Purchased from: Friend
Features — 9
I'm not sure what year it was manufactured but it is an earlier model prior to 2006 made in Japan. Maple neck compound radious (14"-16") rosewood fretboard 24 jumbo frets with piranha inlays and reverse headstock. Carved top solid alder 7/8 scale Super Strat body with cobalt blue finish. Tune-o-Matic bridge/string through body. H/H pickup configuration, this guitar came from the factory with EMHZ passive humbuckers with an EMG Afterburner +20db gain but the previous owner upgraded to active EMG 81/85 with 18 volt mod leaving the gain booster in tact as well. 3 way pickup selected and it has been wired for 2 volume controls with the third push/pull pot acting as the power/level control for the gave n booster. When I purchased this guitar it came with a fitted SKB original Jackson/Charvel hard shell case which it Dr I'd not come with new. I'm giving 9 out of 10 on features because I'd prefer to have a master volume and master tone along with the gain control which I believe is how it was originally wired.
Sound — 10
I play a variety of music but for this review I'll narrow it down to metal from old school Sabbath and Priest to thrash as well as contemporary metal. This guitar is tailor made for heavy metal and hard rock. I play mainly through a Mesa Dual Rectifier Roadster 2x12 combo with Celestion Vintage 30s but I also play through a Peavey 6505+ 4x12 half stack with Emenance Patriot Swamp Thang and Texas Heat speakers. If you are familiar with EMG actives you'll know these pups are wicked wailing lead tone and more crunch than Godzilla strolling through Tokyo! I do have to say that the 18 volt mod makes a noticeable difference in the sound with increased headroom and more of a punch than when using 9 volts. The cleans are different as well again more headroom but also increased depth overall I like the 18 volt sound better although I've always liked the 9 volt as well. The Afterburner (which Jackson calls Turbocharger) can get pretty gnarly quick and is prone to feedback, but it can be controlled with and can really produce some screaming lead tones, it just takes some getting used to.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar has no factory fit or finish issues that I have found. The frets are nice and level and are finished very well no sharp ends and the neck and headstock binding look great. I can't speak to the factory set up or pickup height as I purchased this used from a close friend and the action and everything is great! All of the pots are tight and function properly and appear to be factory components. I love the way this guitar plays the neck is smooth and fast tuning is stable even when drop tuning, for playing metal the electronics wail: King of Crunch!
Reliability & Durability — 10
Overall this is a very well constructed an solid instrument I've personally only had it for about a week but the previous owner who also bought it used had if for over 2 years and gigged with it from time to to time. So the guitar is going on 10 years old, been through 2 previous owners and is still in nearly mint condition. The finish has only two small blemishes which is amazing when you consider the age of the guitar and th fact that it changed hands twice before I purchased it. I own 5 MIJ Jacksons ea h one is top notch and has been extremely reliable.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is perfect for metal but that should come as no surprise as that is what Jackson specializes in I've been playing for 30 years and playing Jacksons for 20 years and I swear by them. I love th lightening fast compound radiuos fretboard and the mighty EMG pickups. The only thing I would change is switching the control from 2 volume to volume/tone. If this Axe was stolen or lost I'd be upset as Jackson is no longer building guitars in Japan and replacing it would not be easy, I've come to trust the quality of the MIJ Jackson guitars and hope to hold onto all of mine and grab a few more before they become hard to find!