Schecter Omen-8 (2012 Model)
Recently, quite a few 8 string players have been popping up due to the rising popularity of bands like Periphery, Meshuggah, and Animals As Leaders. The problem is that there are very few 8 string guitars to choose from, especially if having a budget is an issue. Luckily, Schecter has brought us one of the absolute best choices in its price range. Schecter are known for making guitars that have a massive bang for your buck, regardless of the price range and this one is no exception.
OVERVIEW & FEATURES
The Omen-8 is an entry level 8-string, so the specifications of the guitar are for the most part what we've all come to expect by now. This guitar sports the tried and true "Super Strat" contoured body design made of basswood with Schecter Diamond Plus humbucking pickups, black chrome hardware, volume/tone/3-way switch configuration, 26.5'' scale maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, Schecter 15:1 gear tuners, and the bridge is the Schecter CTM-8 which is comparable to a Hipshot hardtail bridge, designed to carry the strings all the way through the body for increased sustain. In addition to the typical specs, there are a couple new things that have been added to the latest 2012 model. First off, the neck is reinforced with carbon fiber rods on each side of the trussrod for increased neck stability. The pickups, while they are the same as all of the other entry level guitars now are physically styled like active pickups to make it easier for those who may want to switch to something like EMG 808s later on. Next up is a Graphtech Black Tusq self lubricating nut to insure tuning stability and eliminate string binding. Last but not least, two visual upgrades have been added: Cross inlays similar to that of the Hellraiser series, and binding around the entire guitar, which differs depending on the finish.
This guitar comes in 3 finishes. Black, White, and Walnut Satin. The specific one being reviewed here is Walnut Satin, and it's absolutely stunning. For those who like a good natural finish, this is an excellent choice for a few reasons. Every Walnut Satin finish is a little different. They could have a different wood grain pattern, or a different brightness to the color. Either way, I've never seen a bad looking guitar with this finish. It's also a breath of fresh air and fits the overall design perfectly. Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb. The black binding and the cross inlays are a very welcome addition; definitely much nicer than the typical dot inlays and absence of binding on last year's model. The hardware being black chrome is a personal preference. Some prefer the black hardware from 2011, and some prefer the black chrome. However, both fit the guitar nicely. Black goes with just about anything, and even with black chrome on a dark colored guitar fits well due to the frets. There's just the right amount of contrast. The rosewood on the fretboard is also dark enough in contrast with the finish on the body and the headstock that it almost looks like ebony. Overall this guitar has a very unique look to it that you won't really get with any other stock guitar, and it's definitely going to turn heads.
BUILD QUALITY & PLAYABILITY
I have yet to find a poorly made Schecter guitar, and the Omen-8, though entry level is no exception. There are honestly no flaws in terms of craftsmanship with this guitar that I can find. The frets are dressed nicely, bends are smooth, the finish is flawless, the intonation is excellent, and it takes hours of playing as well as drastic temperature changes to knock it out of tune at all. Players who love to bend should feel pretty comfortable doing so. The only thing that would improve tuning stability on this guitar would be to put locking tuners on it. The action is nice and low with very minimal fretbuzz; not the kind of buzz that could be heard from an amp, and it's almost nonexistant. Both newcomers and veterans will be very pleased to know that not only is the neck satin finished, but it's quite thin for an 8 string. The thickness and contour of the neck gives a similar feel to a Jackson or Ibanez guitar, so there shouldn't be any problems transitioning from a 6 or 7 string guitar to this. It's also very balance, so no worries about neckdiving. For anyone plan on drop tuning, be prepared to get at the very least a thicker F# string. In standard tuning, there are no issues at all, but due to the scale length, there will definitely be some tension lost if playing on a tuning lower than standard. Any 8-string guitar including this one would benefit from a scale length of at least 27'' to keep string tension. While made of basswood, it's very dense and weighs even more than some guitars with mahogany bodies. Weight is not that big of an issue, and it's definitely not heavier than a Les Paul. This guitar is by far one of the most comfortable in its pricerange.
This guitar resonates extremely well with excellent sustain. The Schecter Diamond Plus pickups are what one would expect on such a low priced guitar; decent to get started, and evenly voiced, but they won't win any awards. They can be pretty muddy especially on the low end, and they're not very high output at all. Anyone with a big enough pocket will definitely want to look into swapping them as soon as possible. Despite the pickups being somewhat mediocre, there is still an evenly balanced and deep tone. Most people purchase an 8-string for the intent of playing Metal, but the sound extremely versatile, and the added freedom with the extra octaves can work great for other genres such as Jazz.
Those who may be looking for their first 8-string guitar, or veterans that need a nice backup, look no further. You really can't go wrong with this one. The craftsmanship is excellent, the tone is deep and nicely balanced, it's comfortable, and it looks absolutely killer. For $400, the Omen-8 is alot of guitar for the money and can easily outperform higher priced competitors. Many players are extremely particular about how an instrument is crafted and what materials are used, including myself, and this guitar delivers a surprising level of quality. The only thing that I would change would be the scale length, but even then, it's nothing that thicker strings won't fix.
-Looks killer, comes in three finishes
-Carbon fiber reinforced neck
-Great tuning stability thanks to well built 15:1 gear tuners & the Graphtech Black Tusq nut
-Extremely comfortable & easy to play despite being an 8-string guitar.
-New visual upgrades for the 2012 model: Cross inlays, Binding, 3 available finishes
-Muddy stock pickups.
-26.5 scale length. This is a personal preference. Standard tuning is nice and tight, but anything lower might require thicker strings.
Additional Note: I just wanted to fill you guys in on something. I bought this guitar from Drum City Guitarland. Don't do what I did. Look elsewhere. They advertise that when you buy a guitar, it comes with all this free stuff, and then they charge you $20 for it. Not only that, but they're incredibly rude to their customers. When I received the guitar, it was unplayable. It was in DESPERATE need of a setup. The neck had too much of a bow which gave it fretbuzz literally every fret all the way down the neck. They claim they give a free setup. When I mentioned this, all they did was argue back and forth with me, not coming up with any solution whatsoever, and I eventually had to spend an additional $25 to get a professional setup. Once I did, the tech confirmed that it was indeed just a case of a terrible setup. The intonation was off, the neck needed adjusting, and the action was set way too low. Thanks to Harrold at Highland Music, my guitar plays exactly like it should now.