The first incarnation of the Schecter TSH-1, launched in 2000, had a mahogany body, bolt-on maple neck and a bridge humbucker teamed with a P90 in the neck position.
Then the model was relaunched in 2005 as a Danelectro-wannabe-cum-tribute in six- and 12-string formats, with Duncan Designed double Lipstick Tube pickups. After that, it all went a bit quiet - until now.
"You can gte a convincing Jam-era Paul Weller tone."
Like its predecessors, the 2011 TSH-1 is based on Schecter's Tempest body style, only this time it's bigger. The double-bound semi- acoustic maple body is a stylised take on the classic Gibson ES-335 profile, albeit with a radically altered lower cutaway. The guitar's flat top and back, along with the 'cat's eye' soundhole smell like Rickenbacker to us.
The twin overwound, ceramic magnet-loaded mini-humbuckers look like a cross between vintage DeArmonds and the singlecoils you find on wacky '60s Japanese pawnshop prizes. The visual impact is intensified by the 'fishtail' headstock, raised metal logo, mother-of-pearl fingerboard inlays and the chrome 'S' cutout tailpiece.
A TonePros Tune-O-Matic bridge and Grover machineheads add to the quality feel. Schecter has spec'd a fat set neck on the TSH-1, which gives it a beefy 50s Les Paul feel. Don't be afraid, because it's still pretty damn fast and the Gibson-spec 24¾-inch scale length and 14-inch fingerboard radius make string bending easy.
The bridge SuperRock mini-humbucker provides a bright tone that shimmers clean and snarls with the dirt kicked in. You can get a convincing Jam-era Paul Weller tone with this guitar - good news if you can't afford a Ricky 330.
The bridge- and neck-only settings are great for filthy blues too, and if the going gets too muddy, flick the coil-split switch for sharper single-coil tones.
While the TSH-1 isn't great for modern metal, run it through a fuzz pedal and it pumps out some gloriously sludgy Black Sabbath and Queens Of The Stone Age-style filth. The sustain on tap is fantastic to boot.
If your idea of sartorial elegance is a black t-shirt with a picture of an aborted foetus on the front, it's safe to assume the retro looks and tone are unlikely to get you off.
On the other hand, mods, garage rockers, indie types and dirty blues practitioners will love the TSH-1, especially if the guitars that inspired it are out of reach financially.
You could hack your way through a forest of Ricky and ES-335 copies, but we reckon the TSH-1 is in a class of its own and at a much lower price than we initially had it pegged at. Aside from some untidy paint masking around the soundhole, the build quality is tops.
Figure in the easy playability, tonal versatility, individuality and good looks, and you're on to a winner.
Bright-sounding pickups. Fast neck. Excellent sustain. Affordable price.
The latest incarnation of the TSH-1 is a gene-splicing experiment that has paid off big time.
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