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Schecter Guitar Research, or commonly known as just Schecter, is an American guitar manufacturer. The company was founded in 1976 by David Schecter and originally only produced replacement parts for existing guitars from manufacturers such as Fender and Gibson. Today, the company mass-produces its own line of electric guitars, bass guitars, and steel-string acoustic guitars.

Custom shop days, 1976 - 1983
In 1976, David Schecter opened Schecter Guitar Research, a repair shop in Van Nuys, California.The modest repair shop manufactured replacement guitar necks and bodies, complete pickup assemblies, bridges, pickguards, tuners, knobs, potentiometers, and other miscellaneous guitar parts. Eventually, Schecter Guitar Research offered every part needed to build a complete guitar. It supplied parts to big guitar manufacturers such as Fender and Gibson and to custom repair shops which were building complete guitars out of Schecter parts. By the late 1970s, Schecter offered more than 400 guitar parts, but did not offer any finished instruments.

In 1979, Schecter offered for the first time its own fully-assembled electric guitars. These guitars were custom shop models based on Fender designs. They were of very high quality, very expensive, and were sold only by twenty retailers across the United States.

In September 1979, Alan Rogan, the guitar tech at the time, for Pete Townshend of The Who, picked up a custom shop Schecter guitar. It was a Fender Telecaster-style guitar with two humbucking pickups and a Gibson Les Paul-style pickup selector. Townshend immediately fell in love with it, and it became his main stage guitar. He later had several similar instruments built from Schecter parts and assembled by Schecter and U.K. based guitar maker Roger Giffin. Townshend last used a Schecter on stage at The Who's 1988 appearance at the BPI Awards Show although his brother Simon Townshend, part of The Who's touring band since 2002, often plays one of these guitars during Who concerts.

In 1980, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits used Schecter Stratocaster-style guitars to record the band's third album, "Making Movies". Mark Knopfler owned many Schecter guitars, including one finished in Candy Apple Red with a 21-fret maple neck/fretboard without dot markers, white pickguard, gold-plated hardware, master volume and tone controls. This instrument would become his main guitar for live and studio use until 1987. In 2004 one of his Schecters, a Stratocaster-style guitar with a tobacco sunburst finish, was sold at an auction for over $50,000, the highest amount ever paid for a Schecter guitar.

Texan ownership and mass production, 1983 - 1987
By 1983, Schecter had reached its custom shop production limit and could no longer meet demand. That year, Schecter was purchased by a group of Texan investors who wanted to build upon the reputation of the quality Schecter. The investors moved the company to Dallas, Texas. The Texan owners produced quality guitars under the Schecter name for less than five years.

In 1984, Schecter introduced at the winter NAMM show, twelve new guitars and basses, all based on Fender designs. The most popular of these guitars was a Telecaster-style guitar similar to those that Pete Townshend played, known unofficially as the "Pete Townshend model" (although Pete Townshend never endorsed these models). During this period, Schecter managed to sign one notable endorsee, Yngwie Malmsteen. Schecter built several custom guitars for Yngwie Malmsteen, which featured scalloped necks and reverse headstocks.
Eventually, the "Pete Townshend model" became known as the Saturn, and the company's Stratocaster-style guitar became known as the Scorcher.

Hisatake Shibuya and reform, 1987 - present
In 1987, the Texan investors sold the company to Hisatake Shibuya, a Japanese entrepreneur who also owned the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and ESP Guitars (Schecter Guitar Research and ESP Guitars have remained to this day separate entities). Under the ownership of Hisatake Shibuya, the Schecter company was moved back to California and slowly began to rebuild its reputation. Hisatake Shibuya returned the company to its custom shop roots and devoted all its efforts to manufacturing high-end, expensive custom instruments.

Schecter guitars were once again only available from a few retailers, one of them being Sunset Custom Guitars located in Hollywood, which Hisatake Shibuya also owned. Sunset Custom Guitars happened to be the place where Michael Ciravolo, the future president of Schecter Guitar Research, worked.

In 1995, Schecter introduced the S Series guitars and basses, which were again Fender-style guitars with an average price of $1,295. In 1996, Hisatake Shibuya asked Michael Ciravolo to become Schecter's president and run the company. Michael Ciravolo was an experienced musician himself and brought to the company many well-known musicians with him as endorsees, such as Robert DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots, Jay Noel Yuenger and Sean Yseult of White Zombie.

Michael Ciravolo never truly liked Fender designs and thus wanted to distance the company from its past Fender-style designs. To do so, he added the Avenger, Hellcat, and Tempest models to the Schecter catalog. Also, he wanted to reach out to the new generation of musicians who were ignored by most major guitar manufacturers. However, at this point the company was only producing expensive, custom shop models. Schecter's maximum output was forty guitars a month. To realize his vision, Ciravolo began searching for a factory that could mass-produce Schecter guitars and maintain high quality standards.

In 1997, Michael Ciravolo met with several Asian guitar manufacturers at the Tokyo Music Festival and finally decided on a factory located in Incheon, South Korea, though, not known for sure,it could be the electric Guitar factory of Cort. The guitars would be built in the South Korea factory and then they would be shipped to the U.S. to be setup in a Schecter shop. At summer NAMM in 1998, Schecter introduced the Diamond Series, which included six affordably priced non-custom guitars.

In 1999, Schecter added the seven string A-7 Avenger guitar to the Diamond Series. It also introduced the C-1, which was debuted by Jerry Horton in Papa Roach's "Last Resort" music video. Today, the company mass-produces affordable, non-custom guitars under the Diamond Series and continues to build expensive, handmade, custom models.