In the search for the best rock and metal guitar, a Custom Les Paul is probably the first choice of most guitar players.
Schecter guitars, known mostly for their high-quality custom modes are an excellent choice when it comes to affordable, yet quality builds rock and metal models.
In this article, we are reviewing the Schecter Solo II custom. A perfect blend of high-quality build, classic design, with all the added modern elements a high-end guitar needs.
We will take you through all the elements of the guitar to help you find out if this model is really the best choice for the price range and an overall great guitar.
About Schecter Guitars
Starting out as a repair shop in California in the late 70s, Schecter has become one of the leading mid to high-end brands in the rock and metal guitar world.
Shecter began its growth by manufacturing replacement guitar parts. After becoming the supplier for some major brands, in the late 70s, Schecter released its own guitar models.
At first, the guitars were very expensive and only sold by a few retailers. Today, Schecter offers high-quality instruments at affordable prices, a business model that’s proven very successful for the company.
Focused once mainly only on custom electric guitars, Schecter today also offers acoustic guitars, basses, and amplifiers to cover all the tonal range a modern player needs.
Throughout different periods, major names like Pete Towsend, Richie Blackmore, Mark Knopfler, Chris Poland, Synyster Gates, and many others chose Schecter guitars, while many metal players have also launched their signature models.
In this article, we are reviewing one of the best examples of a high-quality build affordable Rock & Metal Schecter guitar – The Solo II Custom.
Check out my full review of the Best Schecter Guitars
Schecter Solo II Custom Highlights:
The Schecter Solo II stands exactly in between high-end expensive guitars and mid-range affordable models, leaning more to the first group as in build quality.
An excellent finish, high-end hardware, made in the US electronics, and locking mechanisms are all packed in this classic-looking model.
Here are the main things we liked and didn’t like about this guitar:
What We Liked
- Excellent build quality. What stands out the most on the Solo II custom is the high end build, comparable to more expensive models.
- Wide tonal range. The split coil option gives a perfect blend of typical hot fuzzy rock tone with bright crunchy ones.
- Great Value. The solo II is the perfect example of a high quality affordable guitar, ideal for casual players and professionals alike.
What We Didn’t Like
- Case not included. This can be bothersome if you are touring musicians.
- Can become too muddy. The Pasadena pickups are very hot. You should balance mids and lows well to not get too creamy, if that’s not what you are looking for.
- It’s a heavy guitar. As with many Les Paul guitars, weight can be a problem. The schecter solo is 14.12 pounds or roughly 6kg in weight.
Schecter Solo II Custom Review: Features & Specifications
- The Single Cutaway body gives the guitar a typical Les Paul feel and tone.
- The Ebony fingerboard and C Shaped neck make for an easy to play guitar.
- Pickup versatility is assured by the split coil option added to the 3 way switch.
- Great tuning stability from the locking systems and modern hardware used.
- Made in the USA electronics come with genuine high end pickups and hardware.
Schecter Solo II Custom Review: Our Insights
The design of this guitar is inspired by classic custom Les Pauls and comes with the option of choosing between the Aged black satin, Gloss Natural, or Natural Burl. The Aged Crème Multi-ply binding gives it a vintage classic look, inspired by legendary high-end models.
The quality parts used and detail in the finish is equaled by the elegant design of the model. Not many other models or brands in this price range can match the Solo II Custom in this aspect.
The looks of the guitar can fit anywhere in the rock and metal scene. From a heavy metal stage to a blues-rock gig, the looks of the guitar go along perfectly with the feel and aesthetics. It’s the guitar you can bring to any gig and it will stand out on stage!
The design, other than beautiful, is also well thought out for comfortable playing.
The contour near the neck makes the higher frets easily accessible. A must, especially if you are into playing metal leads. The second contour in the body helps in resting the body of the guitar.
To sum it up, the design of the Schecter Solo II is all you can look for in a Les Paul-style guitar. A classical design with all the modern qualities a high-end guitar needs.
The thing that stands out the most about the Solo II model is its excellent build quality.
Schecter didn’t cut any corners on this model to offer a flawless build. The single-cutaway is extremely elegant and the polished finish is equal to higher-end models.
Flaws in the build and adjustment or small tweakings are not a thing you will encounter with this model. The build is solid, as assured by most quality guitar builds in South Korea.
The fretwork is impeccable with no rough edges whatsoever. Electronics are of great quality and well installed to not cause any noise problems.
If you are a seasoned guitarist, you will tell right away from looking at it that the thing is solid and will not need any repairing any time soon. The guitar build is trustworthy enough to be your first touring guitar or part of your first choice axes.
If you are a semi-professional or professional musician you can rest assured of the safety, durability, and stability of the instrument. Tuning and intonation will not be an issue and you can use the guitar safely in any recording situation.
