I just can’t seem to stop throwing my cash away for upper echelon import Jacksons… (Though living in Europe makes the USA made ones every bit as import as the ones I’m talking about, but you all know what I mean ! ;))
Anyways, the new toy is a Pro Series Soloist SL2Q MAH Winterstorm. I wanted a white guitar loaded with white Black Winters. A year or so ago I scored an X Series Soloist. It was a great project, it needed work and setup, upgraded the Floyd Special, got the white BWs and the price was right too (~270 USD). Had a fun time trying to get the best out of it, but I just wasn’rt completely satisfied with it. The rosewood board on a strictly black and white concept and non-matching headstock started to bug me and the guitar overall doesnt sound tight enough for my tastes (I’m guessing it has something to do with the basswood body and the unreasonably big routings for bridge and controls. It is noticeably louder while not plugged in as the huge routings amplify the sound of the strings but it makes the plugged in sound blunt and muddy).
So I was in a hunt for a white(ish) guitar to find a new home for the white BW set and keep my stupid idea of a white guitar with Black Winters alive…! From my previous experience I was overall very satisfied with the Indo made Pro Series (at least the ones coming out from the Samick factory, don’t have experience with the Cort or Mexican made ones), so I checked out the lineup and found this. Turns out it’s a discontinued model, but manaed to cop one in town in a big music store who usually aren’t on my radar since their profile and my interest don’t really match. But they’re longtime Fender dealers and I guess FMIC pushed some Jacksons on them. Anyways, they gave me a cool deal on it and I bought it home. For the record, they claimed that the guitar was restrung and set up just the previous day and for the first time in my life it was true! ! It was well set up, though with a rather curious choice of 9-42 and Eb standard tuning (at least to me - after 10-46 E st it feels like rubberbands).
After a day of playing around with it, here’s what I can tell:
- this by far the best fretjob I saw on a non-USA Jackson thus far. I’d say that level-wise it is on par with my E-II or the refrets done by my luthier. No sharp edges at all and with an action of around 1,5 mm on both sides and a surpising 0,1 mm (!!!) relief, there is no buzz and no bend is big enough to fret out. Again, this is with 9-42 strings flapping around in Eb tuning. Impressive, didn’t expect it!
- I love the looks of the black chrome hardware, but I already see myself spending hours trying to wipe the fingerprint off of it after playing… !
- The guitar feels very well built and sturdy
- While I absolutely love the color and I think that the “Winterstorm” moniker fits perfectly, I wouldn’t have called it quilted… Really no depth to it. I wonder if it’s because of the quality of the wood (prolly not AAAA ! ), the effect of solid white masking the wood figure or a combination of both. Not a dealbreaker and I’m not snobbing about it, but this is the truth. I someone wants a nice quilted top with depth, then this is not the one.
- Of course you have some minor cosmetic imperfections… The one that bugs me a bit is how they don’t want to find a solution for the body’s clear coat to end before the neck binding. The binding at the last few frets which are above the body have the clearcaot on them, all shiny and the rest of the neck and binding is all matte. I know it’s about cutting cost and time, but come on…
- Jackson claims it’s mahogany, but it is pretty lightweight. I suspect its one pf those replacement mahoganys. Again not snobbing, as it sounds killer, just trying to be honest in my description. It either sounds good or it doesn’t. Thankfully this one sounds good, so couldn’t care less about the exact species.
- Neck is maple with scarf joint and graphite rods (pretty much the standard), the profile is thin, but a tad bit rounder than on the XSeries model I got and I am happy it is. I have rather large hands and at times I felt that the neck on the cheapo Soloist is a bit too thin for me.
- ebony board with the piranha inlays - more wood, more blackness, fits my visual idea really well
- matching headstock, yaaayyy! !
And now the pickups… This is where I am in trouble. It came with a Distortion bridge and neck (Mayhem set?). My original idea was that OK, the Distortion is going to be cool and all, I’ll keep it and put it in another guitar when I install the white Black winters in this one, but these things sound CRAAAAZY good… ! I do realize its still the honeymoon phase, but man, no mater how much I like what the BW does, I’ll have a hard time convincing myself to change pickups in this guitar. Right off the bat and based on my experience the bridge sounds like a fine mix of JB and Nazgul: way tighter than the JB, but not as much as the Nazgul, middy, very present and oozing 80’s metal like the JB, and considerably fatter than the Nazgul. The neck, especially with the tone rolled off is a sweet and lovely warm cream of a sound. If I knew hoe to play the blues I’d give it a go with this one! !
All in all a happy camper, we’ll see how our post-honeymoon relationship will be…!
Oh and I know that @kiko keeps telling how important the gear is and how it makes me a better player, so in case you’re interested I use the black Jazz III XL picks Just kidding. I’m every bit as bad of a player as before, but this leaves less money to spend on booze so I guess in this case gear really did make me a bit better.
Here are some pics: