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NGD: Schecter SVSS Exotic

State of Epicicity

Experienced
I bought this a week ago, and it's really everything I was looking for in a Super Strat (not in order):

  • Fender-Style Non-Angled Headstock
  • Straight String Pull at the Nut
  • A Floating Locking Trem that actually returns to Zero
  • Good Sustain
  • A Lack of Dead or Wolf Notes
  • Good Tone
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Cool Pickups
  • Some semblance of Strat quack

The neck is something I find just shockingly comfortable: it's a tad thicker than my other guitar (Washburn Trevor Rabin), and I love it. I once played a Fender Strat from the 80s with a Kahler (found in a New Mexico pawn shop), and it had the thickest neck I've ever played, this monstrous thing with almost a right angle at the fingerboard, very D-shaped. I have big hands and assumed it would be uncomfortable, but five minutes later I realized it was the most comfortable neck I had ever felt. Anyway, this Schecter neck is not anywhere near that thick (and it's a C-shape), but I do just love the feel of it. I'm finding that all along the neck it just lends itself to much easier play. The fingerboard has a nice 12" - 16" compound radius.

Speaking of the fingerboard, I just love the inlays. My favorite inlays have always been that offset style, where you have a dot between the low E and A strings, and this is a play off of that idea, except, in a really cool twist, they made the dots bigger, turned them into outlines, and, in the most unusual part, inlayed them with aluminum! In person it's just very striking. Additionally, there are Luminlay side markers. I'm a big fan of ebony, and this has an ebony fingerboard, attached to the wenge neck. Now this is a huge thing too: the neck has a texture to it but is still so smooth and comfortable, with no finish I can feel. It just feels like wonderfully polished wood, for lack of a better term. I don't know anything about wenge, but at least it feels incredible, and the tone and sustain of the instrument is superb.

The guitar came with 9 - 46s, but I like 10 - 46s, so I did a proper setup and switched to my preferred gauge right away. I lowered the action lower than I would want it just to test the fretwork, and it was just great, no problems at all. Then I raised it to the action I like, low enough not to fight the guitar, but high enough still to have the tone I like. To do my initial testing I released the trem spring tension and put business cards on the side of the sustain block away from the neck to level the trem baseplate. I then measured the height of the trem posts and figured out how many 64ths of an inch I'd want to move up or down, having also measured the action of the low and high E strings in 64ths. Then I loosened the spring claw screws, removed the bridge entirely (with the strings still on), and adjusted the trem post heights, also applying Big Bends Nut Sauce to the divots where the knife edges rest. I reattached the trem, set it up with loosened claw springs and the business cards, tuned and stretched the strings until stable, then removed the business cards and just adjusted the spring screws until the guitar was in tune again. I found rearranging the springs somewhat helped with achieving a good balance of tension between the treble and bass sides of the spring claw. I find during the spring tension process I like to do a ton of dives, pull ups, and regular string bends to test constantly that I'm returning to zero; taking time with this part yields so much return.

To the tone, I really like the in house pickups. I had to write Schecter for the wiring (which I've attached), because position 2 (counting bridge as position 1) was a little ambiguous to me. Position 2 is heavenly, just pure quack. It's a wiring position I wouldn't have thought to prioritize, the outer coil of the neck with the inner of the bridge, but I just completely love it. It has a .022 cap on the tone, which is nice and gives a good range. I'd go lower, but I don't want to mess with it any time soon. The pots themselves feel really solid and comfortable; I have no idea what they used, but they do feel high quality.

I'm finding tones so damn easily to dial in once I got this axe. I had this silly assumption that Floyds always suck tone and sustain no matter what, but I did so many tests when I found this thing at the store, including sustaining every note on every string. I really don't perceive anything missing at all, and I'm kicking myself for my assumption.

I initially had a problem in which dives would return to zero but pull ups returned a little sharp. I subscribe to the Haze Guitars newsletter and wrote Gerry, who was really nice and recommended checking the nut for movement. Right away I saw that at the factory they had started to strip the two mounting screws for the nut (it's a top mount). I then very very carefully tried to tighten them further, which I found I was able to do, and that solved the sharp return for bar pull ups. I'm sure they were using a drill to drive the screws in at the factory, saw the stripping starting, then just left it rather than going the rest of the way or doing what they should have done, grabbing a new set of screws!

