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Jackson X-Series Soloist SL4X DX review

Jackson classes up the neoclassical shred game with this retro-inspired electric

Jackson X-Series Soloist SL4X DX
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Our Verdict

A super quick, super cool take on the Soloist format, which after all these years remains one of the finest go-faster S-styles on the market.

For

  • Through-neck build yields impressive sustain.
  • Great range of tones, from blues-rock to molten shred.
  • Nice finishes.
  • Very slick playability.
  • Good price.
  • More than respectable build.

Against

  • Neck might be too thin for some players.

Some occasions call for tiger-striped neon, but let’s face it, not that many these days, so it is with great delight we introduce a shreddable S-style that’s draped in a more stately hue – the Jackson X-Series Soloist SL4X DX.

An electric guitar of bearing and poise, this Soloist has been updated with a Specific Ocean finish that looks like it came off a 1968 Cadillac. In a certain light it’s remarkably similar to Fender’s Sage Green Metallic. 

Also, dear reader, cast your eyes upon those pickups, aligned in elegant SSS formation. How dainty, and yet these Duncan Designed pickups are single-coil-sized stacked humbuckers, promising warmth, width, depth and a hotter output.

If Jackson are pitching this Soloist as to widen its appeal, they certainly aren’t putting it on a leash when it comes to its feel and tone. 

Pick it up and it feels like a Soloist all right, the svelte neck-through construction solid, thin, speedy, with a dramatic contour at the heel to let you access the top end of the ’board. It’s remarkable how short the journey feels from 1st position to a 17th to 20th-fret pentatonic box pattern when the neck is this thin.

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Accordingly, there is a double-locking Floyd Rose Special vibrato, which if not quite the same action as the US-built Floyds, is still very stable and a welcome sight for whammy bar gymnasts. Recessed into the body, it has a low profile that makes a comfortable resting point for your picking hand.

The Soloist’s trio of Hot Rails humbuckers are selectable via a five-position blade switch, allowing for some excellent in between tones, with master tone and volume controls to fine-tune your sound. Played through a valve amplifier with a hot distortion in front of it, this thing screams, yet there is detail and clarity.

The SL4X breed of Soloist looks refined but you still suspect that if you were to score its finish with a coin you’d find tiger-striped neon underneath

Hitherto, you might not have bought a Soloist for the cleans, but with this finish, well, why not? A guitar is what you make it, and this has a wealth of characterful cleans that are perfect for blues, even if the 12" -16" compound radius fingerboard nudges you towards the accelerator. 

Yes, the SL4X breed of Soloist looks refined but you still suspect that if you were to score its finish with a coin you’d find tiger-striped neon underneath. There is no shortage of hair and teeth once you plug it in.

Is this where the evolution of shred guitar has taken us? If so, we’re all in and suspect that some other shred-adjacent players are too. You could see John Mayer picking this up. He has form, playing a hot pink Jackson Soloist, and this looks as though it visits the same tailor as his Silver Sky.

Specs

  • PRICE: $649 / £599
  • BODY: Poplar
  • NECK: Maple neck-through with graphite reinforcement and scarf Joint
  • SCALE: 25.5"
  • FINGERBOARD: Laurel with dot inlay
  • FRETS: 24, jumbo
  • PICKUPS: 3x Duncan-Designed HR-101 Hot Rails single-coil sized humbuckers
  • CONTROLS: 3-way pickup selector, 1x volume, 1x tone
  • HARDWARE: Floyd Rose Special Double-Locking Tremolo (Recessed), Jackson Sealed Die-Cast tuners
  • LEFT-HANDED: No
  • FINISH: Specific Ocean [as reviewed], Gloss Black, Snow White, Butterscotch
  • CONTACT: Jackson Guitars