Price paid: $ 999
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
The sound of the guitar is pretty just what you would imagine by looking at it's stats. I'd be lying if I said that it was great for playing clean tones but that's not what I play nor is that why I bought it. If you play cleans with it, it's passable but not like what you would get from a nice Tele or a Super Swede (I refuse to use the LP as a standard). I noticed a little bit of hiss from the pups when I use the lead channel on my amp, but that's negated immediately by a decent noise suppressor. The pups are ridiculously sensitive and really begin to Shine when you get to the higher end of the audio spectrum. It's great for screaming leads and I have no complaints really when it plays lower end/detuned chugging riffs. The one thing that many people would view as a "drawback" is that it doesn't have a tremolo. This is all personal preference and I prefer to not use them. I use the bridge as a rest for my hand and if I try that with a trem, I find myself flatting the notes from my hand pushing down on the bridge. One of the greatest things about this guitar is it's endless sustain. Between the active 81/85 pickups, the body-thru strings, and neck-thru design, this thing can hold a note for quite a while. It suits my music style quite well, I play a lot of tech metal and shred (think Buckethead, Necrophagist, Paul Gilbert, etc.) and I couldn't have asked for a better guitar for the task.
Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression is that this guitar was made for me. Maybe after I save up some more money I may spring for the SL1 USA Soloist. That won't be for a while, though. This is the lightest and fastest guitar I have played. I'm sure there are others, I've heard the Rusty Cooley RC7x model is pretty wicked fast, but 7 strings aren't really my style. There is also an Ibanez model that follows this guitar's specs fairly closely, although right now the model number eludes me. My biggest gripe is that after I dropped $1000 on my white SLSMG, I saw that they turned around and were selling the red one for $699.00. I think I would have gotten the red one for a $300 price cut. If it was stolen, I would track that person down and cut his head off. That pretty much sums that up. If it were lost, I would buy another one, particularly the red one since it's cheaper! Overall, great guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar would be amazing to play live. I personally have never played live with it yet, but it's weight would really make a difference. It is easily 30% lighter than my Dean. I have heard from other people that this particular model is quite susceptible to dents and dings. I don't have any on my guitar (although it has been knocked around a little bit on accident). The strap buttons seemed alright on my guitar, but I immediately replaced them with locking strap buttons so it wouldn't fly off if I played live with it. My only hesitation with this guitar is that it probably couldn't take a beating as well as other beefier guitars. A lot of people don't realize how thin the body and neck of this guitar really is. It's razor thin which is a blessing and a curse. It's great as far as comfort and playability, but I don't think that it's a testament to it's ruggedness. Oh well, you're buying an instrument, not a show piece.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Straight out of the case, this thing was immaculate. It came wrapped up in foam sheets so there were no scratches or anything on it when I pulled it out. The first thing I did was replace it with some Ernie Ball Super Slinky 8's and lowered the action a smidgen. The action was passable right out of the box, but I prefer it extremely low. There was (and still is) no fret buzz anywhere, no dead spots, and no fretting out on higher notes. All the frets were filed very nicely and are quite smooth to the touch. I got the "Snow White" model which is just a super high gloss white. The high gloss paint reflects all the curves of the guitar very well and really makes it look sexy, especially around the neck. The guitar comes with Shark tooth inlays and they look very well done. There's nothing special about them, but none of them were messed up so I guess that means they are good to go, eh? No oxidized hardware, no loose tuning pegs, everything is just good. The only exception (which was mentioned earlier) was that I needed to tighten the volume knob.
Features — 8
I purchased my Jackson SLSMG in January 2010, so I've had it a few months. As I'm writing this, it is May 2010. I ordered it online from GC after a few months of research. As far as features go, there really aren't a lot to talk about due to it's simplicity, which is what I was going for. It has a fixed bridge with body-thru strings. The strings travel over top of the EMG 81/85 pickup set. Some people have asked if they are active and they are. The battery compartment is on the back just to the left of the electronics compartment. It has a 24 fret neck with jumbo frets which makes doing everything (in my opinion) much easier. It has Jackson's compound radius fretboard which is, as far as I can tell, similar to Ibanez's Wizard necks. Regardless, the neck feels amazing when it's played. My only complaint is that it doesn't have Jackson's signature headstock which I really wanted. It looks very similar to the headstock on my Dean Vendetta 4. Either way, it's a smokin' hot guitar. It has a three-way pickup selector, volume pot, and a tone pot. My biggest gripe about the controls is that the tone pot is pretty lazy. It doesn't affect the sound as much as I would have liked. The volume knob on my guitar was loose from the factory (due to shipping...?) and I had to tighten it down when I pulled it out of the case. I personally prefer knobs that have a bit of resistance to them because when I play, I have a habit of rolling the volume down (especially when sweeping). The bridge is pretty basic, it's a floating bridge (just like my Dean) and offers a wide array of fine adjustments.