Musician endorsed guitars go way back. Axe masters such as Steve Vai, Slash and Joe Perry have all put their name to Les Paul guitars, while Fender and Gibson also have a huge catalog of models endorsed and used by famous guitarists. Schecter have had some big name relationships over the years too, including Mark Knopfler and Pete Townshend, but it’s their long-term sponsorship with Avenged Sevenfold guitarist, Synyster Gates, that has resulted in this latest and rather special offering.
The Synyster Gates Custom-S features many of the specifications used by the Avenged Sevenfold guitarist on his signature model, including Sustainiac Stealth. This unique pickup system replaces the normal neck Humbucker and enables Gates to sustain feedback at all levels, a feature that makes Gate’s heavy attack style so distinctive.
Available from January 2012, the Synyster Gates Custom S is a startling-looking guitar. In black, three-piece mahogany and featuring silver pinstripes, the guitar is as distinctive in color as it is in design. With sleek Avenger body and clawed head, it provides a statement worthy of any hard rock or metal outfit. With left-handed models available, the price tag for the 24-fret, 25.5 inch neck guitar is $50 shy of the $1,700 mark, but it’s doubtful you’ll find a more distinctive Avenger axe for the money.
Described by Gates as his “secret weapon,” the Sustainiac feature provides sustained and controlled feedback. In the position where the normal neck Humbucker pickup sits, the Sustainiac circuit processes the pickup signal and sends it to the Sustainiac driver, where the amplified note is turned into vibrational energy and fed back to the strings. The result is an ability to sustain feedback indefinitely, as if playing the guitar inches from a loud amp. Of course, the Sustainiac system can be turned off, allowing normal Humbucker tones.
Gates’ signature pinstripe design is one of the most distinctive in the metal world. It works well with the Avenger shape, creating quite a unique-looking guitar that while clearly metal and rock in shape, also exudes a retro feel. Made in three-piece mahogany for extra stability, the Synyster Gates Custom-S is obviously built to last. With an ebony fingerboard that Schecter say produces a snappy and crisp attack with the density of Maple but with a stronger fundamental tone, the Synyster Gates Custom-S is equipped with a Floyd Rose 1000 Series bridge and a Floyd Rose 1000 locking tremolo system. The Synyster Gates Custom-S also has a Grover Rotomatics 18:1 gear ratio for finer tuning, Seymour Duncan Invader pickups that complement the Sustainiac system, 3-way volume toggle, on-off mini toggle, and 3-way normal-mix-harmonic mode mini toggle.
When it comes to American guitar makers, Schecter are often overlooked with the likes of axe giants such as Fender and Gibson taking more than their fair share of the guitar world’s laurels. Yet, Schecter are a passionate guitar manufacturer and the Synyster Gates Custom-S is a good example of the dedication and fastidiousness they invest in their axes. The Custom-S had been on Schecter’s design drawing board for years, but the company always seemed reluctant to release the product to the market until they were wholly satisfied that it was not only the best guitar that they could produce, but also that it was as close to Gates’ original signature guitar.
For those not familiar with the company, Schecter was founded in 1976. Originally selling only replacement parts for Fenders and Gibsons, by 1979, founder David Schecter launched his own fully assembled electric guitars based on the Fender designs. An exclusive range, but very expensive, originally only 20 stores across America stocked Schecters. They owe much of their contemporary success to Pete Townshend of The Who, who fell in love with one of these early Schecter guitars and was the first high profile guitarist to use one on stage. Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits also used Schecter Stratocaster-style guitars to record "Making Movies", and has owned many Schecters over the years.
In 1987, Hisatake Shibuya, a Japanese entrepreneur and owner of the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, bought Schecter. Hisatake Shibuya devoted all his efforts to manufacturing high-end, expensive custom instruments. As a result, Schecter have been endorsed over the years by high profile guitarists, such as Stone Temple Pilots’ Robert DeLeo, and Jay Noel Yuenger and Sean Yseult of White Zombie. And Synyster Gates complements such esteemed company rather well.
Olivia Lennox is a professional writer and amateur singer/songwriter. Her day job involves writing on behalf of a premium sofa retailer and a number of travel blogs, but her real passion lies in strings and vinyl.
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