Mike Stringer shows off two Jackson Custom Shop seven-strings that reimagine the lost Surfcaster offset as a metal guitar – and it’s got big name players in a hot mess

Mike Stringer's 7-string Jackson Custom Shop Surfcaster
(Image credit: Mike Stringer / Instagram)

Spiritbox guitarist Mike Stringer has taken to Instagram to show off two unique Jackson Custom Shop builds that take the firm’s classic Surfcaster model and reimagine it as a modern metal guitar

“I’ve always been obsessed with classic vintage looking guitars, (offsets specifically) and wanted to do a modern take based on [Jackson's] classic Surfcaster model,” says Stringer on Instagram. 

“The team at Jackson were super down with the idea, and I got the opportunity to spec out two offset customs. The end result is mind blowing!”

Aside from the finishes, the two seven-string instruments are identical in spec and each features an alder body, three-piece maple neck, and ebony fingerboard with a 26.5” scale-length. 

Mike Stringer's 7-string Jackson Custom Shop Surfcaster

(Image credit: Mike Stringer / Instagram)

Hardware includes an Evertune bridge and Gotoh locking tuners, and then there’s a set of Fishman’s Fluence Open Core Modern humbuckers, which offer three different voicing settings (selectable by the toggleswitch). 

Otherwise, the controls are limited to a simple pickup selector and volume knob.

Stringer has gone for two different finishes, with a relic'd Fiesta Red with matching headstock on one guitar and a cream finish on the other. Both are complimented with tortoiseshell pickguards.

The original Surfcaster was a six-string Charvel/Jackson model, with semi-hollow variants and lipstick pickups, that was originally issued in the early-’90s. As such, Stringer’s build is a total reimagining – and a really successful one at that.

Sadly, as one-off builds, they’re not currently available in Jackson’s wider Custom Shop or Standard lines – the closest thing being Jackson’s Rob Caggiano Shadowcaster offset, which took things in a darker direction – but we very much hope that might change in the near future. 

The firm’s recent American Series Virtuoso model nailed the brief when it came to designing a metal guitar with more universal appeal – one that suits the increasing trend of heavy players who don’t want a spiky, black satin model.

Stringer’s stunning take on the Surfcaster would seem to follow that pattern, too. As one (recently converted) commenter puts it: “Apparently I love Jacksons now?"

What’s more, Misha Mansoor, plus members of Architects, Papa Roach, Tetrarch, Northlane, and Ryan “Fluff” Bruce of Dragged Under/RiffsBeards & Gear have all left enthusiastic reactions to the model on Instagram.

We’d take that as convincing evidence of legitimate demand among players for a signature guitar, or at least an updated, metal-friendly Surfcaster/offset. 

Though perhaps Mansoor puts it best: “Gimme gimme gimme!”

It feels like Jackson is tapping into something when it comes to the demand for metal crossover instruments at present. That sense was encapsulated in its star-studded five-solo Virtuoso Mega Shred clip – a guitar promo video that has somehow become essential viewing...

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.