A bit of a beast, it feels like Schecter's Damien Elite Solo-6 has been putting lead in his cornflakes. Oh, its mahogany body is contoured in all the right places; it's a comfortable burden once you swing it up round your neck or get it onto the lap. But it is heavy. And it looks kinda mean.
The Damien Elite Solo-6 is a light-absorbing metallic black monster, with the gothic abalone Stained Cross fret inlays the only aesthetic extravagance. Even the multi-ply binding is black. We're not too sure about the abalone, since it verges on overkill, but the Solo-6 looks like a guitar that knows what it was made for.
With an EMG 81 in the bridge and 85 in the neck, it means business. High-output active pickups are arguably essential for guitarists who operate at the frontiers of gain, and the EMG 81/85 pairing is a classic combo, favoured by the likes of Jeff Hanneman of Slayer for very good reason.
There's a slim maple neck that's bolted onto the body and left unfinished. The neck's not as satin smooth as we'd like, a bit 'Desperate Dan's chin' towards the headstock. We'll let that slide for now. With a 648mm (25.5-inch) scale and 24 jumbo frets, this certainly feels like a shredder's guitar. The Damien certainly leaves some rivals for dust when it comes to soloing.
The Solo-6 has a voice that's perfect for metal - it's powerful, sure-footed and capable of handling severe amounts of distortion but still keeps itself in check. It has a range of cleans, from piano-ish definition in the neck pickup to glassy and sharp bite in the bridge. Both have a subtlety you may not have expected. But then, you're not looking for subtle, right?
With a longer scale and the clarity and punch of the EMGs, the Damien Elite Solo-6 can handle low tunings and thick gain, and still retain mahogany warmth.