Price paid: A$ 500
Purchased from: pawnbrokers
Features — 9
Made in 1999 in Japan.
- 24 frets
- Body shape: Jackson soloist double cutaway
- Body: Mahogany / Quilt maple veneer top
- Pickup Selector: Jackson 5-way
- Knobs: 1 Volume / 1 Tone
- Scale length: 25.5"
- Bridge Pickup: Duncan Designed 103B
- Middle Pickup: Duncan Designed SC101
- Neck Pickup: Duncan Designed SC101
- Bridge: Wilkinson VS50
- Neck: Rock Maple Bolt On
- Fretboard: figured quilted maple
- Nut Width: 1-11/16"
- Butt Width: 2-1/4"
- Parts Color: Satin Chrome
- String Nut Syntetic Bone
- Tuners: Jackson.
Sound — 9
My style is traditional heavy metal, hard rock and neoclassical shred with some technical death metal and thrash thrown in so I don't get bored.. This guitar is actually really good it looks good (if you like that sort of thing) it plays extremely well. It is pretty much effortless to play I can play shred on this guitar which I would struggle with on some of my other guitars.
I quite like the humbucker it is pretty warm sounding with a nice bite to cut through. The single coils are very twangy sounding very strat like reminiscent of some of Ritchie Blackmore's quieter playing. The pick up selector on this guitar is the quietest one I have in my collection not a crackle to be heard and very responsive.
It is very smooth sounding but very full sounding as well, because it tends to make me want to play fast and zoom around the neck its humbucker is great for this. I know a lot of people diss on Duncan Designed so it is all down to a personal subjective choice. It has a good range going from the hard rock sound through to a twangy Hendrix sound with the single coils. There is no coil tap to split the humbucker. I play through a old Carvin XV212 valve amp with no effects just the gain and reverb of the amp.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I picked this up second hand and it was set up immaculately the action is incredible low and no dead spots. The condition is near new and I always keep this bay in a case. The pickups are adjusted fine I haven't touched them.
The Wilkinson tremolo on this guitar is really good. I am more a Kahler fan than a Floyd Rose and one thing I noticed this tremolo is amazing at is tremolo bar flutters where you play a note and just sort of hit the bar quickly of rather hit and slide you hand off the end of the bar or some people grab it and pull up and let go. It beats my Kahlers for this and the Floyd Rose 1 and II that I have on a Kramer Focus and a Fender Heartfield respectively.
The neck and fretboard is not only nice to look at but smooth as to play very easy to whizz around on this neck. I haven't found anything to really fault on this guitar other than my personal preference of a humbucker in the neck position.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is solid and the Wilkinson stays in tune great and is so smooth to use. It doesn't have a locking nut and I don't think it needs one I have read that a lot of other people have no tuning issues with a Wilkinson. The hardware is great no signs of wear and all of it responds well to use. I would depend on this absolutely in fact is any Charvel XL650 would be my desert island guitars. I don't play live much at all but I would use this without a backup because of no locking nut a string change would be quick. Strap buttons are really solid but I would replace with then strap locks more more security.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing for over 20 years and I own quite a few, Jacksons, Charvels, Fenders, Godins, Peaveys, Kramers, B.C. Richs, Yamahas. I would definitely replace this guitar if it was stolen out of the dozen plus guitars I own this is in the top 3 consistently as my fave guitar. I love the Wilkinson trem, the look of this guitar the way it plays. One think that is rather cool is the recessed neck join on it which is similar to a Yamaha RGZ. I know there is some vids on why neck joints have to be so chunky (they don't) and this is a big plus so when you move onto the higher frets they is no chunky neck joint to run into which gives the feel of a neck through which I know a lot of people prefer. Only think I would change is a humbucker in the neck or rather a stacked single coil as I wouldn't want to route the body at all. I will rate this guitar the highest of all my reviews and put it on par with my Charvel neck through XL650. It is a keeper and one I will always hold in high regard for build quality and playability.