The confessions of a guitar slinger ~ My long road to owning a Schecter C-1 Elite Guitar
by Jeff Helfand

I’ve been playing off and on for about fifteen years and have owned a variety of guitars in my pursuit to be a rock star.  To date, I haven’t quite met that goal, but I’ve gigged around a bit in the Bay Area and my current hometown, Reno.

So what have I learned?  Well my first guitar way back when was a Fender American Stratocaster.  I remember it well!  PBS was running a series on the Beatles.  It seemed so easy.  Pick up a guitar; write a song and boom, magic.  I ran over to Guitar Showcase in San Jose the next day and walked boldly into the guitar section.  Well, “boldly” is a big overstatement.  I was actually intimidated and completely confused.  A sales guy “helped” me out by asking me how much I wanted to spend* and proceeded to grab guitars off the wall and rip off one riff after another…very pleased with himself.  This only reinforced to me that this guitar playing stuff must be easy. * note to all of you guitar store sales freaks…if you really want to help your customers, you might want to assess their skills and experience BEFORE you ask how much they want to spend.  Good grief.

But I digress.  So I proudly took my new ‘Strat with a matching Fender practice amp and cable.  Of course, I plugged my new trophy in and then quickly realized nothing about this was going to be easy for me.  The next step of course, was lessons.  I bounced around with the “in-store” guy, got frustrated and finally hooked in with a gigging blues guitarist/teacher. The ‘Strat came to life for me and actually became fun.

My skills slowly built and then I was off in a new direction. One day, a Jackson guitar entered the picture.  I was proud and my music teacher seemed more interested in playing my new toy than teaching me.  I’ve got to admit, that the black high gloss finish and reverse headstock was pretty damn cool. As I continued to build my chops, I realized that improvisational leads and all the noodling, screaming speed stuff, didn’t appeal to me in the least.  I wanted some balls.  You know what I mean.  That low end, melodic power rock that shakes your ass and hold on to the metal monster ride.  Of course, this meant migrating from Eddie to Slash.  Slash plays a Gibson, so that was good enough for me.

A few days later I’m at Guitar Center, also known as for you Internet types.  Do you know how expensive a Les Paul Custom is?  Yikes.  So now I’m looking at an Epiphone instead.  I figure, Gibson owns Epiphone so it’s probably the same thing.  WRONG.  They all felt like a heavy tree trunk in my hands.  I should probably back up and admit, God did not bless me with long slender digits.  Quite the opposite actually!

By now of course, I know a bit more about guitar construction.  One of the “things” that was crucial for me…Humbucker pick ups.  No more single coil whiney stuff…I want ANGRY move out of my way or I’ll blow you up right now, no questions asked hellfire.  Well, it seems that’s tough to get in a thin-necked set up.  Now my friends, comes the light.  Do you see it? Isn’t it beautiful?

The Guitar Center sales guy (a really good one for once) pulls a Schecter C-1 Elite off the wall for me. Waaaaah! It’s absolutely stunning. Finished in an amber colored natural wood with abalone outline, gold hardware and a head that looks “all rock,” this axe more than passed the eye candy test.

The form factor was also a perfect match; featuring a relatively light, solid body, thin neck with easy action.  Perfect for my length challenged fingers indeed!  But the real beauty of this guitar is the pickups.  The C-1 Elite features a three-way volume/tone tap switch and wired to the other end is a Duncan Design HB-102N (neck) and HB-102B (body) Humbucker pickup set.  The result is a system which is actuated by pushing in or pulling out the three way switch which gives you BOTH the tone of a shrieking single coil ‘Strat or a down in the gutter, on his best day Zack Wylde chest thumping, steroid driven growl.  That’s right, it’s like two guitars in one and tastier than Raisin Bran™ too!

So if you enjoy ripping on some classic UFO/Schenker melodies or dropping down to a “D” tuned Doug Aldrich: ala’ Dio, Whitesnake, one guitar will do it all and not break the bank.  This axe lists for $900 and is widely available for $600, but sounds like you spent thousands.  Other than some occasional fret buzz, after three years of owning this trophy, I have no complaints.  Now, if I could just get my fingers to grow…

Website: Schecter Guitars, Musician Friend