Even if you’ve got all of the other required accouterments, you’ll be hard-pressed to make it big with that psychotically low, funky, hard-music grind that’s all the rage these days if you’re not packing a seven string. In the past, chugging on the low E string used to be enough to make you a contender. But now, with bands like Limp Bizkit mining sinister new veins of metal and settings a new standard for heaviness, you’re likely to be written off as a lightweight if you can’t summon up that deep, spongy rumble. Until recently Ibanez has been the only mass manufacturer of seven-string solidbodies, but the Schecter Diamond and Hellraiser Series offers a new, affordable contender for players who want to hit below the belt.
While it’s manufactured in Korea, the Schecter C-7 is, in fact, an extremely well-built and well-finished instrument that exudes quality and reliability right out of the box. Unlike many other imports, the Strat-like body is made of ash, not basswood or some other “mystery wood” and the guitar features a handsome carved top and flawlessly applied transparent blue finish. The extra-wide maple neck is capped with a handsome, tightly grained piece of rosewood, and the headstock boasts seven top-flight Grover Mini tuners. The guitar features two specially made Seymour Duncan “Duncan Designed” humbuckers, a single volume and tone control and a three-way pickup selector switch. Althought the C-7 is fitted with a Strat-style bridge, the guitar features “hardtail” (non-tremolo) string-through-body construction.
For a player accustomed to standard six-string play, the C-7 can be a difficult guitar to grapple with. Staring down at a neck with an extra string is extremely disorienting at first, even if one has an excellent knowledge of the fretboard. It takes a few hours before the eyes and hands can be trained to process the fact that the lowest string on the neck is not E, and that consequently, the note on the third fret, far from being G, is actually D. Another issue that arises immediately (especially at high-gain settings) is the problem of string dampening. Even if one intends to use the low B string only sporadically, it is a presence that must be contended with at all times. Thus, the string, like any other, must be muted when it’s not used.
However, once you’ve mastered (or at least become familiar with) the seven-string universe, playing the C-7 is an incredibly liberating and thought-provoking experience. One can easily see why great harmonic masters of jazz guitar like George Van Eps were drawn to seven strings years ago, as the instrument provides almost limitless opportunities to try new and unusual chord voicings and inversions that are traditionally the sole domain of keyboard players. And of course, chunking out crunchy fifth chords on the low B and E strings sound heavier than a stampede of rabid, lead-footed elephants.
Plugged into a Marshall TSL2000 Triple Super Lead head powering a 4×12 cabinet, the C-7 immediately demonstrated itself to be an extremely articulate and balanced-sounding guitar. The body is made of ash (wood known for its tight, snappy low-end response), ensuring that notes played on the low string retain a piano-like attack and definition. The Duncan Designed pickups, although made in Korea, are astoundingly similar to their American-made counterparts and create smooth, punchy distortion sounds that refuse to mush out, no matter what the gain level. The bridge pickup is forceful and packed with musical mids, while the neck unit generates a clear, glassy sheen that has a big throaty bottom but retains high-end bite. Jazzers looking for a seven string to extend their harmonic repertoire owe it to themselves to look beyond this instrument’s unquestionably rock vibe to explore the sweet clean sounds that its perfect marriage of woods and electronics produces. I do believe these guitars are made by Cort guitars? Price check the Schecter C-7 Hellraiser