Schecter Guitar Research was founded in 1976 by David Schecter in Van Nuys, California. The company began as a repair shop and graduated to making replacement necks, bodies, pickup assemblies, bridges, and other parts, basically everything needed to build a custom guitar, which was a popular concept in the mid '70s.
Schecter offered things the big manufacturers just didn't offer at the time, like fancy woods and nifty electronics. For a brief while, Schecter was also affiliated with Wayne Charvel and provided parts to other manufacturers.
Circa 1979, Schecter began producing finished guitars under its own brand name. Despite having very limited distribution, they met with some success thanks in part to having Pete Townshend play one of their single-cut guitars, followed by Mark Knopfler.
As a result, the company faced either becoming a full production manufacturer or selling to someone with more resources. In '83, it was sold to investors in Dallas who turned Schecter into a full-scale production house, sans most of its California employees. Production guitars are never as good as customs, so the brand suffered, at least in the eyes of hardcore enthusiasts. Still, it managed to make interesting guitars during the sojourn. In '86, Schecter scored its first big-name endorser in the person of Yngwie Malmsteen! It built a couple of custom guitars for him with contoured offset-double-cut bodies, scalloped fingerboards, and reverse headstocks (a similar model without the scalloping was promoted at the time as a Jimi Hendrix model).