Before we start our Schecter Apocalypse Review, on occasion, a company comes along that rocks the boat. It doesn’t happen very often in the guitar world, but when it does, people stand up and take notice.
David Schecter set up his company in 1976. Originally all they did was supply replacement parts for Fender and Gibson, among others. But by 1979, they were manufacturing their own guitars to a limited number of retail outlets.
They grew quickly in the numbers produced and in reputation. Originally they produced headstocks and other parts for Fender. And so the likeness in the Schecter designs was obvious. The Saturn was a Telecaster copy, and the Stratocaster look-alike was the Mercury.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing…
Despite early encouragement from the Fender hierarchy, the toys came out of the pram, again, and lawsuits were flying around. In 1986 Schecter went away very quietly, only to reappear under new ownership in early 1987. Later that year, they were sold on to the Japanese who still own them.
The guitars they produce today are staggering. Designed unashamedly for metal and heavy rock, they have a big reputation. The Japanese owners kept the business based in California, which was a good idea. And they have taken them to heights David Schecter could only have dreamed of.
The Schecter Apocalypse is as good a place to start as any if it is your first look at them. For those familiar with this guitar, you know what’s coming.
So, sit down and strap in as we dive into our review of the Schecter Apocalypse…
The Apocalypse arrived in 2018. And from day one was ready to create some noise. An Ash body with an ebony fingerboard with 24 accessible frets. Two humbuckers and a Floyd Rose bridge. This was ready to rock.
Great action and aggressive tones, the Schecter Apocalypse is a metal machine. And did it look the part? Just a bit.
An aggressive but very aesthetic styling with nice contours. It stands out in the crowd. And the ‘what are you looking at’ red finish is going to make you take notice. Enough talk, let’s eat as they say. This is the Schecter Apocalypse up close.
Some genres have a style for their instruments. Or maybe it is the style of the people who play them. In some musical circles, you are not going to see outrageous shapes and designs. Likewise, other styles demand just that, to help create a certain feeling.
The visual aspect of the instrument can say a lot about what it is to be used for. Schecter guitars have a little of that. But it is not overdone. They are actually very stylish, well-made guitars that, in many cases, will cross the genre-divide. Something a lot of other guitars struggle to do.
We have heard Schecter criticized for being a ‘one-trick pony’ manufacturers. One style only. But no, not at all. They can cross the divide that separates extreme sound from just plain old rock music. The Apocalypse is a good example of that.
A solid body of style…
There is a deep double-cutaway design that gives full access to the fingerboard. The cutaways are deep and bold. But they are not overly aggressive. It is a body made from a solid piece of Ash. That is the front and the back.
It has some stylish contours that give a certain grace to the design. Being a solid piece of wood, it is not a lightweight instrument weighing in at 28.2 pounds.
Comfortable and balanced…
It has a slim design, and the thickness doesn’t extend the elbow unduly. Therefore, it can relax on the body as you fly up and down the fingerboard.
The red finish is one of the highlights, and you really have to get close up to appreciate it. The glossy red patterned finish is offset by the black binding.
As we said, it has to look the part. And it does.
If you are going to play fast and slick, then the neck just has to be right. This neck is a 25.5-inch scale Maple five-piece design with a set-in joint.
It has a slimline bordering on a thin ‘C’ shape giving it the fast action most will demand. It has a smooth satin finish. And the adjustable truss rod is made from carbon fiber.
On top of the Maple neck is an Ebony fingerboard with 24 stainless steel extra-jumbo frets. The design is finished off with mother of pearl inlaid Roman numerals instead of just dots. They do contribute to the style of the guitar but add a bit of a sinister feel.
That is going to appeal to those playing this within a certain genre. There are also two triangular guide markers on the fretboard.
Well-made again, as was the body, the neck is fit for purpose. Slim and slick and designed for speed, it is going to do its job.
Up at the top are the Schecter machine heads. These are a quality design with a good ratio. In a music environment where there is a lot of string bending going on, you need good tuners. These are designed for that.