The Schecter solo II custom, with its US hardware combined with a flawless build and finish, can rival most custom high-end Les Pauls in its build quality.
The body material is made of mahogany while the top is solid maple. Tone-wise, mahogany has a darker warmer nature, thick bottom end, and balanced mid-range.
The Set-Neck build contributes to the generally warm nature of the guitar. The wood, combined with the hot Pasadena pickups adds up for the typical rock creamy tone, as expected from any high-quality Les Paul.
The neck is made out of Ebony, a dark-looking wood that is similar to rosewood in appearance but is more sturdy and has a brighter tone. Ebony fretboards are considered by many players as the middle ground between the bright maple fretboard and dark rosewood.
To put in context with the solo II custom, the guitar hardware, electronics, and wood offer the option of both metal aggressive rhythm tones and warm rock and blues sounds.
Hardware and Electronics
The hardware and electronics are the best you can get for a guitar at this price range.
Starting from the headstock the guitar immediately stands out with the Schecter Locking Tuners. As with all locking tuners changing strings is very quick and easy and stability is assured.
The nut is an Earnie Ball Compensated one. The compensated nut assures the guitar is intonated in the lower fret as in the higher frets. This is ideal for session guitarists who won’t have to tune when switching from recording lead to rhythm guitar parts.
Continuing with the bridge, the Solo II has a TonePros bridge system that offers even more tuning stability.
With these 3 elements combined Schecter has fixed the usual tuning issue, which most players complain about in the classic Les Paul Model.
The guitar has 22 Jumbo frets and mother of Pearl Blocks inlays as markers on the Ebony fretboard.
The bridge pickup is a Pasadena while the neck pickup is a Pasadena plus. Both are made in the US and wired to offer 3 combinations and also a single coil switch option at the bridge.
Both pickups are high gain, hot, and can get warm and fuzzy enough to produce the typical Les Paul tones. Although you can get sharp aggressive tones and bright clean sounds out of this guitar without much effort.
The Pasadena Plus was designed by none other than the Avenged Sevenfold guitarist Zacky Vengeance to offer upper midrange, bright aggressive leads.
Knobs and switches all feel high end and the push and pull tone knob works perfectly.
As expected, you can get all the creamy, fuzzy Les Paul tones out of this guitar.
The Pasadena pickups on this guitar are both hot. Generally, the guitar has a warm tone that gets warmer as you switch to the neck pickup. Hot leads and fuzzy classic rock riffs will come out smoothly out of this guitar.
The low mids and mid-range are where the general tone of this guitar rests. The single-cutaway contributed to the general dark tone. However, Schecter has thought about guitarists who want to get a more crispy, twangy tone for some tunes.
The split-coil push-pull switch will instantly change up the nature of the guitar from a humbucker to a more strat-like tone. The guitar will become brighter immediately, but it will still have some of its warm tonal characteristics.
The single-coil option is really well installed, as the gain change that happens when switched is well balanced. That means that the general volume of the guitar will not bounce from high to low when switched a lot.
For metal players, even though the tone is warm, it does not get muddy when in higher gains. The pickups retain their clarity when running through a high gain amp, even in lower tuning. The bridge pickup is aggressive enough for most metal genres, while others pickups can darken the tone as needed.
The warmth of the pickup is balanced out by the bright nature of the ebony fretboard.
Clean tones are very versatile and will offer all that you need for most rock and metal. You can also get some bluesy in the edge of breaking tones and if needed, brighter tones using the single-coil switch.
While this is not the ideal guitar to make the transition from heavy rhythm to funky strumming and stand up to all the expectations, it can be versatile enough for different genres.
With a thin ‘C’ shape neck 12”-16” Compound Radius, the Solo II is a very playable guitar.
The thin radius is well thought of by Schecter for metal rhythm and lead players alike. That means that fast rhythm chops and solos up high the neck are easier to play.
The fretwork is also flawless. With no rough edges and a detailed finish, the 22 X-Jumbo frets feel and plays smoothly.
To sum it up the solo II custom is the best of both worlds, the classic feel and look with all the modern elements of a highly playable and versatile guitar.
In a nutshell, this guitar feels more expensive than it is!
The Solo II custom is the best example of how ingenious Schecter can be by offering the highest quality guitar for this price range. Individual elements making up the guitar are all top-notch and so are the build and finish.
You can have all the qualities of this guitar for only 949$. While this is not a cheap guitar, it’s not close to being an expensive one. For the superb parts and build quality, the price is probably the best you can get for a guitar of this quality.
Starting out as a company that offered high-end guitar parts has helped Schecter evolve into a guitar manufacturer offering no less than high-quality guitars.
If you are in-between choices of guitar in this price range and are looking for these tonal characteristics, the Solo II is the right pick.
