The 1980s has a lot to answer for, particularly in musical terms.
And even more so in the worlds of rock and metal, which gave us mullet haircuts, neon spandex and power ballads. The only redeeming feature of the era is that the guitarists all had serious game. It was, you see, the dawn of the shredder. And it is to this age that Schecter is paying homage with its new Sun Valley Super Shredder series.
As children of the 80s, we remember the impact these high-octane S-types had on the guitar world. It was the time of Charvel, Jackson and Kramer, where a sub-sect of guitars were built specifically with one thing in mind: speed. Wafer-thin necks, ergonomic body shapes and Floyd Rose vibratos gave ultra-technical players the perfect tools with which to express themselves.
Schecter’s Korean-built Sun Valley Super Shredder is a near-identical recreation of those classic speed-enablers from the 80s. You get a mahogany body and maple neck, with an extremely thin, C-profile 14" radius fretboard. The generous cutaways around the body and the bolt-on neck give ample room to reach those upper registers, and the overall quality and finish of the 24 extra jumbo frets is high.
The body comes in a variety of finishes, including flamboyant Lambo Orange and the rather attractive Sea Foam Green (on review here) and it feels nice and solid. The obligatory Floyd Rose Special vibrato copes admirably with all manner of dives and wobbles, and tuning remained spot on no matter what we threw at it. Admittedly, the inclusion of a full-fat, original Floyd would have increased desirability levels somewhat, but it would also have added a fair wedge to the RRP, so it’s an understandable concession to make.
An interesting inclusion is the EMG Retro Active pickups, which differ from regular active EMGs in that they offer an open-coil design and traditional windings paired with a preamp. The bridge pup has a warmth to its bottom end, while the neck gets you comfortably in the region of some interesting PAF-style tones.
They may not excel at more modern takes on metal, but it’s worth remembering heavy music comes in many different flavours. Back in the day, that usually meant filling solos with as many upper-register notes as humanly possible. At that, this package delivers wonderfully.
In its own way, this proves to be quite a grown-up guitar. It has high-quality pickups, it’s well finished and does its one job exceptionally well.