Shredding is, in itself, kind of a separate form of art within the world of guitar playing. As the decades went by, the trend of virtuosic guitarists saw a significant rise, with lightning speed solos blowing everyone’s face off.
At the same time, we also saw the rise of different genres like nu-metal or metalcore, with fewer solos and more of those unconventional rhythm guitar parts.
But a band like Avenged Sevenfold seems to have taken the best of two worlds. Although starting as somewhat of a metalcore band, they later went on into more solo guitar-oriented material, lead by the playing of Brian Haner Jr., also known as Synyster Gates.
As his fame grew, he got his own signature guitar models, which are all based on Schecter’s Avenger model.
One of the best and most respected of his guitars is the Synyster Custom-S which we will be analyzing in this review. So let’s dive into this guitar and its qualities.
Almost all of the guitar’s features are completely the same as on the models used by Synyster gates. First off, the body is made of mahogany and features a glossy finish and the guitarist’s signature color scheme ñ black background with golden stripes. Aside from the body, the headstock also features these stripes.
As far as the neck goes, it is a three-piece mahogany, enforced with carbon fiber rods, while the fretboard is made of ebony. We have a 25.5 inch scale length, which can come in handy for those lower tunings.
The shape of the neck is the so-called “thin C,” which is a thinner version of the standard “C” shape. The guitar features 24 frets with a radius of 16 inches, making this one pretty flat neck. The Custom-S features the Floyd Rose 1500 Series bridge with the locking mechanisms on the nut.
The pickups are rather interesting and here is the only difference between this model and the actual guitar used by Syn Gates.
The Syn’s version features a Seymore Duncan pickup on the bridge, most likely Invader, while this version has Schecter’s Syn Gates signature humbucker. As for the neck, both have the Sustainiac ñ one rather interesting humbucker which is also used by Joe Satriani.
As for the controls, we have the standard 3-way selector switch, volume and tone knobs with sturdy metal caps, and two switches for the Sustainiac pickup.
One of those switches is a simple on and off toggle, while the other one is a 3-way that controls the Sustainiac mods ñ the so-called “fundamental”, “mix”, and “harmonic”.
This innovative pickup, which can give you infinite sustain, features active electronics so there’s a compartment for the standard 9-volt battery. Well, it’s infinite until the battery dies out, but you get the point.
Even the first time that you lay your eyes upon this instrument, you can see that a lot of thought was put into the design.
As mentioned, the shape is based on Schecter’s Avenger model, and it features the easily recognizable Syn Gates’ color pattern and a peculiar devilish looking headstock.
The basic color is always black, but there different stripe colors that you can choose from, whereas the golden stripes are the best-known ones. It all goes together with the same color of the hardware and the bridge position pickup.
But probably the most attractive thing about this guitar are the inlays on the neck. On the 12th fret, and spanning two frets on both sides, we have the Avenged Sevenfold’s famous logo, the so-called “Deathbat.”
On 9th, 7th, and 5th fret there are letters “S”, “Y”, and “N”, making this one a very recognizable and easily memorable instrument.
In addition, the side dot markers on the neck glow in the dark, which can be somewhat useful in darker settings. You definitely won’t find any other guitar out there that looks like Custom-S.
The guitar’s thin neck makes it very playable, designed especially for all the lovers of fast metal playing. The Floyd Rose tremolo works well and you won’t have any issues with going out of tune, even after heavy use.
Although it might feel weird at first having this kind of a shape of the guitar’s body, it’s safe to say that this is a fairly ergonomic instrument. Slightly larger scale length allows you to use it for lower tunings, like standard D. But at the same time, it’s also safe to use it for standard E as well.
The pickups are pretty solid and the controls work pretty well. But the most exciting feature of the Schecter Custom-S is, by far, the Sustainiac pickup on the neck position.
While it does take a little bit of time to get accustomed to it and realize its true potential, you can basically use it to get gigantic sustain with three different harmonic mods.
After playing the Custom-S, it’s obvious that the guitar is designed for pro players, although it can also come really well for intermediate level guitarists. It’s not overly expensive and it’s pretty much worth the price.
The features detailed above all make this one very enjoyable instrument to play, and it can do far more than just Avenged Sevenfold and Synyster Gates-styled metal.
On the other hand, the design might be a deal breaker for some, as seeing someone with this guitar literally screams that they’re an Avenged Sevenfold fan.
While it does look great and exciting, you might not want to have all the inlays, logos on both the bridge pickup and headstock, and imagery on the neck if you’re not really into it. In that case, you might want to check out some other of Schecter’s models.
Overall, a really great instrument that’s certainly worthwhile checking out, while it’s obvious, due to its design, that the guitar is mostly for those die-hard Avenged Sevenfold and Synyster Gates fans.