Jackson Stars Rhoads RR-j1be : tjon901's user review
"High end Japanese Jackson RR hardtail"
The Jackson Stars are a series of guitars that are made in Japan. They are equal in quality to the best USA made Jacksons except they are made in Japan. They have slightly different features and slightly different models. For the longest time the only way to get a 24 fret Randy Rhodes Jackson was to get one of these from Japan. The guitar has a neck through body with a maple neck. The neck has a 24 fret ebony fretboard with Jacksons signature shark fin inlays. The neck and headstock are fully bound. It has a string through tune-o-matic bridge for the ultimate in tuning stability and sustain. It has two EMG humbuckers. It has an 81 in the bridge and an 85 in the neck. with one volume and two tone knobs with a 3 way switch. It is also available with EMG's and a Floyd Rose or old school Khaler tremolo.
The frets arent as easy to reach on this guitar as on other Jacksons because the shape of the V. The upper fret access on the 22 fret versions are hard to reach and this guitar has 24 frets. The ebony fretboard feels good under your fingers. The neck through design means there is no heel so that is good too. Jacksons at these levels come with compound radius necks. This means that on the higher frets the radius is flatter making it easy to bend but on the low frets its more curved making chords more comfortable. Since this guitar is a hard tail you do not have to worry about the tremolo going crazy on you and string changes are much easier.
With 24 frets and EMGs this guitar is a shred machine. I like to put the 85 in the bridge. The 85 gives a bit thicker sound then the 81 so when it is in the bridge position on a guitar like this the tone is crushing. The 81 is not great in the neck position though. With the 81 in the bridge you get your traditional high end 81 sound. It gives nice clarity and bite although it does not sound as huge at the 85 in the bridge. If you want even more crushing tone you can do the 18v mod to the EMG's. With the 18v mod you run the EMG pickups on two 9v batteries instead of just one. This gives you more headroom over all and more clarity. It will make your clean tones sound better too by giving them a more natural organic quality. If you do the 18v mod you will have to do some modding to the control cavity because there is only one battery port in the back of the guitar.
This model is a lasting tribute to Randy Rhodes. With the Jackson Stars factory people overseas can get USA quality guitars easier. The Stars models have some features not found on many USA Jacksons too. For the longest time the only way to get a 24 fret RR Jackson was to get one from Japan. If you are looking for a high quality Jackson and cant get one from America, Jackson Stars guitars are a great alternative.