Price paid: € 350
Purchased from: Previous owner
Features — 8
The Jackson RR3-series was a Japanese line of Randy Rhoads styled guitars that had a bolt-on neck rather than a neck-through-body construction. Mine is from around 2008 and it has a Seymour Duncan set of PUs (JB and Jazz) that were used during the later years of manufacturing these guitars. The guitar has an alder body with a very pleasant looking maple veneer. The neck has the typical features that you would expect with this kind of guitar: maple shaft, rosewood board, the Fender scale, 22 jumbo sized frets, the Charvel/Jackson fretboard radius and so on. The headstock has a scarf joint. The sharkfin shaped inlays are aboard, which is neat. The guitar has Jackson's own jt580lp tremolo system which is just fine. I originally thought that I need to replace it with some high-end Floyd, but as it performs just well, there's really no need to ditch it. The tremolo system is recessed, so there is a cavity under the bridge to make possible unobstructed whammy operations. Oh yeah, the hardware is all black, which gives the guitar a very modern and delightfully ominous look!
Sound — 9
Despite the aggressive appearance the guitar is basically a super strat with an asymmetric flying v body. So, the humbucker equipped stratocaster tones are the ones that you'll get! I play mainly classic rock and metal, and the SD JB/Jazz combo is pretty much the ideal choice for me. I always prefer the vintage kind of output when choosing PUs, and this guitar has my favourite set pre-assembled! When playing without distortion it is obvious that you are playing a humbucker loaded guitar, but at least I that's what I prefer! The master volume pot as well as the two tone pots work nicely enough through all various settings. You can roll off the volume and still get usable sounds! Alder as body wood could seem a bit dull choice as, but then again, it has been the industry standard from 1950's. You can't go too wrong with it. The Jackson RR3 sounds just what an alder bodied electric guitar should. The tone of my guitar is articulated and clear without being trebly in an unpleasant way. I don't believe that the thin maple veneer does anything much for the sound. In theory it might have some kind of effect on the tone, but I don't have any willingness to tear it off just to hear the difference!
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Originally my guitar had a 009-042 set of string. I immediately replaced them with a tad thicker set, which forced me to make a thorough set-up work with the truss rod and the bridge. After that it has worked like a charm. I have set the action pretty low, but there aren't any unwanted rattles to be heard. The playability is great, there are no dead spots on the fingerboard and the bends won't chocke. The guitar has the iconic Randy Rhoads shape. I think that you can compare it with a sports car: although it is no way as cosy or convenient as a regular one, as a bargain you'll get stunning looks and some superior qualities in the performance department! The guitar is overly beautiful and the upper fretboard reach is awesome, at least to me. It is not that pleasant guitar to play while sitting, but I pretty much don't care. The guitar is not heavy at all, so you won't have back problems because of it. One thing that I don't like so much is the location of the strap button near the neck plate. The logical place for it would be in the center of the neck plate, but for some reason (cost-effectiveness?) it has been placed to the wood, on the bridge side of one corner of the neck plate. I believe that this is the essential reason for the slight neck heavyness that this guitar have. If the original design of the RR guitar featured a functional location for the strap button, why someone went and moved it to this awkward place? However, this is the only single thing that I don't like about this guitar. In some future I might go and try to fix this issue. The maple top under the transparent paint is just a pleasure to look. It has a very nice flamey pattern going on there.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The guitar seems well crafted and all the parts seem to work as designed. If you should want to have an undestroyable guitar, then you perhaps shouldn't have one with sharp wings! I'm afraid to say that it would be very easy to damage the sharp edges of the body by bumping it to various things. I've seen many RR styled guitars that have dents and chips on the body. I've been trying to be cautious with my guitar not to have those. On the other hand, this issue should be considered as a feature of this design, not a flaw.
Overall Impression — 8
The guitar is of a good quality for the price. The workmanship here has all the good features that you should expect from a mid-priced Japanese guitar and even more. All the various parts seem very solid and functional. Compared to the more expensive Jackson RR models the RR3 has a bolt-on neck and 22 rather than 24 frets. To me this is a brilliant deal as I prefer bolt-on necks over other types, and don't need that many frets anyways. The RR body design is one of the coolest around, and I've always wanted to own one!