Price paid: C$ 150
Purchased from: Long & McQuade
Sound — 6
I love metal and Jackson guitars have always been synonymous with that genre. It's very light and fits me well. The small radius neck allows for very quick transitions and is comfortable. Full/Bright sound is actually quite good but heavier settings produce a muddy and blended sound (not the good type either) which I'll blame on the poor quality pup's. I run it through a Vox Valvetronix VT40+ which helps me to dial in the sounds to a more acceptable range using the EQ to overcome the JS1's sound quality.
Overall Impression — 5
I picked this up to see if I would get back into guitar after a long break from it. I wish I had just taken a chance and spent the $$ for something of better quality. The difference between this entry level and a few $$ more is substantial enough that unless you can't afford it I'd look to a mid-range model. I love the look and feel but the sound is below average for hard rock/metal/thrash. You could upgrade the HB's but why - you might as well save your $$ and put it towards better quality. I love Jackson's and have played the DKMG's and the JS32's which all are better choices than the JS1. This is a guitar for parent's to buy their kid's and don't want to drop a ton of cash but anyone who is semi-serious will quickly outgrow and want to upgrade. Jackson doesn't pull any punches and states that it is their entry level guitar but I can think of many other choices that would be a better fit for beginner's or those on a budget.
Reliability & Durability — 5
This is an entry level guitar and nothing but. No live playing unless you're careful and the hardware is cheap. The 3 way toggle is so flimsy that it feels like it'll bend when you use it. Strap buttons are average and the finish should last fairly well. I'd definitely have a backup handy if this was to be your primary guitar. The pickup's are noisy and aren't very good.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
From the factory the setup was pretty good and required little from the tech when I picked it up after setup. Fret buzzing before and after has been a problem and at first I attributed it to my playing level but I've since moved up to an SG and I've no issues with buzzing with that model. The finish is flawless and look awesome. Many have commented that the guitar looks like ones that cost a lot more. Action was initially set low from the factory with light gauge strings.
Features — 6
Made in India. Rosewood neck with 22 Frets (?) and bolt on neck with stock Jackson tuners. Solid body Strat style with DH pickups. 2 point fulcrum tremolo and single volume and tone control knobs as well as a 3 way toggle switch. Gloss black finish with reverse headstock looks very cool.