Price paid: $ 599
Purchased from: Audio Fazine
Sound — 9
The stock passive EMG's this guitar comes with are okay pickups for the price. If you upgrade anything on this guitar let it be the pickups. It will really wake this guitar up and give you all the tone of a flagship model Jackson. The customer had this guitar fitted with the new EMG James Hetfield setup. People are finally coming around to these pickups and in a big way. This pickup set is essentially an 81 and 60 setup but with event more fullness and a bit of a passive edge to it. The bridge position is slightly less dark than the stock 81. People seem to not like the neck pickup as much. I think they are forgetting its basically an EMG 60 which hardly anyone liked before. It too has a bit more of a passive edge to it. With these pickups you can hardly tell this guitar is made out of basswood instead of alder like a USA model would have been made out of.
Overall Impression — 9
At this point, I am *slightly* disappointed in the guitar. First, the EMG pickups. I bought this guitar to have the perfect axe for my first loves: Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Ozzy, AC/DC, Kiss, Van Halen (pre Hagar), etc. The pickups are PERFECT for power chords. This is the absolute perfect rhythm guitar for this kind of music. However, I bought this to "shred", as my nephews would say. Playing lead, this guitar does well with the highest notes, say above the 10th or 12th fret on the B or high E strings. As you go down in tone, however, the sound becomes disappointingly weak. As HOT as my amp settings are, I expected better. This could very well be from the amp settings (so much treble) and the lack of a compressor. However, my Epiphone Les Paul and HH Tele both outperform this guitar for playing leads on the same settings without pedals. The sustain is also disappointing on this guitar. I guess you get spoiled playing a Les Paul, but the Telecaster has better sustain too. I will see what I can do with the amp to improve this. One last thought, which doesn't affect my rating. Obviously, you need a strap to play this guitar, but the guitar is top heavy. As you switch from the higher frets to the lowest ones, the head has a tendency to "fall". It's not a big thing because you learn to anticipate it after a short while, but I felt that it was worth mentioning.
Reliability & Durability — 9
These X series guitars are super solid well built guitars. Before with Jackson you had the USA stuff on the super high end and their super low end stuff that was just junk. There was hardly anything in the midrange. But not there are good guitars that combine the affordability of the import guitars with the quality and construction of the USA models. If you have some money to spend and are looking for a King V this is a good option. If you plan on upgrading it you might as well save some money first and get this model. With some upgrades it is every bit as good as the USA model and even with the upgrades it is still cheaper.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Very nice hardware assembled in India. Two complaints. 1. At this price level, I bought the silver, I think that a gig bag should come standard. I paid for one. 2. The setup was *terrible*. It took several full turns on the screw on both sides of the bridge to raise the strings enough to get rid of fret buzz. The worst I have ever heard.
Features — 9
Jackson's new X series is a new line of guitars that brings the quality and construction of a USA made Jackson with the price point of an import Jackson. All the guitars are built with the same methods of the USA Custom Shop Jackson guitars but the woods are different and some of the hardware is different and it cuts the price in half if not more. This guitar is the King V model with the red bevels. This guitar kind of reminds me of the new RR models with the painted bevels. - Series: X Series - Body Shape: King V - Body Wood: Basswood (with Flame Maple Veneer on Transparent Color only) - Body Finish: Polyester - Headstock: Jackson Pointed 6 In-Line - Neck: Maple, Through-Body Maple Speed Neck with Tilt-Back Scarf Joint Headstock - Neck Binding: 1-Ply White - Fingerboard: Rosewood, 12" to 16" Compound Radius (304.8 mm to 406.4 mm) - Inlays: Pearloid Sharkfin - Frets: 24, Jumbo - Scale Length: 25.5" (64.8 cm) - Bridge: TonePros Fully Adjustable Bridge with Through-Body Strings - Pickups: EMG HZ H4-B Pickup (Bridge); EMG HZ H4-AN Pickup (Neck) - Pickup Configuration: H/H - Pickup Switching: 3-Position Blade: Position 1: Neck Pickup, Position 2: Neck and - Bridge Pickup, Position 3: Bridge Pickup - Strings: NPS, Gauges: .009, .011, .016, .024, .032, .042 - Unique Features: Through-Body neck construction, TonePros Bridge, EMG HZ Pickups