Review: Jackson X Series Soloist SL4X

(Image credit: Jackson Guitars)

John Hughes movies. Big hair and parachute pants. Hair metal and New Wave. All of these popular things that emerged from the Eighties evoke so much fond nostalgia, proving it was an electrifying time to be alive. And just as much as the wild and wacky was a prevailing constant, the decade also was a catalyst in radical innovation for electric guitars. From locking tremolos to higher-output pickups (it was all in its nascency), there was no limit to how far you could modify a guitar. Guitar shapes were reimagined and finished in flashy paint jobs and outrageous graphics that made the electric guitar the ultimate symbolic accessory of a rock star. 

Jackson Guitars was one of the handful of companies at the forefront of this revolution when a rising star named Randy Rhoads designed a guitar that would eventually become the most renowned model in their line. Since then, Jackson has gone on to create a bevy of iconic shaped guitars, like the Soloist reviewed here, that still remain in production. Now, looking at this fantastic Jackson X Series Soloist SL4X — gloss-finished in an unapologetic bubblegum pink — makes me want to grab a can of Aqua Net and let everyone know it’s glaringly apparent that any report of the Eighties’ demise has been greatly exaggerated.

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.