Has Misha Mansoor designed the ultimate Strat for progressive players?

When you're shopping for a Stratocaster, you're unlikely to find yourself exploring the ranges of traditionally metal-leaning electric guitar juggernaut Jackson. But players of a contemporary persuasion – with a keen eye for vintage aesthetic – might just have their G.A.S. ignited by Misha Mansoor's surprisingly traditional-looking new signature model.

Part of the just-launched, made-in-Japan MJ Series, the Misha Mansoor So-Cal 2PT may have Jackson on the headstock, but it's unquestionably a Stratocaster at its core. Mansoor goes so far as to dub it "my signature Strat – they want me to call it a So-Cal… but we know it's a Strat".

And the visual vibe certainly reinforces that definition, thanks to a Daphne Blue finish with white pickguard, parchment skirt-style control knobs and chrome hardware. Plus, Jackson being part of the Fender family of brands, it even comes with a color-matched licensed Fender Strat headstock.

Jackson MJ Series Signature Misha Mansoor So-Cal 2PT

(Image credit: Jackson Guitars)

Yet while the So-Cal offers a stealthily retro aesthetic, in many ways, its spec mirrors that of Mansoor's existing Juggernaut line.

So, there's a basswood body, teamed with a bolt-on caramelized maple neck, complete with graphite reinforcement and oiled back finish, not to mention a contoured heel around the rear.

While it may look like rosewood, the fingerboard is in fact caramelized maple, and comes with a 20” radius, rolled edges, 22 jumbo stainless steel frets and white dot inlays outlined in black, as well as Luminlay side dots.

MJ Series Signature Misha Mansoor So-Cal 2PT

(Image credit: Jackson Guitars)

Of course, Mansoor's signature high-output Bare Knuckle Ragnarok humbucker appears in the bridge position, but this time, it's complemented by two Bare Knuckle Trilogy Suite single coils in the neck and middle, all of which come in a parchment finish.

Controls come by way of a master volume and tone, along with a five-way blade selector switch – the layout has been shifted slightly further away from the pickups to prevent accidental tonal tweaks during more aggressive playing.

Those pickup switching options are intriguing, too: positions 1 to 5 cycle through full bridge; bridge inner coil and middle pickup; bridge outer coil and neck; middle and neck; and full neck. There's no coil-split here, but that's still plenty of versatility to be getting on with.

MJ Series Signature Misha Mansoor So-Cal 2PT

(Image credit: Jackson Guitars)

Rounding off the spec is Mansoor's favorite Strat bridge, the Gotoh Custom 510 Tremolo, along with Gotoh die-cast locking tuners, Dunlop Dual-Locking strap buttons and a Graph Tech TUSQ XL nut. Oh, and the truss rod adjuster is at the base of the neck, which is "where it belongs", according to Mansoor.

For anyone looking for a high-spec, contemporary-playing Strat – and who doesn't mind a different name on the headstock – this So-Cal could prove an enticing proposition.

The MJ Series Signature Misha Mansoor So-Cal 2PT is available now for $2,699. Head over to Jackson Guitars for more info.

Mansoor's new model coincides with the launch of Jackson's made-in-Japan MJ Series as a whole, which also includes a host of fresh Rhoads, Dinky and Soloist models.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.