Review: Jackson Guitars Pro Series Soloist SL7 HT

Find out why this sleek seven-string shred machine earned Guitar World's Gold Award!
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Currently offering 32 different seven-string guitar models, Jackson has positioned itself as a leading contender in the seven-string market. All of Jackson’s seven-string models are solidbody guitars with metal-and-shred-oriented built-for-speed designs, so if that’s your specialty as well and you’re looking for a seven-string, chances are good that Jackson has exactly the model you need. For players who prefer a hardtail bridge, traditional (i.e. non-slanted or multiscale) fretboard, passive pickups and a non-extended scale length, Jackson’s Pro Series Soloist SL7 HT is a great choice. Priced right in the middle of Jackson’s seven-string range, it offers a great balance of value and pro features.

FEATURES
The most distinctive feature of the Jackson SL7 HT is its body construction, which places a layer of ash with a distinctive transparent satin Charcoal Gray finish on top of a slab of mahogany. The single-piece maple neck extends all the way to the body’s heel for true neck-through-body construction, but ash laminates on the sides and back give the body a consistent look. Neck features include a 25 ½-inch scale length, single-layer bound ebony fingerboard with a 12-to-16-inch compound radius and 24 jumbo frets, oiled finish and a slim, flat profile. The headstock features a pointed seven-in-line reverse design and single-layer binding.

The strings are solidly anchored in place thanks to die-cast locking tuning machines and the string-thru-body bridge. The master volume and master tone controls have black metal dome-style knobs, and a five-position blade switch provides instant access to a variety of full humbucking and split-coil tones from the pair of Seymour Duncan SH-6 7 pickups with uncovered coils and ceramic magnets. The pickups are direct mounted to the body for enhanced resonance and dynamics.

PERFORMANCE
Consistent with Jackson’s other Soloist models, the SL7 HT is a speed machine with a very fast-playing neck and controls perfectly placed for quick, easy access while remaining out of the way when playing. The neck is one of the most comfortable seven-string necks I’ve ever played, and despite having a very slim profile it feels rock solid. The high-output Duncan SH-6 humbuckers deliver remarkably clear and well-balanced sound. Thanks to treble and midrange emphasis with slightly rolled-back bass, the pickups allow the low B string to produce a brilliant, metallic clang rather than the deadened mush often encountered on seven-string guitars with non-extended scales. As a result, this SL7 HT sounds as good when played with a clean amp setting as it does when pushed to the brink with high-gain distortion.

LIST PRICE: $1,319.71
MANUFACTURER: Jackson, jacksonguitars.com

● The distinctive construction incorporates an ash top, mahogany body and single-piece maple neck that truly extends through the entire body.

● A pair of Seymour Duncan SH-6 7 humbucking pickups deliver an ideal combination of high-output punch and outstanding clarity.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Jackson’s expertise in designing and building seven-string solidbody guitars really shines through in the Pro Series Soloist SL7 HT, which delivers outstanding tone and playability for a surprisingly affordable price.