Price paid: £ 280
Purchased from: Guitarworx - Denbigh
Sound — 7
I play a lot of different styles and I found the pick ups too heavy and fuzzy when distorted. When distorted it never sounded right for any style of rock that wasn't metal like Stereophonics, Foo Fighters, Oasis, RHCP etc... But it was very good for metal and heavier rock music or punk (The Offspring sounds good!). But considering this, it does sound pretty good on clean channel. I can't remember exactly how it sounds because I changed the pick ups to the Seymour Duncan HOT Rodded Humbucker set, as the sound wasn't versatile enough after I got better and branched out into different styles of playing.
Overall Impression — 9
Well I must admit I LOVE this guitar. It was the FIRST and ONLY guitar I have ever paid for myself... I'm not a spoilt rich kid that's never paid for anything in my life it's just that my first guitar was a pretty decent American made Peavey Predator (the old American made Strat style one. Not the Asian made super-strat style one you get now) that my dad found in a car-boot sale or second hand shop for 40, and me, being a typical 13 year old didn't pay much attention to it and just thought it was crap because my dad had sanded all the paint off and it wasn't shiny and new looking. Plus none of my idols played a Peavey (TIP FOR AN AWESOME SINGLE COIL GUITAR THAT CAN BE VERY CHEAP IF YOU LOOK HARD ENOUGH; my dad set it up perfectly and brought it back to life as a project and now I can appreciate it and all its glory, it plays better than all 00's Mexican Fender Strats I've played... Just doesn't sound as great. So I'm saving for some new pick ups). Anyway back to the Jackson. I bought it on the day of my second gig, at the time all I was playing was metal, punk and heavy rock music and the Peavey didn't cut it. The Jackson was great and it felt a lot nicer to play than all other guitars I played around that price and quite a few from a higher price range, in particular bottom of the range Gibson Les Pauls (any under the price of 900 felt awful, except Epiphone Les Pauls you can pick up some decent ones for a very reasonable price). I would highly recommend this guitar to anyone who is looking to buy their first upgrade guitar... Simply because I have had mine for five years and as you progress and grow it can grow with you, I changed my pick ups as I got better and as my style began to broaden. My next move is to swap the neck for one from a better model of the Dinky range, they are pretty cheap to buy second hand and the body is pretty much the same, a friend of mine has a top of the range Dinky with the same bridge pick up as mine and they sound pretty much identical but the neck on his is even better. I don't think I will ever sell this guitar. When people who own 600/500 Ibanez guitars pick it up and say... "this is really nice"... It feels pretty damn good!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Yes it does withstand live playing, I bought this guitar on the day of one of my first gigs and it has been my main electric since 2008. Although as mentioned earlier the wiring is a little temperamental (I haven't had to solder the wires back on since the second year I had it though) all other components and hardware is solid as a rock not had a problem with strap buttons, the finish is still as good as new after a quick wipe with a cloth (I've never properly polished or cleaned the main body, all I've ever done is clean the fret board with a tiny bit of WD-40 every now and again). It's very dependable as long as you (when you first get it, and possibly every now and again after a good Session on it) tighten up the jack input properly with pliers to hold the female jack part in place then tighten the nut with a spanner. It might also be worth going over any other screws or nuts and checking they are tight every now and again with any guitar to be honest... It stays in tune for a very long time, although the quality of the strings and having the right set-up also makes a difference (I use D'Addario XL 10 gauge strings) and it stays in tune for ages... You can play for a good three hours and it will still be fine, sometimes you can play for a an hour or two and leave it a couple of days and it will still be in tune! So long as there isn't extremely abnormal levels of humidity (more common with acoustic guitars though), and moving it around (hitting it against things and dropping it), pressure on the neck if its leaning on something or has something leaning on it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I can't really comment on the factory set-up as the shop owner had set-up the guitar to the way I wanted it before I went to collect it. The pick-ups however had to adjusted slightly as they were riding quite high and were giving off quite a lot of feedback and had a horrible sound. As with the set-up mentioned earlier everything was sorted when I picked it up... But be warned, I took all the strings off and turned the guitar over to access the wires inside when fitting new pick ups and the bridge fell off, its not physically connected to the bolts that hold it in place so be careful and don't lose it! There are a couple of flaws with this guitar... First of all; I've had to solder the internal receiving wires to the jack hole twice, because the jack comes loose quite often and as you tighten it the wires twist inside and eventually get torn off the jack altogether... But it's not that a big a deal it only take's 10 mins to fix. Also the volume dial has fallen off a couple of times, but it only fell off more than once because I never bothered to tighten the screw back on with the right size screwdriver (its got a very small head on it I didn't have a screwdriver small enough until I got one in a Xmas cracker... You can buy them though for a 50p or something), instead I used a knife so I couldn't tighten it properly. The finish is very good, this guitar has been battered and the paint work is still immaculate, no belt rash or signs of wear from strumming on the front of the body... Just a tiny chip in the paint on sharp tip of the head from a drop off a 1ft high coffee table onto granite flooring. The finish itself is strange as mentioned earlier its a strange dark green in the centre fading into black on the edges. When I bought it I actually thought it was black until I got it home (I didn't have a go on it in the shop I bought it from because I had already had a test run on one at another shop). Everything else is fine though... mostly my fault.
Features — 9
I'm sorry if this review is too long and wordy, but I've had this as my main electric guitar for since 2008 and want to pass on my experience because it was the magic upgrade from my first guitar, the move every guitar player remembers; from their cheap-catalogue bought learner guitar to the half decent guitar you mowed the neighbours lawn and saved up for. The one you had your eye on and is made by the same company all the really good players use. I've used it at gigs and rehearsals, travelled with it around the UK in cars, vans, buses and trains, and I took it with me to university; I only ever had a thin, fake-leather gig bag that cost a tenner to carry it round in too. So I feel I should pass on my experience, because having read all the other reviews I feel most have of the reviewers have not grown with the guitar as I have and spent enough time with it to give it the credit and discredit it really needs. So, as all the other reviews state, it was made in India. However others didn't mention it was designed in the USA shortly after Fender bought Jackson, from this, its easy to tell that fenders experience in making and designing decent budget guitars from the squire guitars they make have made a massive difference with the JS30 in comparison to budget models from Jacksons days as an independent company (although they didn't make a wide range of models, they only started making them in the 90's and Fender took over at the beginning of the 00's, I think. Most were sold under the Charvel name anyway). It comes with 24 frets (jumbo) on a rosewood board. The finish on mine is a strange dark green in the centre and which fades into black on the outskirts (quite like a sunburst effect but different colour). Strat body style. String through bridge. Passive electronics. 3 way pick-up selector and simple dials; one for volume and one for tone. Jackson humbucker pick ups and non-locking pick ups.