A lot of guitars these days are designed with special features that make them stand out from the crowd.
That’s great for me as a reviewer as it gives me something different to focus upon, but as a player there are times where I just want a good ol’ straight-up rip-roaring shred machine with a no-nonsense simple design.
Jackson’s Pro Series Soloist SL2Q MAH may be a high tech guitar, but all of the tech goes into details like feel and playability rather than complicated switching systems, sophisticated electronics, or other features that get in the way when you want to plug in and play.
The Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2Q MAH places the emphasis where it really counts—high quality materials, professional electronics and hardware, and meticulous craftsmanship. At its core it’s a stripped-down shred machine with a pair of humbucking pickups (Seymour Duncan T6-6 Distortion bridge and SH-6N Distortion neck), a robust Floyd Rose FRT-O5000 recessed double-locking tremolo, master volume and tone controls, and a three-position blade pickup selector switch with the usual bridge/both/neck settings.
The Soloist’s true devil is in its details however. The neck is one of the fastest and most comfortable I’ve ever played, featuring a one-piece maple neck-thru-body design with a sturdy scarf joint and a 12-to-16-inch compound radius. The neck also boasts 24 jumbo frets, a 25 1/2–inch scale, and a smooth-as-silk ebony fretboard. The neck is inserted into a resonant slab of mahogany, and the whole shebang is topped with a hypnotically figured layer of quilted maple. The neck’s oiled finish provides the feel of raw wood, while the body has a mirror-like gloss finish.
Everything about this model’s design just feels right, including the body’s weight, overall balance, and playability of the neck’s slim, flat profile. The guitar is very comfortable to play, and whether seated or standing the neck automatically settles to an ideal playing position. The jumbo frets are polished to a very smooth and rounded profile that allows players’ fingers to glide up and down the fretboard almost without any resistance.
The Soloist’s tone is very lively, responsive, and aggressive, thanks to its resonant tonewoods and high-output humbuckers, which are mounted directly to the body. Both pickups have an attractive upper midrange character that delivers ample presence and body that strikes an ideal balance between power chords and fat, singing solos. It may deliver only three sounds, but they’re all ones that you will use often.
LIST PRICE $1,360.53
MANUFACTURER Jackson Guitars, jacksonguitars.com
• Seymour Duncan T6-6 Distortion (bridge) and SH-6N Distortion (neck) humbuckers are mounted directly to the body to provide fat, resonant tone.
• The recessed Floyd Rose FRT-O5000 double-locking tremolo has a deep cavity to enable generous pitch raising as well as low dives.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While the Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2Q MAH may offer a basic setup, the quality of its hardware, tonewoods, and craftsmanship make it a high-performance shred machine that truly delivers when it comes to tone and playability.