Purchased from: Steve's Music
Sound — 9
I am not the worlds most technical guitarist; I am very rhythm and ambiance oriented. I spend most of my time writing and playing in dropped D (both E's are tuned down), and make a lot of use out of delay and feedback, playing anything from heavy, stoner Metal to dirty rock to experimental. Out of all the guitars I have owned in my life, the JS30DK is the only one that has stood up to what I have asked it to do. It plays a mean crunch. For distortion I rely on the ever faithful Boss DS-1, and I can't believe the distortion this instrument pushes through the amp from low and stomach churning to clean and bright. Feedback: I have always had a problem with past guitars (Ibanez, Yamaha, Aria) not being able to properly handle feedback. My technique is simple enough; swelling tapped notes through a Boss DD-2, while holding the guitar near the amp. With others, this would either sound dirty (like, AM radio static), or the sound would feedback TOO much making it impossible to control, I don't know how Jackson sets up the CRV2 pickups on the JS30DK, but they are near perfect. I can fully control clean and distorted feedback without even thinking about it. Stellar for non-active pickups. Clean sound is nice, especially when using the neck pickup. I have no complaints here, the tone is wonderful for a guitar in this price range (which is rare). If I had one complaint it is that the guitar displays a little bit of feedback when there is a pause in playing (and I'm not making use of said feedback), but this only occurs when the amp is set to a very high volume. Not a big complaint though, and something a Noise Gate pedal would take care of I think.
Overall Impression — 9
Bought the JS30DK off the rack. I spent nearly three hours in the store trying out three guitars: the JS30DK, a Jackson WRMG Warrior, and an ESP MH-50NT. In the end the JS30DK stood out for these reasons. Overall look: I don't really like weird shaped guitars (which is why I didn't like the Warrior in the end) and am a sucker for mirror Shine black, chrome hardware and covered, dual coil pickups. Simplicity: since floating tremolos, locked strings, and a pile knobs do little but annoy me, I love the setup on the JS30DK. It's exactly what I need, nothing more. Sound: I have never found a guitar in the $300 price range that sounds this good no matter what you throw at it. From low fuzz to ear splicing feedback to nicely toned clean, the JS30DK can do it all, and quite nicely. I would recommend the JS30DK to anyone looking for an inexpensive guitar that would look, and sound, very decent no matter what style they played. This instrument would fit in to a Jazz group just as well as it would Metal band, and everything in between.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Haven't played live with it yet, but it certainly puts up with my abuse when jamming. I'm not going to rate very high here as I haven't really had the chance to put the JS30DK through it's paces on stage. Although, if it plays live like it does in the jam space, I should have no worries (I would play Live with a backup though simply because I break stings like a mofo). The finish itself is a wonder. Now if I can only find a way to keep it free and clear of smudges.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The finish on the JS30DK is beautiful. Off the rack it was set up near perfect. The action was a little low causing buzz between the 1st and 3rd frets, so I did have to tweak the bridge a tad over the first week or so of playing. One other little thing is that it appears to go out of tune rather quickly every so often. This may have to do with the fact that the neck doesn't lock (don't want this anyway) and that my playing style includes a large amount of string bending. In the end, for a guitar in this price range, there is precious little to complain about.
Features — 10
I purchased the gloss black model. It features an alder, Strat style body with a bolt on maple neck, a rosewood, 24 fret fingerboard, reverse headstock, and chrome hardware from top to bottom. One of the reasons I chose this model was its simplicity; volume and tone knobs, 3 way selector, string-through-body adjustable bridge, 2 Jackson CRV2 humbuckers, and non-locking strings. Nothing to complain about here.