REVIEW: Schecter Stiletto Studio 4
Schecter is well known on the metal scene for their incredibly shredworthy axes (which is a huge about-face when you consider the company’s earlier days making great Strat and Tele-type instruments for players like The Who’s Pete Townshend). And this helps Schecter’s basses to have a lot going for them too: the company really understands how to make a fast, playable and comfortable neck on an instrument that is designed to handle the rigours of the road.
The Studio-4 is a neck-through instrument with a multi-laminate maple/walnut neck and body core, given some extra visual pop by mahogany body wings topped with slices of bubinga. Combined with a rosewood fretboard, the look is elegant and refined, and it’s the kind of bass that could look equally at home on a country, blues, rock or metal gig. There are some hints to the company’s modern metal leanings, particularly in the form of the pointy headstock, but the overall look gives the impression that this is not a one-trick pony.
The neck features 24 extra jumbo frets which are finished well. The ends could be better, but they’ve at least been finessed to the point where they’re not an impediment, and the playing surfaces themselves are nice and shiny. The fretboard inlays are a set of offset dots: single dots for the most part, aside from double ones at the 12th fret and three at the 24th. Upper fret access is exceptional thanks to Schecter’s ‘Ultra Access’ carve in combination with the noodle-friendly treble side cutaway.
Electronics are a pair of EMG35hz passive humbuckers paired with an EMG active 18v three-band EQ (treble, mid and bass) along with a master volume and a blend pot. Built using EMG’s CS (ceramic and steel) design, the pickups are made to offer a warmer tone due to the higher inductance of the steel, giving them a smoother attack and flatter treble. These pickups use a solid bar magnet and are generously sized, so the same pickups can be used with different string spacings. The bridge is a massive forged steel behemoth.
The neck shape is a little deeper and round than many modern basses, especially those by companies more oriented towards heavier styles, but it really gives you something to hang on to, and it helps to orient the hand to the ideal playing posture for soloing around the middle of the neck. The tone is evenly balanced and with exceptional body and sustain. I’ve worked with quite a few of these EMGhz sets and active preamps and I’ve always found them to be great workhorses – very simple, no concentric pots to fiddle with, and a good musical range to work with. The treble pot helps to restore some of this bass’s natural treble attrition if you need it, and the midrange and bass controls are great for tucking snugly into a mix until you need to crank them for a big hero moment. And the Stiletto plays especially nice with fuzz and overdrive thanks to its full tone and not-so-searing treble.
This is a killer bass for… well, pretty much anyone. It’s great for slap and pop, it rocks with a pick, it kicks ass for fingerstyle, it’s versatile as all get-out, and it’s extremely playable. And if four strings aren’t enough for ya, there’s a five-string version with similar specs and a 35″ scale instead of the Studio-4’s 34″.