Anyway, I'm in heaven with this thing, and I can't believe it has stainless steel frets at this price point. I would expect all sorts of problems, but the only one I found was fixed a turn of the screw. Here's my dream guitar on my balcony:

SVSS.JPEG
 

Attachments

  • Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder SVSS Exotic Wiring Diagram.pdf
    428 KB · Views: 23

State of Epicicity

Experienced
I'm having an issue with the sustain block making a sympathetic "echo" or "ringing", especially to the note B, played virtually anywhere on the guitar. It happens when I play staccato, to hit the note or chord and abruptly mute. It's a very high-pitched harmonic, and it does occur on other notes too, just most prominently on B. It's not the springs (I have noiseless ones, stuffed with a foamy material, and I tested them by holding them tightly with my left hand while playing the open B staccato, and that did nothing), so I tried again while pinching the sustain block close to where it meets the baseplate tightly with my left hand, and that took care of the sound! I tried wrapping the sustain block with thick rubber bands, but that did not fix it at all. I'm considering a different sustain block, like maybe the Stone Tone, but I'm otherwise at a loss. With this bridge, I wonder if the Stone Tone might just shift the frequency of sympathetic vibration. This trem is something Schecter is calling a Floyd 1500, which I'm guessing is a slightly upgraded Floyd 1000, but I'm not sure. Regardless, maybe just a better trem would be the solution, like a Gotoh 1996T. If anyone's encountered this kind of thing, (@Andy Eagle seems like you might've come across this at some point in your repairs), thanks in advance for any suggestions!
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I suppose maybe the block is not fully tightened to the baseplate?

Or it's just an unlucky resonance.

To check the former you'll have to remove some of the saddles to get access to the screws... Which means resetting your intonation afterwards.
 

State of Epicicity

Experienced
I suppose maybe the block is not fully tightened to the baseplate?

Or it's just an unlucky resonance.

To check the former you'll have to remove some of the saddles to get access to the screws... Which means resetting your intonation afterwards.

Dude, that's such a good idea! Why the hell didn't I think of that? Thanks so much for the suggestion! Resetting the saddles isn't a big deal to me; I'll just use my small guitar setup ruler that will give me 64ths of an inch and take note of where they are now. But that totally makes sense, especially since I narrowed it down to the place where it meets the baseplate.

By the way, Unlucky Resonance is a great band name. 🤘
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
There are a WHOLE lot of issues with the Floyd Rose Special.
The main one is the zinc saddles are simply not strong enough for the job. The Floyd requires the bolts to be squeaky tight to work properly and that is going to strip out the special. The lock nut is also not hard enough for the plain strings not to leave an imprint that stops gripping pretty quickly on the high E. Same in the saddles, you get grooves in the part that is supposed to grip the string that are big enough to allow it to pull out. Now add a sintered garbage block and no nylon washer in the arm mech . The ONLY good thing about the special is it is the same footprint as the Original and the 1996 so a swap out will be relatively easy and look stock.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
If you have an OEM Korean Floyd with bevels on the back edge of the saddles you'r also in for similar issues but the saddles don't strip, the bolts shear off instead . Again you are going to need bolts an arm mech and possibly a new block. Don't be sold a so called upgrade from the know nothings at FU just buy standard German Floyd parts. Or save yourselves from endless problems and fit a German Floyd or a 1996.
 

State of Epicicity

Experienced
@Andy Eagle Thank you so much for all of this detailed insight.

I only trust a trem equipped guitar I can personally verify stays in tune and doesn’t sound like it’s dying haha. It’s eye opening to consider all the common points of failure of the 1000s and Specials; that absolutely just further leads one to consider just upgrading to a better trem overall. Additionally, I’ve just moved to lower tension strings, which made me realize that I need to re-radius the saddles anyway.

I have experienced the problem of my high E popping out of the saddle lock, regardless of how carefully and tightly I lock it, and this totally lines up with what you’re saying. I’m careful not to overtighten any screws, but I don’t have a choice with this particular lock.

