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Jackson USA SL1 Soloist
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Jackson USA SL1 Soloist

STC-Shaped Guitar from Jackson belonging to the USA Select series.

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MountAnDewMe MountAnDewMe

« A nice guitar that just fell short for me. »

Published on 07/29/12 at 10:51
This is an American made guitar that has been under Fender ownership for some time now. It is equipped with an original Floyd Rose double locking tremolo in a chrome finish. The guitar is a neck thru body design and the neck is made of quarter sawn maple. It is topped off with a 24 jumbo fret ebony fret board and has the characteristic mother of pearl shark fin inlays. The neck is speed contoured with a compound radius fret board meaning the radius goes from 9.25 to 14 from nut to 24th fret. The pickups are made by Seymour Duncan and consist of a JB TB4 at the bridge, and a classic stack single coil sized hum bucker in the middle and neck position. The classic stacks are capable of producing single coil tone while using negative hum coil to reject noise. There are two control knobs responsible for master volume and master tone. Pickup selection is achieved through a 5 way selector switch. The guitar is a 25.5 scale instrument and the model I owned had a maple top over an alder body. The maple top only comes on transparent finishes so all other non transparent models are solid alder.

UTILIZATION

The guitar is designed to be a shredders dream so there is full access all the way to the 24th fret with no issue. The compound radius design allows for the best of both worlds. Chording on the neck remains easy on the lower register while still providing swift playability is assured towards the upper frets. The action can be set lower relative to a regular fret board without worry of fretting out of difficulty in voicing chords. The guitar has a nice overall sound to it. It is a bit more aggressive than a standard Stratocaster and has more a good articulate feel to it. The design is very comfortable against the body and is at home on a knee or over the shoulder for a long session. All and all it is a good guitar but nothing really stands out sonically in my opinion.

SOUNDS

I used this guitar with a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, an Ampeg VL-503, a Peavey XXX, Amplitube 2, and Gutar Rig 3. Although the sound was quality in nature it did not suit my taste. It did have areas it was impressive in such as the playability but either the maple top or the pickup selection were not to my liking. Possibly I expected more from the instrument as many people do love it and it was not a poor sound it just did not "do it" for me. The best sounds I found on it were heavy rock and dirty lightly overdriven tones. I found my Stratocasters and Telecasters covered blues and cleans far better and I had other guitars that played metal better.

OVERALL OPINION

The thing that disturbed me most about this guitar was the quality of the parts. While the body and neck were impeccably finished I found issue with the control knobs and 5 way switch. I had originally tried a used model out and was disappointed to find the 5 way was inoperable in 2 positions as well as missing the plastic tip and the pots seemed very wiggly, as if they were in desperate need of tightening. I attributed this to the previous owner’s lack of care and ordered a new model. I was very disturbed to find within days of ownership that I was constantly opening the guitar up to tighten the volume pot in and the 5 way was already showing signs of failing, very scratchy and needed to be jiggled in and out of position to get a full contact. For a guitar of this price point there sound be no issues whatsoever in my opinion. After a week I decided the instrument was not for me and I returned it. I understand things on a guitar may need replacing or modifications applied to get the instrument the way you want it but when you are starting at a $2,000 plus price point the instrument should be a good fit for the purchaser and modifications should be something that is grown into. I really wanted to own this guitar but knowing what I know now I was not a good fit for that particular axe so take what I say with a grain of salt. If you are interested you should try one yourself before making a large monetary investment.
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