If you find yourself in need of a capable hard rock guitar, Schecter Guitar Research is one of the first brands to look at. And while this company makes plenty of high-end guitars, you can also find a wide range of affordable instruments that offer plenty of value. Today, we'll be looking at the Schecter Damien 6, one of the company's more affordable models.
Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Hard Rock Guitar
If you're buying a guitar you intend to use to play hard rock or similar genres, you likely already know that not just any electric guitar will do. Before you choose a guitar, make sure you keep the following in mind:
Our Picks for Review
Damien Platinum 6
Steve Vai JEMJRSP
Features and Benefits
In this section, we'll take you through what sets this affordable model from Schecter Guitar Research apart.
Tonewoods And Build Quality
While the opaque satin black finish hides the grain of the body material, the tonewoods of any guitar have a significant impact on tone. With the Damien 6, Schecter Guitar Research has packed a lot of value into an affordable package. However, in order to keep costs lower, it's necessary to cut corners in some respect.
The body material of the Damien 6 is basswood, a less-expensive and lightweight wood. Some players don't like basswood as a material, and it tends to lack the fullness and sustain of other woods like mahogany. But some players, including this reviewer, like basswood as a body material.
Though the body is made of relatively inexpensive wood, the carved, arched top is a definite plus. While the arched top of the Damien 6 is visually appealing, it's also ergonomic to play. The neck material of a guitar matters less than the body when it comes to tone, but it does have some impact. A heavier, denser neck material absorbs fewer string vibrations, and the result is increased sustain.
The Damien 6 has a maple neck. Maple is a very heavy and dense wood (part of why many electric guitars with maple tops just have a maple veneer), and it excels as a neck material. The neck is bolted on, which you commonly see in economically-priced electrics (although plenty of expensive guitars have bolt-on necks as well). That said, if you decide you want to upgrade the neck or replace it with a different neck material, a bolt-on neck makes that a lot easier to do.
Pickups and Sound Quality
The Damien 6 comes fitted with two EMG pickups. If you aren't familiar with pickups, EMGs are designed for hard rock and heavy metal players. The neck pickup is an EMG-H4A, and the bridge pickup is an EMG-H4. Playing with the bridge pickup alone gives you a warmer, classic-rock tone, but the neck pickup adds some darkness to your tone.
Both pickups are capable of decent clean tones, but they really shine with some overdrive or distortion. Both the neck pickup and the bridge pickup are passive, so they aren't capable of the same high output that active pickups are. That said, passive pickups are suitable for many players, and especially those who are learning to play.
In terms of controls, the Damien 6 is fairly simple. There's a master volume and a master tone control, and three-way pickup switching lets you play with the neck pickup, the bridge pickup, or both. There's no coil tap, and you can't adjust the volume of the individual pickup. However, if you're new to guitar, an abundance of controls can be overwhelming, and the straightforward controls of the Damien 6 offer an accessible place to start. If you want to hear the guitar for yourself, this sound demo shows off some of what the Damien 6 is capable of.
Finish and Appointments
Schecter Guitar Research is a company that offers plenty of unique finish options, especially on higher-end instruments. While the satin black finish on the Damien 6 isn't especially unique, it does give this guitar a distinctive look. If you prefer the look of a high-gloss finish, satin black may not be your preferred look, but the finish suits hard rock and metal. Notably, the headstock is also finished in matching satin black.
Blacked-out guitars are a favorite among many hard rock players, and Schecter designed the Damien 6 with matching satin black hardware, including its mini Grover tuners. The bridge is a Tune-O-Matic and helps preserve tuning stability, and the string-through body helps increase sustain.
Though most of the guitar is black, there's a unique bright touch that sets the Damien 6 apart: the rosewood fretboard is adorned with black pearl bat inlays. Satin black binding completes the look. The video demo above lets you get a good look at the finish.
Social Proof of the Guitar
Before buying the Damien 6 (or any other guitar), it's a good idea to check out what other players think of it. We've gathered a few online reviews from those who have played or purchased this especially affordable offering from Schecter Guitar Research.
This especially thorough review is from someone who was very satisfied with the Damien 6. At least for this buyer, the Damien 6 outplayed even more expensive Ibanez models.
This review is from another person who was impressed with the Damien 6. Even though the stock EMG pickups aren't especially high-end, this player was impressed with their sound.
This player was also satisfied with the Damien 6. However, like some other reviewers, they think the quality of the stock EMGs could be improved somewhat. Like many reviewers, this person especially appreciated the satin black finish and the unique bat fretboard inlays.
Alternatives to Schecter Damien 6
If you've been shopping for a hard rock guitar for awhile, you might have already come across a few other models to compare. In case you're looking for a few more suggestions, we've found these similarly-priced guitar options:
Schecter Damien Platinum 6 -- Floyd Rose-Sustainiac
How it Compares to Schecter Damien 6
This guitar is another from Schecter Guitar Research, and it's essentially an upgraded version of the Damien 6. To start, this one has a mahogany body, which many players prefer to basswood. The pickups are also upgraded--this guitar has an EMG 81 and a Sustainiac humbucker.
You also get a Floyd Rose tremolo system, which is ideal if you want more options for expressive playing. While this guitar is a bit more expensive than the Damien 6, it's a good option if you want a guitar you won't need to upgrade as quickly. If you have a bit more to spend and prefer a higher-quality body material, make sure you check out this guitar!
How it Compares to Schecter Damien 6
This guitar is essentially the Epiphone version of Gibson's classic SG, one of the most legendary rock guitar builds. This guitar is about the same price as the Damien 6, and it comes with two 700T humbuckers.
The mahogany body produces rich tone, and the Tune-O-Matic bridge further increases sustain. The 24.75" scale is a bit shorter than that of the Damien 6, too. If you like the look and sound of the Gibson SG and are looking for an affordable way to find your own, make sure you check out this guitar!
Ibanez Steve Vai JEMJRSP
How it Compares to Schecter Damien 6
The Ibanez JEM has a different aesthetic than the Damien 6 -- the Damien 6 has a metal-esque aura about it, while the JEM is a loud-colored super-Strat. This guitar also expands your tonal options--you get two humbuckers and a single coil, all of which are made with the Ibanez Infinity R design.
The JEM also has a double-locking tremolo, and the body has the same built-in "handle" as the higher-priced JEM models as well. If you want a unique-looking hard rock or metal machine, make sure you check out this guitar!
We think that the Schecter Damien 6 is a guitar that offers fantastic value. However, if you have a little more to spend and want an upgraded version, you may want to check out the Schecter Damien Elite or Damien 6 Platinum. With dual EMG humbuckers, three-way switching, and an aesthetic perfect for metal or hard rock, this is a great guitar that can outperform many more expensive instruments. Click here to check it out!