The Jackson X series is a new line of guitar from Jackson that take a lot of the construction features of their high end guitars and puts them on lower end guitars so more people can afford them. A lot of their models are neck through which you do not see much on guitars of this price. The guitar I am reviewing is an SLX but it does not look like the one in the picture. It is the natural version which surprisingly comes with a different set of pickups. The natural version has a natural finish to it so you can clearly see the basswood body attached to the maple neck. The guitar is neck through so the basswood body is just wings on the neck. The neck has a 24 fret compound radius rosewood fretboard. There is a locking nut for the Floyd Rose. The pickups are different on the Natural model. This model comes with passive EMG pickups. The control layout is typical with a volume and tone with a 3 way switch.
This guitar plays a lot like a high end Jackson. The neck through construction means that there is no neck joint to get in the way. It is smooth all the way up the 24 frets. The compound radius fretboard means you get a comfortable action all the way up the neck as well. On the higher frets the radius is flatter so you can get a lower action for your leads and on the lower frets the radius is more round so you can play chords more comfortably. The Floyd Rose was okay. Its not an original Floyd Rose but it is good enough if you dont plan on standing on it.
Jacksons do not normally have basswood bodies so the tone is a bit different on this than other Jacksons. I cant think of many other guitars that have basswood bodies with neck through maple necks. At least the wood combination looks good with the natural finish. The passive EMG pickups are not the greatest. They are pretty fizzy and thin. I would most likely swap these out if this was my guitar. If you are a beginner and still have a low end amp then these pickups will work just fine for you. Some X models come with real active EMG's and some do not. I would make that a priority in picking a guitar from this line over looks and shape. Getting one of the X series guitars that come with real EMG's can save you a lot of money in the future and they are not that much more expensive than the other models.
I like the X series on the surface. The guitars are very well priced. You can get this model for 600 bucks. I just wish there was more consistantcy through the line. The green finished version of this guitar comes with Duncan Design pickups while the natural finished on comes with passive EMG's. And there is another soloist in the X series that comes with active EMG's. It is quite confusing. If you dont mine the passive EMG's and are looking for a cool looking soloist that doesnt cost and arm and a leg the SLX natural Soloist is a pretty cool guitar.
Jackson has started releasing their new X series guitars lately. They're different from the older X series, so keep that in mind. These are meant for people who want a decent quality guitar but without the huge price tag that normally comes with it. The guitar features a basswood body, a maple neck-thru neck, a rosewood fretboard with 24 frets, sharkfin inlays, a licensed floyd rose bridge, two humbuckers, one volume, one tone and a three way switch.
The guitar was actually put together fairly nicely. The inlays were done quite well, so there was no issue there. I didn't notice any major fillers in the fretboard. The fretwork was pretty solid for the price. It wasn't perfect, but it was more than usable, and I was able to get some real low action without any issues. The bridge on this is a licensed floyd rose. It's not the best in the world, but I've played worse. It would be worth swapping it for either an original or a Gotoh version, in my opinion. The rest of the guitar was pretty much standard.
The first thing I should mention is that this guitar does not have the "standard" Jackson tone woods. In fact, maple with basswood wings is pretty unique. Not many manufacturers use this combo, and I'm not sure how good it really sounds. It's kinda odd. The pickups are licensed Duncan pickups that don't really sound that inspiring. They average pickups that I think are most likely going to get replaced by serious guitarists. If you're going to replace them, be sure to get some pickups that aren't too overly bright as the maple neck-thru design can really get piercing at times if you're not careful. Then again, it depends on what kind of tone you're going for and how that particular guitar sounds.
I really like the color on this, and while there are features of this guitar I'm not crazy about (basswood wings, the licensed floyd and cheap pickups), the overall guitar is pretty decent for what you're getting. If you wait for these things to hit the used market, with a few mods, they'll be strong contenders if you ask me.