Check out my guide on the Best Electric Guitars Under $1,000
Schecter Solo II Custom Review: Buying Experience
Depending on where you buy the guitar you will have different buying experiences.
Of course, no guitar is ever truly yours without passing the test of your own hands. You should have a sweet time with the instrument to decide if it’s the right one for you.
And the most dreaded part of buying a guitar online, shipping! All guitar players have nightmares of receiving in the mail a guitar, opening the case full of excitement, and facing the horror of a broken neck.
That’s why we highly recommend purchasing the guitar from sweetwater. Apart from the excellent customer service and safest shipping method, sweetwater offers the best return policies on the market.
The solo II custom comes with FREE shipping and a detailed 55-point inspection. You can count on the pros from Sweetwater to check all the individual parts of the guitar before shipping so you receive it ready to play, no setup is needed.
Also, the guitar is packed by people who actually are pros at making sure the guitar is safe from all the bumps of the road.
You are automatically protected for 2 years from anything that can happen to your guitar.
Sweetwater’s award-winning service department makes sure you receive your guitar back from the shop in record time and also never pay for anything!
If you truly care about your guitar, this kind of warranty is a must!
If the guitar is not what you expected it to be, there is no need to worry about returning it.
Sweetwater gives you 30 days to try out your new guitar, if it doesn’t really feel right then you can return it and get a full refund on the price.
Read Also: Is Sweetwater Legit?
Should You Buy the Schecter Solo II Custom?
If you are looking for a superb quality rock and metal guitar at an affordable price, the Schecter solo II is one of the best alternatives in the market.
Whether you are a beginner playing at home, or a professional musician touring or playing recording sessions, the Solo II has all the classic tones you need and the modern elements of a solid guitar.
Schecter Solo II Custom Alternatives
Schecter Solo II Custom Vs ESP LTD EC-1000
At the same price range, you choose to go for the ESP LTD EC-1000. Probably the most similar guitar to the Schecter with a leaning into the metal world.
Both guitars are a perfect blend of a classic look with modern elements added to them playable and versatile.
The ESP comes with an all-mahogany body with an ebony neck. Like the Schecter, both have a thin, easy-to-play neck. The ESP might be more thought out however for metal leads, as it has 24 extra-jumbo frets.
Tone-wise both guitars sit on the mids and low mids, however, the ESP is more aggressive sounding and can be the ideal rhythm metal guitar that cuts through the mix with the EMG 81 Humbuckers.
Hardware-wise they both share the same modern elements, considering the super build quality on both, the choice of which to get is mostly up to your taste and what you are looking for.
If you are going for a rock classic style with great metal elements, the Schecter is your go, as it has a wider tonal range considering the single-coil switch. If however, you want an all-out great metal guitar, the ESP is your go.
Schecter Solo II Custom Vs Epiphone Les Paul Custom
Another classic Les Paul model you can get for a cheaper price tag is the Epiphone Les Paul Custom.
For almost 300$ less you can get an all-mahogany body, ebony fretboard decade binging, and a classic look that all Les Paul players love.
Considering the many similarities, the tone of this guitar is also warm and dark like the solo II, You can get all the classic tones out of the 2 guitars, however, the Schecter offers a wider tonal range, having the single-coil switch and a being more prone to handle low tunings and heavy metal tones.
The Schecter beats the Epiphone by using more modern technologies and higher-end parts, like the locking mechanism and compensated bridge. So for the working musician, the Schecter might be a safer choice.
To sum it up, both are great classic-looking and well-built guitars. The Schecter however is superior in the hardware and offers generally a more high-end guitar feel.
Check out my guide on the Best Les Paul Style Copy Guitars
Schecter Solo II Custom Vs PRS SE 245
The PRS SE 245 is similar to the Solo II in the tone used and has also a general warm tone, being also a single-cut design.
The SE 245 however is more articulated, brighter, and clearer than the solo II. So if you aim for a heavier, fatter tone, the Schecter is what fits you best.
If you ever tried a PRS before you know that the fretboard work is excellent, but feels very different from a Les Paul. The neck of the 245 is made out of mahogany and is wider, so keep that in mind when deciding.
The Schecter does offer more modern parts such as locking tuners, compensated nut, and Tone Pros bridge. So we can say that the parts used on the Schecter are more high-end and offer more stability on the tunning.
So If you are looking for a great quality guitar with a brighter tone and fan wide necks, you can get the SE 245 for around 200$ less than the solo II.
The Bottom Line
The Schecter solo II custom is a perfect blend of the classic look and feel of high-end Les Paul Customs, combined with modern elements that assure playability and versatility. All this with an affordable price tag.
It’s all you expect out of a classic Les Paul in the tone and feels and it’s rock-solid for touring and recording.
Schecter guitars have proven once again that they can offer high-end rock and metal guitars, with top-notch parts and excellent build quality, at affordable prices.