They are finished in all black and have closed backs. More atmospherics in the design. It has an adjustable Graphtech nut and a string tension bar.
Let’s go down the other end, where we have a hardtail bridge and through the body stringing. But the big talking point here concerns the inclusion of the Floyd Rose 1500 tremolo bridge.
It is a reincarnation of the Blade tremolo bridge from Floyd Rose. This really is a great addition to the sound and the performance of this guitar. It builds reliability and brings a good string response.
It gives one of the best vibratos there is. Expressive one moment, aggressive the next. This tremolo bridge has been placed here to create musical mayhem. Assuming that is what you want. If you want to act a bit cooler, it will handle that as well.
If, however, you prefer to really let rip and let the Dutch maestro know you are around, this tremolo bridge was built for dive-bombing. It screams and bends and drags the strings in every direction. But returns them to their tuning. A remarkable addition to a remarkable guitar.
As per the top end, all the hardware at the bridge end is finished in black.
So sound-wise, now we come to the real business part. You won’t find any single-coil pickups on this weapon. Two screaming humbuckers are what you have. But two varied pickups they are.
At the bridge, we are tempted to say just a straightforward humbucker. That doesn’t do it justice. It is going to give you plenty of aggressive tones.
Alnico magnets paired with ceramic magnets generate an explosion of sound. It is quite a combination. The Alnico V magnets powering an aggressive sound that has plenty of depth and low end. The ceramics sitting beside them have plenty of top end and clarity.
Put them together, and you have a humbucker with a difference.
Gnarly neck sustain…
But it is the neck humbucker that seems to draw the most attention. That is hardly surprising. This is what Schecter calls their Sustainiac Humbucker.
This is a unique design that lets the notes ring and sustain for as long as you want them to. There is a special built-in circuitry to achieve this, and the feedback is created electromagnetically and will carry on, note, or chord until you stop it.
Dial-in your demons…
Controls are located to be able to handle all this. There is, of course, a volume and basic tone control. Added to these, there is a Sustainiac control for intensity of the feedback, a Sustainiac on and off switch, and a three-way Sustainiac mode switch.
Also, there is a blade pickup 3-way switch. Aggressive tones, wild vibrato, and continuous sustain. Some metal guitarists are licking their lips in anticipation.
How does it play and sound?
You could say that we have probably covered most of that. But, just to remind you, it plays beautifully. If you have played a Schecter before or owned one, you will know what we mean.
Great neck, smooth and fast. Deep cutaways allowing you the full length of the fingerboard. Body with a thin line design so your playing arm can rest gently. It is impressive.
A sound all its own…
It is powerful and, at times, shattering. But it can also be softer and expressive. If metal and rock is your thing, then that is the reason why this guitar has been built. You are not going to be disappointed.
The inclusion of the Floyd Rose 1500 tremolo bridge brings a stack of benefits. The Sustaniac Humbucker at the neck adds a lot.
From a sound perspective, this guitar has it all.
Schecter Apocalypse Review Pros and Cons
- Powerful and expressive sound.
- Beautiful design and construction.
- Dynamic tone-shaping options.
- High-quality hardware and components.
- Ideal for speed playing and shredding.
- Good price point.
- Some may not like the Roman numeral inlays.
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Schecter Apocalypse Review Final Thoughts
We have mentioned on a couple of occasions the quality of the build. The body and the neck are beautifully made and put together. We are sure there will be some who are surprised and others who may be disappointed.
Why? Because this guitar is made in South Korea. That is one reason why this guitar probably costs less than half what it would if it were made elsewhere.
It is loud and proud, but it can be whatever you want it to be. We heard someone play Santana’s ‘Samba Pa Ti’ on it. It was stunning. This is set up and ready to bite your head off if you take it off its leash. But it will sit down and snuggle up if you ask it (nicely).
Much more than the one-trick pony, some accuse Schecter of being. This is one worth looking at. A great guitar at a great price.
Until next time, be excellent to each other and enjoy your music.