Earlier this year Jackson Guitars introduced its new Concept Series with the release of four new electric guitars: a pair of Soloist models (the SL Walnut HS and SLAT7P HT MS) and a pair of Rhoads models (the RR24-7 and RR24 HS).
The overall “concept” behind this series seems to be rather loosely defined and open, but the overarching premise is premium hardware, pickups, finishes and other features usually found on Jackson’s custom models but without the higher custom model price.
Some of the models also offer compelling variations from Jackson’s regular lineup, such as the 7-string Rhoads RR24-7 or the humbucker/single-coil pickup configuration of the Rhoads RR24 HS and Soloist SL Walnut HS, while the Soloist SLAT7P HT MS offers a more upscale alternative to Jackson’s popular multi-scale Soloist models.
We took a look at two Concept Series models: the Rhoads RR24 HS and the Soloist SLAT7P HT MS.
The Concept Series Rhoads RR24 HS features the iconic asymmetrical V-shaped Rhoads model body built with neck-through-body construction where alder body “wings” sandwich a three-piece maple neck.
The ebony fretboard with pearloid sharkfin inlays, 25.5-inch scale length and 24 jumbo frets are also time-honored Rhoads features, as is the body’s ivory white gloss finish with black pinstripe accents outlining the top bevels.
Pro details abound, including Luminlay side dot markers, a 12-16-inch compound fretboard radius and gold-plated hardware, including the Floyd Rose Original double-locking tremolo system and Gotoh sealed tuners.
The pickup configuration is a key item of interest. Although it’s described as “humbucker/single-coil,” technically it’s a pair of humbuckers, with a full-size Seymour Duncan JB TB-4 at the bridge and a single-coil-size Hot Rails Strat SHR-IN humbucker at the neck. Controls consist of a three-position pickup selector toggle and master volume and master tone knobs.
While the Rhoads RR24 HS tips its headstock to the beginnings of the Jackson brand, the Concept Series Soloist SLAT7P HT MS focuses on its future. This model marries the deep sweeping cutaway body shape and sleek contours of the Soloist model to a 25.5-to-27-inch multi-scale 7-string neck.
The neck-though-body design incorporates a five-piece maple (center and outer layers) and wenge (inner layers) neck with ash body wings and a satin-finished layer of burled poplar covering the entire top.
Neck features include a bound ebony fingerboard with a 12-16-inch compound radius, 24 jumbo frets, Luminlay side dots and pearloid “piranha tooth” inlays.
The hardware is all top quality, consisting of a Hipshot 7 fixed bridge, black dome-style knobs and Gotoh tuners. The electronics include a pair of Fishman Fluence Modern PRF-MH8 humbuckers (ceramic bridge, alnico neck) with master volume and master tone controls, the latter with push/pull switching to active voice 1 or 2. A three-position blade switch accesses the usual bridge/both/neck pickup settings.
Both Concept Series guitars are serious, pro-quality instruments with flawless construction and a smooth, sexy feel that delivers impressive playability. The Rhoads RR24 HS provides a bold, assertive hard rock voice with barking midrange.
Because the Hot Rails neck pickup has a narrower magnetic field than a full-size humbucker, its overall tone is more focused and the pickup angle keeps the lower notes from sounding overly flabby or dark.
The bridge pickup sounds bold and beastly, providing stellar definition and punch, and both pickups are dead quiet even when using a distortion pedal and high-gain amp setting. The only improvement I would have liked was a coil-splitting function, but users handy with a soldering iron can easily perform this mod, if desired.
The Soloist SLAT7P HT MS is sure to inspire the most technical lead shredders and heavy-handed aggressive rhythm players alike. Setting 1 on the Fluence pickups is more defined and crisp, making the bass exceptionally tight and round while treble notes exhibit shimmering metallic spark.
Setting 2 boosts the output, making the overall tone more compressed, fat and full-bodied, ideal for single-note lines and solos or rhythm parts that fill the sonic soundscape rather than dominating a more focused range.
The multi-scale neck with its slim, flat profile is outrageously comfortable to play, and the larger Soloist body shape is very well balanced and keeps the neck solidly in playing position.
Jackson Concept Series Rhoads RR24 HS
- PRICE: $1,999 / £1,899 (inc. case)
- BODY: Alder
- NECK: Maple, set-through
- SCALE: 25.5”
- FINGERBOARD: Ebony, 12-16” compound radius
- FRETS: 24, jumbo
- ELECTRICS: Seymour Duncan JB TB-4 (bridge), Seymour Duncan Hot Rails SHR-1N (neck)
- CONTROLS: Volume, Tone, 3-way blade selector switch
- HARDWARE: Floyd Rose Original, Gold die-cast tuners, gold
- LEFT-HANDED: No
- FINISH: White w/ Black Pinstripes
Jackson Concept Series Soloist SLAT7P HT MS
- PRICE: $1,999 / £1,899 (inc. case)
- BODY: Ash
- NECK: 5-Piece Maple/Wenge, neck-through construction
- SCALE: 25.5” - 27” multi-scale
- FINGERBOARD: Ebony, 12-16” compound radius with pearloid piranha inlay
- FRETS: 24, extra-jumbo
- ELECTRICS: 2x Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers
- CONTROLS: Volume, Tone (with Push/Pull), 3-position blade pickup selector
- HARDWARE: Hipshot 7, Gotoh die-cast locking tuners, black
- LEFT-HANDED: No
- FINISH: Satin Bourbon Burst