There’s a certain balancing act that a truly successful and memorable signature guitar must try to maneuver. On the one hand, you definitely want the instrument to reflect the style of the player, seeing as how that’s the number one draw for consumers towards a signature guitar. On the other hand, the instrument should retain many of the important aspects of its root model that led that certain player to adopt it in the first place. Underneath all the modifications and cosmetic alterations must be a great guitar at the core. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the Schecter Synyster Gates Special. From the first time I took a look at this updated Synyster model, I could already see that Schecter and the Avenged Sevenfold guitarist were looking to make a much more mature electric.

While the previous Sysyster Signature was a self-indulgent mess filled with more skull-bats and A7x insignia than anyone who wasn’t named Synyster would care to look at, this updated model gets it right – a sleek, subdued yet powerful electric that better represents the sophisticated yet high attack playing style of the skilled player behind it. This instrument is no longer some gaudy affair – it’s an amazing guitar that performs well and sounds terrific. And I should say right now, I’m no Avenged Sevenfold fan, but I would still highly recommend this guitar to just about anybody looking for a new hard-rock centric ax.


The Features

There are two other Synyster Gates signature models along with the Special. The Standard, base model, which I haven’t had a chance to mess with, features the usual compromise in quality as far as specs go in order to quell down costs. The important things are still there though; a bolt on neck, a Rosewood fretboard and Duncan Designed HB-108 Detonaters instead of the Special’s Duncan Invaders SH-8. The Custom, most expensive model on the other hand may look a lot like the Standard, but it features nearly identical specs as the Special. Both come with a set, three-piece Mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo bar and similar high gloss body finishes. The only notable differences are the inclusion of Grover tuners on the Custom instead of the Special’s standard Schecter kind and a Sustainiac pickup.

Personally, I gravitated much more towards the look of the Special; the nice gloss finish in either black or white, white biding, black chrome hardware and gothic cross inlays seem much more appealing than the Custom’s stripped mosaic. In my opinion, the Special is the best of the three; a nice compromise of high end trimmings, great specs and economical sensibility.

To reiterate, the Special comes equipped with 24 Jumbo frets on an ebony fretboard, which looks and feels great by the way, a floyd rose 1000 series bridge and Seymour Duncan Invaders which feature high output with lots of bass, great for rock and metal. They are hooked up to 1 volume and 1 tone knob with coil tap and a 3 way switch, I would prefer separate knobs for each pickup but it's no big deal. Apart from that it's great overall.

The Synyster Gates Special is a professionally built guitar that is extremely easy to set up. Action is great, and easy to tweak. The finish is traditionally great, a main characteristic of nearly every Schecter guitar model. This is an instrument that has both beauty and endurance. Fit with the best hardware, this guitar will last you years to come.

The equipped Duncan SH-8s are clearly designed for the heaviest tones a passive pickup can possibly produce – at it shows the moment you plug this baby in. The combination of three ceramic magnets, over-wound coils and twelve black oxide caps make for a totally heavy sound. The bridge in particular seems optimally suited for rhythm as it has loads of low end growl while retaining a nice, bright tone. The neck pickup meanwhile will take care of the soloing duties and has a great, bassy sound when played clean. The pickups can be coil tapped which gives a good variety of clean sounds, especially when trying to replicate a Strat type sound. You can play just about anything from classic rock and punk to the heaviest of metal with this guitar.


Final Impression

If you’re looking for a Synyster Gates Signature for the sole purpose of sporting Avenged Sevenfold on an ax, then I recommend the Standard (if money is tight) or the Custom (if you absolutely have to be the envy of all A7x fanboys). But if you’re looking for a great electric guitar that has the perfect mix of reliability, durability and playability – that just so happens to be an artist model, although few would be able to tell due to its subdued flavorings – I can’t recommend this guitar enough. Schecter has put a lot of time and effort into choosing the right features for Synyster Gates Special and tuning them perfectly. Features of Synyster Gates Special are brilliant and Schecter should be proud of themselves for producing such a beautiful instrument that truly is special. It’s not just a great signature guitar – it’s a great guitar, period.