I was thinking about the Schaller Lockmeister, the “Schaller Tremolo” with the exchangeable knife edges, the ABM Katana, or the 1996, and I do agree at this point that the mere existence of knife edges does not mean the tone will suffer, though it took a long time for me to get to that point. I’m getting The Best blues tones with this guitar, which I did not expect. Within the past few years I exhaustively dealt with a Kahler on a Gibson V, and I learned that the number of parts seem to contribute to the loss in tone (of course, on top of the necessarily shallow break angle at the saddles). I never was able to get the Kahler to stay in tune. I’m now firmly of the belief that a two point trem can absolutely be everything I want it to be; you just have to be meticulous about ensuring every aspect is kept up properly, and a high quality trem takes a lot of that burden off the bat.
 

OrganicZed

Experienced
I can also vouch for the Gotoh 1996t. My Gotoh equipped Suhr stays in tune no matter what I do with the bar. The only thing that makes that particular guitar go out of tune is the natural drift you get with temperature changes. It may go out of absolute tune relative to 440 Hz but it maintains tune with itself for months on end.
 

State of Epicicity

Experienced
I can also vouch for the Gotoh 1996t.

They are reasonably priced and to me, by far the coolest looking ones; no surprise since they make the Ibanez trems. Thanks for chiming in with your experience; that’s always more helpful than anything else I read. Funnily, the fact that Suhr is using them is one of the factors that has me interested. I’m always interested in the approach of them, Tom Anderson, and Patrice Vigier.

This is one I just put on an experimental build (for Me.)

This photo has me drooling, up against that purple finish; just beautiful. I’ll definitely follow to see where this builds heads.

Importantly, Gotoh is ubiquitous, and there’s no real danger of being unable to get parts. I still feel burned over the Floyd Speedloader, which was perfect in my book. They so mistreated their customers over that situation, I never want to support the Floyd company if I don’t have to. I remember calling there so many times asking about strings I had paid for months prior and just getting the worst “I couldn’t care less” attitude from the lady who always picked up the phone. It was my only guitar and I couldn’t afford another one, or another trem, back then, so I just didn’t play guitar for a long time, and that was truly unbearable.

I also looked at these guys, who have an interesting design, but I’m just so focused on easily obtainable parts I think I’d stay away for that reason alone: https://tremoline.com/

I’m going to reassemble my trem tonight just to see what happens with this resonance; I really have to see if it is in fact a loose sustain block that’s the problem, because that is a fantastic troubleshooting question to answer for the future, and I’m still kicking myself for not having thought of it as a potential. Then it may be time to convince myself to spend the money on the nice trem; that will be the hard part. Many thanks for everyone’s thoughts!
 

State of Epicicity

Experienced
If you're looking for something off the beaten path then check out this one:

https://sophiatremolos.com/collections/sophia-2-22-complete-series/products/sophia-2-22-tremolo

Oh Yeah, totally. I just forgot to mention those. I was playing a Les Paul for a long time, and I kept waiting for him to come out with the 3:22, but it just never happened. Yeah, they look cool, and that guy is cool (that's Geoffrey McCabe), because he's the inventor of the ZR trem. From what I was able to glean, there was a lawsuit between him and Ibanez over royalty payments, and after that ended, Ibanez just stopped making those trems, very abruptly. What's crazy to me is that I guess that means he can't make them either! I like the designs and the ideas there; it's cool to see someone do something different. I love that the tuners on those things seem to have such a big range, and that (I think) you can keep the ball end on the bridge. I just started using a ball end method I found here, and I do find it to cut the time significantly.
 

State of Epicicity

Experienced
Does anyone know a good source for getting Floyd saddle shims right now? They're sold out everywhere I looked, but I easily might've missed something!

Update: I reassembled the bridge, and I found that all the mounting screws were able to be tightened further: the sustain block mounting screws as well as each saddle mounting screw; however, that did not remove the resonance! Whatever it is that's causing it, it just seems inherent to this particular trem. I'm sure a sustain block of a different material would change the tone, and almost certainly shift or possibly remove the resonance, but of course that's going to be trial and error if I go that route. Same goes for a better trem, like the 1996. Hopefully that would not have the resonance at all, but it's a gamble. My trem is staying in tune as is, and I do love the tone of this guitar, so I'm pondering the alternatives.
 
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