Price paid: $ 384.282
Purchased from: Planet of Sound
Sound — 8
I play mainly metal, but I like to stray into blues, acoustic etc. Played through my Marshall MG100 DFX and Dunlop Crybaby Wah. In Standard tuning and with light strings (0.09-0.42, out of the box) I found that the distorted tone was weak, lacking in bass and general power, even with the gain and bass maxed out. The clean tone was nice, with a warm tone at the neck pickup and a crisp, soft sound in the middle position. After changing the the strings and dropping the tuning (0.11-0.56, CGCFAD) the distorted tone really improved. Powerchord riffing in the bridge postion produces a huge bass punch and fret-melting soloing really cuts through. Sustains very nicely, due to the string-thru body construction. On high distortion, the neck pickup or the middle setting does go very muddy though.
Overall Impression — 9
At this price, it's very hard to complain about anything. It's a great guitar for beginners, but professionals won't shy away from it either. Upgrading it is always a possibility. I play Jacksons exclusively, because they have killer looks, playability, reliability and that awesome metal tone. I would, however, recommend buying the next model up (KVX10). At about 80 more you get far superior hardware. Again, for an entry-level price tag, this is as good as they get though. If it were stolen, I would probably buy a DKMG (no point buying an inferior guitar if I can afford a better one) but if I didn't already own an RR3, I would definitely buy it again.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've had this guitar for about 2 years now and over that time it's taken a fair few knocks, but with only a couple of dents and chips to show for it. Granted, if you knock a guitar as pointy as this, of course the finish is going to chip. The hardware's still in good condition, but I'm going to replace the pickups and tuners soon (personal preferance). The strap buttons are solid, getting the strap on is a right struggle and getting it off is even harder. Gigging, I would never play without a backup (again, personal preferance)but it's a reliable guitar, only ever had 2 or 3 string breakages. Replacing strings and retuning can be done in about 20-30 seconds per string if you're not fussy about neatness. The aforementioned 'sticky tuners' really keep it in tune though.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Out of the box, using the stock strings, it was perfectly set up. The action was low and smooth, without fret buzz. The pickups neded raising to get the maximum punch out of them though, but that's a 10-second job. The machineheads are fairly poor quality, they're sticky and stiff when using thicker strings. The volume and tone pots are also quite stiff, and don't 'glide' like many other sets. Again, at this price I can't moan much though. One thing I can complain about is the placement of the input jack. I found that during seated practise, my lead really dug into my thigh.
Features — 9
Made in 2005 in India, 24 jumbo frets. Specs as above I believe, black gloss finish with chrome hardware. String-thru body bridge, 2X Jackson stock humbuckers. Master tone and master volume and a 3-way toggle Switch. Stock Jackson machineheads and no accessories included in the price. For the price I suppose I can't really complain, but a gig bag would have been great, even a cheap one.