the body, and adjustments are a breeze. Having 24 frets on a super flat fingerboard is, of course, an invitation to work the high registers with abandon. Luckily, I could lean into the higher strings at the 24th fret without fear.
Super shredding sounds
With amps tuned for high gain, the Schecter’s bridge pickup has an unmistakable vintage metal vibe with an aggressive edge. It has a slight scoop in the mids, which to my ear contributes to extra definition in the picking. It’s also a very open sound, which makes it a killer for heavy rhythm parts. The neck pickup has a very attractive warm and round tone. And with the back tone, it’s wonderful for high-sustain solos.
Split and parallel coil sounds add plenty of tonal and performance possibilities. The second pickup position, which combines the bridge and neck pickups in single-coil configuration, has a very Strat quality without the buzz, while the fourth pickup position, with the neck humbucker in a parallel-coil configuration, has a near P-90 atmosphere. I loved playing semi-dirty, octave-focused funk-rock riffs in this position.
The lower volume of separate and parallel coil settings can also be the catalyst for dramatic musical moments. I enjoyed starting the solos in position 2 and hitting the bridge pickup for a boost, which feels a lot more organic than hitting a boost pedal to get that final culminating push.
In Schecter’s Sun Valley Super Shredder line, the Exotic Hardtail Black Limba is something of an exception. It eschews metallic elements like Floyd Rose double-locking tremolos and EMG active pickups, which are devices elsewhere in the series. But those omissions actually make the SVSS EHBL more versatile in many ways, and between its inviting playability and the classy-to-rageous tonal range of its pickups, the Super Shredder is at home in just about any style of music. .
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