Price paid: $ 749
Purchased from: sweetwater
Sound — 7
I play any kind of music that I can learn, but I mainly picked this guitar up to play fuzz laden heavy doom/stoner/sludge. The EMG 707's, to me, sound much better than the EMG 81/85 set that I had in my Washburn X50. I had read some reviews and comments online stating that the guitar sounds muddy, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. It is not overly bright, but it is bright. The brightness is easily tamed by the tone knob however. I run it through a black heart handsome devil head and black heart 1x12 cab equipped with a jensen electric lightning speaker. I use a Triple Wreck Distortion, MASF Lavenderhead Fuzz or a Black Arts LSTR Fuzz. The EMG's do not sound as good as passives through the TW, but sound great through both fuzz pedals. I also own a black arts black forest OD and this pedal hates actives pickups. The guitar can cover many different genres, of course it's ability to cover a specific genre will depend on what other equipment you are running it through and how you eq it. I will admit that I am not a huge fan of active pickups and I did purchase this guitar with the intent of eventually switching to passive pickups, but the 707's do sound better than I thought they would. Since I am not a big fan of actives though, I can't score it higher than a 7.
Overall Impression — 9
I bought a seven string so I can get that serious low end going for doom/stoner/sludge. I own an ESP Xtone PC-1V and a Washburn X50 pro fe, both of which have not been touched since I got the Jackson. As I stated before, I had the intention of switching to passive pickups, but I had not realized that companies don't make a direct replacement for EMG 707's until after the guitar arrived. I don't think this would have changed my mind about the purchase, but it did come as kind of a shock that no company has jumped on this opportunity. If it were lost or stolen, I would certainly buy another one. My favorite thing about it is the neck and how wonderful it feels to play. There is really nothing about it that I hate. I think Jackson should have made a passive equipped model available for those of us who prefer passives over actives. I also think Jackson should get together with the dealers and clarify if the body is mahogany or basswood. I don't understand why dealers say one thing and Jackson says another. Overall, I could not be happier with the purchase. The guitar beat my expectations on build quality and playability. What more could I ask for?
Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't gig, I'm just someone who plays for a hobby and fun at home, but I believe that this guitar would certainly survive the rigors of the road. If I were a gigging musician, I don't think I would ever go to a gig without a backup because anything could happen. If you didn't happen to have a backup, I'm sure you would be fine going out with this guitar alone. As stated above, the guitar comes equipped with Dunlop straploks, but I don't use them. I picked up a Levy's boot leather guitar strap and I know from my other guitar that once you get this strap on, it's not coming off. The finish doesn't seem thin or thick and I believe that it will hold up just fine. I read a comment somewhere where someone said that the guitar felt like a toy and this is a total lie. This is a rock solid, quality guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I don't really know if the guitar was factory set-up. This particular guitar receives the free 55 point inspection from sweetwater, so I don't know if they changed anything during this process. There was some fret buzz, but nothing major. The pickups were set at the correct height, the floyd was set up properly and intonated and I haven't had to do anything to the guitar since I got it. There is not a flaw on the guitar. The trans red finish really lets the grain of the wood Shine through, even on the neck. It may only be a veneer on the top, but it looks amazing. No scratches, no dents, the black binding on the fret board is perfectly straight, the cavities are routed perfectly, the covers fit the cavities perfectly, the solder on the pickups was done very well. The frets are finished nicely and there are no sharp edges. The knobs, toggle and jack were tight and have remained tight. I read comments on the web that stated that the finish on the back of the neck felt sticky, but this is a completely false statement. The neck feels amazing. I was a bit worried about ordering a new model that was made in Indonesia, but this guitar has absolutely surpassed the expectations that I had. It's not too light or heavy, everything about it feels solid, the neck is a dream to play and it looks gorgeous.
Features — 7
This guitar was made in 2012 in Indonesia. It's a 26.5 scale, neck-through body maple neck, with 24 jumbo frets, compound radius rosewood fret board, Floyd Rose Special bridge. Jackson calls the neck a "speed neck", which is slim and a blast to play. To be honest, I don't know what the body material is as the Jackson website lists it as mahogany and every store that sells it lists is as basswood. The body is topped with a quilt maple veneer and the color is transparent red. It's a very nice looking finish. The body style is the Jackson soloist. The control setup is one volume, one tone and a three way toggle. It came with EMG 707 pickups and there was no option for a passive equipped version. Tuners are Jackson, but they don't matter much since the strings are locked at the nut for the Floyd Rose. No case or gig bag was included, but the guitar does come with Dunlop straplocks. It also included all the allen wrenches needed to work on the guitar. I'll give it a seven here, because it could have been better with an official Floyd Rose instead of a Special, a true maple cap instead of a veneer and could have included at least a gig bag. But for the money it costs, actual EMG 707's and the Dunlop straplocks were a nice touch.