When guitarists hear the name “Jackson,” the first instruments they probably think of are the company’s super strats like the Dinky, San Dimas, and Soloist or their more radical-shaped axes like the Kelly, King V, Rhoads, or Warrior.
Probably the last style of guitar they’d imagine would be a curvaceous single-cutaway model, but that’s exactly what Jackson has added to its impressive stable with the introduction of several new Monarkh models.
Of course with this being Jackson we’re talking about, the Monarkh models are not your run-of-the-mill single-cutaway guitars. Just like you’d expect from Jackson, these are sleek, hot-rodded shred machines that are built for speed and feature just the right amount of edgy, aggressive styling for players who prefer to stand out rather than blend in.
Jackson currently offers four different Monarkh models: the flagship Pro Series SC, two X Series models (the SCX and seven-string SCX7), and ultra-affordable JS Series SC JS22. We took a look at the Pro Series SC and X Series SCX7.
The Pro Series SC is one sweet-looking, deluxe-style ax rife with stunning visual flare. If you opt for one with the transparent purple burst, red burst, or tobacco burst finish, you’ll be treated to the sight of a gorgeously figured arched maple top. The black and silver burst finish examples have an arched maple top as well (probably not as nicely figured since you can’t see it), and all examples have a matching finish on the headstock. Other deluxe appointments include “outline ghostfin” pearloid fretboard inlays and three-ply binding surrounding the top, fingerboard, and headstock.
In addition to the maple cap, the body is made of mahogany, which is finished in black. The maple neck features an ebony fretboard, 22 jumbo frets, 24 3/4–inch scale, and set-thru construction that smoothly and seamlessly blends the neck and body together. All of the hardware is finished in black and consists of Jackson die-cast locking tuners, a Jackson compensated and adjustable bridge with stop tailpiece, and metal dome knobs. Electronics consist of a pair of Seymour Duncan Blackout AHB-1 active humbuckers, individual volume controls for each pickup, a master tone control, and three-way pickup selector toggle switch.
The X Series SCX7 shares a few features in common with the Pro Series SC, such as a graphite-reinforced neck with a compound 12-inch to 16-inch radius and the same control layout. Its overall styling is a little more understated, with features like single-ply binding, pearloid sharkfin fretboard inlays, and a Model-T-style selection of finishes in any color you’d like as long as it’s black.
The SCX7 also has a solid mahogany body (no maple cap) and a set maple neck with a dark rosewood fingerboard, 24 jumbo frets, and 25 1/2–inch scale. The pickups consist of a Seymour Duncan Sentient humbucker at the neck and a Seymour Duncan Nazgul at the bridge.
While Jackson’s Monarkh models may not look like previous Jackson guitars we’re all familiar with, they certainly feel like them. Belly contours and a generous scoop at the cutaway on the back of the body give the guitar a very slim and sleek feel even though the bodies are as thick as the usual classic single-cutaway models.
The necks have Jackson’s super-slim, super-fast profile, but thanks to the graphite reinforcement they are rock solid. The cutaway contours also provide unrestricted access to the highest frets. Perhaps coolest of all is how the six-string Pro SC and seven-string SCX7 possess nearly identical feel and playability, so you could get both (they’re affordable enough for most players to do that) and switch guitars without having to mentally adjust.
Both guitars deliver that killer Jackson tone as well. The Pro SC’s active Duncan Blackouts retain immaculate definition no matter how much gain or distortion you pile on, while the SCX7’s passive Duncan humbuckers have rich, organic tone with deliciously meaty bass and articulate treble. The overall tone of both guitars is more high-tech and hi-fi than vintage or warm, but that’s precisely what a hot-rodded guitar like the Monarkh is supposed to do.
LIST PRICES: $1,103.43 (Pro Series SC with transparent finish and figured top); $965.50 (X Series SCX7)
MANUFACTURER: Jackson Guitars, jacksonguitars.com
• The Monarkh Pro Series SC offers set-thru neck construction, maple top/mahogany body construction, and deluxe appointments like three-ply binding.
• The X Series SCX7 is an affordable 7-string model with a solid mahogany body, a set neck, and single-ply binding.
• The Pro Series SC’s active Duncan Blackouts provide impressive clarity and definition even with high-gain distortion.
• The SCX7’s Duncan Sentient and Nazgul humbuckers deliver rich, organic tone with lush bottom end and crisp treble.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you love the feel of a hot-rodded Jackson guitar but your eye is more attracted to the sexy curves of a single-cutaway solidbody, the Monarkh models are the affordable answers to your dreams.