History of Schecter Guitars

Crazy History

PT_schecter-electric-guitar-pete-townshend-reviewSchechter began as a mere guitar repair shop back in 1976 when it was founded. The name comes from David Schecter, one of the founders of Schecter Guitar Research.

In its starting years, the company sold guitar parts to companies such as Fender, but eventually started to produce its own high-end custom guitars in 1979. Schecter guitars became famous the same year when Pete Townshend of The Who started using a Schecter guitar in his on-stage performances. Pete used these guitars up until 1988, but the early custom models were built only until 1983, when the company was sold to Texan investors and moved to Dallas.

Under Texan ownership, the company introduced several new guitars models; one of them was a Fender Telecaster -style guitar akin to the one built for Pete Townshend. Although Townshend never endorsed this model, it was known unofficially as the “Pete Townshend” model. There was, however, a rising problem in quality despite the efforts to try to build up Schecter’s reputation for quality. The investors later moved the company to Dallas, most of the employees didn’t, which resulted in mass-produced guitars with sub-par quality.

Schecter Guitar Research was sold in 1987 to Hisatake Shibuya, a Japanese entrepreneur who had also began his business by selling replacement parts. Upon purchasing the company, he immediately relocated it back to California and set it back to its roots. Once again Schecter was focusing on developing custom high-end instruments. In 1995, a year before Hisatake gave ruler-ship of the company over to Michael Ciravolo, the company released the S Series Schecter guitar models of electrics and basses. Although ultimately Fender-ish, these instruments had a distinct sound and are highly sought for today.

In 1996, a new era started in Schecter. Shibuya asked a former employee, Michael Ciravolo, to take over the company. At this time, the company’s guitar output was still very low–about 40 guitars a month, but Michael wanted to change it. A year later, he met a handful of Asian guitar manufacturers, and subsequently opted for mass-producing Schecter guitars in a South Korean factory.

The Diamond Series was born – high quality instruments for an affordable price. They were particularly loved by guitarists that play alternative music. The first TV appearance of a mass-produced Schecter was seen in 1999, when Jerry Horton (Papa Roach) performed on a C-1 guitar in the video for “Last Resort”.

Today, the company still makes their signature custom models, but also mass-produces more affordable models. We’ll surely see Ciravolo add many new series to the Schecter family. Furthermore, these models will be unique – Michael isn’t particularly known for his liking of the classy Fender-style guitars.


  1. I owned one of these 1983 custom Telecaster guitars. It was the worst guitar I ever owned. The “Black Chrome” plating wore off the bridge saddles, and pickup mount rings in about tow weeks. The beautiful black paint started to bubble off the body after about three months. The finish was very thin on the maple neck and wore thru to the wood in places after about the same amount of time. Not what I expected from a high end guitar. The sound wasn’t bad but it didn’t sound like a tele. Sad….

  2. That’s too bad. Their Telecaster knockoffs are good looking guitars, but obviously the consistency of quality just isn’t there. It’s probably a crap-shoot if you get a good one or not. This is true with most import guitars. Personally, I never been a huge Schecter fan.

  3. I have a custom Strat swamp ash body made back in 90 or 92 it is one of the best playing best made guitars I have seen !!! they did a re-issue model and 2019 it was worth $7999 I am so impressed with this guitar Schecter builds some of the best guitars in the world

  4. I purchased the Schecter Omen Extreme 6. The company has come a long way. This solid body string through design and the set up creates a real grinding sound made for that metal kick. It is my favorite of many guitars. It was my first schecter but I have feeling it wont be my last! Great Guitar!

  5. The early ones have birdseye maple necks machined parts not cast.the tremolo units stayed in tune like grim death. The necks have few equals in feel and play ability like prs b4 prs.

  6. I have one and I can no longer play.(never was worth a damn anyway barely a rhythm player)always sang lead and harmonies. I had strokes and it took my left side. My daughter plays some and she can tell you down to the serial number which axe it is. I’d have to go look cuz I can’t remember alot of things like the songs I have done over 53 yrs since my first working band in 1967.

  7. I very much like the sound of my customized 2006 C1-Classic for studio recording. I installed a gold Seymour Duncan RWRP middle Strat pickup between the original gold JB SH-4B and Jazz SH-2N pups, controlled vía a 10-position, strat-style freeway 5b5-02 pickup selector and some P-P switches. Love the Neck-thru too. I keep this one (1 of 30+ guitars) always at hand with the many top-notch custom guitars I’ve built.

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